Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sunday, a little snow, a little red soft hackle and a brown trout.

The possibility of an outing last weekend had been in the works for about a week. I was going to meet up with Kirk on Sunday and we would fish a small stream. Every thing was set and the day was to be pretty good weather wise, but for one issue, the forecast was for snow on Saturday. The weatherman said that it was not going to be an issue, and it wasn't if you lived in Virginia. It snowed all day Saturday, a wet sticky snow the kind that coats everything it touches.

When we started our walk to the stream the sun was in force. It was a bit cold, and the new snow was slippery. We split up and I started fishing a dry, because I had a feeling. A half hour later and nothing. It was cool with a breeze and I had some ice form in the guides, so with that I tied on pinkie.

Working pinkie through a few slow runs I managed to draw a few strikes but no hookups. Working upstream I finally had a hookup. As I brought the fish in he managed to say goodbye with pinkie in his lip, "learn how to tie a knot" Alan.

This endless winter, still manages to paint a pretty picture. I had tied on a soft hackle and worked it along the likely looking places. It was a good choice. Lots of action on it, and a lot of LDR's.

By this time Kirk had met up with me. I asked how he did and he said he had taken a brown. "Whats he eatin" I asked and he replied "Pete's Special" which is a "beadhead soft hackle pheasant tail".

I stayed with my soft hackle red and continued to work a pool with some swirling currents. As the fly bobbed up and then was pulled under a dark fish rose up under the fly as it was drifting up. This guy wanted that fly. He was hooked well and put the glass 3wt to a test.

Has my hand slipped into the cold water I was thinking winter's not that bad. A quick photo and the healthy wild brown was on his way.

A red soft hackle. So simple.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The "Survivor"

It's official, Connecticut has just recorded its coldest February ever. The average temperature was 16.1 degrees. The photo above is a small stream. I took this photo on February 21st. The stream was locked in a ice field that must have been from top to bottom. It was almost impossible to see any running water. This scene was typical on the small streams of Connecticut from mid January until perhaps mid March. It is hard to believe any creature would make it through, let alone a fragile brook trout.

Well they did. I fished a few times in the previous week and found the brook trout willing to strike a fly, not one dragged along the bottom but a fly almost on the surface. When hooked and brought to hand the condition of these jewels was that of prime.

The ice field has all but receded and a fresh new beginning is about to burst forth. The brook trout is truly a survivor.

A small Connecticut stream.....3-25-15

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Appalachians, Small Blue Lines and Flies

A CT wild brook trout stream. Like many from Maine to Georgia.
Along the eastern coast of the United States lies a mountain chain called the Appalachians. This upheaval that took place, hell I don't know but it was a long time ago, caused a connection of the states from Maine to Georgia. Although the mountain chains have different names such as The Smokies, Blue Ridge, Kittatinny, Shawangunk, Berkshires, Taconics, Catskills, Green, White, and probably a few others, but they are all part of the Appalachians. A few of the things that bring all these areas of the east together are the mountain streams, brook trout and the beautiful people that call these mountains home. I have put together a group of flies that have been tied by the anglers of the mountains as well as an adopted one. These flies were crafted in the cabins, homes and the few shops that were available.

The Orange Palmer is a fly that was crafted in North Carolina about 1950 according to Ben Craig of Waynesville, N.C. he believes the fly came from the hollows of Haywood County. A simple pattern that has given up a few brook trout.

The Corey Calftail. The fly has its origin in Michigan, but was adopted back east and has earned a reputation of fooling large trout. It is a wonderful late evening and night fly.

The Rattler. This flies origin has been lost in time. Probably a southern pattern because of its Golden Pheasant Tippet tail, which was a common material used in the south.

A Fran Betters classic fly. The Ausable Bomber. This fly has accounted for more brook trout by this angler than any other fly in my box.

All the above flies have many similarities. The most common is the simplicity of the fly. These tyers used what few materials they had and created these classics.

BT Hair Tail
Here is another fly I'd like to include with the ones above. I don't make any claim as to how successful it will be, that will come with time. I will say it is a simple pattern and has the characteristics of something a brook trout would eat.

The fly is called BT Hair Tail. I hope a few of the tyers that read this blog will tie up one or two and give them a fair test. Hook, Mustad 9671, size 14....Tail, Elk Hair, semi short and sparse,...Body, Natural Hare,...Hackle, Grizzly,....Orange Thread.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Fishing Report 3-24-15

Yesterday I had a yearly eye exam. The appointment was for 8am and I must say it was a excellent one. The only problem is the drops they put in your eyes really opens them up, for several hours you had better keep sun glasses on or your in big trouble. Luckily by noon time I was functional and I was going fishing. The sun was bright and beautiful, and the temps were not to bad. The stream had some dark snowy parts but the melt was on all be it slow which is a good thing 'cause the water remains clear.

As you can see from this picture water clarity doesn't get much clearer. I was fishing a semi dry fly, that is it was just under the surface. I could see the trout follow the fly but not actually strike. I continued to fish the fly in the same manner and was rewarded with a solid hit. The fly was in his mouth and was close before he spit the hook. The same action continued for the next hour with a hookup and LDR. These fish were active with most of the activity taking in the riffles.

In this short stretch of stream my fly was struck several times as it was pulled through the riffles. I knew that sooner rather than later I would make a secure hookup.

And I did. Finally a brook trout grabbed the fly in the broken water. A moment or two later this beautiful brook trout was at hand. He seemed to be in great shape for a fish that endured such a brutal icy winter. A quick photo and he was gone.
I placed the fly in the hook holder and walked through snow to my car. As I drove home I thought this could be the beginning of a wonderful season.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

TFO,BVK O Fly Reel

In January I attended the fly fishing show in Marlboro Massachusetts. While visiting a vendor who had quite a display of fly reels one caught my eye. It was a TFO BVK reel. I picked it up and I fell in love. I did not even turn the spool, just holding it was enough. The reel was so light, and the color very pleasing that I said I have to have it. Further inspection of the reel showed it was a click and pawl reel, but the sound of it was not like others click and pawl reels, it was a soft mellow sound very easy on the ears.

The purchase price was so that I could not purchase it then. I did how ever manage to sell a few odd items I had on eBay and gained the funds necessary to purchase the BVK.

The reel arrived yesterday and I wanted to run to the TMA and give it a try. It did not happen but I hope to do it soon. I'll give you the particulars of this reel now.

First off it has a beautiful moss green finish, similar to a brook trout. It is made of anodized aluminum and a large arbor. The reel is 2.5 inches in diameter and weighs just 2 ounces. I put on a Orvis 3wt line. When placed on my Cabelas glass rod it balances beautifully. What a wonderful small stream setup.

I am hoping to fish this setup very soon and will give you another report on its performance.

Friday, March 20, 2015

The First Day Of Spring 2015

Today is the first day of Spring, but here in Connecticut it looks like the first day of Winter. It was cloudy all day and the threat of snow was present. The forecast is for snow and it was accurate and the white stuff is falling down. We were at a point where the bare ground was showing and the mounds of snow were on the decline and hopes were high that finally we had broken the winter trend.....oh well.

Tomorrow looks to be a bit warmer so this new snow should begin to melt rapidly. So there is few things to do except read, tie flies and perhaps watch a bit of TV.

And so it gos.

But on the bright side in a few weeks we will have these guys bouncing up and down along the streams, and the trout coming up for some simple dining.

The sheer delight of bringing a wild brook trout to hand will be a reality.....believe me it "Will" happen.

In the meantime find a bright sunny place, brew yourself a cup of coffee and have a piece of home made raisin bread.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Connecticut Fly Fisherman's Association Annual Flytyers Round Table

It's almost here, the annual Connecticut Fly Fisherman's Association "Fly Tyer's Roundtable". It's a great get together. There will be many tyers represented here with flies for every type of angling, both fresh and salt water.

The event will be held at the CFFA, on April 8th, at 7pm. It's located at Veteran's Memorial Club House, 100 Sunset Ridge Drive, East Hartford, CT.

I'll be there and I hope to see you there. This a great opportunity to meet with some wonderful tyers and anglers. This event is "Free" and all are invited.

I'll be tying soft hackles and this will be one that I'll feature. It was a good producer for me last year, both here and in Shenandoah.

This will be another fly I'll feature. A soft hackle dry fly.

So come down and say hello.


Monday, March 16, 2015

All that green...a day of the muddler.

With tomorrow being St. Patrick's Day I decided to show a "bit o the green" and add some color, color that soon will be with us. First off I want to wish my fine Irish friends a Happy St. Patrick's Day. Enjoy your corned beef and cabbage along with some fine beverages.

This is a outing I took in mid May of last year. It was a sunny warm day, most vegetation in that lovely deep green that appears in Spring. There were insects out and about, I would give you there names but I don't know them. What I will tell you is that the trout were rising to them. So at times like these I would tie on a bomber or elk hair caddis and proceed to have a great day. Instead of going with that plan I chose to fish a small yellow muddler. Most flies I fish do duty in a couple of ways, one they are fished dry, and they are fished wet, sometimes on the same cast. Today was no different. The natural deer hair of the muddler needs no floatant and can be fished dry just by false casting. It can also be fished wet by allowing the fly to sink under the surface at the end of the drift, and then retrieved. Many of the takes happen right at the time the fly gets pulled under.

Today the brook trout took to this muddler like they never have eaten. The fly produced many beautifully colored brookies to hand.

A lovely female brook trout. The tail on this fish is impressive. Her colors in this "Spring of opportunity", she rivals the colors of a spawning male is Autumn.

It is on days like this that one can recall most of what happened. No journal is necessary, all that's required is the thumbing of the pages in my mind.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Another fine day.....

Well I was out at it again Wednesday seeing how the weather was being so nice to this fellow. The stream was a lot wider with the snow melt but still very clear. The snow along the banks still proved to be a tough walk. This time though I wore my waders which enabled me to walk in the stream and that led to further exploration. Being able to try some new areas I went to work quickly. The fly on the line was a bomber and fingers crossed that today would bring a dry fly trout to hand. I worked the stream as well as the fly in every way I know trying to draw a strike, but to no avail. Still it was a sweet sight to see a dry fly floating on a ice free stream this March morning.

I reeled in the bomber and decided to fish wet flies and perhaps a streamer. As I was changing flies I caught some movement to the right of where I was standing. My eyes scanned the stream and along the banks. Suddenly this little fellow pops out from the water near a snow bank. He seemed to happy although a bit confused at the fact I was moving in on his pool he must have said this guy has no stream etiquette. So he said I'm leaving.

He could be the reason the trout were on high alert and not willing to race for the fly. I told myself that was true so as not to feel bad about not catching fish. But in reality that was not why. The air was warm which caused the snow to melt which made the water colder. Several times and places along the stream I took the water temp, the readings were from the mid thirties to one at 40. Cold enough to keep things slow.

I continued on enjoying this beautiful day. I went from pool to pool. I came upon this very interesting piece of water. There was a shallow riffle going into a slow deep undercut. Trout hideout for sure. I drifted the fly towards the bank and let it continue through the pool. I continued this several times letting the fly stop and just hang in the slow current. It seemed that no one was home, or was not hungry.

Before moving on I said to myself why not drift the fly through the shallow riffle, could be a fish there and if not so be it. So I backed up some and sent the fly down and across. Several more times I worked the riffle and suddenly a fish hit. Moments later I slipped my hand in the water a lifted a beautiful brook trout from the stream. It looked a bit pale, and on the thin side but none the less in strong fighting condition. A quick photo and off to find something better to eat.

I continued to fish for another hour and a half and was never to feel a fish take. A beautiful day for sure.

Check the photo of the day. A new one each day from the archives.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Several Firsts this Day

Monday morning the decision was made to check out a stream to see if I could fish a few flies and attempt to perhaps take a fish or two. I was delighted to see that the bright sun was doing its magic. I felt so comfortable fishing with only a wind breaker and light fleece jacket. The air temp was mid forties and no wind, after the cold, cold winter that was a welcomed relief. As I pulled into the parking area the ground was so soft that the mud was slippery, and not the snow. There was one other vehicle parked there, perhaps another angler I thought, or maybe a hiker. I did not bring waders so I was ready to fish in minutes. I did however bring my new Cabelas glass rod for its first tryout.

The stream was ice free in several locations. Its clarity brilliant even with the snow melt. I started walking to the stream and found the snow to be at least knee deep and some areas thigh deep. This kind of walking will tire you fast not to mention the fact your always falling. I knew this was going to be a one or two spot outing.

Armed with the new rod I placed myself on firm footing. I chose to fish dries this day, and sent the fly on its mission. I would love to say that I had a fish rise on the first cast but that did not happen, instead a fish rose on the second cast. The rise was not a lethargic one either the fish was indeed hungry. I sent the fly back out and just a tad further from the first rise he again took a swipe and missed. On the third time the fish again came up, this time he was pricked. A few twists and turns and the fish was at hand. It was not a trout but creek chub. The silvery fish was my first fish on the fly since mid January, and it felt real good.

I continued to work flies in the few open pools I could fish. The thought was could there be another willing fish to take a fly. The answer was yes, only not a trout but another chub. The trout were indeed there only not willing to take.

The one big finding this day was the performance of the little Cabelas glass rod. I tried several types of casts from roll casting to throwing out some longer ones and the rod performed them all very well.

These little guys were out and about this day. Any one care to tie one?

This was a great day to be out. A new rod, good weather, a fly cast for the first time in almost two months, and a fish to hand on a dry fly.

Be sure to scroll down to see "My Photo Of The Day".

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The "Cinberg"

Back in January I did a post on a fly pattern, it was a soft hackled dry fly. When I first saw the fly on a website I thought "wow" this has got to be something new. Further research into this pattern showed that these flies have been around for some time. The English have been tying these flies and in the United States these flies have been a staple in some areas. January 20, 2015 was the first knowledge of these flies by this angler.

The English pattern that I wrote of back in January is called a "Jingler". It's tied with a thread body, and cock hackle then partridge soft hackle. Some are tied with a tail, but it is not necessary.

This is the American version of a similar fly, called a "Cinberg". The fly was created by Dr. Bernard Cinberg of New York. The doctor practiced in New York City and had a summer home in the Catskills near the Neversink River. Sometime in the 1930's this fly was first tied and fished. It was a success, especially with the brook trout. The fly was also mentioned by the late Datus Proper in his book "What The Trout Said". His reference to a fly he called a "bent hackle" fly told of the fly still being fished.

The "Cinberg"
Well I sat down at the vise and attempted to tie the Cinberg. It's basic components are pretty simple. A dry fly hook, some colored thread for the body, Coq de Leon for the tail, brown dry fly hackle, and wood duck for the soft hackle collar. The only problem is in working with the wood duck feather. Because the wood duck can't be wound on, like a traditional soft hackle, like a partridge or grouse.

When completed the fly looks pretty good, considering there are feathers going every which way. The fly looks like an insect no matter which way it may land on the water.

From the photos you can see a wonderful buggy looking dry fly.

"Cinberg" Dark Version
This photo shows the Cinberg as it would light on the water. The cock hackle giving support, and the thin barred legs from the wood duck looking like the legs of an insect.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

I do remember......

Anticipation, waiting for this seemingly never ending winter to let go of us New Englanders and allow us to seek greener paths along a chosen small stream, and with a smile on our faces cast a dry fly in hopes a willing wild trout will strike.

A wonderful late Spring day. Days such as these when there is an intoxicating sound of water rushing over wood and stone. 

In a quiet eddy, or a break, a trout sits. His territory is staked out, this is a prime place on the little stream.

The Bomber is cast into the current, it floats and is carried several feet downstream. The fly is cast again, as it nears a quiet spot in the flow you notice a swirl, then another the trout having trouble in eating the fly. The line is picked up and again is tossed into the stream. As it approaches the spot where the trout hit before a second rise takes place. You feel tension, and the hook drive into the fish. He makes a run putting a nice bend in the rod. Several more dashes for freedom are turned back. As the trout accepts defeat and now lies at hand. The brown is lifted and admired, a quick photo and he is released into his pristine home.