Today is the last day of March. I don't really hate any month but I for sure do nor consider March a favorite. March has so many variables and I like a little more consistency. April will bring some order back to the streams and woodlands. In the next series of photos you will see some of the transition taking place. The first photo is a small stream with winters remnants about.
A prize wild brown taken from the pool above. It was a day that featured one fish and what a beauty it was.
The natural world coming alive.
Glorious sunshine falling upon a beautiful run.
A precious wild jewel plucked from that run, the day was brighter because of it.
By Aprils end wild trout will be rising freely here. The season begins.
Now most folks have had corned beef, and they know just how special this this cured meat can be. Well here's a super special treat for you to try. This is a corned pork shoulder. The shoulder of pork is an outstanding buy, very economical. I buy them on sale for .89 cents a pound. The shoulder is then boned out, skin removed and the solid portion is trimmed of excess fat, as seen in the first photo. I then make a brine, consisting of salt, and various seasonings. The piece of pork shoulder is placed in the brine, put into the refrigerator and allowed to cure for five days.
It is then placed into a large pot and simmered for a couple of hours. Potatoes and carrots are added and allowed to continue to cook until done.
Finished product ready for slicing.
So very tender, a knife is really not necessary. We have it with the veggies for one meal and the the best way to enjoy it is next.
A pig sandwich. My favorite way to enjoy this cured product. A sandwich with corned pork, and a sprinkle of hot pepper on Italian bread....cheese, mustard, cole slaw, fried peppers are among the other toppings you can enjoy. By the way this is my breakfast.
The "Spruce" a fly created by a angler named Godfrey from Seaside, Oregon. It was designed to take summer and fall runs of cutthroat trout from Oregon streams. By it's design it was probably made to imitate an insect found in the stands of Oregon spruce. The fly is now considered to be a streamer and has a reputation of being favored by brown and rainbow trout. The history of the "Spruce" is long. And the reference of it's tying and history comes from the pages of Joe Bates book "Streamer Fly Tying and Fishing" which is considered the bible of streamer patterns.
I'm sure you will find some variations of the Spruce online, I know the first Spruce I fished looked different than the actual pattern. Reason being it is easier to tie then the original. The splayed wings can be a bit tricky to tie in. The Spruce I first fished was purchased at Kittery Trading Post in Maine.
The "Spruce...Hook TMC 300 #10... tail, peacock swords...body, red wool, then peacock herl...wing, silver badger hackle splayed so they form a "V"...collar silver badger.
The "Spruce" is sometimes tied with golden badger hackle. All of the other materials are the same with the exception of the hackle.
This was an outing that I took on the last day of February. As I entered the dirt service road that leads to the stream I was amazed to see it was actually driveable by something other than a 4x4. The only issue was the shoulders which were very suspect. The morning felt like April, warm sunshine a cloudless sky, and not a breeze. I had hoped to visit this stream which runs through "brook trout forest" earlier in the new year but weather conditions did not warrant the long trip. This is a stream I know well from my many trips here over many years. It is a stunning piece of real estate with all of the peace and solitude a small stream angler could ask for.
Please come along with me.
The Honda parked in the soft shoulder of the road. As the tires sank into the mud not a worry crossed my mind for this was the start of a day I had waited for for almost a year. Worry was to come at the end of the day as I walked back. I had taken a rod that I have not fished in years a Cabela's TQR 5' 2wt graphite.
The little forest stream. It doesn't look like a winter setting.
This section of stream has alway's been a favorite of mine. Spring is a good time to fish this section for the reason the briars are in check. Come May you can forget it. In the photo you can see a fallen tree in the stream. Just a short way up from it on the right you can see a tree. That tree has a platform that I stand on that enables me to fish the run. I have used that tree platform for a lot of years.
This wild jewel was lurking in the broken water just downstream from my platform.
There are several of these seeps that flow into the stream. I enjoy walking up them to see whats in them. Along this one I saw nothing in the stream but I flushed two woodcock. They must have been shocked when March came around.
The sun shinning down on the amber waters. Any angler who see a spot like this knows there has to be a trout there. Several drifts of the fly and....
....another healthy wild brook trout was at hand.
Another trout hot spot. Several hookups but nothing to hand.
Now this section looks like tidewater in a coastal stream, maybe it is? I walked along the bank and saw several fish scatter. I was willing to accept the fact I was not going to be able to fish this section. Vibrations and shadows were killing me. So I cast the fly out and just let the current take the fly as far as it would. It drifted and it was eaten.
Another wild one. So my day was nearing an end. I moved to higher ground which made the walk back much easier.
Remember the platform, here it is. The roots still hold the bank and still hold the angler who loves this place, this stream and all who dwell in "brook trout forest".
A precious little wild trout stream. This beautiful stream flows through the forest of eastern Pennsylvania in an area known as the Pocono's. I have fished this stream many times and each time I had the feeling that it was my first time. The trout both brook and brown are as wild as can be. Their beauty, stamina and tenacity for life can not be overstated. This stream will never produce a monster trout, but instead will yield you a six inch masterpiece of color. There will never be banner catches of ten or twelve trout, but more like three or four. As I wandered the banks of this stream there was a strong sense of belonging. A strong sense of peace that one gets from the solitude found only in a small stream environment. This stream holds a special place in my mind. So special that I chose it for the cover photo of my book.
Come late April or May I again will visit my friend.
Chestnut and Starling....this fly, in it's simplicity will bring a trout to hand in my little Pocono stream.
"Sulphurs"...a clean, crisp profile. It to is simply tied, the brown trout in the pools of my Pocono stream will rise to it whenever it drifts so lightly upon it's evening waters.
Since the options for small streams has dwindled, reason is because the state closes most of them for about a 6 week period, I guess there is good reason. That being the case the streams open present good fishing when several things come together, one being weather and one being weather again. On this day the weather ran the table. There was snow, damp feeling air, brilliant sunshine and a neck full of melting snow compliments of the trees. The section of stream chosen to fish is not ideal from an anglers point, it contains some nasty briers and thorns. There are places where access is tough but can be done with careful movement.
What I love about winter fishing is the clarity of the water. You can gaze into the stream and it looks like there is no water, without movement it seems as if it is not there.
Early on I fished this run, in the past I have taken tiger trout here, several times in fact. I worked it from head to tail and found what I was looking for.
Not a tiger but one half of one. This wild brown was as spunky as can be...handsome too.
On cold days trout will be found in slow moving water, hunkering down near the bottom. This is true for the most part but not always.
This brown was located at the end of the broken water. Just as the fly was swept up towards the surface by the current he struck.
No tigers today, but two awesome wild browns from the "outback"
"Top "O" The Morning" folks. St. Patrick's Day 2018. Sitting down to a slice or two of Irish soda bread, with several cups of "Green" Mountain coffee, and dreaming of a great supper of corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots. I love this day, it's a happy day, one that has always been festive since the days of my childhood. I can remember my mom singing "oh the Clancy" a tune that has stuck in my head for all these years. I found out this morning that the first St. Patrick's Day parade was held in Boston, who would have ever thought that "big smile".....so I say to all, today we are all Irish, Happy St. Patrick's Day... lift your glasses and cups and enjoy.
In this day of GPS, cell phones and the like, it seems as if the day of the paper map is going the way of the dinosaur. Exception, not with me. I still use the old fashioned paper map to find out where I'm going, and where I've been. The DeLorme Atlas like the one above is always in my car. I at times will map out directions to those "thin blue lines"... I have several DeLorme atlases in different states with CT. and Maine seeing the most use with Massachusetts closing in.
How many of you still use maps like this?
A "blue line" found with the aid of a map, and it's the little blue lines that feed this stream that will be on the list to check further.
The longer I fish the more I come to rely on certain flies to get the job done. Looking back over the years most of my successful patterns have had in their material list a few materials that have made them so great. The materials also have been favorites of two very special fly tyers. Fran Betters and Jack Gartside two gentleman who created so many successful flies, flies that have a following world wide.
A favorite material of Fran Betters was the Australian opossum and which he dyed rusty orange. Quite a few of his patterns used this material as dubbing. Jack Gartside had a love of the ringneck pheasant. These feathers were used in so many of his patterns. So I took these materials and worked them together to make some "fish appeal" flies. The photo above shows the marabou of a hen pheasant. Most tyers bypass this insanely fish taker feather and choose to use only other feathers in the skin. Using these pheasant marabou feathers I create wings in several patterns...they work.
Now Mr. Betters dyed his possum rust orange, some of the hair came out "real" orange, and some not so. The not so has some nice features and when dubbed on a fly it creates a nice difference in the body.
This pattern uses an orange dubbed body. It does not incorporate a wing, only a soft hackle collar.
This pattern uses an orange dubbed body, with a light colored marabou wing. It features a soft hackle color of bleached starling.
This pattern features Jack's and Fran's materials in one fly. The body is a darker colored possum body, a dark colored marabou wing, and a pheasant feather for a collar.
You can see some of the materials, different ones at that here. One constant was the fact that Fran's favorite color thread was used.
This is a stream I visited last month. It was a time when we were in a spring like thaw and it was so welcomed after the deep freeze we had in late December and much of January. The stream I am very familiar with having enjoyed it for many years. It also suffered like most streams with drought like conditions for a few summers. Last year it fished some what on the off side which was to be expected. As of the new year I tried this stream in January, big mistake. The stream was ice bound, I could only drop a fly in the water in only a few places. It was cold that day and I should have stayed home an enjoyed my coffee and read a book.
On this day I had no idea what to expect as far as catching a fish. The first few pools I fished gave up nothing. It was not until I came upon this one that my day really brightened. The second or third drift that I saw the line stop, tension and suddenly I felt the fish.
Soon at hand was this stunning brook trout. A side note, that pool was where I caught my first fish of the year several years ago on a cold windy New Year's Day.
This pool with it's mound of wood at it's back is a place that should hold a fish. That statement is true but for some else and not for me. Over the years I have lost a lot of flies in here but have not taken a fish....until this day. I drifted my fly towards the back near the wood pile on the left. I felt the hit, it was a substantial hit. I set the hook and the fight was on. I won't go into the details of it but I will show you the result below.
This wild creature is big for this stream. He was very strong and may have been living here for some time. I was thrilled and fortunate he liked my offering.
With a mouth like that I give fair warning to any small brookies "stay away".
This stream yielded several more brookies. I fished it upstream and found some profound changes from the heavy ice. Come May I'll get the real picture.