I spent a few hours yesterday at a place I'll call "Fern Meadow Creek". It's a lovely stream that has its banks enveloped in ferns. Parts of this stream run pretty rough and others meander like a snail. These waters are home to wild brown trout.
For this outing I tied up a couple of streamers. The pattern was one I have never heard of and it's name shall remain quiet for now, a full post on this fly will come soon. I wish to thank Mel Moore for telling me of this streamer.
The lush green meadows of fern that seem endless. On this day when sunshine prevailed and a slight breeze moved the air just enough to keep the insects at bay. I tied on the streamer, fishing my 6ft 4wt this day. I sent the fly to work along the seams that border the rough water. It did not take long, perhaps the second cast when a trout hit the streamer. The fish was on solidly and soon found a root to seek cover. I attempted to move him away from that destination but it was not to be. What I had was no fish and a fly stuck in the submerged wood.
I continued to fish this place and was soon given another chance. A second strike and a second hookup. This time the result was better.
A nice wild brown. The streamer could not be left alone. As I worked the stream. I had many strikes, along with several browns to hand.
This brown had an impressive tail for his size. I can only imagine this guy a year from now.
A series of slow pools and short riffles proved unproductive. Then a large wood dam created a pool below it that was quite deep. These places can be hot spots for sure. I tossed the streamer and it sort of landed on its side and floated a bit. Suddenly a trout whacked it, pulled it under and was gone. Several repeated casts brought nothing. On one cast I allowed the fly to hang in the current a bit. This allowed to sink and move to the surface, sort of up and down. I soon felt a hard take and a nice fish was on.
Soon this handsome fellow was at hand. This outing took place in the middle of the day. A time of bright sun and some shadow. The streamer still worked very well. The next time I hope to work this fly under very low light conditions, the time when browns prowl.
A few weeks ago we were informed that our grand daughter Morgan was selected to The National Honor Society. This was something she was very deserving of. Morgan is a very hard working person, both in her academic as well as community work. She is a young lady who puts others first and is a helping hand to her family as well as friends.
We attended her induction ceremony, which was so beautiful. To see her receive her honor, along with her classmates and be recognized as a fine person we all new she was is so special. There are many who are proud of Morgan and her accomplishment, but none prouder than Nana and Papa.
For the last week we had a sitting gig for our grand dog "Parker" He's a pretty laid back individual and has a love of taking a car ride along with the walk in the woods that comes with it. He also enjoys a grilled burger with out the roll, and vanilla ice cream with whipped cream.
At one of Papas favorite trout streams, he took an oath of secrecy and will not tell anyone where it is no mater how intense the interrogation.
After a hard day of woods, water, and a fine meal this is well deserved.
In a previous post Bill Trussell, "Fishing Through Life" blog inquired about soft hackle flies. In the post I was talking of fishing a sulphur soft hackle, and the success I had with it on that day.
So here I'll tell of the simple materials needed, and I might add inexpensive too. The hardest part of the fly is winding the hackle. That is something that can be overcome in short time with practice.
Above are the hooks I use to tie these flies. There is no order of preference and all work just fine. The first hook is a Mustad 94842, it has an upturned eye. The second hook is a Mustad 9641. This hook is made of a slightly heavie wire and sinks faster. The third hook is a Mustad C53S long curved hook. Its shape gives the look of an emerger.
These are the threads I use, Veevus 10/0. This thread is a thinner and stronger thread. I use various colors. Also used is French Oval tinsel for the rib. The rib adds a little flash as well as protecting the dubbed body of the fly.
For dubbing I use natural opossum fur, as well as synthetic dubbing. I find that the synthetic dubbing is easier to work with then the natural, but the natural gives the fly a spiky natural look.
On some of the soft hackles I'll tie in a bit of this material. It gives this nice UV shine to the fly. I tie in a strand near the head before I tie on the hackle.
This is the hackle. It's a hen back and it has the perfect hackles for these flies. All of the feathers are usable, and the cost is very low.
These are the completed flies tied on the hooks I told you of at the top of this post. The middle fly is tied with the UV ice dub and a fiber can be seen. This shows up well in the water and trout will key in on it.
I hope this helps, and gets you to fish these types of flies. They are very effective.
It's 5 AM and I've been up since 4. I'm working on my second cup of coffee. A bit of a side note, I'm a coffee drinker, and have been since childhood. All brands, and all methods of brewing have touched my lips. Some of these have been disgusting, and some very good. About 6 years ago I bought a Kuerig coffee brewer, along with those K-Cups and gave it a try. The best coffee brewer going. One cup at a time, always fresh and hot. My favorite brand is Green Mountain Nantucket followed by Eight O'Clock, an old A&P brand of coffee. Enough of that.....
Friday was a cloudy day. It had produce a sprinkle or two but not to bothersome. The night before had produced a heavy shower so the woods were wet. Care was required when moving through the brush, and bump of a small tree or bush sent water down ones neck. The smell of a wet Spring woodland with flowers and grasses in bloom is hard to describe. I started fishing wet flies and soon had my first fish, a brookie about 4 inches. I continued to toss wets and they proved to be the fly of the day.
I noticed several sulphurs about and then a rise or two. I tied on a sulphur parachute and sent it off to hunt. The fly brought no response, even though I continued to see the rise.
I realized these fish were taking the fly as it emerged or lying in the surface film. I tied on a light colored emerger and started working the section below the fallen pine tree. As the fly started to swing at the end of the drift a fish struck hard. He was hooked and proceeded to put on a display of airborne moves designed to throw the hook.
The trout gave me the thought of a salmon with this display. I counted four leaps, along with some fast runs.
The pressure of the 3wt eventually prevailed and the brown was subdued. As it lay quiet in the calm water at my feet I reached in and gently lifted the trout. I admired this brown, both for its tenacity and beauty. I placed him back into the cold stream and a second or two he was gone.
This is another fly in the "Brook Series"...this is pattern #1. I've already posted pattern #3. This is also a streamer that uses feathers from the pheasant and is tied like a soft hackle.
This fly takes the look of a baitfish when stripped in, it's also quite life like in somewhat still water because of the soft hackle breathing, and pulsating. On its first outing it performed well with many strikes and a few to hand.
Hook, Mustad 38941 #10...Body, Red Floss...Tag and Rib, Flat Silver Tinsel...Hackle, Rump Feather from Ringneck Pheasant a reddish brown color...Followed by a Rump Feather from a RN Pheasant, a Golden Color...Head Peacock Herl.
Here are a few fish that found pattern #1 hard to resist.
Yesterday morning I headed east over the Connecticut river. The sun was just on its way up and starting to show signs of a beautiful day. I continued to drive into the sun for some time, with coffee in place, and thoughts of the stream I was to fish this day. The stream is a true gem, and it's runs through woodlands of pine, hemlock and hardwood. At places it's a fast paced freestone, and others it's very placid. These waters get almost no visitors, that is angling visitors. Once I ran into a turkey hunter, and another a mountain biker. Solitude, kind of what I treasure most.
This stream is dark, sort of like a rich tea color. Its rocks and banks are lined with moss, and in places the streamside foliage is so thick it's almost impossible to fish. Then there are those wonderful sections where a backcast will not get tangled in the trees. But the true treasure of these waters are the wild brook trout that call it home. These brook trout are by far the darkest I've seen any where in Connecticut. Some of them are almost black. These native char have adapted well to there home.
Like brook trout everywhere they are always hungry and fly choice is not a major process. They do like a bit of color to the flies and yellow seems to be one of them. Come spend a day with me as I fish the stream in a place I call "brook trout forest".
A yellow winged Picket Pin. A dark brook trout.
Behind these rocks, in the deeper runs a streamer fished with a little speed can bring hard responses.
They say a picture is worth a 1000 words. Well this one has that but still lacks the true beauty of these special fish. Black, blue, red, a deep orange, green,....it gos on and on.
These guys kept me busy this day, so busy I did not mind the biting bugs about.
The stream with it's dark waters was a crisp 56 degrees.
To take fish like such after the brutal winter we experienced is tribute to the tenacity for life they posses. All is well in "brook trout forest".
I fished for a few hours yesterday morning, until 1 or so. The stream is located in eastern Connecticut and flows through some state land as well as a good chunk of private land. The flows were up some from recent rains but the clarity was awesome. Started fishing and at one point was 0 for 3. The thought was "one of those days" I came upon this pool and noticed a few rises toward the back. I changed to a dry fly and floated it through. Not a single take. Many times the fly floated and was refused. Several changes, and the same result. I tied on a soft hackle and sent it out on a mission. Bang that was the ticket. Several brookies hooked and a few to hand.
A soft hackle wet fooled them.
Came upon this plunge pool. It was deep and had a strong flow. It also had a very good looking undercut on the left side. An assessment was made that if there was a big fish in this stream his home would be here. I had the soft hackle on so that's what I fished. Then a dry, then a muddler, all with the same result, nothing. Looking through the fly box I saw Mickey, took him out and tied him on. He went for a dive and a swim and on one of the retrieves I saw that big fish. He swirled up behind the bright streamer and just backed away. Several more casts later and there was no response. I think on a cloudy day, or perhaps evening and that trout would be at hand.
I moved on to the section that flows through private land. The landowner was good enough to give his permission to fish through, and we respect the few requests he asked of us. Still with the Mickey Finn I managed a hookup or two and even one almost to hand.
In the deep and swirling water of this pool the streamer was hit. With the weight of the water in his favor the brookie knew how to get away....not this time.
As I placed my hand under him and lifted him up the fly popped out. I took a photo, and there was no second, for off he went back into the white waters.
Here in the northeast there's a following of sorts of Fran Betters and the patterns he created. In Connecticut we have a group of die hard small stream fly fishers who push this almost to the max. This is a tribute to one of the flies he modified from an existing one and I like to think did so for the small stream.
The fly is the mini muddler. It's a small version of Don Gapens muddler minnow. Fran took the original and scaled it back. This fly is deadly on small streams especially with wild brook trout. Below are a couple of mini muddlers I tied. I tied these using a yellow wing and a tail from a grouse feather.
Mini muddlers. These are size 12's. They are tied on a 9671 Mustad hook. So armed with these I fished a stream a few days ago.
There's so much to see along the stream these days. As I stopped to change flies, the fly I had on was not the fly I was to fish. Opening the fly box I noticed the mini muddlers were in the car. I was not feeling like walking back so I looked in the box for something else to fish with. It was then that a fly was spotted, a fly that Mark had tied for me some time ago. It was a mini muddler, tied with a yellow wing. I tied this fly on and proceeded to have a fine outing.
Mini muddler as tied by Mark. I think he to is a fancier of Fran Betters.
It did not take long for the fly to be successful.
The beauty of the mini muddler is the versatility. It can be fished as a streamer, wet fly, or fished dry.
This guy came from under that wood pile in the stream.
Where this tributary joins the small stream I was fishing this day I caught this wonderful little guy on the mini muddler.
If you can tie some of these up, if you don't tie you can purchase a few, and give them a try.