Monday, March 29, 2021

The "Trickle"....

The next time you drive or walk over one of those little flows of water stop a moment and peer in. The small spring seep with a few pools is one I have visited many times. On most occasions I see a frog, maybe a snake and a few minnows, but there are times when I see a few rise forms. It is when I see the rise that I try to follow up a bit and check them out. Most times what ever is rising has left the area, where they go is beyond me. I have long said that brook trout can survive in almost no water, as long as what water there is is below 70 degrees. The trickle you see here is about the same all year. it's flows may increase some in times of heavy rain but it soon reverts back to what you see here. There are some springs that feed ground water into it and that helps to keep the waters cool.

On this day the rises were pretty consistent and what was hatching had to be small for I could not see anything. Where the "trickle" flows under the trail there is a culvert. The culvert was placed in there with the fish in mind. It was designed to allow a natural unobstructed way for the fish to move up and down as needed.



As I peered through the  tangles I saw this fellow hanging out on the culvert. I was certain he saw me but he made no effort to flee. I'm certain he is not a resident of the "trickle" but instead migrated up from the larger stream in which the "trickle" empties. My question is, why would a brook trout leave the security of a larger body of water to ascend into a little "trickle"? Another mystery surrounding the brookie.


Friday, March 26, 2021

Fly Fishing

Romantic how can a word like that be used when the first picture you see is a messy desk with nothing that could be close to romantic, with exception of the awesome cup of coffee. But fly fishing is one of those sports that encompasses the word romantic unlike any other. It seems to me at least that there is so much more to it then the final objective which is catching a fish. There are many publications and various other media outlets that show just the big catch. It seems to show the end result as the highlight of the fishing trip. Fly fishing tends to show the other aspects to our "passion"...there is so much more for the fly angler to grasp while in the pursuit of his end result.


To see the wild flowers in an undisturbed state....not on wicked tuna.



A bamboo fly rod which has a life of it's own. This life can not be described but if you have ever fished one you will no what I'm talking about.

Fly fishing art, it comes in many forms and there are no bad pieces. Art comes in many forms but the simple elegant drawing of a streamer fly is at the top. This is a drawing by Armando Milosevic.

A trout stream. While there are those who will focus on the pool above or below I like to focus on the rough riffle in between.
A fancy gourmet meal, maybe not to a chef, but to a fly fisher this is one hell of a meal.

The fly..probably the most recognized part of fly fishing. They are a true form of art when the heart and soul goes into creating it by the tyer.

Not the big tuna or marlin. No it's probably the most beautiful fish that swims.

Fly fishing literature...more books have been written on one form of angling then any other. Many books can now be read online but I still prefer holding a book when I read.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Red Brook Needs Our Help Now.....

My fellow anglers, conservationists and those who just love the natural outdoors I'm asking a favor of you to help save Red Brook and it's salter brook trout. There is a plan to develop 275 acres of land in the head waters of Red Brook. The development will draw water from the aquifer that supplies the cold spring waters that are needed for the survival of Red Brook's salters. As I write this it feels personal, I mean my love of the Lyman Reserve, Red Brook and those truly unique brook trout that swim its waters have been written about many many times here and other forums. To try and describe how I felt the first time I visited Red Brook and saw just how beautiful and wild this small area is. And when I managed to fool my very first Red Brook brook trout is something that is very hard for me to put into words. Jeanette and I have visited Red Brook several times a year for over a decade. As a matter of fact the first time we visited there they had just completed the removal of one of the many dams on this brook. Over the years we have met many fine people while at Red Brook. One in particular stands out. There was a grandmother and her very young grand daughter. They were walking along the path and the child reached out to pick a wild flower. The grandmother stopped and explained to the child that those flowers were beautiful and that everyone who walked along the trail enjoyed them. But she said if you pick them then no one else can share in their beauty. 

So by this development that only benefits a few it takes away from all of us. I know many of you can never visit Red Brook but care deeply for wild things. The wild salters of Red Brook need your help.

Below I'll post some links that I hope you'll take the time to check out.




A Red Brook salter

Letter to the editor, Ken Buckland 


Thank you for whatever you do. It will help to show a strong show of support especially from out of state anglers.


Monday, March 22, 2021

Springs first day...

The first day of spring arrived in what I would call nothing short of beautiful. I mean the sun was bright the air was fresh, the birds were singing in earnest. I even saw some skunk cabbage popping up through the leaf litter. As i walked along the stream I had that feeling that all was well with the world. Nature has a way of bringing out the best even in situations that could be quite bad. Brilliant sunshine also can lift ones inner spirits and it sure did for me on that day.


The stream was in wonderful condition. But some rain would be welcomed.

The brookies were very willing to play and although small they were a joy to catch.

I met one of the landowners where the stream passes. When I was approached I though for sure I was going to be asked to leave but that was not the case. The woman told me that she as a child fished the same stream. She told me of the countless "natives" that were in the pools. She said she would throw worms into the pools and watch the brookies just go crazy for them. We chatted for awhile and she told me that I could access the stream anytime I liked.

This was a real nice fish. His color was outstanding for the time of year as was his girth. I have caught hundreds of these "natives" and they still thrill the hell out of me.



Friday, March 19, 2021

You figure it out...I'll fish.

Insect hatches, I will tell you I don't know to much about them. I can recognize a mayfly from a caddis fly and a stonefly is pretty easy to identify. But I can't tell the difference between a Hendrickson or a brown quill. What I will say is I can pretty much match whatever is out there just by using size and general color of the insect. Now we all know that predators key in on weakness, and trout are predators. They will seize that opportunity when the insect is most vulnerable. As a nymph moves toward the surface and attempts to break its case it is in an awkward state. It's wings may have broken free but they are weak and it is at this point when the trout feast. This is why I have come to the conclusion that fishing soft-hackles may be the only fly you really need to fish.

The four flies in the picture kind of cover most situations on the small streams I fish. The various colors which by the way change when wet and the various hackles used also differ when wet. Some of the hackles are tied in sparse and others are dense. Again this is good for the ones that are dense tend to ride near the surface and the sparse ones tend to sink. This is my opinion and is far from scientific. But this I will say it is based on experience.

The Tiny Ten was in action....

I fished the other day and had a fairly good day. Using the flies pictured I managed many strikes and five solid hookups. The only issue was none came to hand.

It's going to be a good weekend weather wise so I hope those that can do get out.


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

St. Patrick's Day

Corned beef and cabbage is a traditional Irish meal. It's highlighted on St. Patrick"s Day but as we all know it's great most any day. The corned brisket with cabbage potatoes carrots and other root vegetables you wish to add is a comforting meal. This dish also has a New England following. The meal was served weekly usually on a Sunday. The name used to describe it was a "New England Boiled Dinner"...corned beef was used but also smoked ham and my favorite which was a smoked shoulder. A company in Massachusetts named "Triple M" and one in Connecticut named "Copaco" proudeced the best smoked shoulders money could buy.

Today everyone is Irish....Happy St. Patrick's Day.



Monday, March 15, 2021

Mr. Gartside's Miracle

The "master" as he is often called, Jack Gartside has several books devoted to fly patterns that he has created. So many successful ones that if I featured just two per post I could keep this blog going forever. Jack was a guy who could look at some roadkill along with some discarded cigarette filters and create fly patterns that would amaze. One of the patterns that I use is his soft hackle streamer flies. Simple streamers that use a scant three materials. Marabou, crystal flash and a mallard collar. These flies can be enhanced with the use of Jungle Cock but that is up to the tyer.

Now I guess your thinking what does a small stream angler need with such a large fly. Experience has taught me that when presented a large meal a small fish will do it's best to eat it. And if that's not enough then the absolute deadly movement of the marabou will seal the deal. I have caught trout, bass, bluegill and pickerel on these flies. And if presented the chance to fish for steelhead I'm certain they would do the trick.



This is the basic Gartside soft hackle streamer. Yellow marabou, flash, mallard collar and a hook.

This is a soft hackle Mickey Finn. I fished yesterday and came upon a pool of about a foot and a half of water. I saw several brookies holding the bottom. In the span of 45 minutes I must have cast about 8 different flies without a strike. I tied on this Gartside soft hackle and promptly one of those "selective" brookies hit.

Now for breakfast...various breads that have been toasted. Toppings include butter, jam, peanut butter and marshmallow fluff. Oh and lots of good hot coffee.


Saturday, March 13, 2021

A Spring Day In "Brook Trout Forest"

We have just experienced 3 straight absolutely gorgeous days. I mean spring weather in overdrive. Day time highs in the sixties and overnight forties. And I'm here to tell you we took advantage of everyday. The streams were beautiful with flows that make you want to say stop it right now and let it be this way all year. It also made me take out the bamboo rod for the first time since last October. Oh man did that piece of cane feel sweet. I pretty much started out using soft hackles with a switch to dries, but soon it was back to soft hackles because that's what they wanted. Before I go any further have I ever told you how much I love small streams...well I love small streams.



This little fly, some might argue that calling it a fly is a stretch. Well this fly was in the mouth of quite a few brook trout that day. A silk thread body and a couple of turns of semi-stiff hackle.

These brookies were in a eating state of mind.

Where ever there  are shadows it's always worth several casts.

Just look what may be lurking in one of those shadows. Have I ever mentioned how much I love wild brook trout? Well I do.

These fellows were all over the place..... I tied this on. A "purple partridge".... Mike's favorite color.

A super day in brook trout forest.


Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Going fishing and a new focus.

Hopefully today will not be how it looks in this picture. The weather is going to be grand today with lots of sunshine light wind and warm. Temps near 60 should make for a wonderful few hours on the stream. As of this morning there are only 10 days 'til spring but I'll bet I will see signs of it out there today.

I have found a few new streams over the winter that I will give a great deal of attention to. Some preliminary research has shown that these streams hold wild brown trout. But the proof will come in a couple of months from now when I actually start throwing flies into them. I'm going to try to fish more for browns this year, something that I have wanted to do for some time.


I don't think I'll find the stream looking like this today, but hope is there.

Small stream wild brown trout. I am focused and hopefully you'll see more of these in future posts.


Monday, March 8, 2021

The wild Atlantic salmon in Connecticut.

If one was to only drive through Connecticut on the interstates they would be missing an awful lot. For rural Connecticut would show you the "true" Connecticut.....Now back at the turn of this century there was a big restoration effort along the entire Connecticut river to try to return Atlantic salmon. The Connecticut had one of the largest runs of salmon in the northeast. But do to you know what that was eliminated. I took part in the restoration in the form of salmon fry stocking with CT. DEP. Many springs I wandered down hills and through brush carrying a white bucket of tiny Atlantic salmon. I found this to be very rewarding and was saddened when the program was halted several years ago because of poor results. To this day I believe that the salmon will come back. They may be few but they will once again swim wild and free within the rivers of Connecticut.


On a nondescript hill in eastern Connecticut is a marker. It is now weather beaten and is difficult to read. Maybe a little restoration would be in order.

A closer look at the inscription tells a great deal.

I have been over the years attempting to catch a wild Atlantic salmon in Connecticut. Each year I fish several rivers at various times of the year. I fish salmon flies I have tied and my hope is high.

I remember telling biologist Bruce Williams when he asked me why I do the fry stocking each year. My answer was "I do it so that one day my grandkids can have to chance to fish for and catch a wild salmon"...Well Bruce I'm not stocking anymore but I'm still fishing for that wild one.


Saturday, March 6, 2021

"Images"...why do some have such staying power?

For me as an angler I have fished many places. Streams, rivers ,lakes etc. Thousands of fish from trout to bluegills. And I will tell you this I can remember most of it. It may take some serious thought but it will all come back. Along with all that goes along with fishing , flies, food, rods, people, and so on there are certain images that "stick" out front and center. I can't explain why but I can say it is true as far as I'm concerned. The stream you see pictured is one I have fished more than any in my time. The little run you see has given me more brook trout to hand and I could not remember one being better then another.



A soft hackle wet fly. Nothing special here. It is about as simple a fly as I have ever tied. I can't remember if it has ever produced a memorable trout for me., but it has remained in my fly box and as my screen saver for over 10 years.

I fished this stream once with Rowan. It has placed itself as one of the best streams in Connecticut that I have fished. Why is this?

An image of my home waters. Late fall and decked out in all it's glory.

Just an average brook trout. Average in that it's wild, average in that it's daily life is a struggle beyond belief. Average in that it provides much more then a challenge. It is truly a "canary in a coal mine"

This wee brown trout. He is a companion in the streams with the brook trout. Some say that's bad, they can't coexist. From my knowledge I say that's not true. "University of Experience" graduate.

Many more evenings planning.....

An image that is years old, but I remember like it was yesterday. The gent fishing has given me more knowledge then any book I have read.

Here's an image that I'll reproduce today for lunch.