Thursday, July 28, 2016

Fishing With Mike

Over the course of a couple of years I have exchanged many e-mails with this gentleman. At one point I thought that I had read enough of them that I thought I knew this man. The other day I finally met him face to face and found out I did not even scratch the surface of what this man knows. Mike Stephens is his name and he is a resident of Connecticut. He fly fishes ties beautiful flies and handcrafts lovely fly rods. He has the soul of many who fly fish, his love for small wild trout comes out the first and then you can feel the love going beyond that to all levels of fly angling.

We fished the Farmington river for a few hours. On that morning we found a few willing trout and we were delighted to bring a few to hand. I hope that Mike enjoyed his time, for I know I enjoyed mine. We will fish again I'm certain but I would most like is a coffee or two with him stream side to hear some more of his wonderful stories.

Mike into a scrappy brook trout.

Mike Stephens photo

A wonderful gift from the Farmington...Mike would agree.

Photo ..Mike Stephens
We each fished this run along the bank. We brought numerous fish to the surface, but not to hand.

Photo..Mike Stephens
One of Mike's fine points is that he is an excellent photographer. Here he captured a Merganser with a brook trout.

We walked up the bank to our cars, and ended a fine day on the river.....Thanks Mike.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Rainbow Perfection

While fishing the Farmington river a week or so ago I was having a pretty good day. Several fish were to come to hand and the time for leaving was close. I had been fishing various flies and decided to do some experimenting. I tied on a couple of soft-hackles and on one of them I put some floatant, well not so much on the fly but on the tippet where it was tied to the fly. I false cast once and sent the fly upstream. It looked pretty good bouncing in the various currents. I fished this set-up for several minutes, moving upstream as I did. I came upon some nice pockets, the kind that look like a trout sanctuary. I cast there and the flies worked through, but not on the surface. A little more Gink a false cast and off they went. As the fly drifted a few inches a large fish rose and grabbed that fly in what seemed like a heartbeat. The fish proceeded to teach me a lesson or two on how to beat the angler. This fish took me almost everywhere in a 25 yard section. There were some beautiful leaps and some of the bulldogging is hard to describe. I have caught many fish, and most were fighters, but this one was in the top 10.

I finally gained the upper hand and the fish reluctantly drifted toward the shore. A beautiful buck rainbow lie near the grasses. I glanced at the fish and said to myself "could this be wild". I am aware that the state will claim it's a holdover, and "there's no wild rainbows reproducing in the Farmington"...well looking at this fellow I would think there are.

Wild or.....perfect fins, tail full, a dorsal fin standing tall, and almost perfect spotting. I would put this fish in a class as the most beautiful rainbow I've ever taken


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Catskill Flies, Plus.......

Jeanette and I took a drive today to check on a few small streams and to enjoy the walks that bring us stream side. While the water was low we found numerous pools that held sizeable amounts of water. These pools had good flows entering them along with a lovely tree canopy keeping the water cool. Looking into a few of them I surprised a fair share of brookies who darted and were soon out of sight. This was a good sign, but rain is needed.

While driving home we passed what was an old fly shop. This shop was the first one where I purchased flies when I started my interest in fly fishing. Us older anglers who fished the Farmington river in the late 60's and 70's know of the shop I'm speaking of. The shop has been closed for some time and today for the first time I noticed the door open. I stopped and had a pleasant conversation with the son of the owner of the shop. I was able to gain a lot of information in the short time we talked. I will return and try to talk to him again, maybe I will get his permission to share it with you.

I would like to share with you several dry flies I have in my collection from various Catskill fly tyers. These flies are crisp and elegant and a joy to look at. I hope you enjoy them.

"The Beaverkill" this is one of my favorites. This fly was fished extensively on Catskill waters. In Mike Valla's book "Tying Catskill Style Dry Flies" there is a photo of this fly as tied by Mary Dette.

Friday, July 22, 2016

A "Better Morning".........

Early morning on the river. The sun was playing peek-a-boo through a sky of clouds. The sound of the water moving over the stones was sort of hypnotic. I eased into the river and gazed up and down looking for that rising fish, something I would not see. As I tossed the fly into the current I noticed how it just sat in the film before being swept into it's drift. The hope was there that I would be lucky this day and hook a fish on the first cast, it was not to be. Continuing downstream I noticed how the light was on the water. It appeared to be green to yellow to blue, almost the colors of a brook trout. Mornings seem to produce such variations.

I was now standing in one of those seams where I have encountered brook trout. So I concentrated on my fishing and made the right presentations hoping to coax a trout to take. I was soon rewarded with a spunky and very healthy brookie, one of several today.

As the morning moved and the sun cast more light on the water I moved to the stream within the river, that area that is in shade. I worked the soft-hackle towards a submerged boulder. As the fly slowed in the current a swirl was detected, a second later a big surface wake and the water exploded with a big fish. He knew his river and began to teach me a lesson. Long story short he did and I had all I could handle. I finally turned him and brought him gently into slower water.

As he lay there I could not believe how breath taking that fish was. I placed my hand into the water and lifted him focused a photo and a tail move and the brown was hook free and gaining strength. A few moments later and he was gone.

A small fly...and the fish it attracted.

That brown was the last fish of the morning. It was now 10AM and getting hot. I took a few photos of the flora as I walked out. Thinking to myself could there have been a better morning...the answer was no.