Monday, October 15, 2018

One Fish

Did you ever have a day where frustration was the headliner? Where almost everything you decided on was not the best decision? A day where a heavy rain would be a blessing. Oh my...yesterday was such a day. Please keep in mind this frustrating day only encompassed my time on the stream, the rest of my day was quite lovely. I arrived at the stream and was soon walking along it's banks. Looking at the first photo you can see an assortment of foliage, quite thick I will say. It was somewhere in that foliage that some strange sounds were being heard from. I can at most times identify what I hear but these sounds are still a mystery. That little incident put me on edge somewhat. Now to add to this I realized I left a fly box at home. Not a big issue because it only contained a few flies that I had tied and wanted to try.

Walking along and fishing I felt like I had no fly tied on my tippet, the reason I thought that was I had not received a single hit. The fish were not being nice at all. I changed flies multiple times with the same result. Now let me tell you I had already fished for 3 hours with only a meager 2 fish takes and not a single fish to hand.

Look at that beautiful run. Now hear about the hell I endured trying to get to it. Looking at the far side of the stream it looks pretty easy, but I was on the near side. It was thick with blow downs, the soft mud was up to my knees. The footing when I was not knee deep was like walking on ice. To say I was frustrated is an understatement...but. Have I ever mentioned to you how much I love Fran Betters? Well it was his influence in the fly I was fishing that made my day.

It was that fly that so pissed off this fine wild jewel that he went for it three times, one of those times it stuck him and I actually was able to bring him to hand. As it turned out it was to be my only fish of the outing. It was worth the frustration.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Soft-Hackles And Spiders

Soft-hackles or spiders, what to fish and where to fish them. A small stream requires different tactics then larger bodies of water, with different tactics comes a choice between flies that we select to enable us to get the job done. In the stream pictured above a small sparsely tied spider pattern is almost useless in drawing a trout to strike. In a section as this a soft-hackle with some fullness to it would be a much better choice.

This soft-hackle is what I would use in a stream as pictured above. The fly has a tail, thread body and a pheasant feather tied with several turns, perhaps even using the whole feather. The fly would be noticed in the faster moving current.

This piece of water would be where a sparse spider pattern would excel. The spider would drift slowly in the mild current and would be seen easily by feeding fish. In this pool I have taken many brook trout over the years. I have cast spiders and watched them drift. At the end of the drift the fly settles to where it's almost at the bottom. Brookies would look at the fly and would attack it once it's twitched.

This spider pattern is perfect for fishing in places I described above. The fly is the same as the first one. Tail, thread body and a pheasant feather for the hackle. The difference is the feather is wound sparse, perhaps only two turns. These flies offer the best of both in fishing various places on a small stream.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

An Autumn Mosaic

I spent about five hours on a small stream yesterday. It was a beautiful day once the clouds broke and it was one of those days where everything went right. The stream was running almost at capacity, clear crisp water, I mean it sparkled like diamonds. I spent more time taking in the scenery than I did fishing, now that may not be entirely true but it was close. Looking into the stream the colored leaves seem to jump right at you, and when placed against the cobble bottom it look like a mosaic...natures mosaic.

The trees are in various stages of color change, some gold some red, there is also that clump of green in there.

The brook trout are not to be outdone. Many colors present along the body of this one.

I wish I could capture to true colors of this leaf jam. They were so vibrant with the riffled water flowing over the top....a few inches below that jam a willing brookie took a dry fly.

The's colors are that of fall.

Could fishing get any better? This angler says no..

This fly did reasonably well in it's first outing.

days to come...

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Streamers Of Bill Edson

One of the great fly tyers of those early days, glory days of Maine fly fishing was Bill Edson. Bill was from Portland Maine and created many streamer flies that were staples in the fly wallets of anglers who were seeking the giant brook trout and salmon of the Rangeley lakes of western Maine. Many Edson's patterns had a unique item used in their construction, that item was a small brass eye. This brass eye was used in place of jungle cock and was tied in at the head.

These are the brass eyes that are used in many of Edson's streamers. One of his patterns used both jungle cock and the brass eyes.

This is the "Kennebago Special"....The body is flat silver tinsel, the throat is yellow and red hackle. The wing is furnace saddle hackle, and the eyes are jungle and brass. It is said that this streamer was Bill Edson's favorite fly.

This streamer is called a "Dark Edson Tiger" squirrel wing....Tag is gold tinsel. tail yellow hackle. Body yellow chenille, wing is fox squirrel, throat is red hackle. The fly also uses the brass eye.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Streamers, Brook Trout, And Sore Knees...One Of My Best Days

Yesterday I can honestly say was one of the ten best days of fishing in my life. I experienced in a few hours the pure joy of doing everything that one needs to do to be able to say that this is what truly what fly fishing is. The stream I chose is one I'm familiar with. It has a gentle side to it and a nasty side. The walk in can be seen as a gentle one as pictured above. There is a mix of hemlock and hardwood with open banks. It is here that many brookies were slashing at the fly offered.

This is a small stream anglers dream. Runs, riffles and small pools. The area is open and tangle free. It is here where I was catching many brookies in the 3-4 inch range. They were viciously attacking the streamer I was fishing. It is here where the fishing became a challenge. The exposed roots became a dominant factor in the comfort factor, I mean they raised heck with my ankles and knees. I try my hardest to stay out of the water at this time. Most of the fishing is from the bank and you can get yourself into some precarious positions standing on roots and rocks and I probably should have found a more stable casting place, but that's small stream fishing.

It was in this pool that I was forced to use the upstream streamer technique. This is a method I first learned of while fishing the Upperdam pool in Maine. It involves casting upstream and stripping the streamer back at a fast speed.

This beautiful male brook trout found that streamer traveling at the speed of sound to much to resist. He hit that thing and actually began to take off line. It was a memorable battle with all of the tricks we both had in our play books coming into use. As he rest at the bank I slid my hand under him and lifted him to take a photo. The streamer slid out and he lay there for a few moments. He then swam off into the stream.

This pool was a challenge. A nice flow coming in and heading to a pile of wood. The pool was deep and its bottom thick with silt and fallen leaves and hemlock needles. I tried to stand on the small rocks but could not keep my footing. I wandered to the area where I could get out onto the clump of woody debris. It was here that I could make a decent cast into the pool. On the third cast I felt a fish take the fly, a surface splash and it was off. Several more casts and the pool seemed dead. I said to myself there has to be a few more in there. Several more casts and then I felt the tug of a good fish.

My goodness you talk about a fight...this guy was mean and was not about to be subdued. Luckily he did not try to go into that nasty tangle of wood. I was able to get control and brought the regal native to hand. A wild brook trout in all his glory...carry on my friend.

This was a special day in Brook Trout Forest.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

North Country Flies...Classics With A Twist

North Country flies need no additives, their simple lines using but silk and feather have endured for a long time. I want to tell you about a modern treatment I use on a couple of these North Country patterns. Myself like many other fly tyers like to use dubbing in one form or another on the the North Country flies. The dubbing tied in as a thorax or as part of a sparse body. Several materials are common on these flies including hares ear, and mole both of which are great and very easy to work with.

I would like to share another dubbing I love to use on these North Country flies. It's called SLF, synthetic living fiber. The material is squirrel mixed with a touch of sparkle. It is friendly and not obnoxious to work with. Many of the spider patterns call for a sparse dubbed body and SLF can be used in way that you can almost let it fall on a waxed silk forming a very seductive and effective fly.

A pattern I love to tie and fish. The Partridge and Olive. Olive silk thread and a whispy SLF body.

Partridge and Orange using bleached ginger SLF for the thorax

Partridge and Yellow, this fly also uses bleached ginger for a thorax.

Monday, October 1, 2018

October's Knocking And A Brookie In The Foam

September's closing. Yesterday I was up and out of the door by 6, a crisp Autumn morning. As I drove to the stream drinking my first cup of coffee and violating one of my steadfast rules. That rule is to never start fishing for brook trout until 8:30 in the morning. I have found it to be that brookies don't actually bite until that time. Well I was streamside long before that. After gearing up I chose to drive a short distance to a small store and get my second cup of coffee heck I had the time. Driving back to the stream I had plans of fishing mostly dry flies and maybe a soft-hackle or two. The fly I had already tied on was a bomber so I figured that was a good fly to start with.

I finished my coffee and saw it was near 8, close enough. I walked to the first place I was to was beautiful.

All sorts of sweet places to drift a fly. Not one response. I fished a couple of dry flies, and switched to wets with no one offering. It was almost 9 and and still not a fish had offered. I came upon a deep pool, it had some pretty violent water spilling over some big boulders and it did not look like a small stream. Years of fishing in places like Maine where pools like these are common made me reach into the streamer section of my box. I plucked out a white marabou streamer called a Montreal ..... I tied it on and cast into the deep swirling water. The fly did what the current allowed, together the produced a solid rip at the streamer. A second cast was made and this time I had a hookup. The brookie went to the bottom and tried to put me in a bad place, I managed to change his mind.

I had not intended on taking this photo, it occurred by accident as I was trying to bring the fish to a quieter came out pretty cool though.

A better picture of the brookie before it was released. I fished that streamer for awhile and never caught another fish...I had numerous hits until I snagged it on the bottom and lost it. It by the way was the only streamer in the streamer section. Note to myself, put a few more in the streamer section.

I continued to fish for several more hours. The brookies finally came to their senses and started taking dry flies.

It was good to close the door on I hear October knocking.