Thursday, January 30, 2020

Small Stream Rods, Reels and Leader-Tippet

Cane and Silk fiberglass rod. This one is a 6' 2-3wt. 3pc. It's size is great for some what larger streams. It casts well, not to soft or to stiff.

This is also a Cane and Silk fiberglass rod. This one is 5' 2-3wt. 2pc. The blank is an amber finish. I've had this rod for several years and have fished it hundreds of times. It does everything a small stream rod should do.

Cabela's CGR fiberglass rod. It's a 5'9" 3wt. 3pc. These rods are an incredible functional rod for the price. I have two of these and value them. They have had extensive time on the stream without a single issue. One I purchased for 79.00 and the other 59.00.

And my newest piece in my small stream arsenal. A bamboo rod gifted to me by Mike Katner, Cane and Silk. It's 5'1" 2-3wt 2pc. I have fished this rod a mere 6 months and have fallen in love with it. Those small stream wild brookies feel like champions on this rod. The rod and brookie were made for each other.

Reels I use. The TFO BVK, light weight, and simple. Click and Pawl, with a slightly large arbor. The Orvis Battenkill I. Another reel of simple design, click and pawl with a smooth sound. An Orvis Battenkill 5/6. This English made disc drag is the reel I use when I fish the bigger rivers.

And the terminal stuff. Pretty simple. Furled leader, and 5x fluro tippet. I use this 99% of the time on small streams.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Salmo Trutta

Saturday it rained and quite hard I may say. They estimate 1-2" depending on where you lived. Lots of water flowing into the streams usually pushes the trout around and they will seek out food in most areas of the stream. I was there to see if I would find a willing participant who was hungry. The sun was out and the temperatures warmed nicely.

While walking the stream I observed these fellows moving around. Perhaps a dark soft-hackle fly should be put into use. It was and....

This brown wasted no time in taking it. A female that was in awesome condition.

This pool produced several strong hits and I knew I should stay here and continue fishing it. The pool was off color and the bottom full of wood. I continued to cast and move the fly all over the pool. At one time the current pushed the fly to the bottom. Not wanting to get snagged I lifted the rod and the fly moved to toward the surface. It was at that point the trout struck. A very strong fish with lots of stream savvy and I had my hands full trying to keep him on and out of the debris.

This time I was able to win and this handsome male was at hand. A gorgeous specimen from a small stream.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Winter Declaration And Small Stream Rods

Today is January 26th, it's still winter and spring is some time off in March. By this time I for one am tired of winter, tired of the drab color, the frozen water, and the color of white. I usually tolerate winter until the baseball spring training starts before trashing winter but this year I just can't deal with it. So I'm declaring "winter over" as of right now. I hope to feature in my future posts no signs of winter. There will be to pictures of any snow, ice, gloves or wool hats. I will try to not use the word snow, or cold arctic blast in my posts. Will this bring spring sooner? I know it already has for me.

I have received many email inquiries about my small stream set up and what rods, and other gear I use when fishing small streams. So I thought I'd share some of what I use when fishing small streams. The first post will be on graphite rods. Then later posts will be on fiberglass rods and then bamboo. There will be posts on reels, line and leaders and tippet.

The Orvis Superfine Small Stream's a 7' 5wt. 2 piece rod. I have had this rod since the early 90's and is one of the better rods ever produced for the small stream. Number one rod for roll casting.

The Orvis Superfine..a 6' 4wt 2 piece. This rod has been in my arsenal for a long time. A wonderful memory is attached to this rod. A 19" salmon was taken on it in Maine.

The Temple Fork Signature Series..a 6' 2wt. 2 piece. This rod was bought for it's reasonable price. What I received was years of perfection in all aspects of small stream fishing.

The Cabela's TQR..5' 2wt. 2 piece. I purchased this rod at a local Cabelas years ago. I think I paid 50.00 for it. I did not know what to expect from it when I fished it, but it's still in my arsenal...a memory with it. I was fishing a stream that had wild and stocked trout in it. The stream had huge boulders in it "super pocket water" and a stream I could not fish today because my legs won't permit it. But I cast into an upstream pocket and hooked a large trout. The rod performed very well and I managed a 15" stocked brown to hand.

Some chicken sausage. I made this yesterday and grilled it outside. Yes I did get a little wet. I used chicken tenders and cut them into small pieces. Add salt, black pepper, fennel seed, and fresh red peppers and fresh parsley.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Winter Fishing

Winter fishing is tough. Access to the stream means walking through snow, not a big deal by itself but the things it covers can be nasty. For instance barbed wire from 50 years ago, a frozen water ditch that suddenly gives way as you get into the center of it and finally those rustic bridges that cross a stream. It seems those bridges freeze up and the ice is hidden beneath the snow that fell on top.

Shelf ice is a big problem. Dangerous beyond words, and a real bi@#h to fish near. The trout will hold under the shelf and if your fly survives the drift without hanging up on a twig you can't see or your tippet doesn't get cut by the ice you just may have a trout take it.

But with slow fishing there is still plenty of enjoyment. I saw several beautiful ice creations.

Several big boys were here as this tree shows.

One of those rustic bridges I told you of. I was able to wade to cross the stream so a slip did not occur. But just downstream from this bridge, after 3 hours of nothing but drifting flies I finally had a take, and a hookup.

Major excitement as I placed my hand under this brookie. I also took another hit almost in the same place where I caught the first brookie but it managed to get off. A great day of winter fishing. Beautiful country and water. I managed to stay dry and a jewel to hand.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

A Caddis, Hemingway And Brown Feathers

Woodcock and Grouse are both excellent feathers to use for soft-hackle flies. While both look similar they are indeed different. The woodcock feather has a light brown color with darker highlights. The feathers are well mottled and their movement in the water is equal to partridge.

The grouse of which there are many including the ruffed grouse, spruce grouse, sharptail grouse etc. The wing here is a red grouse. It's feathers are a dark rich brown with highlights of a chestnut brown. Some of the feathers also possess a reddish tint. These are great feathers to work with, most do not break when winding.

A few flies tied with both woodcock and grouse.

An emerging caddis. A lively soft-hackle. This one is tied on a large hook. Caddis flies are some of the best flies to fish at any stage. I love them for small stream fishing.

This is the hook the caddis is tied on. It's brand name is Hemingway...a semi curved straight eye. It has a black nickel finish.

Monday, January 20, 2020

They don't always play by the rules....

Go to the stream, cast a few flies and catch brookies. What's the big deal right. I have said a few times that small stream brookies do not play by the rules. Show a brook trout a bright, gaudy fly and bring him to hand. As I fished a stream last week I was again taken to school by those not to smart brook trout.

A lovely piece of trout water. This time of year you expect the trout to be holding bottom. While looking closer I noticed a rise, not uncommon it happens even on cold days. But the rises kept coming and I determined it was more then one fish doing it. So I reached into the box and plucked a bomber, it was tied on and sent into action. Four or five drifts and nothing. Elk hair caddis up next, same result. Lights go on and I'm thinking that they are taking just under the surface. I tied on a soft-hackle and it fared like the caddis and bomber. All the while they kept on rising. The only flies left were a streamer or a nymph. I selected the nymph. First cast fish on, and soon fish off. A few more casts and a take with a good hookup.

The first fish to hand, and the only fish to hand. A couple of more hookups with none to hand...why did these brookies take a nymph? Rising to nymphs? Thus the lesson and a lesson learned and filed.

Some fine hackle on display. Stream side oddity.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Snow's A Coming....

Good morning...bacon and fried's just not for breakfast. Please make the bacon crisp and likewise the potatoes. A couple of things I especially don't like are "wet" bacon and "white potatoes.

Olive silk thread makes some pretty effective fly bodies. The two patterns featured here use olive silk, suqirrel dubbed thorax and one has partridge hackle and the other woodcock.

Partridge and olive

Woodcock and olive

I love tying these flies...steelhead-salmon-trout all inclusive. While they are good for all three species I'm going to focus using them for rainbow trout. A very distant cousin to the steelhead the rainbow should take to this style of fly. While not representing any type of food that either steelhead or rainbow might find in a river, but it's that color that will draw a strike.

This simple little gray nymph has been working for me at times lately.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020


Those little waters that flow into my little streams often hold a brookie or two. I love to walk along these brooklets and see what's going on. Winter is a good time to do this exploring because of the better than average flows. To walk along and actually see a brookie is great but to get one to take a fly is really special. On this outing I had the chance to walk along two of the brooklets and I was rewarded. Not only did I see several brookies I also managed to catch a couple. Most of the fish were hanging in the plunge pools or very close to them. With no tree canopy your presence was known quickly. I like to mark in my mind the spot where I spooked a fish and return there on the way down, using a softer approach. Most times this works.

Real dark...they blend in with the rocks and boulders along the creek.

This pool has got to hold a couple of fish. It looks tough to fish but it actually wasn't.

This plumpie was holding along the bank.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Some "Spiders"....

The "Winter Brown" a North Country Spider. The fly has been with us since around 1790. Do you wonder why you never see it in the bins of fly shops? It's tied using orange silk for the body, just a dusting of hares ear and woodcock hackle. The head is formed by using peacock herl. Now in the photo above the images are in black and white, the reason is that is the way trout see the fly. Do you have an opinion?

This is the Winter Brown in color. It's a better than average fish taker and I fish it all year long.

Pearsall's Orange Gossamer Silk.

The Yellow Woodcock...again in black and white.

The Yellow Woodcock. Yellow silk body, with a dusting of hares ear. The hackle is woodcock.

Pearsall's Yellow Gossamer Silk.

Both of these flies embody "simplicity"...they are effective. The next group of spiders will incorporate peacock.