Well it's been a little over two years ago that I started this blog. Today marks the 400th post of "Small Stream Reflections". I have tried to keep this blog simple and enjoyable, just like the fishing I do as well as the simple but elegant pleasures that are associated with small streams.
In these photos that follow I hope to show you some of the simple and wonderful beauty associated with what I believe is the most rewarding type of fly angling.
I want to thank all of you who have and continue to read this blog. I will try to bring you more of the pleasures I have and hopefully will continue to have in the future.
Small Stream, solitude.
Ham and cheese, with black coffee. A stream side lunch served on a moss covered rock. Simple but elegant as Filet Mignon and Merlot.
Wild brook trout taken from a small stream.
You don't have to fish a small stream to enjoy your day. Just look around.
A wild jewel. He is native to our New England waters.
A small stream wild brown. His beauty is a very close second to the brook trout.
Can you count the colors in this little piece of earth.
You don't need a large fly box for small streams. And usually a size 14 will work.
The end of a fine day of angling small streams. An "Apple Cider" donut and coffee.
One of the greatest pleasures I have is "Passing it On", to the future.
We took a walk along Cabin Creek the other day just to see how things were holding up. The stream was at a level that was acceptable for this time of year. A well shaded stream with temps in the mid sixties. We observed several spooked streaks, and even a rise. In one very gnarly tangled mess where a deep pool was created I observed a brown of generous proportions lying in ambush. A fine prospect this fall should he decide to move from his security blanket.
The "Northern Lights" aka The Brook Trout.
Some work horses. These are trolling streamers. They are large flies that represent smelt. They can be trolled using a fly rod and sinking line, or with lead core line.
Christmas 2012, it doesn't feel much like it this last week of August with the exception of this fresh hot brewed Nantucket coffee beside me waiting to do its work. But Christmas Eve is just four months from today and I have a few ideas for your gift list.
Here are a couple of good books that I feel would make a fine gift, either for yourself or for someone on your list.
The first book is Fishing, Ghosts, and my Mother's Gray Hair, by Mark Kautz. Some of Mark's tales and experiences as told by him in a wonderful way that only Mark can tell.
Mark runs a fine blog, "Northern California Trout" and the book can be purchased at is blog.
The second is "Adirondack Flies" by J.P. Ross. This a fine book of flies from this region, with great color photos of the patterns. The patterns are old favorites and some created by Ross. This book can be purchased at his web site, http://www.jprossflyrods.com/
These are a few variations of a Ross fly pattern. I have not fished them, except for the yellow bodied one which produced a brown for me. I will fish these more as the cooler waters of autumn arrive.
There are many pages in the journal of the small streams in brook trout forest. Pages that tell of special fish and the ways these fish are fooled into taking a fly. This is one such story.
This stream is a tight one now. Its width has been reduced to a typical late summer flow. It remains cool and continues to provide protection for the residents.
A normal day will have me bring several brookies to the surface for dry fly offering and if I'm lucky one or two will come to hand. There are those times when a wild one of a different gene will take the fly and it's these times that make it memorable.
This was one such day. It was a day after a good rain. The woods were wet, and things seem to glisten as the sun made brief appearances. The TFO 2wt was waiting deployment in this tight quarter.
As the fly worked along a deep undercut towards a foam slick the flash of a trout was visible and a second later I felt the pull of a good fish. He tried desperately to reach the roots in the undercut but was turned back by the TFO.
As I lay my hand into the water to gently lift this wild brown he seemed to just lie there, knowing that soon he would be again free.
The rains over the last day or so helped to bring the levels up, plus the cool 57 degree night all contributed too a fine few hours on a small brook. The forecast this week is for cooler temps both day and night, something we are all happy about.
As I walked the dirt path leading to a starting point where my fishing begins I noticed these flowers. They were clustered in groups around the water and path. My impression was that of stars forming a navigation line for me to follow. I walked to the streams edge and put my hand into the water, it felt so cool. I then reached for the thermometer and dropped it in and allowed it to set on the bottom for a few moments. Lifting it out I read the temp as 60 degrees, wonderful. I monitored the temp as I fished and it was to remain constant along the brook.
I had tied on an Elk Hair Caddis, from a previous outing and so that was the first fly fished today. I cast it into a likely run and soon a willing combatant took hold. The 2wt did its job but I didn't and the brookie became a quick memory. Moving to another dark riffle with a submerged log, I floated the caddis right along side of it and Bam, the little guy took the fly. He was beautiful to hold for second or two, it's something I can't describe fully, and I never tire of.
A typical brook trout holding place in these small streams. Riffled water bringing both food and oxygen rich water, dark undercuts and submerged structure, with deeper water close by.
Wild beauty along the stream. I've seen these now in two colors and they're beautiful.
Today was a day when not only did the brookie take the fly, but the brown. I have fished this stream for many years and until a few years ago have only taken brookies. Now the wild brown is here. I usually take one or two a year in various sizes, but I've accomplished this early this year. Well today I caught my third one of this year. He was taken in a thin rapidly moving piece of water with a nice undercut. By far the most colorful brown to date. His red spots jumped at you. I noticed the fish was hooked in the fin and he was released without a photo.
Being able to have the good fortune of holding one of these wild ones will bring me back another day.
Signs, everyone who has spent time outdoors has seen some signs. Some of these are very unique some common some old and some we don't enjoy seeing. I know I've seen signs and most times I take a photo of them.
So I going to start a weekly feature probably every Sunday on a sign I have photographed. "Sign Sunday". I hope you'll stop by and read a few.
This sign photo was from Dixville Notch New Hampshire. It's the first town in the U.S. to vote for President. Good hiking, wildlife and brook trout.
This handsome gentle soul is "Parker" or as he is called by Papa, "Mr. Parker". He's the joy of my daughter, son in law, and two grand children Morgan and Ethan. They are on vacation and were unable to take him along so Parker is ours to enjoy and spoil for a few weeks.
Parker is the typical Lab, loves walking, fetching balls or anything else tossed, water sports, good dinning, and the well earned nap. Nana and Papa love you.
How many of you fish this this bucktail. The Mickey Finn has been around forever, care to guess why. Fished at the right time and the brookies will molest it to no end.
A bounty takes place this time of year, and a special farm seen pictured here brings this native bounty to the plate. It has a rich history in this small town of Newington, Connecticut both as a dairy farm and now a producer of vegetables. Most people in town know Eddy Farm for their sweet corn, I know it for their tomatoes.
They also raise many other veggies, and most are picked fresh daily.
Small local family farms we need to support them, for that taste can only come from them.
Being Italian my love of the tomato is second only to the brook trout. And while the tomato can be enjoyed countless ways my absolute favorite is like this. Cut, tossed with olive oil with salt and pepper. Serve with crusty garlic bread...... Simplicity.
There is another true Connecticut native. He's been here for years. While he is not cultivated, but a wild native. He lives in a most beautiful place, fresh clear cold tumbling waters.....Simplicity.
When I find a friendship as this, hemlocks and hardwoods, along with a stream I know there's wonders to be had. It seems these two do an awful lot to the streams they escort. The broad leaf of the hardwoods give shade and act as a cooling agent, especially in those warm times, and the evergreen hemlock provide both shade in summer and shade and shadow in those time when there are no leaves on the hardwoods. They both have root structures that help stabilize the banks along the stream. And even in those times when nature wreaks such havoc on them buy breaking branches and even felling them across the waters they provide shelter and sanctuary for the residents in the stream as well as along it.
Two small parts of a very complex environment called brook trout forest.
Just to walk these wonderful paths with these trees is an enjoyable experience.
When all is right this hemlock and hardwood stream will give up a jewel or two.
I'll fish for hours and hours just to bring one to hand.
Check out the fine book, "BROOK TROUT FOREST" by Cathy Scott.
A folding piece of steel that has been with me since I started carrying my Cortland glass rod. It has done some fine work in the years since I purchased it in a general store in Vermont. It has dressed many pheasants and woodcock from woodlands and fields of New England, and the occasional trout for a stream side breakfast. Countless potatoes have been sliced and diced, and many a slab of bacon. It was there to cut apples and fine cheddar. It's opened many a package, sharpened a few pencils, and made those clean willow sticks for toasting marshmallows over an open fire. In those days where I would sleep overnight in my truck in the woods along a stream to be able to fish at first light it gave me comfort from those strange sounds one hears.
It's an "Old Timer" and like many old timers there's many more stories to be told.
The days this time of year seem to be as one. The heat and that relentless humidity just persist, good for the veggies, but not much else. Being far from optimum, fishing must be put on hold til a few cool nights and some rain put a drop in water temps.
This gave us an opportunity to scout, and visit some beautiful places in Connecticut. The wild flowers fill meadows and fields sometimes for miles with color that's hard to capture in just one photo.
A rustic bridge spanning a small stream. A stream that will receive a fly or two before the years end.
A steep gorge, with water flowing on a journey to meet the sea. In its journey of many twists, boulders, flats and those ever present dams.
Peaceful. A home sits on a hill along one of Connecticut's fine rivers, the Housatonic.
If I can't be out fishing, just being out in surroundings as these feels pretty good.