Wednesday, February 27, 2019

It's Near My Friends

The white flag is up. I'm ready. It has been a long time. Change is on the horizon. Oh welcome. As the days get longer there is a feeling that we have turned the corner and better days are near. I long for those milder days clear streams and rising trout. Those days where wet wading actually feels good. When you see sulphurs on the water. The excitement as the fly drifts and a fish rises. Those days where if one fish misses your offering another will grab it readily. Those days when streams come alive, and the banks are lush with green. When you are never alone even when no one is there. When birds sing they have a joyous meaning. Oh yes my friends those days when I can savor a cup of coffee in my t-shirt. Each day brings me closer. And with each day I look forward to fresh new season that holds the promise of being my best.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Always Special And Unusual

As February comes to a close, I have to focus on fishing several streams before they close. All streams in the state of Connecticut with exception of Class 1 wild trout streams close on the last day of February until opening day which is the second Saturday of April. I'm sure there is a reason and I'm sure it was well thought out. That reason is for another time.

Well Saturday I chose a stream that will close the end of February to fish. I had not been here since early fall. Since my last visit we have had several heavy rain events and this little beauty of a stream took a hit. I witnessed several of its runs and pools that were scoured by the heavy flows. In some of the areas the stream took on an arctic glacial effect. While many of the larger pools remained the same some of the smaller ones were totally gone, reshaped by enormous fallen trees and logs. All of the changes I believe did not hurt the wild brook trout population. What I fear is that the spawning areas may have been washed away which will have an effect on the future populations. That is something I will keep an eye on in the next several months.

The stream looked as beautiful as ever. Rumbling and tumbling along to it's final destination. It's hemlock and laurel lined banks remain a bright spot of green in a brown forest. I was not alone in the forest. I was watched and scolded by a Kingfisher who flew from branch to branch. I fished my "usual" compliment of flies, wets, dries, and streamers and not a single strike. I was then required to select a couple of my "unusual" flies in order to persuade the brookies to strike...the "unusuals" were a couple of bead-head generic nymphs.

In the deeper pools I found willing brook trout like this late winter jewel. I have always said that this stream has the prettiest brookies in the state.

Before nature chose to restructure this pool it was always a place I could count on to find some brookies. They are probably some fish there but trying to present a fly is not something I wished to do at this time.

A very friendly pool. A slow drifted nymph did the job.

It was like the first brook trout I caught. It seems like that's always the case.

A couple of my "unusuals" generic stuff that brookies will not pass on especially in a small stream.

Friday, February 22, 2019


Here are a few images that are kind of special to me. I don't think I've shared them before. I hope you like them and if you really stop for a few minutes to look at them I'm sure you can relate to them and probably put yourself in them.

What makes a man do this? Perhaps photo number one is the answer?

A wild trout stream in Potter County PA. A reader sent me this photo.

Jewels in the stream.

A gentleman I meet once a year at a fly tyers gathering. Always a pleasure to chat with him.

Where will I be cast, and what will be to outcome?

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Three Days of the Condor

The Three Days of the Condor, that 1975 thriller starring Robert Redford. It is one of my top five movies of all time. Probably next to the Godfather and Caddy Shack.

I have been out fishing and over the days the overall results have been super especially for winter. Starting late, 10:30 or 11 am the trout have waken and with the sun warming it up just enough to get them feeding. As I have said many times all that's necessary is one or maybe two flies, pick what you like and fish it. Most times I'm fishing soft-hackles but the dry and nymph see action. But when I come to an area of the stream where it's deep and has somewhat slower moving water I'll fish a streamer. I have a couple of thoughts on what type of streamer and size. For the most part I choose to fish a smaller streamer size 10, but I also throw out a bigger one say size 6 or 8. Most times a attractor pattern with colors and other times I'll throw a baitfish pattern. Some of the patterns are the Mickey Finn, Edson Tiger, Black nose Dace, or a darter pattern.

Here is a nice brook trout that slammed the darter. This fish really had some fight within him.

Ideal small stream places to work a streamer. Try different retrieves from super fast to letting it scrape the bottom on a slow retrieve.

There are no soft strikes on a streamer. They hit it so hard as to stun it, then chomp it to finish it off.

I lost a big one here. He was hooked on two separate times and I could not bring him to day my friend.

I guess your wondering what this report has to do with the movie Three Days of the the "Condor"......

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Of muffins, men and crushed hackles...or something.

Saturday morning we were up at 6...showered and shaved. A few snacks were packed for the road. A fast cup of coffee, and my list of what I need, and off to the Bears Den fly show. But there were a few things that needed to accomplished first, and one of them was to stop for breakfast at Leo's in Buzzards Bay. Leo's has probably the best grilled blueberry muffins in Massachusetts. Please if you are ever in Buzzards Bay stop and enjoy one. Also Leo's is bottomless cup of coffee establishments. After leaving Leo's we took a short drive to Red Brook. As we pulled into the driveway to Lyman Reserve we noticed several vehicles and a young man standing by the a large sign. As I parked my car I said I know that man. As I stepped out the man came towards us and sure enough he was familiar. Geoff Klane came to us and gave us a big hug. We exchanged happenings since we last saw each other. A few seconds later another young man came over and Geoff introduced us to Ashu Rao. The two of them had plans of fishing Red Brook. As they geared up Jeanette and I took a walk along Red Brook.

Ashu, Geoff, and Jeanette

One of my favorite places at Red Brook. It is here where the fresh spring fed waters of Red Brook meet the salt water of Buttermilk bay. At this time of day and this time of year the quietness can be deafening. Although I did not cast a fly on Red Brook I still came away with a catch.

We left Red Brook and headed to Bears Den. It was a great show as usual. I met some old friends and made a few new ones. I scored on some awesome material, and was gifted some old streamer hooks from a follower of SSR's...a great day all around.

A little tip. How many of you find that after use your hackles get crushed. I know that I find this problem for instead of putting the flies back where they should be, dries with dries and wets with wets etc. So what I have done to revitalize those crushed hackles is this. Get your self a wire tea strainer from a dollar store. Boil up some water and place the crushed flies into the basket. Hold the basket over the steam and shake for a few seconds. Place the flies on a paper towel and let cool. The flies will be just as stiff and straight as the day they were tied.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Winter Fishing

winter woods, they look lifeless oh but they're not
I've been fishing over the last week and I have encountered two different streams and two different sets of results. It is not uncommon to find vast differences in the way a stream and the trout will react in the winter. Some days they like everything presented sub surface and sometimes they will dine on the top. There are also those days when they just seem to ignore everything. On those days when a bite seemed like it would never happen I would try and figure what it was I was doing wrong, or maybe the fly was not the right color or size. Those days are now gone and I realize that I was not doing anything wrong. That old saying comes to mind, "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink"...that's winter fishing.

I fished this trout stream and have taken my share of fish. One of those top 10. On this day I was not given the pleasure of taking a trout, and to make it worse not even a bite. Well if the skunk is going to pay you a visit what better time then a mid-winter day....but hold on. Downstream from this picture I had a close encounter with a fish.

As the little gray nymph bounced of the bottom a silver streak took it. It refused to surrender and fought bravely. Moments later he was at hand. The day saved by a little powerhouse.

Why? Single barbless hooks. Can you imagine that nasty piece in the mouth of a 5" brook trout.

From a mid winter day to spring...that's Connecticut. This day found some willing brookies looking at top water flies.

Riffles, have I ever mentioned how much I love fishing places like this. Diamonds my friends.

It's the riffles where you find 6 inches of water and little jewels like this.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Salars Nemesis Revisited

"Salars Nemesis" tied by Alan Petrucci
Over the last several days I have seen an interest in the fly Salars Nemesis. Over 200 page views from the forum "Classic Fly Rod Forum" and numerous e-mails asking about Sylvester Nemes salmon fly. I also over the last year have recieved several photos of this classic fly from readers of this blog. I am impressed with each one of them and I want to say thanks. The fly is supposed to represent a shrimp and it's not a overly difficult fly to tie. One of the problems I have with it is the wing, which is a pheasant rump feather. This feather can be brittle and give you fits not only in tying but selecting one from the bird. I have overcome this problem choosing to use a side feather from the pheasant which is more durable and easier to work with.

Doug Duvall

The three flies in the above photos are from other tyers including Sylvester Nemes

As you can see this fly is a great brook trout fly, and as of yesterday still gets them.

Here is a trio of Salars Nemesis flies. Each one is tied with a different wing feather.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

New England Small Towns

Small towns are plenty all over this country. They possess a certain charm and grace that large cities just don't come close to duplicating. New England has some of the most beautiful small towns I have ever been to. Being one who loves the small stream I have crossed through some quaint picturesque places and I could not begin to list there names and the qualities they bring forth. I was asked once how do you know when your in a small town, what is key to what defines a small town. My answer is this. When in New England you know when your in a small town when there isn't a Dunkin' Donuts shop.

Without a doubt New England is known for it's barns, and beautiful fall foliage. One of these day I'm going to wander through one of those barns.

Where else could you fly fish for wild brook trout in salt water? Then a few miles away from the stream find your self getting dizzy trying to negotiate a traffic rotary.

How about catching a brook trout on a salmon fly...not many areas of this country can lay claim to that.

And to add to strange happenings, how about catching a blue gill on a salmon fly...

You know your in a small town in New England when you see a fellow preparing feather-wings for a few Rangeley streamers...