Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Farmington, a lesson learned, and who says you can't..........

Yesterday was another afternoon-evening outing on the Farmington. It was one of those rare mid summer days where the air was cool and a good breeze held the flying insects at bay. When I arrived I was surprised to see so many anglers, especially during the week. As I surveyed the water I saw a few rises but the bugs on the water were scarce.

I cast for awhile, moving along the river and managed to pick up a few small browns and a juvenile salmon. I changed flies with the thought of perhaps this will bring them to hand. Well that did not come to pass, instead what happened was I had the hookup but the fish did not want to have its picture taken.

I climbed out of the river and moved to another spot that has been good to me in past trips, and again it was good to me. Several wild brookies took the dries and soft hackles.
This guy was so beautiful.

As I began to move upstream a bit I ran into none other then Mr. "TROUT1". Pete was also fishing the river and we talked of are various losses of the day as well as other subjects. He told me that Mark was fishing much further up river and was planning on staying til dark. It was then that Pete informed me that another angler was in my sweet spot. With that I said I was going to move down and fish a place I haven't fish in some time. In our conversation Pete made mention of fishing with 4 or 5x tippet, I usually use 6x. We left and moved on. Good to see you again Pete.

The sun was retracting and there were lots of shadows on the river. This section is deep and wide and careful wading is required. It is also home to some big fish. I soon found out why Pete uses heavy tippet. My 4th or 5th cast I hooked a monster brown. I had him subdued, so I thought. He ran down stream and broke that tippet like it was nothing. This same movie was played again.

Some beauty streamside.

Finally I was able to bring a nice brown to hand.

I know that fishing this stretch of river can produce a "Big" brown. And that I should use one of those large streamers that offer these guys a meat and potatoes dinner they like. But I had an Adams parachute on and I let it fly. Big fish will eat little flies, won't they?

This beautiful Farmy brown hit the size 14 Adams in the eddy behind a big boulder. I can't say for certain but it looks wild to me.

As I was taking this photo, I stepped into a hole that brought the water up over my hip boots. It was a long slosshy walk back to the car.


Monday, July 29, 2013

Exciting Happenings

There are some real exciting happenings taking place on the Farmington River these days. Wild brook trout seem to be doing very well in this river. Years ago when I first started fishing this river a brook trout was a stocked fish that did not look like a brook trout. It seemed like the focus was to establish a brown trout fishery and it has been very successful. Their are countless catches of big wild browns taken from this river. But in the last few years there have been wild brookies mixed in. With several feeder brooks to the Farmy, as well as the river itself these Connecticut natives have been doing well.

Wild brook trout can tell you so much about the quality of a watershed. They are the so called "Canary in the Coal Mine"

Yesterday Kirk and I fished the Farmy and here are a few wild natives encountered. Again they were feeding on some small fly, and we didn't have the proper match. I managed to fool a few with a soft hackle, and a Adams parachute.

I have been going through my fly boxes looking for some small flies.

A healthy scrappy brook trout.

Although not the "Rapid" the Farmington has the potential.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

"Grizzly Green"

I have an assortment of grizzly patches dyed various colors. I have selected a few of these to create a series of streamers using grizzly as the main feather. The first of the series features a grizzly dyed green.

The name selected for the streamer....."Grizzly Green"

Here is the recipe. Hook, Mustad 94720....Body, Orange Yarn....Rib, Fine Embossed Gold Tinsel...Belly, Lavender Bucktail...Throat, Red Hackle...Wing, 2 Olive, 2 Green Grizzly Saddle Hackles....Cheek, Jungle Cock.

"Grizzly Green"

"Grizzly Green"


Friday, July 26, 2013

The Farmington..7-24-13

Kirk and I spent some time on the Farmington yesterday afternoon-early evening. We both received an education, or perhaps a reeducation on how to fish this wonderful river. There were fish rising often enough for one to assume there was a good hatch going on, but there wasn't. I noticed various insects about but no more than a few of any one type. There were small and big flies about, and the birds were working also. But we were not able to determine what is was they were eating. I fished a variety of flies from B.A. streamers to wets, soft hackles to dries and I even went to the dark side and tossed a nymph out. Well I managed some hookups, and a couple to hand.

I might add that there was a chill to the air. The need for a heavier shirt was called on, and at one point we required a hot coffee to ward off the chill, said coffee left so much to be desired. I few hours that I enjoyed very much.

There are some beautiful colors along the Farmington's banks.

A wonderful resource this Farmington River.

A wild brown that took a pretty big mayfly.

And this handsome wild jewel. I tricked him into taking a small soft hackle....a fly so small I don't know how it got into my box.

On the way home, still chilled I stopped at a small store and picked up a can of Progresso Chicken Soup. That was supper along with some crackers.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Green Ghost

The Green Ghost was created by Bert Quimby of South Windham Maine. In the Bates book a date is not given for this streamer but I believe it was in the 1930's. The pattern was designed to catch trout and landlocked salmon. It represents a smelt which is a staple forage for trout and salmon in most cold water lakes. I fished this streamer Sunday in the Farmington River here in Connecticut and the fly received a vicious strike.

The wing color here is slightly different from the streamer pictured in Bates book. I did not have the proper colored saddles so I toned down the green with a slightly subdued olive saddle.

"Green Ghost",.....Hook, Mustad 94720,...Body, Orange Floss,...Tag and Rib,Flat Silver Tinsel,...Belly,4-5 Peacock Herl, White Bucktail,...Wing, 2 Green, 2 Olive Saddle Hackles,...Shoulder, Silver Pheasant Body Feather,...Cheeks, Jungle Cock.
"Green Ghost"


Monday, July 22, 2013

I can wait....I hope.

It's 6 AM and I'm drinking my second cup of Nantucket. The weather, as I look out the window is much the same as it has been for some time. My mind has been wandering for cooler, crisper weather. A time for small stream Autumn fishing.

I'm not a guy who likes to rush things, especially time, but I am tired of this hot, humid stuff. It's like getting kicked in the stomach daily. I haven't fished a small stream in some time, and it's taking a toll. I may have to walk along one and check things out.

"Oh those days" when the air is clean and so clear. When a morning frost covers all that is in shade.

To be able to walk along a stream and see beauty everywhere. Let your eyes focus on anything....

When your dry fly is cast upon the water and finds an eddy behind a stone. Suddenly a brook trout rises and takes.

A wild Autumn Brook Trout
I can wait for this, for I know it will come.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Before the heat....a small stream.

Before this nasty heat invaded the north I fished a small stream that is located pretty deep in the woods. I fish here several times a year and with the rain that had fallen in this part of the state I figured there would be plenty of water in the stream. My thoughts were right and I found near perfect conditions, the only flaw were the masses of biting insects.

I had been fishing the faster water at the head of the pools and had several hits along with a few hookups. The air was so still that you could hear the water moving even in the small pools.

The vegetation was so lush, and the blooms strikingly vibrant.

As I approached this pool I noticed a few dimples at the far end. I changed flies from the bomber to a beetle, I would have used an ant but left that box in the car. I let the beetle drift to the rises and it was sucked under. I set the hook and soon a wild dace lay at my hand. A shake and off he went. I sent the beetle off to hunt several more times and he came back empty.

The water was so clear and smooth, so much so that a bomber would not be called on in relief of the beetle. So I tied on a low profile parachute. The fly drifted ever so slowly toward the deep pool by the bank. A splash, then weight, and the tussle was on.

Soon this wild jewel was at hand. A quick photo and a thank you and off he went.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

"Thin Blue Lines" the book

Well this is my first book "Thin Blue Lines". It's a hard cover, with dust jacket edition with full color photographs, and select narratives.

The book is available through my blog. It can be ordered by E-mail at or by the E-mail link in my profile page. The cost is $49.95, and that includes Priority Mail shipping in the U.S. The book can also be shipped worldwide. I can sign each book if requested.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


For the last five days Jeanette and I have had the pleasure of watching our grand dog "Parker". He has been a sheer joy. His first years of life were not very happy, he was found tied on a 3 foot rope in a hot parking garage. He was rescued and adopted by my daughter and family. He's now in good shape but at times under certain circumstances there are flashbacks to those unpleasant times.

I tied this streamer a in his name.

Hook, Mustad 94720-- Body, Flat Silver Tinsel-- Belly, White Bucktail-- Throat, Yellow Hackle-- Underwing, Red and Blue Bucktail-- Wing, Black Saddle Hackle-- Cheek, Jungle Cock.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Old Photos

The other night while looking at some old photos I came across these. They were of a trip to Maine back in 1999. They were taken with 35mm film so the quality may be some what poor. In the first photo is the road above Little Kennebago Lake. The road follows the Kennebago River and ends on the Canadian border. We fished both the lake and the river.

This is the inlet at Little Kennebago. You can see rise circles in the foreground. In the background moose can be seen feeding. Moose are a very common sight here. Further up the road we had one in the road that refused to move. But constant horn blowing made him change is route.

This is a landlocked salmon taken from the lake. The salmon took a 9/3 streamer. It was estimated to be 21 inches, and was a reel screamer. It was taken back to camp, grilled, and graciously enjoyed.

A wild brook trout also taken on a streamer. It was caught and released from the river above Little Kennebago Lake.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Bucktail, and bucktails

Bucktail is one of the basic materials in the construction of streamers. It is often used as the belly of featherwing streamers. It can be used as the wing material in the construction of a streamer. When used together in various colors the pattern created can be representative of various forage fish that larger fish prey upon.

Bucktail is a relatively inexpensive material and pretty easy to work with. When buying bucktail look for long even hair. Try to avoid kinky, broken tips. I like to buy bucktail from a fly shop so I'm able to inspect it and that way I know what I'm getting. Bucktail has been used for flies for quite a long time. I recall an article in a book by Joe Brooks. In it was a fly constructed of deer hair, the fly was made by native Americans centuries ago.

In New England deer tails are common in many streamers. One tyer, angler, guide that comes to mind is Arthur Libby of Maine. He was a well known guide on Sebago lake in Maine. Many of the flies he used to take some very impressive salmon and trout were bucktails. His patterns were very sparse, and consisting of a few materials. One of Libby's patterns called "Miss Sharon" is a favorite.
Here are a few bucktails I tied to show you that an effective streamer can be made using few materials. The colors on this fly don't seem to look like any fish one sees outside of a fish bowl. But when this fly is wet and fished on a sinking line it very much looks like a smelt.

The next bucktail uses two colors of bucktail, tied sparse, along with a topping of peacock herl. This fly can represent many types of forage fish in our waters.

I have to make mention of these wonderful local potatoes. A town farmer has these little guys in purple, red, and white. When home fried they are to die for. Had some for supper last night, and the few that were left are going to be a breakfast side.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Fishing the Farmington with an old friend

With the hot temps of late I decided to fish the Farmington river. It's a tail water that runs cold. I brought along with me a friend, an Orvis 7ft 5wt rod that's been with me for some time. It's a Superfine "Small Stream Special" and it roll casts like a dream, something that was necessary today. As I walked to the river at the first place I was to fish I heard the river rushing. They have been getting strong storms in the area for some days as of late, as well as the releases of water from the chock full reservoir that feeds the river. Upon reaching the river I saw a pretty swollen fast ripping river. It was going to be tough fishing. I tied on a caddis pattern I have been fooling with and tossed it out. The fly was swiftly transported on the top. As the fly drifted I thought I noticed a rise but it was hard to see with such heavy current. Knowing the fish would be hugging the bank I worked the caddis along it. Suddenly a fish rose and was on. Once hooked it shot out for the heavy current. The fish knew he had an escape and used it to his advantage. I was able to turn it around and eventually bring it to the net. A fine heavy rainbow was photographed and released. I hooked two more fish here and lost both to the current, not to mention I almost went swimming. So I decided to go to another location I knew would be a little calmer.

They hold right near the bank, then take you to the heavy current. You fall in here and your in for one hell of a ride.

Lots of pretty things along the river.

My second location, one I'm very familiar with was a bit more subdued. It did have lots of debris, logs and branches, and the water was some what off color.

I continued to work the caddis and soon had a beautiful brook trout. Several more would come to hand.

In the mix were a few browns. I realized my friend and I had a hat trick.

This stretch was good today. It also let me enjoy watching a couple of mink playing hide and seek with each other.

The brookies and the browns appeared to be wild.

A good day for my friend and I.