Saturday, October 31, 2020


For  those kids in all of us I wish you Halloween Greetings. I'm going to visit a fly shop today and see what kind of treats I might walk out of there with. It has been a real treat for us in New England these last few days, nature has treated us to inches of rain, and some snow on the back end, I guess that was the well friends.




Thursday, October 29, 2020

Concerns, eased somewhat....

Last August I visited this stream and was shocked. The section you see here was nothing but rocks and puddles. I passed a couple of hikers on the trail that looked at me somewhat funny when they saw a fishing rod in my hand. The summer was not kind in many places in Connecticut. Rainfall was at a premium and streams suffered. But there were also pockets of the state that benefited from thunderstorms that put down an ample amount of rain. This is one stream that did not see those storms.

So when I fished here this week I did not know what I would find. Several places were changed with some of them dramatically. I found a familiar run and tossed my fly into it. I was thrilled when within a few seconds I felt the strike of a fish. The fish was a tiny brook trout. it stayed on for a few seconds and then departed. Moving upstream I encountered several more brookies and soon my first one to hand.



Moving further upstream I came to a familiar section we have referred to as the "black hole". This hole had the reputation of giving up a few big brookies in the past. A streamer was tied on and sent out seeking. The bright fly became lost in the dark water of the stream. A violent strike took place and a good battle was in process. My experience over the years has been that when a big brookie is hooked they will head for the bottom and sulk a bit and then find every bit of cover to attempt to rid themselves of the fly and that's what this guy did.

Impressed, yes I was. A survivor beyond belief. Within an eye blink he was gone back into the "black hole"....

Hey guys want a simple filling and satisfying meal? Toast points covered with cream of mushroom soup. You can add ground beef if you like. On a cold day when this is served hot, "man oh man"


Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Soft hackle feathers part one...mottled

In the craft of tying soft hackle flies one of the alternative types of feathers to use is the game bird. And in the selection of these feathers are the feathers that have a mottled effect which give what I believe  that added life look. The photo above shows several types of feathers from different game birds. The top left shows the woodcock. It's soft brown color and super natural movement in water make it one of the best feather choices for soft hackle flies.  The feathers right below are those of a Grouse. These feathers are a deep brown to almost red. The feathers at top right are partridge. You can see distinct colors in the feathers which were all taken from the same bird. There a dark and light feathers. The partridge is probably the best know feather used in soft hackle patterns. Below are a few soft hackle flies tied with the various feathers above. They all feature a orange silk thread body with natural hare dubbing.



The Orange and Woodcock

The Grouse and Orange

The Partridge and Orange using a gray shoulder feather.

The Partridge and Orange using a brown feather from the back of the bird.


Saturday, October 24, 2020

Where they live...

Some concerns but no worries...because. I fished a stream yesterday for several hours and observed brook trout doing what was necessary to continue life. These fish are so unbelievable in what they are capable of doing under some not so kind conditions. The photo above is a bunch of stream debris that collected where a bunch of stones caused a shallow run. The collection had branches of various sizes as well as leaves this collection caused the stream to flow at a pretty good clip. In the minutes I fished below this woody constriction I observed two brook trout shoot right through this mess. Now you might say well that's life for the wild brook trout and you would be right. Now I may add that this is but one issue they must encounter in the course of their life in not the best of conditions, and they not only handle this issue they exceed. Their tenacity for life is such that I can't find the words to describe it.

So although I have concerns about the wellness of brook trout I'm not worried about their future. For what I have witnessed  in my short time around these creatures they will not be denied life by anything or anybody. But what we can do is make their life easier.....

This pool was right above the first photo. Now experience has led me to believe that brook trout will use a leaf jam like this for a hideout. If the fly come near it usually a strike will happen and it did. Question what type of fly is needed?



Thursday, October 22, 2020

You Can"t Judge a Book Nor Spagetti By The....

It was once said "don't judge a book by it's cover"...well that saying also hold's true for trout flies. A fly when first tied and it sits in the vise is not truly the fly as seen by a trout. When a wet fly, soft hackleis sent into the water it takes on a whole new look. If a dubbing material is used either for the body or thorax is a mixture of synthetic and natural the fibers will come alive. Those dubbing fibers will add movement and also trap air which I believe a a big part of the fly's effectiveness. Insects use air to help aid in the transformation from emerger to adult insect. Trout will key in on those air bubbles and take the fly when it's most vulnerable. Color is a part of the success of a wet fly. Most aquatic insects are of a bland brown color. So choosing a body of brown thread, or dubbing is going to give you a fly that closely resembles a natural insect. There a few exceptions on colors. Orange silk thread can take on a brownish color when wet...purple can also do the same. Below you will see several wet flies in their wet stages.




This simple soft hackle is a very effective fly for me. Brown thread, brown synthetic dubbed thorax and a brown partridge hackle feather.

Even a streamer fly tied with soft hackles, marabou and mallard in this case. Lots of movement and a baitfish profile make this a killer.


Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Looking Back...a small stream angler remembers


A fly rod...a post I did back in 2010. My Orvis Superfine Small Stream fly rod I purchased 30 years ago...the post has seen 6000 page views since published. Yesterday I pulled out the Orvis rod and went to the stream where I fished it back a long time ago. The post was originally posted on a local fly fishing forum in the early 1990's.


This is the wild brown I caught so many years ago.

The run where I took that brown has seen some dramatic changes in the years.

I fished that run again with the 2020 version of that 1990 Orvis rod.

When the fly worked through the riffle and settled in the pool I felt the take. The fish did what most wild browns do it found the nearest cover. Luckily for me it was only a small branch and I was able to bring it to hand.

Could this brown be a descendant of the one taken  there 30 years ago? I really don't know but I like to think it may have been.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

One Hell Of A Bucktail Streamer

Back in 1929 in Portland Maine a fly tyer and fly angler named William Edson created one of the best bucktail streamer flies ever.  This fly has been fished the world over for every game fish that swims. Originally tied for brook trout and salmon it is also great for brown trout and smallmouth bass. I have fished this fly for 40 years and and when I put it to use it does the job. I would say it's the number one brook trout streamer out there. The fly has also accounted for several salter brook trout.

The streamer is named  the "Light Edson Tiger" it's material list consists of yellow bucktail, Wood Duck black and white flank feathers. peacock herl and red saddle hackle feathers. It can be tied with brass eye as Bill Edson used or with a jungle cock eye, or you can tie it without the eyes.




Here are three versions of the Edson Light Tiger. Top is plain, middle is with jungle cock and the bottom has brass eyes. And in the photo is an area where I have fished this fly many, many times.

Here is an old photo probably the early 1990's...I was fishing a stream with the Edson Tiger. A small brown trout took the streamer and while I was bringing it in a larger brown slammed the small brown. I was able to bring the two in for a photo.



Thursday, October 15, 2020

Small Stream Reflections "an October day"....

Looking into a quiet pool of a stream. The trees of autumn reflecting as if an artist was at work. This is a look into what a day as such can mean to all who give it a try. The morning was cool on this Farmington river tributary. The sun made it's debut and with it's angle now gave the term "shadow" a new meaning. Although very bright there were many dark places within the stream. The rocks along the edge the stream glistened as if they were ice covered and though they were not they still required careful stepping for they were slick. Slippery rocks are natures way of slowing down a small stream angler so as to allow him to take in all the beauty that surrounds him. 

In a pool like this you could choose a dry fly or a wet fly and be able to fish them both with equal success. The wet fly would probably bring you more activity where as the dry fly would bring you an explosive surface take.



A mini leaf jam. These are common this time of year and each one seems more beautiful then the next.

A brookie that took a soft hackle.

The fast water where it enters the pool is always a great place to fish. This day I chose to tie on a bright yellow dry fly. After several casts the fly was taken with a splashy rise.

This male could not resist the dry fly. It is now mid October, only a short time remains in this "glorious season".....


Monday, October 12, 2020

A Title, A Way Of Fishing, And A way Of Life

"Simple Flies" by Morgan Lyle is one of the better books that have been written in a last decade. It's title is what it is about. I know that many books are written and have titles that are not what the book is about. Going into this book the one finds all that is necessary to tie a fly using few materials and take this fly and catch fish most anywhere it's fished. Mr. Lyle goes into the tools, materials and techniques needed to tie flies without breaking the bank. Anglers and fly tyers featured in the book are real...they live and fish simple flies. I have found this book interesting and very informative. It's an easy read without complicated techniques or materials that can not be purchased anymore or if they can they are so expensive...

The sub title of the book is "easy to tie patterns that catch fish" so true my friends. And the fly on the cover is a CDC elk hair caddis, enough said.



So simple, so effective. I hate to keep saying this, it's sort of like "beating a dead horse"...I believe this totally.

A tenkara style fly and it can be fished on conventional fly gear.



Saturday, October 10, 2020

Wild Thoughts...

Walking to the stream. Pine needles and fallen leaves carpet the ground. I feel such walks enhance my times fishing. My mood is placed in total relaxation and if a fish is caught so be it. But already the trip has been a success. I know most of us get the same feelings and that is the greatness when one becomes part of something so much bigger but yet it's so small.

Such outings like this I remember so vividly, like it was just happening. In the series of  photos I hope you'll find the same feeling of satisfaction and peace that I find out along a small stream.



The season can be seen upon this rock. Multi colored leaves awaiting their final place in the seasons end.

Such a tangled mess. To the trout who live within the waters it is a safe haven.

A young wild brown trout that called that tangled mess within the stream "home" think he may very well live his total life within a few yards from where he was caught.



Wednesday, October 7, 2020

The "Futsu Kebari" and Other Musings

In this photo you can see a waterfall. The stream that flows above this gorge that is the spillway of the Hogback Res. is a stream that I have fished twice. I was told that it never dries up and it's flow is pretty consistent. The times I fished it I caught some beautiful brookies, but what I most remember is the trek into that stream. I was a lot younger and now that I'm writing this I get pains in the knees and my backside from sliding down the ridges. It's a stream I would gladly share with an adventurous soul. There are some awesome views back there.



The Futsu Kebari...I think that's what these flies are called. A simple thread body and hackle. The thread is silk and it's wrapped with a somewhat large long head. The hackle is dry fly rooster wound on using 3-4 turns. Even though the hackle is dry fly, the fly itself is a wet fly. There is probably a reason for it but I'm not certain of it.

Here is a Futsu Kebari tied using a dubbed body. The dubbing used is a  mix of life cycle nymph dubbing and Shetland spindrift wool, "thanks Lou"...this fly was featured in a post not long ago.

This orange blonde Futsu Kebari was a killer for me the other day. What surprised me was the amount of salmon parr-smolts that this fly brought to me.

Are you ready for some brown trout? These guys are really showing up.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Deerfield Headwaters...Tiny Tenkara And Brook Trout

Saturday Jeanette an I took a drive up north to visit some streams that feed the Deerfield river. The morning featured some heavy fog in some areas but the promise of sparkling fall weather helped clear the fog in mind and eventually the skies cleared and set forth the start of a very memorable day. The foliage was sort of dull probably the cause of dry conditions of late summer. Still there were pockets of brilliant colors. The water conditions were fairly good with flows that were adequate.

We turned off the main road and drove up along a larger tributary. A few miles on that small road we came upon a bridge that crossed the stream. I sopped the car and got out to check things out when I heard two very large dogs bark. Looking about I saw a large fenced field, a small barn and a house. That is when I saw a man with the dogs coming towards me. The man introduced himself and said he was the owner of the farm. We talked for awhile and he spoke of the changes that have taken place over the  many years. He asked if we were here to view the foliage and I said yes but also we were here to fish. He said he was not a fisherman but gave me some advice on where to fish. As it turned out his advice put me onto a beautiful stream.



He told me where to drive and said not to be concerned about the conditions on the road. He assured me I would have no issues. He was right.

The stream was gorgeous. The access was near the road and did not present any problems with access. The stream was full of little plunges and pockets which were perfect for fishing with my Tiny Tenkara rod. I used an elk hair caddis to start the day, and would have stayed with it all day if I had not lost it to a stream bed rock.

My first brookie to hand. The sections of this stream I fished were full of these precious little guys.

This is pretty much how the stream looked. In those little pools were waiting brookies.

So very dark, and so very pretty.

 Lunch...these taste like steak when your hungry.

Another jewel, this is where the caddis bit the dust and the real action started.

This section of stream produced a great deal of action. In a 20 yard span I must have hooked a dozen brookies. One fish in particular to the fly and danced about like a small salmon. I thought it may have been just that.

When it came to hand it turned out to be a light colored brookie, that was easily the largest fish of the day.

The Tiny Tenkara rod got quite the workout that day and handled it well.

This is the fly that worked very well that day. The style this Tenkra fly has a name but it has slipped my mind right now. I will post the recipe in my next blog.