Thursday, February 25, 2021

Back in the saddle again or back in the stream again...

Good morning folks. Well after two plus weeks I finally got out to do some fishing. I want to tell you I was wound up tighter then a drum from being indoors for that amount of time. I mean fly tying and reading along with some minor home repairs just does not replace being outdoors and fishing. The day was perfect, I hit the parking turnoff and it was muddy. This is good because the overnight temps were above freezing. As I was gearing up I felt a slight breeze and it was actually comfortable. Starting time temps were in the mid forties. I started fishing my normal places riffles and tailouts. The fly was a soft hackle and that's pretty much what I stayed with. Various colors and sizes were tried and some proved to be better choices then others.

What was enjoyable was the fact that I was able to get on the banks and walk. The snow had obviously melted some since the last time I fished. It felt good getting back to almost normal.




Water levels were good and the color outstanding. Snow melt can cause off colored water and luckily it had not got to that point.

The first brookie in two plus weeks. Man did that feel good.

This guy got my attention as I got close. He appeared to eating something near the waters edge. He kept an eye on me and then finished what he was doing then took flight. I not certain but could this be a falcon?

You can see just how beautiful the woods can be even in late February.

I approached this likely looking pool and woody debris trap with good thoughts. As I scoped it out something swam upstream in a hurry. Thoughts of beaver? No it was a brookie of at least 15". In my older years the one thing that has always stayed sharp is my outdoor eyes. This was a big fish.

I knew I was not the day to catch the one that slipped away but a spot like this had to hold one or two more brookies. So out went the wet fly and the swing then pause and lift. The water erupted and the fight was on. Bigger fish will head for the nasty stuff but this one just held his ground and dogged. He chose to move up and back. I had full control and was confident of actually seeing him up close.

He was a very respectable small stream wild brookie. So healthy and an impressive hook on the upper jaw. Should be a sight come October.

This turned out to be a day that the "fly doctor" would have prescribed.


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

When the page is turned....

As humans we see and process things differently. There are times when I see something and react to it. A few hours or days or even longer I'll look at it and see something entirely different. It is the same as far as information is processed in our minds. Hear something and react to it. Several days later and after some thought come to a different result. The issue is that when your only offered one perspective it it difficult to reach another conclusion.

I know from many years of on the job training to not look at what is first seen is being "that's it"...when the page is turned it may be whole new book. The photos seem to be placed here randomly but on the contrary. There is a reason for why they were selected and how they were placed.












Saturday, February 20, 2021

Such a great fly that no one knows of.......

The Lackawaxen river in Rowlands PA. The river is high a combination of heavy rain and discharge from lake Wallenpaupack. The building you see part of is Bright Shop. It is along this wall that I was shown the massive hatch that came off the day before. The building was covered with bugs. It is then that Charlie Bright told me of the Lackie Special. I wrote a post that was submitted to one of the many fly fishing forums I had been a part of. Since the last post on this blog a couple of days ago I have been trying to locate that thread. My efforts have been unsuccessful. One reader of a New Jersey fly forum somehow found a thread of the river but not the fly. The thread of the river was from 2011.

Over many years I have taken big beautiful trout from that river. But one of the best days I was given the opportunity to catch a fish that was a true monster. Not to far from where this picture was taken the Lackawaxen merges into the Delaware river. There was a small restaurant and a couple of shops the afforded me access to the river. The river here is pretty rough and wading is not the best method of fishing it. So I hopped on the rocks and fished it that way. I selected a Gray Ghost streamer, rumor was that large brown trout would move up from the Delaware and were taken from the area I was fishing. I cast the streamer  and within seconds the current pulled it under. My retrieve brought nothing. This same action produced the same results. The thought came into mind of putting on a split shot to bring the streamer down. That idea quickly was thrown out because I had left the shot in the car. So I tried fishing closer to the bank, which was almost all boulders. That proved to be a better idea. The fly moved slower and deeper. After several more casts I took a strong strike, fish on. The fish attempted to get into the middle of the river. Run, dive and repeat. It took me some time to get control and as the fish  moved in closer I could see one heck of a brown. The brown lay there calmly and I reached to lift him up. As my hand entered the water that brown ran. Within a heartbeat he was in center river headed south. The fish broke off with the Gray Ghost in its jaw.

That was my only streamer. Looking into the fly box I saw a Lackie Special. I know big browns like meat but they also will take flies that they are familiar with. With the Lackie Special tied on I continued to fish. I caught a couple of smaller rainbows and some rock bass. I cast to a large boulder about a quarter way to center. There was a nice eddy there and the went down and sort of lingered there. I pulled back and all hell broke loose. That fish headed for the nastiest part of the river. Such strong currents I have never fished. In the back of my mind was the picture of a big brown with a Gray Ghost in his lip. That thought was quickly erased when the fish broke water. A foot out of the water and clearly saw a smallmouth bass. My goodness this has to be a dream...I battled that fish for some time and he knew jut where to take me. I was in a bad position because I could not move along the stream. I relied on my skill with rod and a good reel drag. I can't tell you the time it took to get this bass to give up but I was glad it was over. I lifted him up, his dripping wet bronze flanks were tense. I could see the Lackie Special in his mouth along his tongue. I did not have a camera but a patron of the restaurant gave me an applause.




Looking into several boxes I found these Lackie Specials. These were obviously tied about 2016.

Here are the materials needed to tie the Lackie Special. A curved hook, this one is a TMC200R #12...The dubbing is life cycle nymph, but the original used hares mask...The tail is wood duck as is the wing. The collar is a dun hen hackle, but you could use cream colored hen.

I tied these yesterday....

My research into this great pattern is on going.


Wednesday, February 17, 2021


They say that tomorrow is promised to no one, but yesterday is forever.

On these long winter days which turn into long winter nights I sometimes drift back to some of most memorable times in life. Memory is a funny thing. It's like a closet. There's stuff in there and although it may be dusty it will still shine clear when dusted off.


 This little fly shop on the banks of a Pennsylvania trout river is where I found a fly that has been in my box for thirty years. I never knew the fly's name until recently. I was fishing the river and noticed lots of dead flies on the side of the building. I went inside and met the owner of the shop. We talked for awhile and he suggested I try a wet fly that worked well in the river. I'm sure he told me the name but I had forgotten it. Well I fished that fly in that river and soon found out what the term sore arms meant. The river still flows but sadly the shop has gone.

The "Lackie Special" the name of that wonderful wet fly I was introduced  to thirty years ago. The name comes from the river...the Lackawaxen in the Poconos of Pennsylvania.

Over the decades I have hunted and fished the Poconos of Pennsylvania. I have found some beautiful streams with lovey wild trout. It is hard to say which is the best, but as to which is the most beautiful it by far and away this one. I have fished every pool and riffle along it's course. Early on I would catch brookies and browns. As the years progressed the brookies became scarce but the browns thrived. One of the better pools is pictured here. It now has been several years since I last fished here but I hope to change that this year.


Monday, February 15, 2021

The March Brown

The March Brown a fly that is tied and fished in many parts of this world. It is tied as a dry fly a nymph and a soft hackle. Now if that isn't enough it's also tied differently it seems by every fly tyer. I'm not sure who is responsible for the original creation but I am certain that the original pattern is not what we see today. Well I'll leave that for the fly historians. The several books I have show the March Brown tied like these. Oh by the way where did the name March Brown come from.... One of the books state that this mayfly is on our streams here in the northeast from about mid May through June. There are variations of this fly that show up until September. I personally start fishing it in February, and really start throwing it when I first see the Trillium in bloom. Below are a few variations of the March Brown.



This one is tied with pheasant tail fibers for the tail. The ribbing is holographic tinsel which give the impression of trapped air bubbles. The hackle is mottled hen.

This fly is tied with  hen hackle fibers for the tail. The dubbing has a sparkle to it, The rib is small copper wire and the hackle is a brown back feather from a partridge.

This fly is tied with a fibers from a wood duck. The rib is copper wire. It has a wing of wood duck and the hackle is also a brown back feather from a partridge.


Friday, February 12, 2021

It's cold outside. Pick up a book....

Little Rivers, a book written over a century ago is responsible for my inspiration in writing this post. I am always amazed by how much anglers and writers knew about what happens along the banks of a small stream. It must have been their passion for all of nature that caused them to seek these happenings and then to write about them. I would like to add that their writing was articulate, precise and thought provoking. In reading Little Rivers I have found references to what is natural and how to apply that which is natural to the world of angling and fly tying. It's said that if you take the time to observe and listen to you wild surroundings it will teach you more than you'll ever learn from a book or a class.

The enjoyment I derive from reading these old books can not be measured. It will always hold my interest to learn what these anglers knew and try to put them in my 21st century goings on.

If you look at the words behind the flies you'll see what inspired me to tie them. The words are eloquent.

Again the words carry forth my vision in the flies tied.

And on this page it was clear that the writer was speaking of brook trout when the words were written. The flies speak to the brook trout in their color and design.


Monday, February 8, 2021

Perhaps it's not looking like it should?

I have been reading John Atherton's book The Fly and The Fish and I have found some of his written words that have matched mine. He was way ahead of his time when he wrote about the fly, both alive and the one tied by the angler. He tells about seeing a mayfly and describes it like was an exquisite creature, the wings were nearly transparent, of iridescent pearly color. The upcurved body was shaded darker on the back tapering slender whisks of a long tail.All of it's legs were marked with color, speckled and delicately shaded....his description is that of an adult mayfly, but those same characteristics apply to that mayfly as it emerges from it's nymph stage. So as you see in the first photo of a Partridge and Orange spider the sparse delicate imitation of that delicate mayfly Atherton described.



Heavily hackled flies have an appeal to most fishermen, and there are probably numerous reasons why the heavily hackled flies are desired. But when it comes to the true likeness of the natural it's the sparsely tied spider that will win the game.

The wild brown trout. Is there any fish that swims that is more wary, more cunning and possess more stream savvy that the brown...the sparse Partridge and Orange spider fooled him.

40 days 'til spring.


Friday, February 5, 2021

The land of a thousand dances, the fish of a thousand casts and the day of a thousand flies...well..

Yesterday was the first day out since the nor'easter we had on Monday. The sun was out and the air temperature was near 40 which is quite nice for this time of year. The issue today was going to be the snow one of which was a place to park. I did manage to find a cozy opening where my Honda was out of trouble. The next issue was going to be getting to the stream. The snow was deep I estimate it to be 12-14". It was soft and fluffy and I was able to move along without any real problems. There was one set of human boot prints as I got closer to the stream. I guess it was a hiker and not a fisherman.

I had taken my Tiny Ten today for I was anxious to try out my new line which is a Clearstream Uni Thread furled leader. This one is a 7' in a light yellow color. The color would allow me to see it better on the stream, which it did. I stepped into the stream and made my first cast. It was great to see the line move through the water. I fished and fished. I changed flies and changed flies. And I cast and I cast. And the one constant was nothing. Not even a bump. A snag on a rock gave me a rush but that was not what I was seeking. What did these fish want?



I may have answered that question as I observed these little bugs walking on the snow. I guess it's size to be a 20...forget about it....

Time to take a break and figure something out going forward.

The strategy was to tie on a fly and just fish it.

That was done and about a half hour later I got a strike. He was on momentarily but soon slipped the hook. Maybe ten minutes later as the fly moved along a bank I saw the flash and take of a brook trout.

What a jewel. "Were it worth it" hell yes.

The stream in brook trout forest was tough today but it did yield one of it's special creatures.


Tuesday, February 2, 2021


Groundhog day....I think he will stay in his den and let us crazies figure out if we will have an early spring. This is my deck yesterday a 4pm...I guess there to be a foot of snow. This morning I can't open the door, the snow drifted up against it. Needless to say there will be no fishing today, tomorrow perhaps. February being the month of my birth I have been searching the net for some things to buy, anticipating a little cash from birthday gifts. I'm looking to buy another Wheatley fly box. These fly boxes I hope to leave as a little treasure to my children. Also in the list are a few tying materials. One desperate item is a Hare's Mask....



The "February Red"...I'm not sure who created it but I found it in Dave Hughes book "Wet Flies"...this fly works all year....maybe it should be called the 12 month fly...

The "Takayama Sakasa Kebari" I hope I spelled it right. This fly works well for me in the colder months.

Steve Z.  A fellow that I have associated with for a good many years. Way back on the days of Fly Addict forum we exchanged many views and thoughts on small stream fishing. Steve authored a piece for TU's "TROUT" magazine on me. The article was about all that is small stream fly fishing. The passion and the stealth, the dedication to mini trout, the conservation of their habitat and so on. Here he is on my home waters with a wild jewel. Where are you Steve?