Frosty mornings where the air temp is hovering around 30 and the sun is starting to make itself a factor in the day is a time for some incredible photos. These winter berries with a hint of frost upon them make such a lovely sight as I walk to the stream. These days can be very erratic in the trouts feeding time. It also makes for a hit or miss decision on what they will eat. A rule of thumb is that winter food sources are scarce and usually small, perhaps a small nymph is the best choice. Over the years I have come to realize that small is not always the way to go, and bottom bouncing is not always the best method. I have been fooling around with spey type flies for trout and have had some success with them. These flies are tied on #8 salmon hooks and are on the large side. Wow you say, that's big, and that's true but so is a Mickey Finn tied on a #8 streamer hook and that is pretty common for a trout fishing fly.
Well on this day I fished one of these spey flies and it did it's magic. While fishing these flies so many trout came up from the bottom to wildly swipe at the fly. It surprised me how they liked the presentation. As the fly was swinging across they would hit it, and as the fly straightened out the trout would not touch it. I have seen this before, I just don't quite know why they do it.
I have a few of these fly patterns to share with you and will do so on my next post.
These brookies were not shy about crushing the large fly.
Not exactly a fly for framing, but a worker for sure. Simple construction, with a minimum of materials.
Last week we made some homemade sausage. Fried it and put it together with mashed potatoes, gravy and peas....so good.
Back in October a reader of SSR's sent me an e-mail asking if I wanted some woodcock wings, and feathers. He assured me that they were clean and the markings were quality. Woodcock is a staple in the construction of North Country flies. They have proven to be fish catchers and they are a forgiving feather in that they are not overwhelmingly fragile. Well getting back to the e-mail, I said I would love to have the woodcock wings and feathers. A few days later I received a package and when I opened it I was astounded. The wings were the best I've seen. These feathers were perfect. Their shape and sheer amount of quality useful feathers was beyond what I had imagined. "John" I want to thank you for the feathers and I'll be busy this winter creating many flies.
This is a Woodcock and Orange spider. The hackle is on of the feathers from John's woodcock wings.
Woodcock and Orange with tail. The hackle is an under covert from a woodcock.
Tom Davis of "Teton Tenkara", which is a wonderful blog by the way. He posted a pattern that I copied and had success with it. Seeing this Tenkara pattern and others that I've tied. A reader of SSR's by the name of Bill Shuck got bit by the Kebari style flies and created this awesome fly. Some of the materials used in the fly are heron, mole, and waterhen. I could see this fly in the lip of a brook trout...
These are so common, but every one is different. Sights that most pass by seem to catch my eye. I was out roaming a stream in search of a few brown trout. The stream is one of my favorites for wild browns, and most times I can find a few who will light up my day. These browns are not huge and will never grace the covers of magazines but what they will do is bring a few moments of euphoria to an old angler. The notables have said that the brown is a fly fishers challenge, they are selective and must be pursued with extreme caution. This may be true but not so on a small stream. In the end they are just beautiful creatures looking for something to eat.
Flowing waters in times of sunlight and clouds...strong currents and soft sanctuaries.
Salmo trutta...He is a tough fellow, and handsome too.
A clump of dead leaves and some broken branches. A mess on your lawn but so beautiful in a small stream.
What lies below?
The orange striped brown trout. A quirk of nature on perhaps something else.
Other than clean cold water these trees that have been blown down are a necessity for wild trout to sustain life.
Pretty common. Maybe so but to me they are very unique and very precious.
Monday was about as beautiful a day as you'll happen on in December. The sun was out and the wind a non factor. The air temps were near 60 and one could enjoy being outdoors with just a good fleece jacket. I had a good feeling about the day, even though we had some substantial rains on Saturday. The streams were a bit high but absolutely clear. I started fishing a small streamer and why I changed to a soft-hackle reversed I can't tell you. Sometimes I open my fly box and a fly will catch my eye and I'll say "what the heck" try it....in this case I'm glad I did.
This fly fishing thing is always a learning deal. Years ago, like maybe a dozen or so I went steelhead fishing on the Salmon River in N.Y. state. I have never fished there or anywhere for steelhead. So for months I tried to get some info that would make my hopes for success come through. On one forum an angler with years of fishing the Salmon under his belt told me to "fish the seams", those little soft spots in the currents that fish will find to help them maintain a position without to much effort. I have used this method since and it has improved my catch rate on small streams.
Monday the "fish the seams" method worked very well. The sakasa kebari moved ever so seductively through the seam and sure enough a brookie ate it.
I fished that sakasa kebari the whole time and when I hit the seam just right it was a home run.
My best fish of the day. A beautiful strong buck. This guy even went airborne.
A "workhorse" and veteran of a beautiful December day in Brook Trout Forest.
It has been a great year at Small Stream Reflections. There have been so many viewers and commenters. All of this plus some wonderful photos and musings have made my life so very wonderful.
To show my appreciation to you I would like to offer up a few presents. All you need to do is just comment on this post. Your names will be put into a bowl and Jeanette will select the winners. The drawing will take place on Friday morning and the winners will be announced on the blog right after.
A Rangeley Streamer...
Flies with fly box. The flies include some very productive soft-hackles as well as "Salars Nemesis"
Two 2019 calendars. 12 beautiful photos which I'm sure you'll enjoy.
Again I want to say thanks to a great year. And it's greatness is because of you.
The day before Thanksgiving we spent the morning and afternoon at the Military Entrance Processing Station in Chicopee MA. This is where my grand-daughter Morgan took the sworn oath and was enlisted in the U.S. Army. Of all the accomplishments that Morgan has achieved I believe this is the one Jeanette and I are most proud of. Morgan a National Honor Society student is in her senior year of high school. A young lady that has her plate full and looks to add to it. A very unselfish and caring person chose to serve her country before continuing her career in this great land.
Morgan will graduate high school in June and take up Army life at Ft. Jackson S.C.
Jeanette and I with Morgan. I cannot express the immense feeling of pride we felt. I still well up with emotion when I look at this photo.