Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Small Stream, and its Seasons

Each season presents it's challenges and satisfactions. This small stream located in Connecticut's foot hills shows its beauty in two of those seasons. This past weekend we paid a visit to see how winter was treating it. We were in the midst of a deep freeze and the stream showed the results of the cold. Shelf ice was pretty evident and in some places completely covered the stream. In other areas there could be seen a nice flow of open water.

As I stood looking at the stream I wondered how its wild residents were holding up. Was it at a point where the cold would so bad that it would hamper life. Food sources would be hard to get, and staying alive would be a challenge to say the least. I then said to myself,..these are wild brook trout, they have chosen this place to live, and they will survive and flourish here just as they have for years. I am thankful there are still these small streams where in most cases they will be protected to do as they have been doing since they took up residence here so long ago.

The same stream in a kinder gentler season. Mid spring, insects aplenty. The stream flows at a cool friendlier pace, and the harsh winter is just a fast fading memory.

It is in this section of stream where I'll cast a "Bomber" dry fly, perhaps where the tree is. And a wild brook trout will rise and make my day.

You need but one to hand.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

North Pole Flies

A while back a very talented fly fisher and fly tyer from Sweden asked if I wanted to do a fly swap with him. Having seen many of his flies I agreed. Well last week I received a package from Sweden. I opened it up and was impressed with the flies inside. Some of the flies he fishes in his waters, and a few are the most wonderful tiny flies I've ever seen.

The fly tyer is Mats Olsson, many of you know of him as the "Jassid Man". He has a wonderful blog by the same name. It's funny how a gent from near the north pole, can take a fly tied by a Pennsylvania limestone fly fisher The Jassid and fish it successfully in Sweden. It shows just how close we in the fly community are.

These are the flies Mats crafted. They will without a doubt take a few of my brookies. The two on the far right are the tiny flies he ties.

Size 30?
These flies are incredible. I don't plan on fishing them, they're going into the fly collection.

Mats I was going to make a famous dish of Sweden, Potato Sausage, and Meatballs. But that will be a future post.

I just want to say thanks Mats. And if you have a few minutes check out his blog.  STAY WARM.


Friday, January 25, 2013

"A View From Coal Creek"

There are a lot of fine outdoor writers in this world. Enough books published that one could not even read in two life times. And for all that ink and photo images there are but perhaps a hundred of these books that I would consider to be the best. "The View From Coal Creek" is one of the top books, and it is very near the top of that list. The author is Erin Block, and some may recognize her as the writer of an excellent blog "Mysteries Internal".

Well this is my take on her first book. I have read it and found it an easy to read, informative, and entertaining book. It tells of fly fishing, life, and an achievement of creating a living piece of art called a 'bamboo fly rod". My favorite chapter is "Days Like Molasses". It's a half dozen pages that say so much. Do something wonderful for yourself and pick up a copy of her book.

I have tried to capture my feelings for this place"Coal Creek" and have created this streamer which I think does just that.

"Coal Creek"


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Eight Degrees, and Beauty.

The thermometer on my deck read 8 degrees this morning, a cold start for sure. Fishing is really only a thought, an activity for a warmer day. But even in winters cold grip there's beauty along a small stream.

So I hope your able to do as I am, have a cup of hot coffee, and enjoy.

"Coal Creek" is coming in my next post.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Thin Blue Lines, and Winter Brookies

Some of the enjoyment of angling for wild trout is taking out maps and looking for those thin blue lines that may hold a few fish. Next is marking them and then doing some exploration. Winter is a fine time to do this, for the trees are void of leaves and the streams can be seen easily. Most times the streams found do not pan out as far as producing what your looking for, but it's winter and the exercise will do you good. But never give up on a new find, come spring and the stream thought to be barren in January is not so barren in April.

Such exploration took place Saturday when I took a old rod that I have not fished with in a long while, and a fly I had crafted to try. I set out for a piece of forest land with some blue lines I wanted to check. As I pulled on to the service road I could see the stream. It had the looks to be a good one.

The "Brokeback Bomber"
The fly I had tied on first was a variation of the Bomber, it's tied on a curved hook to give it a crippled look. I fished this fly for some time as I walked the new stream, fishing it in the runs and pools. It was not accepted. Tying on a wet fly and moving along I soon was met with that tug. Pulling back and fish "on" fish "off".

Winter time angling usually finds fish holding in the deeper slower pools. But again I was wrong. The trout were in the riffles. I love winter fishing.

As time moved by I realized I had only fished a small section of this blue line, a blue line that had been so good to me this winter day.

A special reward this winter day in January. Thin blue line wild brook trout.


Friday, January 18, 2013

A River Story

This sign marks the access to a river. As it states there are no motor vehicles allowed accept in winter. At that time the snow machines are allowed to use the trail to cross the countryside. The river is the Rangeley and it's a river that is not very long. It originates from the outlet of Rangeley Lake in Oquossoc and flows to Cupsuptic Lake. The river offers some fine fishing for brook trout and salmon. The spring, and fall seem to be best times to fish it and I prefer fall.

There are few places along its course to access the water, there is dense fir and hardwood stands that do not allow you to get close. Once in the water it's an easy stream to wade.

This bridge crosses the river at a point where it nears Cupsuptic lake. The bridge is for snowmobiles. On the other side there is a picnic table, a great place to have lunch.

This land is protected, so it will remain wild. By the way one must always be on the lookout, there are many moose and black bears in the area.

This is the bridge from downstream, the section I love to fish. It was here one autumn that I had an encounter with a beautiful fish.

Just under the bridge, you can see the wood rail of the bridge in the photo. There are large boulders that provide resting areas for spawning fish. It was here that I tossed a large Hornberg. The fly hit the water and danced in the swirling eddy behind the rock. In a moment a brook trout rose smacked the fly, and hen he felt steel he was off to the race. He was down and across the river in seconds. When I gained control I could tell the trout was a big one. The battle went on for a while and as I gained more line I could see his form. That was the last I saw of this fish. It was then that the tippet gave and he went on his way.

Over the course of an anglers life he looses many fish, but there are those few he never forgets.

The Hornberg

This is one of the best flies for taking brook trout and salmon. I fish them in Maine and as well as here in Connecticut.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"Big River Reflections"

Rangeley River
You have the right blog. "Big River Reflections"

While my love for fishing small streams is first, there are times when I'll string up my 5wt and fish some big water. My attack plan on these rivers is about the same as on little ones. I pick a very small section that's likely to hold fish and fire away. The rivers shown here are from Western Maine, and Northern New Hampshire.

The upper Connecticut River in New Hampshire

This section of the Connecticut River is located in Pittsburg New Hampshire.

The Magalloway

These next two photos are of the Magalloway in Western Maine. The first shows a gentle flowing stretch where I have taken salmon and brook trout. I love fishing streamers here in the fall.

The Magalloway

This section of the Magalloway is located downstream from the Aziscohos dam. It's quite turbulent, but will hold some nice salmon in the pockets. Care is needed in here.

The Androscoggin River

The Androscoggin River located in northern New Hampshire. Big water that has a great fishery. Brook, brown, rainbow and salmon can be caught in this river. These photos are of the river near Errol, N.H.

The Androscoggin River

In a follow up post I'll show some of the fly patterns fished on these rivers.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mystery Fly Identified

Fran Betters original "Picket Finn"
Well the mystery fly has been identified. After searching the net and asking a few anglers and fly tyers I was able to nail it down. The answer came from someone who was very close to Fran, it was Jan Betters, his wife.

I sent an email to her along with a photo and she responded quickly. She told me it was one of Frans favorites. Well I guess I should tell you the name. It's called a "Picket Finn"

Mark tied up a few similar to it and we tried them out Saturday.. The second cast I made a brook trout hit and was on. Although I lost him it was a good start. In that same pool I hooked 2 more, and in a stretch of riffles I hooked another. The fly works. The only problem was the bead may have been a bit to heavy, and working the fly was difficult in the small stream.
Marks BH Variation

I sat at the bench with the materials shown here and tied up a few variants of my own. Different body dubbings, wing materials, and some with hackle. The flies are not weighted and should ride in the stream a little better.

My variations of the Picket Finn

I'll give these a workout soon and let you know how they worked.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Winter Brookies, Dry Flies, and An Old Friend

Thursday morning was still frosty as I made my way to the little blue thread I was going to fish today. The sun as it worked its magic soon had me feeling good. Funny how in January, sunshine and 4 degrees can make a big difference. While walking to the stream I was assaulted by its protectorate "nasty bull thorns", these will rip ones unprotected parts to shreds, not to mention total destruction of clothing.

As I neared the water I noticed many small stoneflies on the snow. I tied on a small Adams parachute and worked the stream. I was nott given much of a response, and continued on. Reaching a tail end to a riffle I observed a rise. This happened a few times. I watched a brook trout who was in approximately 4 inches of water rise and gobble up something. I flipped the parachute towards the bank and as it floated over the spot where the fish lay he rose and took the fly. Moments later the brookie was at hand. As I attempted to take his picture we departed.

Thorns, what better trout protector.

I fished along the stream, bringing a few more to the surface and enjoying the fact that I was fishing dry flies in January. I could only imagine if I knew how to fish a nymph.

I came to this pool and observed several rising fish. One problem, the obnoxious current of the pool. Trying to drift a fly to where the fish were was hard. By the way if you look you can see 2 trout lying in the current.

Well in time I was able to get the fly in position, and when I did the trout came up and took the fly.

When hooked he headed for the only obstruction in the pool, luckily I was able to change his direction. Soon I placed my hand under his belly and lifted him up to admire him. Looking closely the brookie looked "very familiar". He was the same trout I had taken on New Years eve on a EH caddis.

This time a "Adams Parachute"
You can see his photo in my post The Last Brook Trout Of 2012....Catch and Release does work.

These little egg dropper are what they were eating


Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Ausable Wulff, and a Mystery

Dry fly hackle. Brown and grizzly dry fly hackle. This combination of color has produced some of the best dry flies ever cast upon water. This is about one of those best flies.

The Ausable Wulff was created by Fran Betters of Wilmington, N.Y. I'm not sure of the date, but it was perhaps around 1960. It's a fly that has the ability to attract trout, bring them to the surface and take it without hesitation. It's design enables it to float in swift turbulent fast waters and remain highly visible to the angler and fish. I fish this fly so very often on small streams and wild brookies and browns both accept. I like to think Fran created this fly for the small stream angler.

"Ausable Wulff"
The next fly, also a Betters creation is a bit of a mystery, that is to me.

Fran Betters "Mystery Fly"
I picked this fly up at Frans shop. It was there, looked interesting so I picked up a couple. The first time I fished it was the day after Christmas. It was in a small stream with some deep slow pools. Several casts and I was into a fish. I'd like to say that the first fish was a trout, but it was a "chub". I continued to fish the fly that day and had taken a few nice brookies with the fly. I had two of these flies, lost one so I won't fish the last one until I can get some more. Since the shop where I bought the fly is no longer there purchasing some is impossible, and I've never seen such a pattern in other shops or on the internet. Mark, over at "Fishing small streams" who is a wonderful fly tyer has said he would attempt to duplicate the fly.

So if any of the fine readers of this blog happen to know of the name of this fly I would love to know.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

More Than A Sub Title

"For Those Who Love Small Streams And Wild Trout", that's what this blog is pretty much about. That love of small streams and the trout who call these places home mean so much more to me than just catching one of them. I'm not going to tell you that I don't enjoy holding a wild trout, being able to photograph its beauty and allowing it to swim off, because I do.

There are those times when there are things that I catch that don't come from the streams. These are objects, and scenes that seem ordinary but at the time something struck me and I photographed it. I guess it's part of who I am. These are some of those images.

An old fence to a pasture, leading to a small stream. The gate was left open. I wonder why?

This old bench. I wonder how many beautiful things were viewed while sitting in it.

The sun rising on a new day. A day in October. A frosty white field. Perhaps the first frost of the season.

An old truck sitting in a clod winter field. Its life has ended for what it was brought forth to do...but it still gives shelter to natures creatures.

I love angling, I love small streams, I love wild trout. But mostly I love life.