Sunday, March 29, 2020

It's just a book. No it's so much more.

It has been almost five years now that I've had this book in my possession. "The North Country Fly" by Robert L. Smith. This book has opened a whole new world of fly tying, fishing and history for me. Not since I read Graydon Hilyard's book on Carrie Stevens has a book been such a big part of my fly tying and fishing life. The history of these simple little flies is just incredible. Robert Smith has brought the North Country Fly through his words and pictures fore front in this anglers life.

The "spiders" can be somewhat difficult to tie in the sense that some of the materials can be almost impossible to find, and if you are lucky to locate them the cost will kind of set you back. Being resourceful you can find alternatives that will accomplish the job and produce a fine representation.

I love tying these "spiders", small bits of angling history. Most times when presented to the local trout population they are gobbled up quickly. They are delicate and sort of frail looking but believe me they can get it done.

A lovely piece of "Spider" art by Hans Skovlin....

A workhorse of the last couple of weeks. "Partridge and Orange" with peacock thorax.

A soft-hackle dry fly...a "jingler" in disguise?

"Trout Lillies" I saw these yesterday while fishing a stream. The flowers should bloom soon.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Rainy Day Brookies

Again those weather guys nailed it "wrong"...The day was supposed to be pretty much dry at least for the morning. I arrived at the stream and the sky was nasty looking, but I put on the rain gear, got the rod and set off. Twenty steps and it started to drizzle and drizzle it did for four hours. I was there and I was going to fish. The stream was flowing a bit high, the clarity clear. I figured the pools would probably be my best picks for finding fish so that's where I concentrated my time. I had a nymph on because that's the fly I fished last on my previous outing. Several places which looked promising turned out to be a bust. In a slick spot behind a boulder I had a hit.

Lifting the rod tip I felt the tug of a brookie. A few seconds later and I had my first fish. Those nymphs work, and I don't even know what I'm doing when I fish them. The bottom of the streams are graveyards for my nymphs and the pheasant tail I was using joined several others.

Bridges, never pass up fishing under those bridges. I had several responses and eventually a brookie took the fly.

A nice fish for this stream.

There was a great deal of quality water in the stream this day. Some hookups and some LDR's.

Snack time. Pepperoni it's portable and tasty even in the rain.

A strange pool. Almost all bedrock. I think there may be six complimentary pieces of gravel in it. But it was deep.

And there was a brookie in that pool and I was thrilled to catch it.

As I got closer to the car the rain picked it is going to be sunny and warm, maybe....

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Something else to focus upon...

Focus here for a few moments, clear your head. Everything is going to be fine.

Little White Spiders. A pretty fair fly to use when ever you see white may flies about. And the stone came from the stream above.

Little Brown Spiders. Just think of how many brown flies you encounter while fishing. The simplicity of these two spiders does not lessen their effectiveness.

Sunday, March 22, 2020


Oh my...there is snow in our forecast this week. Yes the local weather guys say anywhere from 1 to 6 inches depending where you live. You want change in New England wait a few hours.

I have been fishing quite a bit over the last week and have had some good days and some days where they were not so good. March can be a difficult month to figure out what trout will take and what time of day they will take it. It is on those days when success is slow and a bit of frustration is setting in. It is those times when you look into the fly box for a fly that will turn around your day. A fly that may be a large colorful streamer, perhaps a small dark nymph, maybe a tiny midge dry. I looked in and saw a dry fly that I like and have confidence in. The thing is that fly is truly a warm weather one and 50 degree weather is not cold but not ideal for this fly.

This stream has a population of wild brown and brook trout. I like fishing this stream a great deal but it's quite far from home. So my big travel cup filled with black coffee I headed out to try the stream. Perfect conditions, weather and stream. Like I said above it was a tough day bite wise. I had 1 bump on a soft-hackle and that was it. It was then when I reached into my box a selected the fly that saved the day. Tied on the fly and drifted it along the calm side of the pool. I saw the flash of a trout and then he was gone. A few more casts and I had a trout chase the fly as I was retrieving it. Perhaps 10 more casts and the fly was nailed. The fish went airborne and actually did a very good job of trying to throw the hook.

In moments I was able to slide my hand under a true living wild jewel. And in the corner of his mouth was a Cinberg....

Why did this fly work that day, I don't know, I'm glad that it did.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

In Time,

My goodness just look at this tangled mess. As a child we often played pick-up-sticks. Holding the bunch of colored sticks in hand and releasing them to fall where they may. Looking at this stream gives me the feeling someone higher may have been playing the same game. But it is such places I seek, for when here I'm certain no one else will be in front of or behind me. The sounds will be of those heard in the natural world. The odd smells will be those of decaying wood, and vegetation. The bright smells will be those of pine and hemlock. I choose places like these for reasons I have stated, but there are much more. There are creatures who live within the waters of these tiny streams. Creatures of unbelievable beauty. They have been pushed back into these streams by known sources, sources I'll leave for you to decide. But I'm glad in a way that these places exist for every time I visit one I can refresh and fill a spot in my body that few things can bring.

There's no comparison in nature as a wild brook trout. His struggle well documented within the journals of biologists and anglers who seek him.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Do You Stop By Here?

Good morning to all of us Irish. Today we are all Irish, and may St. Patrick shine on us all. We had corned beef and cabbage last night and so this morning I enjoyed a delicious corned beef hash. Boy the second and third day of this tasty meat just seems to be better and better.

Small Stream Reflections has become a favorite place to stop by those from New England and beyond. A great deal of readers from all over the US as well as worldwide readers. I get emails from the UK, Czech Republic, Argentina, Australia, Canada, and Scandinavia. Many of these folks fish small streams in their countries. What a great group of people. Many of these readers send me photos as well as flies and stories. I'd like to share a couple of them with you.

This beaming young man is Hans. He hails from Montana. Hans is a senior in high school and is a fine fly fisher as well as a fine fly tyer. Pretty nice wild cutthroat there.

Hans and his friend in a very high place. If I remember right that is the lake where the cutthroat was taken. It's great to see so much enthusiasm in these young men...more of this is needed. Thanks guys.

A few flies from a gentleman in Oregon were in the mail. Lou is a Fran Betters fan and it shows in the construction of this fly. This fly is sure to cause a little havoc in the local brookie pool. I love the tapered thread body.

Some "brown and whites"...spare time put to good use.

All brook trout are gorgeous. But the small ones are just a little bit more so. This is one I caught recently that was outstanding.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

A Fine Outing

Could spring be close? Seeing a lot of green sprouts and budding trees makes me say yes it is. On a recent outing I found some willing participants in a lovely stream that flows through areas of rock and laurel. In various places it is gentle with slow riffles and in others there are boulders and impressive pocket water. Anyone who has followed this blog for a time knows that my favorite areas of a stream are the riffles. I love fishing riffles in any season. They are almost always productive, and your mistakes are never detected and used against you. In small streams riffles are food factories. Most times when you lift stones from the bottom you'll find lots of little critters upon them. I'm no scientist but I also think that insects use the riffles to launch themselves to adults. Well anyway I love fishing them.

The fish taken this day all came from the riffles. This male took a soft-hackle drifted in the currents, and struck it mid-way through the drift.

A super stretch of this stream. I could fish here for an hour, well that may be an exaggeration but I'll say quite awhile.

I can find brookies like this in places pictured above.

On certain days I need only one fly. Some days that fly might be a dry a wet or a spider like this.

And if that fly finds it's way near a holding fish you can bet it will be taken. This lovely lady grabbed the Partridge and Orange and proceeded to show me what a fight was. She actually took line of the reel. It has been a long time since a small stream brookie did that. I slid my hand under her belly and said thank you. She allowed me the photo and then flipped her strong tail and was back in the stream.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

More Spiders, Orange Silk and A Dish That's Simply Everything

While fumbling around the internet I came upon a book that grabbed my interest. I had never seen anything written about this book which I thought to be strange. But looking further I found a copy of it and it sounded interesting and the price was right so I purchased it. The book named "Year of the Spider" by Phillip Storey puts a different slant on the North Country Fly. The book is a journal and tells of the anglers use of the spiders over the year. It also shows a different look of these spiders as tied by him. Maybe not a classic I still found it to be another look at these wonderful simple flies.

As you can see the flies look somewhat different than the North Country Spiders we commonly see.

The "Snipe Bloa" as tied from the book. The hackle is quite long and swept back. I'll give the fly a run and see what happens.

Have you tried getting YLI orange silk?

Mushroom Risotto....this is a dish you just have to try.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

The "Carot".....

In a recent post on spiders a particular pattern generated an email from a reader of SSR's. The email told me of a similar pattern that he used on the west coast. It had the basic color the fly but also had a bead, a nymph pattern. Well the old brain got to thinking and I put his ideas along with a few of mine together and came up with a large wet fly using partridge hackle, and along with some orange dubbing to create a fly that will have success when I choose to use it.

A test of the fly brought a lot of interest from both brook trout and fallfish.

The "Carot", The hook is a Firehole #718 size 12. the body is orange silk thread, and the thorax is orange dubbing, the hackle is gray partridge.

When wet the Carot takes on the look of a small baitfish, and that's what the fish were taking it for in my opinion.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

The "Wheatley" and....

Several years ago I was gifted a Wheatley fly box for Christmas. It's made of aluminum and has metal clips to hold various sizes of flies. I use the box to carry wet flies, spiders, flymphs and small streamers. The metal clips hold the flies very well and I have not noticed any damage to the hackles or any rust. The box being aluminum it is quite strong, and even though I have dropped it several times there is not a dent on it. Another feature of this box is that it has holes in various places which allows for the drying of the flies after use. The box holds about 80 flies which is more than ample even on streams with the most selective of trout. The box fits nicely in any shirt pocket as well as my small pack.

What I'm most happy about the Wheatley is the fact that it will someday be passed along to one of my family members. A heirloom that no one can fix a price on. The stories that may be told of the flies, fishing and places the Wheatley has been will be cherished by those who will hold the Wheatley.

I received an email yesterday from a reader. And I thought I'd express what I feel. The thought was that rock walls were safer than old rusty barbed wire. I believe his words were "barbed wire just rusts" but "stone walls age with character"....this stone wall runs along side of a stream I frequent. I often will sit here and just let my mind wander. No particulars just let it happen. Fifteen minutes of quiet and the world is a better place....what say you.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

A Hazard And A good Outcome....all in a day of a small stream angler

What a lovely walk, pines, hemlock, oaks and all of those fragrant smells of the forest that can intoxicate. Such was that day when I chose to fish this wooded stream. I really love days when I can fish and the only things I encounter are natural, and wild. The area in which this stream flows is a some what popular hike for some folks but at this time of year not many use it.

The stream is lined with laurel in some places and in other areas it's pretty open.

It did not take long for the brookies to find my offering. This male fought like Mike Tyson as I was bringing him in. Tough guy who had some impressive scarring along his sides.

Connecticut was once a big farming state. Much of the land is now back where it belongs...woods, woods and more woods. Along the stream there are remnants of old farms and lots of barbed wire. Most times I see it and avoid it. This day it was not in my sight. I stepped off the bank and into a deep hole. As my body slipped I fell back and my hand and fingers found the barbed wire. I composed myself and then realized I had been injured.

There were two fingers that were ripped open and the bleeding was profuse. My option was to get back to the car where I could tend to the wound. So as I walked the finger kept bleeding. The walk was not to long and soon I was at the car. I had all that was necessary to treat and bandage to wound.

I went back and continued fishing.

I'm happy to say that a week later and the fingers are doing well.