Sunday, April 23, 2017

Earth Day 2017

Earth Day dawned with a mix of rain and fog, with a very raw breeze that seemed to find every bit of my covered bones. Kirk and I agreed to meet and do some fishing on a stream know by some as the "family secret". A beautiful area of Connecticut highlighted by rolling hills, old stone walls, a quaint general store that has some of the best brewed coffee that I have ever tasted. Not to be left out is the stream itself. Kirk and I both agree that this is one of the states best wild brook trout streams. We say this in the meaning of location, quietness, beauty, and such a mellow sound of the water as it rumbles to meet the sea.

Spring awakes...there were so many wild flowers of every size and color, their beauty enhanced by the gentle rain.

The fishing was enjoyable, the catching was slow at least for me...but no complaints.

I came upon a run that has been good to me in the past. I cast the fly and it soon found a willing participant. The fish was on and soon it was off. Several casts later the same event "on then off". They say the third time is the charm and that was the case. To say that a brook trout knows his stream is an understatement, they know every stone, branch, and deep hole in it. A few moments of battle and this incredible dark wild jewel was at my feet. I took out the camera to photograph it and the rain drops were all over the lens. I dry it and to my surprise the fish stayed posed for me. The fly removed and off it went.

Earth Day 2017, in the Connecticut woods.

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Golden Badger and Some Very Good Works

This is probably the smallest stream I've ever fished for brook trout. When I gazed into it yesterday I could not believe what I saw. Man it was full of mini-brookies, they were scattering every where. I dropped a fly in that stream in various places and I had a awesome response. I'll finish telling you about it in a future post.

Last week I had a spectacular day of fishing, and what made it so special aside from where I fished and the trout I caught was the fact that I only fished one fly. That fly was a "Golden Badger" emerger. It's a fly with few materials and pretty easy to tie.....Recipe is..Tail, lemon wood duck...Body, brown thread lightly dubbed with ginger squirrel, and golden badger hackle.

The Golden Badger is similar to the "Lackie Special" it to is an emerger and has been a very good producer of late.

Peaceful Places, pretty much sums it up. The latest newsletter from "The Franklin Land Trust" has a great article on the on going restoration-enhancement of there Crowningshield Conserved Property. The west branch of the North River flows through this pristine piece of the northeast. It has wild brook trout and I can tell you that they are worth the effort it takes to be able to fish for them. The FLT is doing great work here, and you can read about it here, or you can contact them at Franklin Land take a few minutes and drop them a line or two and tell them what good work they are doing and how much it means to like minded people like us. They will appreciate it.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Small Stream Journal, 4-17-17

Good morning folks. Before I get into a wonderful trout outing I'd like to tell you about the eggs featured in this photo. My daughter and son in law along with the two grandkids purchased 6 little chicks. Well long story short they are producing eggs like crazy. Jeanette and I have been getting regular deliveries of "fresh" eggs. Man they are awesome. What a way to start your day.

Monday was one of a string of beautiful spring days we have been experiencing. It was on the mild side when I parked the Honda. I got into my waders and geared up. The fly you see was the only fly I needed that day.

The stream.."perfection", my if only everyday could be like this.

"Trout Lilly"..a sign that all is well this spring morning.

It did not take long until the first brook trout was at hand. The sunlight and the clear water highlighted it's beauty.

Free flowing among the hemlocks.

Yet another variation in the coloration of CT's brook trout. This fish was exceptionally green. The photo really does not show it well. His dorsal fin is also green, I have not seen this before. This stream also produced a very light colored brook trout, I wrote about it several weeks ago.

Just beyond and to the right of this stone I observed a brook trout lying almost as if not alive. I observed for several minutes and there was no movement except for a slight tail twitch. I cast the fly just behind him and retrieved it slowly. As the fly passed him he moved like lightning to the fly.

The last jewel of the day. A day that will be hard to top.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Olives....the Little Mayflies

Olives, no this is not a post about those salty mainstays of so many worldwide. Instead its about those little mayflies that so many are aware of. These flies are about from late April to September and can bring about some interesting reactions from the resident trout populations. Some of these flies can be tiny, and some not so, those are what I tie...14-16-18, and i tie the spider-soft-hackle version.

Materials are, hooks, olive silk, natural mole dubbing, and dun hen hackle.

The silk is started behind the eye and wrapped back to about the hook point or slightly beyond. Always touching turns with the silk in order to eliminate gaps.

The silk is then touched lightly with wax about an inch and a half. Then the mole is dubbed very sparse. You can now remove some if you think it maybe to much. This is about right for me.

Then the thread is wrapped forward to slightly behind the eye.

The feather is attached. I know it looks big for the size hook but your only using the smaller barbules of the feather. Two turns of the feather then it's secured with the silk,waste trimmed and whip finished.

Completed size 14 BWO spider.

Size 14 BWO spider using olive squirrel dubbing, and a somewhat fuller hackle.

A size 16 BWO spider, sparse mole dub and sparse hackle.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Hemlock Brook, A Return

I wrote about this stream back in February when I first visited it. I went back last week for a little walk, with fly rod and camera. Now it's your turn to experience "Hemlock Brook"

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Folks This Is All Good

Three simple ingredients to produce a wonderful little fly. The more I continue reading about North Country Flies there is one constant that comes forward, that constant is "simplicity". There are times when to much just gets in the way. This "spider", with it's sparseness has a great deal of life that would be lost if tied with a multitude of materials.

The "Chestnut Blonde".....Materials, chestnut silk thread for the body, very sparse fox squirrel dubbing, and two turns of hen hackle.

"Chestnut Blonde"

Photo courtesy of Mark Wittman
Last night was the Connecticut Fly Fisherman's Association annual fly tyers roundtable. I had the pleasure of tying flies with some of the best. There was a great turnout and I enjoyed meeting old friends and making new ones. I also came home with a few "goodies" that I will put into play in the future. Thanks to the C.F.F.A. for hosting this again.

Spaghetti and clam sauce....simplicity again. Clams, olive oil, garlic, parsley, and spaghetti.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A Spring Day

Early April, the skies were clear, a gentle breeze was moving the air ever so slightly. The woods were opening and a scent of fir and damp earth were picked up. Along a stream bank daffodils are seen almost in bloom, how they got there is a mystery. Birds are ever so vocal and wild turkey's are now gobbling. These are wonderful times to be about the forests.

A small stream flows quietly. Below a little plunge in the calm sunlit bank miniature black nosed dace can be seen darting, looking for cover I suspect. A bit closer to the log jam that caused the plunge is a twist of water that causes a surface disturbance. Frothy water full of oxygen catches everything that's pulled in and causes it to be stunned and disoriented. It is in this location that a brook trout waits and gobbles up all that's presented.

These are the days we have waited for....I hope you can take advantage of a few.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Start, Opening Day, In A Different Setting

Yesterday was the opening day of Connecticut's trout season. With that brings the multitudes of youngsters and oldsters to the larger and very heavily stocked rivers and lakes all trying for their limit of trout. There are a few of us who prefer to fish lessen known waters for wild trout. Yesterday morning I met-up with Mark and Kirk to fish a lovely small stream. It was cold and we even saw snow and sleet at one point, but neither would dampen the spirit of adventure that lay ahead. Mark had graciously brought hot coffee and muffins along with buttery croissants. It was a good start to what was to be a fine day.

The stream was up from the recent rains and was no doubt running cold. By the way this stream was but a mere trickle last fall, but perhaps that's for another post. I had a Hornberg on and that's what I started with, but after awhile I soon realized they were not looking up. So the progression started, first soft-hackles, then winged wets, and finally bead-heads. It was the bead-head that was to be the best choice for me this day.

I dropped the bead-head in a swirling pool, the line moved very swiftly then stopped. I lifted the rod tip and felt the fish. In a match of strength I was able to convince the trout to stay out of the woody debris that had been deposited there by the heavy rains of spring. I slid my hand under this magnificent wild brown.

Kirk attempting to bring in a brook trout..

About mid-morning the sun broke out and man did it feel good.

I look pretty good despite what happened to me last year...I agree.

Mark getting down to business. Low and slow will usually fool them.

This stream is a classic New England freestone stream. Various waterfalls, some big and some small.

The stream travels though a valley with plunge pools and swift runs.

It was in one of those plunges that I was to find a true survivor.

This wild jewel not only survived the drought of last year but also the grip of a predator...the scar marks were very visible.

So a new season was launched today, a season welcomed by a few like minded souls who find a few wild fish in a pristine setting to be special gift.