I was able to fish a few hours on Sunday before the start of hunting season. The day was actually not bad for late November. I think I could have worn only a heavy fleece and felt comfortable. The stream was up due to the ample rainfall in November. Higher flows do move fish around and for the most part "where they were" may not be "where they are"...so I fished in the most likely areas and with a streamer for I felt confidence in the flies ability to get some takes. As I worked the streamer I had some bumps and hits but not anything like I thought. I tried a wet fly in a pool where the streamer failed and managed to hook a brookie. As I moved along several more hookups and I felt that the wet was the way to go.
November is on it's way out and it was time to take a fish on a dry fly. The fly selected was a bomber, which is about as good a choice one can make knowing it's history, which is well documented in the posts of SSR's. So it was fished and so it did produce.
A pretty brook trout. He took the bomber as it was skated across the riffles.
The Ausable Bomber. Look closely at the hackle..one's larger then the other. Mr. Betters was a genius in fly crafting.
The brookies continued to smack the bomber as it skated and dipped below the surface on the riffled sections of the stream.
Deer hunting has been a part of my life for over thirty years. In that thirty years I have enjoyed the company of my son as well as numerous friends. As the years pass life throws some roadblocks at you and they can be a problem to overcome. The last two years have been difficult for my son to get the time off from work and trying to plan a hunt alone is a problem now for my age does not allow for for long hikes back into the woods. The hike is not the issue, it's the drag if I'm successful. So this year I was fortunate to draw a state tag that would allow me to harvest a deer. The area I was given I did do some leg work prior to the opening for me which was yesterday. So at about 6am I was walking to my stand which is pictured in the first photo. A nice little rise looking into a semi-open forest floor. I had seen in my previous scouting several deer in this area and was hoping that this morning would bring a deer into my range. On CT. state land hunting deer is restricted to shotgun, not that you are handicapped by that, but in PA. where we hunt as well as private land in CT. a rifle with a scope is the firearm of choice. My firearm was a side by side 20ga. with just a bead for a sight. But I was familiar with the gun and knew what it and I were capable of.
While sitting on stand looking at the forest for signs of deer a thought ran through my mind. What if I make a successful shot, how am I going to get the deer out. With no answer I decided to move. Knowing the area I then chose to go to a more friendlier location.
As I walked to the new location I saw this...man to a deer hunter that's a good sign.
As I settled in at my new stand I felt better knowing that the drag would not be as bad. The area was sort of open and a decent shot could be had. So now it's about 9 and my eye catches movement off to my left. I see two gray shadows move into a thicket about 50 or so yards away. As I bring up the gun I saw one look in my direction. The safety came off I placed the bead at the shoulders of the first deer and I shot. Instantly I saw the tails go up and the deer ran towards a ridge. I kept an eye on them but lost sight of one. I waited a few minutes, got my pack on and walked to where the deer were when I shot. When I got there I looked for signs of a hit but all I could see is some really messed up ground. It was then that I had a good feeling, I hit the deer. Placing my hat on a tree so I could refer to the place the deer were, I started my search. The search took me through a swamp to a section that had several large blow downs, and there I found my deer.
I was excited, happy and so very thankful for this harvest. I know this may sound corny but I expressed my gratitude to this beautiful animal, and to how much we will enjoy what it has given us.
Many times while fishing I spot a beautiful creation, that is a beautiful natural creation. I'll gaze at it for some time and then I'll take a photo of it. A lot of these photos will wind up in some folder never to be shared. Well I have a few that I would like to share with you with the effect being to be able to put you in that peaceful frame of mind that you'll need in the days to come.
Weather....ice or rain. Does it really matter?
Some pretty nasty thorns. My there is a curious visitor looking on
An eastern cottontail?
Jeanette and I took some time Friday to decorate a small evergreen for wildlife. Popcorn, raisins, apples, carrots and lots of nuts.
How about a hot cup of cocoa with whipped cream....
The February Red soft-hackle fly that I found in the pages of Dave Hughes book "Wet Flies". This pattern has been in my box for quite a few years and that is because it produces. It's a simple pattern requiring few materials which are red silk, hares mask, and a grouse feather. The grouse feathers come from the wing. As seen in the photo the feathers seem to be quit nice and to be honest they usually are. There are times when these feathers are deformed, broken and lacking that nice mottled look. Some examples of these feathers are below.
Here are two wonderful feathers. As you can see they are uniform in their shape and while one possess a more mottled effect the other is perfectly acceptable. These feathers will wind on almost perfectly to create a lovely hackle presentation.
These are also feathers from the wing that are not the best. You see imperfect shape and broken tips. These feathers will not work well as they are. Do I throw them away, no I save them and I have found use for them...
The February Red soft-hackle fly. As you can see the best feather makes for a nicely shaped fly.
...now for those broken misshaped feathers. I take and select the better side. Then I'll strip the broken fibers from the stem and create a usable feather for tying.
I trim the tip so as to be able to tie it in. I'll take one and a half to two turns of the feather to create a very nice spider.
The February Red spider.
And yes the February Red fly works well in November, as it does in every month. This fellow took the fly as it was swinging through a pool.
I know I have a great deal to be thankful for, and I'm certain you wonderful people do to. Just taking a few minutes to say Happy Thanksgiving and to tell you how much I enjoy my blog family. You are the greatest. So enjoy your day tomorrow, feast and be happy.
Although the calendar says that winter is still over a month away, around here it has been in full swing. The last week saw some pretty cold temps along with wind and a 6 inch snowfall. The first snow always has that magical feeling to it, it's the reality of what happened that shocks the body later on. Well I enjoyed it and took some time to explore a stream. It's so beautiful to see fresh snow all the way to the waters edge. The only tracks are that of deer and squirrels.
The stream was flowing swiftly. It looked dark and cold with the exception of a bright sunspot upon it when the sun was so generous. I started with a dry fly as I usually do. In short time I realized that was not the best choice. I personally have indicators that tell me if a dry is going to work, and those indicators told me "not today"....so wet flies and streamers and....
Sudden changes in weather can turn a stream off very quickly and put the bite in slow mode. Luckily I found a few willing to take Salars Nemesis.
Places like this just beg to be fished, and I wasted no time. I bumped several fish in the pool, and finally hooked one.
He followed the fly as it swung through the outer frothy water and took it as it neared the surface.
The family is all grown up. They have moved on to perhaps warmer climes.
Pristine, calm, quiet, soul relaxing, all of these words apply to a scene like this. A small meandering woodland stream. Places like these should be protected as much as possible for they are much to fragile to be taken advantage of. I do not object to people fishing places like this, for most who do seek a place like this is likely of the same mindset as me, and no harm to it or it's inhabitants shall take place. To others who would see this would have other ideas and could do devastating damage to this tranquil place. Places like this are not named or highlighted in any form that would be recognizable by others. An old saying comes to mind "loose lips sink ships" and that applies to a small stream as well as a larger river. Most anglers that read this blog would never cause any harm to that stream, but there are others that read this blog who do not feel the same way. Find a beautiful stream, fish it, release your fish and care for the land. Doing this will insure you'll be able to come back and find it as you left it.
Another "buddy"...next to the brookie this guy here brings me so much enjoyment. Man these guys will eat any offered fly and will punish your rod. They are so beautiful and photogenic. The big plus is that they bring me back to the boy I was so many years ago.
YLI silk. Three new colors...I love this thread. While my supply of Pearsall's is stable I find myself using more of the YLI than Pearsall's. "Blackberry, Magenta and Light Purple"
"Snipe and Purple"...a North Country classic.....This one is actually a "Woodcock and Purple" for I do not have the Snipe...should work though.
With winters chill here now, it's great to warm up with your favorite "bowl of red"...Chili man Chili....
Yesterday morning was my first taste of winter. The air temperature was about 30 and the wind chill quite a bit colder. I was dressed for it and I did not feel that bad. The one positive about cold weather fishing is that I don't change flies often, my fingers do not function well so I usually stay with the first fly I tie on. As the morning progressed the the sun took over and warmed things a bit and so the ice jammed guides were done with.
The fishing was slow at first and even in the softer water strikes were few. I was content with the fact that I was out and soon my luck would change.
Along the bank in the quiet water this silver bullet struck a soft-hackle just at the surface. A bullet indeed for it shot all over the place trying to shake the piece of iron in it's mouth.
Another fisherman...obviously he had his eye on a spawning couple. My being close changed his plans.
As rough as this water is it had several pockets that were OK to fish. And a couple of those pockets held fish.
I was happy to manage to pick one out of a soft pocket.
Winter ferns? Such bright green mixed in with the brown of the forest.