Friday, February 28, 2014

Good Day Sunshine

In the days before the brown trout found its way into the waters of the east our only trout, native to the east was the brook trout. This fellow had the reputation of being easily fooled and some of the flies tied for his capture were very colorful. While looking through the book "Forgotten Flies" I was taken with the amount of colorful flies that were tied and used in a day when high tech flies were "what are you talking about"..not needed. Some of the wet flies of Ray Bergman, Charles DeFeo, and Mary Orvis Marbury were works of art with colors galore, all with the purpose of taking this wonderful char.
With some semi soft hackles, various tinsel and colored floss, with peacock herl I have tied some stylish colorful brook trout flies. These are the first four in the series of "BT's Flies".

These flies will go to work in the better days to follow on various brook trout waters.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


I sat down last night and brought out a couple of maps and started looking for small streams that I might want to fish come the time we have better weather here in New England. While looking the song "Summertime" played by Kenny G was in the background and for a second I was along side a swift flowing, laurel thick, moss covered stream with so much green other colors were blocked from sight. I lifted up the cup to have a sip of coffee and reality time. Still February, still cold, so much snow on the ground and more coming. "Where's the light"?

I'm tired of this....snow, wet feet, soaked jeans, ice in the guides, and that awful gray sky.

Perhaps there's hope. I saw this the other day along a spring seep. WOW did I just say "Spring"

Monday, February 24, 2014

A Late February day.

One can see the thin blue line as it winds its way through the hardwood forest. It is protected on both sides by a blanket of 15 inches of snow.

To say that February was a very hostile month would be understating it by a long shot. The month of Presidents has been snowy and relentless in its ability to lock in some of the coldest temps. But this weekend, the last weekend of February finally gave us some warmth, 45-50 degree warmth, with bright sunshine Saturday and Sunday was not bad either. When I arrived stream side the sun was mixed with clouds. The water clarity was bright and clear beyond description. While walking through the snow to my first spot I noticed some tiny flies about, maybe midges, or very small stoneflies. Tied to the tippet was a small wet fly.

As I worked this wet fly along the ice shelf I received that feeling of a trout on the take. This happened several times but no hookups. As I worked the fly to the bank on my side for a second or so it went under the shelf ice and I felt a good strike. As I pulled to set the hook I could not feel the fish, another miss. I began the retrieve and suddenly took another strike, "fish on".

Moments later I was gifted with my first brookie in some time. He was well worth the wait.

I continued to fish the wet fly and managed a couple of hookups. I continued to see stoneflies about, but not a rise. I put on a caddis dry and worked it for a while. It was enjoyable fishing dries, love being able to watch the fly work.

Well that caddis did work and work well. A brookie found it to hard not to rise to it. Wild one on a dry.

I continued to fish the stream. I was pretty wet now from the deep snow as well as walking to far out on the shelf ice, "there's stream under there"......winter can show its beauty along a small stream, but to tell you the truth I'm ready for some Spring.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The "Side Channel" and "Claret"

To pick one place on a river such as the Farmington that you consider to be the best is not an easy choice, except for me. This is known as a side channel where the west branch of the Farmington splits. To one side flows a delightful series of broken runs and calm pools, which hold some beautiful trout. Fishing it at most times of the day will give you the chance to hookup on a brown, rainbow or brook trout. Mid morning will find trout rising along the shaded banks, and come late afternoon until dark the place comes alive with feeding fish. I can honestly say that I have never left this section without a reward.

I have tied this streamer in tribute to this side channel on the Farmington.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Went shopping.

I did a little shopping yesterday at a fly museum sort of. I was looking for a special material and was delighted to find it here. I also picked up a fine Jungle Cock cape that had lots of small nails for which I'll use on the small streamers I tie. And while sifting through the many bins I spotted a nice small streamer cape. The hackle is just the right size for the flies I plan on tying with it. The feathers are near perfect.

The highlight of my shopping was the Mustad 9671 hooks, made in Norway. These are the hook used to tie the Ausable Bomber, and Wulff.

I also stopped at the groceria and picked up a few items for my favorite pasta dish. Spaghetti "Aglio E Olio"....spaghetti and garlic oil. As you can see the ingredient list is simple, as is the preparation. The hardest thing is slicing the garlic, you want it very thin. In the movie "Goodfellas" Paul sliced the garlic using a razor blade. I did pretty well with a sharp knife.

In a skillet put your olive oil in and then add the garlic and crushed red pepper. Saute the garlic, watch carefully making sure the garlic doesn't burn. Cook spaghetti in well salted water till almost cooked. Put a couple spoons of pasta water in skillet with oil and garlic. Strain pasta and add it to oil and garlic. Toss it around and let it set for a few minutes. Add some more red pepper and grated cheese and enjoy.

Spaghetti Aglio E Olio. Simply elegant.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

So much more to it friends.

For those who follow this blog know very well it's based pretty much on the simple side of fly fishing and life. I'm not a complicated person and I try to keep my ramblings the same. I have posted some photos here which show how I feel about life and angling.
While the focus of fishing is the fish we pursue, there is so much more to it. I believe one could fish and not catch anything and walk away fulfilled. I know I have.

A big river, take a tiny section toss a fly and be surprised. Or sit down and have a soda and just look.

A small fly shop. One could spend hours here, not shopping but talking. Amazing stories have been passed here.

Simple flies waiting to perhaps tell a story of success.

Camp life. A simple meal of "Rice-a-Roni", with time to talk of the days happenings.

New friends are made. They don't care if you fish bamboo, glass or graphite. Just come back again, and leave the wild apples alone.

One peak after another, each with a stream running down. Is there time to fish them.

Brook trout paradise. A scene like this will clear ones head of winters grip.

Maine has many treasures. This is one of the simplest as well as one of the finest. Giffords, Farmington, Maine.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Small Stream Hair Wing Streamers

This is another group of streamers designed for small to medium sized streams. But they are not limited to this size water and can be used in larger rivers, as well as still water.

The material list is quite simple. Mustad streamer hooks, Danville floss, some tinsel, a saddle hackle feather, Jungle Cock, and bucktail.

"Ken Lockwood Streamer"
This streamer is called "Ken Lockwood" streamer. It was named after Ken Lockwood a journalist and conservationist from New Jersey. Ken Lockwood Gorge is the name given to a fine section of the South Branch of the Raritan River in New Jersey.

"BT Special"
This streamer is the "BT Special" it's a fly designed by me for use on the small wild trout streams I fish. Again simplicity is key. The bucktail I used can be used in a variety of ways. Using the gray side I had the base color. Then turning the tail over I obtained a dark brown to almost black color for the second color or top of the streamer. By using the bucktail like this one can tie various colored flies which make for subtle yet very effective contrast.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Bucktails and Bombers

Come quick, look out the window "it's snowing". Yet another "nor'easter" hits Connecticut. Depending where you live wind driven snow in amounts up to 14 inches blanketed the state. I sure hope the thaw comes slowly, flooding we don't need.

So it being a stay home day I spent some time at the vise tying some flies. The boxes are pretty full, and I have ample reserves on the most popular ones. I put a few more streamers in the mix because I think we'll have some high water situations to deal with in the weeks to come.

These are about a simple as it gets. The color combinations should draw interest, especially the "Red and White" bucktail. These are tied on a wonderful little streamer hook that's readily available. Mustad 79580 #10.

As the eyes get older it becomes harder to pick up a fly as it hits the surface of the water. This material makes visibility so much easier. The material is "Aero Dry Wing" by Tiemco. Tied in sparsely with the other wing materials it makes following your fly easier. It comes in various colors, I used pink because it stands out better.

Here's a Ausable Bomber tied with the addition of Aero Dry Wing.

While tying flies a wonderful smell worked its way up the stairs. It was the smell of blueberry muffins. They were a comfort after a hard day at the vise.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Found Some

In these last weeks it has bee very hard to find soft water, that is water that is open. The nights have been in the single numbers and the day not much better with highs at about 20. To go with these cold temps we have had snow events which have put a white blanket down a blanket that will be around for weeks. I'm not complaining though for I see it as insurance we'll have water flowing nicely in our streams. A good snow pack with a slow thaw will put the melt into the water reserve.

Yesterday Jeanette and I took a drive to see if we could find some open water. This was going to be a walking, and photo session, no fishing. After checking a few places we finally found some water that was open and could be fished if one wanted to.

The waters in these streams hit the bell as far as clarity. Along with blue skies and the crisp air it was a winter scene to top all.

A familiar run. This looks wonderful. I guess we picked a good day to walk. The forecast is for a "nor'easter" Thursday with some hefty snow totals............ Back to the vise.

There is actually naked ground on the right, nature will fix that soon enough.

Monday, February 10, 2014


Pipeline Pool, Farmington River
Another streamer named after a well known pool on the Farmington River. This pool and it's nooks and crannies can give up some wonderful trout. It can be a bit tricky to fish, but is always worth the effort. In this pool is where I took my PB brook trout last year.

This is where I saw a angler fish for a long long time, casting his dry fly to one fish. The fish would rise and miss the fly. This continued for quite awhile, but I was told by another angler that was with this gent, that he eventually won and was able to land the trout.

Hook, Martinek Rangeley Streamer...Body, Orange Yarn...Tag and Rib, Flat Silver Tinsel...Throat, Orange, White, Hackle Fibers...Wing, Four Orange Saddle Hackles...Shoulder, Mallard Flank Feather dyed Gold...Cheeks, Jungle Cock.

Friday, February 7, 2014

A memorable February outing.

We were gifted with two snow events this week. One Monday and the other Wednesday. In between I was able to get out and do some fishing. Last Saturday we did some scouting, and the streams were pretty well locked in with ice. With a few days of moderating temps allowed them to rid themselves of the ice so that they were actually almost ice free.

It's nice walking stream side and yours are the only tracks in the snow. Such was the case here with the only exception being some white tail tracks.

I was fishing streamers today, one in particular that was featured in my last post with a antron dubbed body and mallard wing. As the fly worked through the pool a trout struck. As I worked the fish to me I could see it was a brown. A few moments later as I put my hand into the water the brown worked free.

A dubbed body streamer.

As I worked the stream the suns rays were really working. The chill seemed to leave and although it was winter it felt really good on the back and shoulders. In this run I worked the streamer from side to side. And on one of the retrieves I had a strong strike. As the hook set the fish went airborne. It appeared to be silvery and quite strong. Several small runs and the trout was close at hand. Reaching down again and sliding my hand under the fish I was surprised to see a beautiful rainbow. Its colors in the water were brilliant. As I lifted the trout up and photographed it quickly it suddenly turned and was swimming away before I knew it.

My first trout of February. The rainbow had lovely markings, including parr marks, which make me feel it was wild.

So although it was a short outing in time spent in swinging streamers, it was a memorable one for sure.