These Are some photographs of our trip to Shenandoah National Park. The trip was in the first week of October. The park is incredible, one could find beauty everywhere. I hope to return there. Winter well Shenandoah.
Sunday morning dawned with a bright sunny sky, and a promise of slightly warmer temps as the day progressed. Warmer is relative in the middle of December here in New England, but a few degrees in air temp can translate to a few degrees in water temps and those few degrees can make for fishing success in terms of activity to the fly.
I teamed up with Kirk and the plan was to visit a small stream in northern Connecticut. We had not fished here since first fishing it in late August. At that time the stream was low and while giving up a few fish it did not show us what it could be like in better times. Don't get me wrong I'm not saying that December is prime time for fishing, but what I mean is the water conditions as far as flow is concerned were almost perfect.
As you can see the water was very clear. The trout were aware of us long before a cast was made. While peering down into the stream you could see the bottom and everything that moved along it. What seemed devoid of fish the stream came alive as the "pinkie" drifted along. Suddenly there were little brook trout who were holding on the bottom darted for the fly. Watching this is almost as rewarding as hooking one of those wild char.
Drifting the "pinkie" in places as this I finally managed to hook a brookie. I had experienced several hookups before but this was my first to hand.
A Connecticut wild jewel. This guy was so spunky for a fish it's size. After releasing the brookie I continued to fish the "pinkie". The fly continued to attract attention and what I noticed was that the interest in it was at midway between bottom and surface. I reached into the fly box and selected a Smoky Mountain Fork Tail. Yes sir some dry fly action was in the back of my mind.
I worked a beautiful stretch of water and the Fork Tail did the rest. Many looks, a few takes, and finally one that got caught.
Fishing a small stream always excites me, and instills in me that special rewarding feeling that's hard to put into words. I can only say this the smile on my face when I held this brookie, a trout that took a dry fly in a clear December stream, would have been smile for the ages.
Kirk and I fished this stream this day, both catching fish. We enjoyed cups of hot coffee and tea along with some prime venison jerky. We ended the day stopping to check on a few other streams and headed home.
When I started this blog I reached out to a community of anglers who enjoy the beauty of small stream angling. Over the years I have been introduced to so many followers of "Small Stream Reflections" in person, by comments made on the blog, and so many emails. The most common theme to all of the communication is inspiration. Not only do I inspire others, but you inspire me with these comments.
A few weeks ago I received an email from Seth, an angler/fly tyer from New Jersey. He commented on a post I did on tying parachute flies. In the post I said how effective these flies are and how it's almost impossible for me to tie them. He told me it would be a pleasure for him to tie me a few of these parachutes to try. He asked for my name and shipping address and said he would send them out. A few days later I received this Altoids tin full of Adams parachute flies. They are tied beautifully, something he should be proud of.
When I contacted Seth to thank him, as well as his permission to use his name in a blog post his response was yes. He then mentioned how nice it would be to see one of his flies stuck in the corner of a brookies mouth. Well Seth I'll be fishing this weekend and I"ll see if I can arrange such a request. Below is the recipe that Seth gave for tying these flies. "Thanks buddy"
Hook, Dai Riki 320...Thread, Uni 8/0 Black...Post, Poly Yarn...Tail, Barbs From Collins Cree Neck...Hackle, Collins Cree Neck...Abdomen, Stripped Metz Dun Hackle Stem...Thorax, Orvis Spectra Blend Adams Gray.
This is another fly I received in the mail last week. It's a bit of a mystery. The fly had no name, either the pattern or the tyer. The envelope had a Connecticut postmark but that's it. It's a good looking wet fly, perhaps a dark cahill variant. It has a body with a silver tinsel rib, an underwing of what appears to be antron, and a Mallard overwing. If this tyer reads this, would you please contact me as to the pattern name as well as yours.
The community of fly tyers who love strapping feathers and silk as well as tinsel to long hooks are about to be gifted with a book by a fly tyer, and historian on the subject of "featherwing streamers".
Sharon E. Wright from Maine will release the book "tying Heritage Featherwing Streamers" in January 2015. Sharon is in good company, for Maine is known for women streamer tyers, Carrie Stevens, Selene Dumaine, and now Sharon Wright. The Winter issue of Fly Tyer magazine has a feature on the book as well as Sharon. I am looking forward to purchasing my copy of her book, and will do so at the "Fly Fishing Show" being held in Marlboro, Massachusetts in early January.
Below is a featherwing streamer I created and will be passed down to my children and grandchildren.