Last year late August as well as most of September were pretty dry. The small streams took a beating with the low water. I was fortunate to have a wonderful alternative to fishing the small streams, and that alternative was the Farmington River. This tail water had beautiful flows of cool water all through the hot dry spell. The Farmington is probably best known for it's big browns and hefty rainbows. The river can be somewhat problematic to the angler who is trying to take one of those big fish. But this angler had some very good days fishing the small areas of this river. The wild trout population is doing fine and all through the months of September and October I was blessed with many fine wild browns and brookies.
The trout were taken on a variety of flies everything from dries to streamers. The better times of the day were between 10am and 2pm. Below are some photos of the wonderful wild bounty in this fine river.
With all the cold snowy weather as of late one can get some relief by tying flies. I have been tying featherwing streamers for the last several days and would like to share one with you. I got the inspiration for the streamer from a photo I saw while viewing Run-a-Round Ranch blog. Theresa had several photos of a "sundog" posted. From that photo I selected some materials that would give the impression of a "sundog". I hope you enjoy.
My last outing took place a week ago Wednesday. I really did want to go but knew the better thing to do would be to stay home. The temps the night before had dipped to around 10 and the daylight did not move them much higher. So I fixed a thermos full of tea and put the wool on and headed for the stream. As I walked to the stream I could feel the cold biting through. The ragg wool gloves were not much of a buffer to the wind. I persisted and walked on, fishing every possible trout holding pool available. There were no takers, still I walked and climbed and cast when I could. By now it had been several hours and the realization set in that this was not going to be a fish catching day. Today was a small stream reflecting day.
I reached the farthest point of the stream. Here I stopped and cracked open the thermos of tea. The steam coming from the cup told me I was about to feel my insides return to normal. As I drank the hot beverage I took note of the place where I placed my rod. It was lying on a moss covered stone. Along side of the handle I saw a feather. Picking it up I admired its color and the almost perfect shape it was in. I tried to determine where it came from and thought what bird had left it.
After drinking several cups of tea and thinking about the feather I gathered it up and placed in my fly box. Walking back to the car I thought to myself. I fished this day and though I caught nothing I still had a fruitful day, a rewarding day and a time to reflect on what it is to fish a small stream on a very cold winters day.
Winter has set in and as I type this it's snowing to beat the band. The flakes look to be the size of a baseball. For the last week it has been cold, almost to cold to fish. I ventured out twice last week once with good fortune and once with not such good fortune. Those stories will come later, for now it's fly tying. Restocking fly boxes and tying some featherwing streamers has kept me busy. I have also looking a various forums and sites for ideas and inspirations. I stumbled onto one that talked about soft hackle dry flies, now that's something I had to check into further. I searched a little more and found an English tyer who ties these flies. Once I had a plan on how to put these together I gave them a shot.
These are pretty easy to tie and they do look quite "insectly". Not a lot of materials are needed. Dry fly hooks, thread, Coq de Leon, feathers for the tail, brown rooster hackle, or any color hackle you prefer, and partridge hackle.
The stiff rooster hackle keeps the fly afloat and the soft partridge hackles move in the current showing the fish this bug is alive. I have not field tested these flies yet but I will do so the very first chance I can.
I tested the float of these flies in my sink. They floated well with the soft hackles moving life like. I think some floatant just on the cock hackle very sparingly will work perfect.