Claret, what color is claret anyway. Just google the word and you'll be surprised what comes up. I for one am not the person that has to get it right. I believe close is good and usually gets it done and that's all I ask. After all we can go crazy and perhaps broke trying to get all things perfect when it comes to fly tying...simple I tell you.
In my silk thread stash I found this one to be as close to the color claret. Burgundy, Deep Red, how about Zinfandel? Oh well here are a couple of flies tied with claret silk. These are simple patterns and most times that's all it takes.
Woodcock and Claret. Claret silk thread, sparse mole dubbing and two turns of woodcock hackle.
Pheasant and Claret. Claret silk thread, sparse mole dubbing and two turns of hen pheasant hackle.
Fishing these small Connecticut streams over the years have given up a few surprises for me. I have taken some pretty good sized brook trout and just when I was in a comfort zone as far as the size of the fish I have been catching I was shaken from that zone with a real rod bender. The stream was clear, the flow perfect. I started working my fly down through the run. First drift was in the middle, no takes. Then it was the right side where I had a fish rise and miss the fly. Then I drifted the fly on the left and as it floated near the bush tangle in the water I saw the fish chase and grab the fly. I did not see him again until he was almost at hand. The fish did his best to take me into the tangles, then he ran up and down. I was able to gain control and soon he gave up the fight.
As I brought him to my hand I was quite impressed with the size of him. He was truly the biggest brook trout I have ever taken from this stream. He was incredibly dark with lots of yellow spots. Photo taken and off he went. I just know I will encounter him again. Wishful thinking friends.
This is the average size of brookie from this stream. A prize on any day.
As I continued my trek upstream I was given a second surprise.
A very healthy brown took the dry fly. Over the years I have taken browns from time to time here. The browns have not had an effect on the brook trout.
Mini-streaming...fishing those small creeks and tiny flows that we see and then ask are there trout in there. Well maybe they just might be. This is one such mini stream I fished for awhile this week. It feeds a a small stream and has a decent flow all year. I've poked around it at times through out the year and have spooked brookies. This day I found many pools that were quite full with water from the ample rains we have fortunate to experience. This is what just might bring up a larger brookie from the main stream. So armed with some bombers I set off to see what I could find.
Dark pools such as these are usually good places to drift the bomber. Anybody home?
No there wasn't...but there was someone home in the plunge pool just above the dark spot.
Trillium. This beautiful flower lined the banks of the stream. It blooms for just a short while in the spring.
You have heard of a "Venus Fly Trap" well look at that jumble of wood and roots...a bomber fly trap.
It's places like such that hold these wild jewels. Mini-streaming is a great change of pace. I don't do it all the time but when I do I always ask myself why not.
I went home last Friday and paid a visit to my little stream. I had not been there since January where I fished it a couple of times in that month. Those times brookis were were found but they were far and few in small sizes. Brook trout are a lot like grouse, their populations seem to run in cycles. Some years good and some not. As anglers we accept that and continue to enjoy and be thankful for the time to seek them.
Well I was not prepared for what was to happen to me on this outing. The stream was fantastic, perfect flow, extreme clarity and some surface feeding trout. I did not hesitate in my fly selection, it was to be a "bomber"...when I opened my box to pull one out I noticed there weren't any....like the old saying, a "cobblers son has no shoes"...thankfully I had a few flies that were close and that's what I used.
Look at all that woody debris....wood is good.
The first brookie of the day. Took the dry and made my day.
More wood, this provided a sanctuary for the brook trout that held in the stream down below.
After many fish like this beautifully colored specimen a pattern was showing. The brookies were very plentiful and quite large in comparison to what I was seeing and catching a few months ago. "Where did they come from"
More of that wood. Trees that have been blown down do wonders for the natives who live in this stream.
In a past post I mentioned Virginia sausage. Well now I'm going to give you some details on one of my pleasures. I use a pork butt, grind it up using a small to medium plate. You want the pork to have a good fat to lean ratio, I like it to be about 40% fat. The exact seasonings I can give you but the amounts are give and take according to you taste. The sausage has course salt, sage, ample black pepper and cayenne pepper. As the creator of this sausage relayed to me and I quote "you can never have enough pepper in good Virginia sausage"....a patty is made, fried in a pan. Another must is it has to be browned and have crispy edges. I put a slice of American cheese, but you can put whatever you like on it. Place it on a nice biscuit and enjoy.
Out and about on a nice spring day.
A stream where I was asked to leave. A new neighbor and a couple of convincing dogs made the request.
Before the request to leave was made I photographed several "trout lillies" in bloom.
Caddis flies...pretty much found everywhere. They are a great food source for trout and when an artificial fly is presented the trout usually take it readily. In a small stream the caddis can bring a trout to the surface any time of the year. The caddis probably has more patterns tied to represent it then any fly. If you have nothing to do for a day or twenty just google caddis and read. I tie a couple of simple caddis patterns which I call "light" and "not so light". These pretty much cover all I need to cover my fishing.
Here's the body of the light. Brown thread, spikey fox squirrel dubbing.....I add a few fibers of wood duck for a wing and then a few wraps of partridge hackle.
The "light caddis"
The caddis that I call "not so light"
The body is yellow thread, with a dubbing of natural fox squirrel. A few fibers of mallard and 2 wraps of natural partridge.
Saturday was the Connecticut trout season opener. In days of past this was quite a tradition for most anglers. Trout rivers and lakes and ponds were stocked to the gills with trout and many fishers out there to take as many as allowed by law. The opening day tradition lost some wind when the state established TMA's and WTMA's which pretty much allowed trout fishing year round. Well we started a tradition several years ago. Every opening day a group of us gathered to fish a small wild trout stream. That tradition continued this year but there were only two of us. Mark, who drove down from MA. and myself. We chose a stream we were familiar with to be the first choice. We got there at 8 and were graced with a heavy downpour. Added to the heavy rains that happened all night and you guessed it "high water". We sat in Marks truck and discussed our plans. While talking we enjoyed hot coffee and muffins compliments of Mark. We decided to fish the stream....that did not last to long. The high water and swift currents made for impossible fishing. A second choice of stream was suggested and off we went.
Different stream and it looked as bad as the first. As you can see in the first photo this stream was out of control. We fished though and had a few takers but nothing to hand.
Mark still attired in full rain gear trying to present a fly. See that log jam....
This little pool, at normal flows is so docile and productive was almost impossible to fish. We continued upstream until we saw a small tributary. That little blue line was a gem. It's flow was nice and almost normal. It was in this tributary that the first trout came to hand.
Here Mark is taking a photo of a beautiful brookie. The fish was quite large for this stream and was beautifully colored. It was at this time we decided to fish a third stream, and it turned out to be the most productive blue line of the day.
As you can see the stream was flowing nicely. The residents were also playing nice and on my first cast a brookie rose to my fly.
A wild resident of "brook trout forest" he was strong and healthy and vanished into his watery home the moment he felt the cold water.
We continued to fish this stream, selecting pools and runs. The brookies were wonderful and this made for a great opening day.
My last fish of the day. Mark continued to fish further upstream. We shook hands on selecting this stream and on how we managed to get a A+ day out of it.
The "outback"...an area that has been a place I visit a few times a year. It is a hostile place where the thorns cut deep. Where you have the feeling something is watching you. A place where a fallen tree will have landed in the worse possible place. The mud is the absolute slickest. But it also holds some very impressive wild brown trout within it's slow deep pools. Yesterday I spent several hours fishing the "outback"...the day was gray, there was an easterly wind that carried a cold and damp feel like early March. I was here and I was going to fish.
A common sight in the "outback"...along with other bones and lots of hair.
This walk will tear waders to shreds. Your arms will look like you were in a fight with a mad dog. This area must be fished before the "greening" takes place, for after that you better off fishing elsewhere.
The stream wanders through the "outback" and the pools like this have produced some bruiser brown trout. This day I found my ability to locate a few at a standstill. In the three plus hours I fished I had but one hookup and one substantial hit. The sharp drop in temperatures was the cause for a browns shyness. I continued to run streamers through the pools. A few other flies were called on with not much interest....never give up.
As the fly drifted from the bank to the center of the pool it suddenly stopped, then I felt the weight. The fish ran the area he knew best. A few moments later a nice wild brown was at hand. While not a bruiser still a respectable strong trout.
I guess one for three is not to bad for a cold day in April in the "outback"....