Since last Monday I have fished three different streams in various parts of the state. We have experienced a mild stretch of weather and the brookies have responded well to it. Most of the streams have shed any remnants of ice but a few have some that seem to hang on. Most of the brookies were found in winter holding places but a few of them were in those wild water areas. I wish I really knew what makes a brookie move from a comfortable place and choose to go to what is a unfriendly area. In this section I hooked fish in the head and tail of the run/pool. The brookies took wet flies.
A typical jewel from this stream.
I saw several of these clinging to my waders.
I fish this stream several times a year. It's a consistent producer of brook trout, but it looks like it could do better. No explanation for the low amount of fish.
But in a couple of hours of peace and beauty and brook trout like this I find myself greatly rewarded.
Palmered flies, simplicity equals fish catching ability. I have written about palmered flies in the past. The orange palmer and yellow palmer are two dry flies that exceed when called into service. But the palmered flies featured here are wet flies. They are simple to tie and require few materials. They are not difficult to fish, actually there is no set method other then cast them into the water. For the most part these flies will not sink deep but remain in that mid water level until they complete their drift at which they will rise up in the way a natural insect will.
The materials used are thread, dubbing and some hackle. The hackle is from a India rooster which seems to work well with these flies. The color of the hackle can vary from dark to light with that center band which is a bit darker. I usually use Australian opossum but any spikey dubbing will work.
Here is a palmered fly when dry. You can see the dark highlight from the badger hackle.
This one has a little lighter hackle.
When wet these flies take on a whole new look. They represent no single insect but do represent every insect that is in a stream. The hackle flares in the water and it's incredible the amount of movement these simple flies impart.
Take a real close look at this fly. You can see the distinct color variations, the tiny legs caused by the wrapping of the dubbing. A fish eye view that says "eat it"....so simple yet so complex.
Toad in the Hole is a British recipe that was given to me by Alistair. He has commented here many times and he suggested I try it. I gave it a whirl last week and I can say it's awesome. The recipe Alistair gave me I'll give to you. I tweaked the spices some what and I used Italian sausage. One thing I will stress is that when you put it into the oven "do not open the door for at least 25 minutes"
Here is the recipe (it is a Jamie Oliver recipe) that my wife use for our 'Toad in the Hole'.......
sunflower oil (I prefer duck or goose fat but the missus prefers the oil)
8 good quality thick pork sausages (we use Hog Roast sausages from our local butcher)
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 large red onions
2 cloves of garlic
2 knobs of unsalted butter
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 level tablespoon vegetable stock powder or 1 organic vegetable stock cube
285 ml (9.6 fluid ounces) milk
115 g (4.1 ounces) plain flour
3 large free-range eggs (we like duck eggs when they are in season)
Whisk the batter ingredients together with a pinch of sea salt, and put to one side. We like the batter to go huge so the key thing is to have an appropriately-sized baking tin – the thinner the better – as we need to get the oil smoking hot.
Put 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil into a baking tin, then place on the middle shelf of your oven at its highest setting (240–250ºC/475ºF/gas 9). Place a larger tray underneath it to catch any oil that overflows from the tin while cooking.
When the oil is very hot, add the sausages – keep an eye on them and allow them to colour until lightly golden.
At this point, take the tin out of the oven, being very careful, and pour the batter over the sausages. Throw a couple of sprigs of rosemary into the batter.
It will bubble and possibly even spit a little, so carefully put the tin back in the oven, and close the door. Don't open it for at least 20 minutes, as Yorkshire puddings can be a bit temperamental when rising. Remove from the oven when golden and crisp.
For the onion gravy, peel and finely slice the onions and garlic, then simply fry off in the butter on a medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until they go sweet and translucent. You could add a little thyme or rosemary here, if you like. Add the balsamic vinegar and allow it to cook down by half.
At this point, we cheat a little and add a stock cube or powder. Sprinkle this in and add a little water. Allow to simmer and you'll have a really tasty onion gravy.
Serve with mashed potatoes, greens and baked beans!
Toad in the Hole served with onion gravy.
I have written about Cato Corner Farm in the past. It's a small family farm in Colchester CT that makes the finest natural cheeses any where. We stopped there a week or so ago and bought some of their "Jeremy River Cheddar"...I wish I could describe the texture and complexities of this cheese but I can't. Just take my word for it that you will have to look far and wide for anything better. And there is a Jeremy River which flows not to far from the farm. A good trout stream and one that Rowan is familiar with.
Stuffed breads. This one contains onions, peppers, eggplant, sausage and provolone.
The Cinberg, one hell of a brook trout fly. I have written about this quiet Catskill pattern in the past. "The Cinberg Revisited"...it has been featured on the forum "Sparse Gray Matter" which features Catskill flies and histories of the area. It has one slight drawback and that is it's a royal pain to tie. Below is a short video of me fishing the Cinberg on a small stream. I hope you enjoy it.
Monday was my first time fishing in two weeks. The stream chosen was one that I was familiar with. A stream with low banks with areas free of tangles and low brush. We have experienced some decent rainfall over the last two weeks and I did not know how the stream handled it. Winter has a way of thinning lots of dead wood from the trees and it seems like it "always" winds up lodging in the best pools.
The run pictured here has always been productive for me and that's why I chose it to fish first. The large pool with the waterfall is where my fly landed first. The water was fast and it pulled the fly under. I felt the fish take and I lifted the rod up. The brookie was on then off. Many more casts and no repeats. I walked down a bit and cast the fly into a slack piece of water. On the second cast to brookie hit. A very spirited fight took place and this time the fish came to hand.
A pretty little female. She was worth the two week wait.
I have said many times that the riffles are my favorite places to fish. I will spend a lot of time in areas like this. The water is so clear and the sunlight just seems to magnify everything that is in it. The water depth is between 2-5 inches and there are numerous currents and seams within. It is in these currents and seams where brookies will hold on the bottom. The sun working on the water will warm it by a few degrees which may stimulate activity, be it feeding fish or movement of nymphs. One thing that is certain is that fish are in these areas and I can usually fool a few.
I have been some what lax in my duties here at SSR's. I have not written a post in 4 days and that is not like me for sure. It seems a cold has been boxing me for about two weeks. Not to brag now but I think I put the fellow down on the mat for good. Today I will set out to fish a stream, perhaps the one that's pictured here. A lovely place with a some what gentle walk and easy access to the stream. A few things in my favor today are the weather and an overwhelming desire to fish. Now if things turn out OK I may even have a few fish take my fly. I'm going to fish that Rio line today which I'm looking forward to.
The stream has many like this guy swimming within its confines. A good soft-hackle may fool him.
Last night I tied this soft-hackle. A Tups blend of dubbing and a dun hackle. Is it ready for prime time? We shall see.
Good morning all. Just thought I'd share this lovely little stream photo with you. All of that beautiful green on this cold rainy February day. I have not fished in in about two weeks and I must say it did not bother me to much. But today I feel like I could do with a few hours out and about but that's not going to happen for a few days more. But I have a few observations to share with you concerning fly lines. I am not one to buy the top of the line when it comes to fly lines. Fishing small streams does not require a fly line in the 100.00 range. The amount of fishing I do yearly, well weekly that is is about 4-5 days. So a year to a year and a half is a long time for my fly lines. I guess if I took the time to maintain them properly I might get a little longer life out of them.
Being in the market for a new line I picked up a couple of lines on the internet. This one is the Piscifun Sword series. It's a WF3 floating line. I've been using this line for about a month and it has been OK. It's cost was 25.00.
This one is a Rio Mainstream series Trout. It's a WF3 floating. I have never fished Rio lines and I'm excited to try this one soon. This line cost 39.00.
The past week has been been a bit on and off for me. Some kind of bug took hold of me and man it beat the hell out of me. Today I feel like I'm back.
The Partridge and Olive. This is a soft-hackle I have written about in many blog posts. Although it may seem repetitive I can't tell you the importance of this fly. It's a pattern that has caught fish for me wherever I've fished it. It is not just a trout fly but it has taken bass both small and largemouth. Bluegills with rock bass and crappie. It's a fly you should have in your box.
This could be the most beautiful brook trout I've ever caught. The trout was taken from a small stream in the Shenandoah National Park. The trout took a partridge and olive soft-hackle. The fly was cast into a pool. I saw the brookie move towards the fly. He followed it and as the fly came close to the shore I thought the brookie would back off, instead he grabbed it.
When your coming off a bad week, what better way then a hot dog to make you feel better. Do you notice the way the hot dog is cut on the ends? There is a reason.
The Dark Cahill wet fly. This fly has been a staple in my box for well over 25 years. Short story. Back around 1990 while heading to Rangeley Maine for our annual September fishing vacation I stopped at LL Cote's store in Errol NH. I headed to fly bins and and while poking through I came across a wet fly. Just looking at it gave the impression that it was a trout fly, to be more specific a brook trout fly. I bought two flies size 14 and 16....I went on to fish that week using the Dark Cahill and caught many fine brook trout. Since that Maine trip I have had the Dark Cahill wet fly close at hand. The flys origin dates back to the 30's and it's design is credited to Dan Cahill of Port Jervis NY. I guess there are many recipes on how to tie this fly out there but here is the way I tie it.
Hook, any wet fly...Tail, brown hackle or coq de leon...Body, gray dubbing...Wing, Wood duck...Hackle, brown.
Yes folks, here we are in the month of February. January has been kind so my hopes February will follow suit. On the last day of January I fished a small stream that I have a special fondness for. It's flows through a large tract of land that is heavily forested. Most of the tress are hardwoods with a scattering of pine and hemlock. The stream that day was clear and the sun shinning on it made for some wary trout.
A stream that has good flow leading to an undercut with decent depth is a likely brookie holding spot. The fly I had on was a Picket Pin, a wet fly that can also be fished dry. It's peacock body with brown hackle is an attention grabber. A few drifts of the Pin and a fish grabbed it.
The wild brookie at hand was incredible. It's deep olive tones were similar to the moss lined banks of his home.
Who can guess what a brookie will rise to in a small stream in January. I can't. But in this quiet pool were a few of them doing just that. I often if they are actually insects at all. Maybe it's windblown bits of leaf debris or something similar.
I think the Picket Pin looked more like a meal than the leaf debris.
I have written about this stream many times. It flows through a gigantic hemlock forest with some impressive rock formations along its flow. While some of it moves as a swift flowing stream it also has some very nice deep pools. There are times of the year when this stream gets quite low. The lake that feeds water into it ceases during the summer to maintain lake levels. It is at that time when the stream relies on springs and small tributaries to help maintain its flow.
Brookies can usually be found through out the stream most times of the year, even in the dead of winter you can coax a brookie to take a dry fly. On a recent visit I was granted a shut-out during my visit, that is until I reached the area of gorges of which there are a few on this stream. In one of these gorges lies the "Black Hole"...
The "Black Hole" a name given it by Pete. One day while fishing it with Kirk and Pete we observed brook trout of ample size swimming in the pool. Suddenly they would vanish into the black waters hence the name Black Hole. Many currents make up this hole. Water comes in fast and then swirls left then right and circles slow at the tail. The rock ledge will sometimes hold a large brook trout and if your fly drifts near you will get him to take. On this day I manged to take a couple of nice brook trout from the Black Hole.
These two beauties came to hand on a bead head nymph. Wild and strong.