Sunday, March 30, 2014

A stream, a soft rain, and a shadow.

I walked this woodland stream the other day in search of a few of the wild trout it holds. This day featured a soft rain and some what mild temps. A fine day for late March. I was armed with ample flies but knew only one today. Tied onto the three weight was a Royal Coachman bucktail, a fly as good as any for this time of year. The fly was tossed into the steely gray waters and worked as the tyer had intended. The fly was taken under, pulled to the surface by currents not visible to the angler. It worked along the banks and near the sunken trees fallen by storm and beaver.

As I approached this piece of slack water, the rain was starting to fall. A feeling of peaceful quiet solitude came to be, and I paused for a spell just to take it in. I walked to the bank edge near a beaver cutting and stared into the water that was moving so slowly and noticed a dark shadow near some sunken branches. Looking closely I made it out to be a trout. He seemed to be content to remain even after he picked up on my movement. I cast the bucktail upstream from the trout and worked it to within inches of him. No response. A cast or two more and the result was the same. Trying to position myself to bring the fly to the fish in a different way, I noticed the fish moving off. Moments later the shadow was gone. That was the highlight of this day, and it was as gratifying as I could ask for.

Walking back on a carpet of pine needles with a soft March rain.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Betters, Cotton, and Gartside.

I've been spending some time on the bench tying flies. Most of these will be for the season coming up soon,"hopefully", as well as some for other anglers who have expressed a desire to fish these "bombers". As I started to wrap the hackle the second or third turn suddenly caused it to break. At the point in the fly where I was at, this becomes quite a pain. It seems that the brown hackle had become brittle to the point of breaking. This happened on two flies and then the neck was put to rest. After changing hackle the tying proceeded without a problem.

There were two other patterns I tied this day. One a simple dry requiring only two materials, and another one of Jack Gartside's classics.

Some Bombers waiting for future action. A pattern from Fran Betters.

This is a simple dry fly using just two materials. It's based on an old English pattern created by Charles Cotton. He used basic black for both dubbing and hackle. I have fished this black fly with good success. Here I have tied the pattern with different colored dubbing as well as hackle. These flies will represent many different naturals on the streams. 

This is Jack Gartside's "Sparrow" It's a great fly, representing a nymph, emerger, or a streamer. It can be tied in various sizes from 8 to 14. It requires only two materials, feathers from a ringneck pheasant and some dubbing. This fly has lots of movement in the water.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I'm waiting, oh so patiently.

Connecticut inland waters close the last day of February and remain so until the 19th of April. What remains open are the Trout Management Areas, Wild Trout Management Areas, selected lakes, and some tidal sections of various rivers. The reason for this is to allow trout stocking, and help avoid poaching while this takes place. It also allows for an "Opening Day". This day has become a solid tradition for families and friends and encourages young people to get into fishing. I for one believe this is a good thing and should be something that remains.

Connecticut also has many small streams that are not stocked by the state but have good populations of self sustaining wild brook and brown trout. These streams also close just the same as stocked waters. The opening day of the little streams is a few weeks away, but the anticipation of fishing them again is starting to build. The third Saturday in April will find me on one of the streams below.

"Bombers" and "parachutes" will float along the hideouts of feisty wild trout.

A quiet pool, where if your careful you can see the pearl fins of a brook trout lying in the tail.

Where small rods will again rest on soft dark green moss that cover the rocks and allow you to take that photo of the wild brook you have been able to fool.

It's only a few weeks away.........

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Sunday

Plans were made to fish a river in the southwest section of the state Sunday. This river has been good to me in the past, especially early Fall and into the winter, so it was a good choice. The weather was cold an air temp of perhaps 35 and a good breeze. The sky was overcast with the look of snow. Luckily that snow did not come. After gearing up I headed for the water. The river was quite low, something I don't quite understand considering the snow melt. I fished a streamer in several runs and pools with out any interest. This was to be the day. The only spark of hope was a trout that followed a streamer and backed off at the last second.

Still this day was a success, for I was out and I was fishing. Over the few hours I was able to try out a few new flies, take in some wonderful sights, and enjoy a thermos of coffee.

Wild beauty. These fungi were brilliant, looking almost alien.

Startled whitetails. These three were part of perhaps a dozen that I crossed paths with today.

New Spring life. These were finally able to break the icy ground.

This bearded gent was sort of confused. I watched him wander in a circle for some time. When he finally recognized me he made a fast break or some thicker woods.

I closed the book on this day. It may have been fishless but a success still the same.

You want a warm feeling. How about some seasoned roasted red potatoes and carrots. And a ham and two cheese sandwich.


Friday, March 21, 2014

More Gartside, more soft hackles.

This pattern was taken from Jack Gartside and is my variation of his soft hackle streamer. While there is no dispute that Jack's soft hackle streamer is one of the best flies ever created. So why try a variation? Well tying the fly my way you can use this streamer on those small streams, and when tying with marabou, which is the material in Jack's version it can be a bit tricky when palmering the marabou.

This is a fly that is similar to another of Jack's patterns, the Sparrow. The sparrow is tied as a nymph though and is not tied on a streamer hook. As title say's "adventurous tyer". So I'm sure Jack wouldn't mind.

These are tied on a Mustad 79580 #12 streamer hook using antron dubbing, wire ribbing and ginger hen hackle.

The next two are tied with a darker antron dubbing, and a darker hen hackle. This one is on a #12 hook.

This one is tied on a Mustad 38941 #10 hook. It also has peacock tied at the head. These flies are tied with a bit more hackle than a traditional soft hackle wet fly. This heavier amount should give a nice profile of a bait fish.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Blue line scouting

I got out over the weekend to do some scouting. We just took a drive and found some very interesting streams. A few were streams that flowed through state lands and several that were on private land. I guess I'll be knocking on a door or two in the coming weeks to see if I can fish these streams.

Here's a beautiful spot. Lots of hemlocks and very fishy looking. I could see a trout rising to a "bomber" here come April.

It's that time of year again for maple syrup. Some still collect the sap the old fashioned way. Near this one stream these buckets were almost on every tree.

I like this stream. Not much interference. The road getting there could use some serious work.

This little fellow darted into the road right in front of us. He pranced about for a minute or two. When I got out of the car he ran to momma.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Top "O" The Morning Friends

Happy St. Patrick's Day folks. Today is the day when we are all Irish, and what a wonderful day it is. So perhaps you'll toss in a Irish CD and enjoy, or listen to Folk Alley's Irish Folk stream. Visit a local pub and enjoy a Guinness, some corned beef and cabbage and be Irish for the day.

Here is my contribution to the day. An Irish stew, only instead of lamb I'm using venison.

The main ingredient. It's cooked separately. I prefer to cook it this way and add it to the stew just before serving.

The vegetables slow cooking at an even simmer in a special broth.

The finished product. This stew can be served with a hearty bread, good butter, and a fine beverage of choice.

Saturday, March 15, 2014


Until we can really be done with this winters relentless hold on us, and severely limiting my ability to fish, I'll continue to tie flies.

This first streamer is tied with a yellow calftail wing. Calftail is a great substitute for bucktail if you can find it where the hairs are straight and fine. It's also tied with a jungle cock eye. Most of the hair wing streamers I tie are without jungle cock but once every so often I'll use it. These streamers are all tied on Mustad 3665A #10 hook. I find this hook to be the best for this type of streamer.

These streamers are tied with wings from ground squirrel. The hair is fine and has a fishy looking natural color. I think it's much easier to tie with than grey squirrel. They also have a throat of various colored hackle.

This streamer is a favorite of mine. It's a variation of the Royal Coachman. I tie it without the golden pheasant tippet tail. It's a good brook trout streamer.

This group is headed to Kansas. These are known as "SJ" flies, pattern 1.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

March, A Transition

March is a transitional month. A month of extremes, and this one is living up to that. Yesterday was a balmy 60 degree plus day with brilliant sunshine, and today we are looking at a mix of rain, snow and cold to follow. I hope when I return to this stream there will be a lot less snow, and more rising trout.

These fellows were all over the place. Not a single rise. Perhaps they don't taste good.

This is my small secret go to fly box. Now a decision must be made. It didn't matter for they wanted nothing.

Pristine, my, my.

Unquestionable wild beauty this March day.


Sunday, March 9, 2014

The St. Croix, and Sparsely Tied Streamers.

It was Friday morning the already into March and I haven't been fishing in about three weeks. I had some time and the weather was not half bad so off I went. I was anxious to try my newly repaired St. Croix 3wt and some streamers in hopes of fooling some trout.

Mid morning found the sun brightly shinning and the air temp about 38. The stream very clear with lots of snow and shelf ice to contend with. The ice was a problem both in my access to the stream as well with it breaking off and snagging my line. But a problem I would accept, for I was fishing and that felt good.

The fishing was slow, both in the pace of working the fly as well as strikes. I had already logged in an hour before I had a hit. The fish took the streamer as it held in the current at the end of the drift. I had a hookup and my first fish of the day. I soon recognized it was a river chub, and back he went. I caught several more of them as I moved along the stream.

In one pool as I cast the streamer the current took the fly down. Suddenly the line went tight and moved up stream a bit. I pulled back and the fish was on. In a moment or two a brook trout was at my feet.

My first brook trout of March, and my first brook trout on the repaired St. Croix.

There was some melting of snow this day, but the snow pack will take some time before being gone. I continued to fish for a time, but no other fish came to hand. A wonderful day this 7th day of March.

Yellow and red sparsely tied, a brookie fly for sure.


Friday, March 7, 2014


Winter, West Branch Farmington River