Sunday, May 30, 2021

The Pheasant, Underated By Some......

The ringnecked pheasant. This is one of the most over looked feather in fly tying. There are two sexes, the rooster and the hen. The one we will be featuring will be the hen. As you can see in the picture is a full skin with obviously many many feathers missing. The skin was purchased several years ago at Bearesden Fly shop in Taunton MA. This is the best way to buy these feathers, do not buy those packages of loose feathers. In purchasing the full skin you will find feathers from small to large. Also you will find that the whole skin offers many color variations and some remarkable stripe patterns.

Fly tyers in this country seem to shy away from the pheasant. One exception was Jack Gartside. That man loved the pheasant and many of his patterns featured feathers from the rooster. The Japanese are fanciers of the pheasant. You can find examples of their Kebari flies that feature pheasant. The old North Country spider patterns do not show a preference for pheasant, but many other types of game birds take top billing.


Some feathers from a hen pheasant. Many shades of color, some mottled with soft shades of brown. Some are quite dark, and the pheasant feather is almost perfect in shape. I can see in the feathers above a very close resemblance to grouse, woodcock, quail. So right there you have a savings. No need to buy three birds when you can do it with one. The hen pheasant is also a great value...a quality skin is about twenty dollars.

By changing the silk color thread and using different shades of colored feathers you can create many  insect imitations.  Red/Pheasant


Olive/ of my favorites.

Spiders all together....


Friday, May 28, 2021

It's what you make of it....

Feathers that I found  in the woods a few weeks ago that I felt had some special meaning because of where they were and why they remained there for sometime. That meaning has never been quite answered but the feathers created a simple soft hackle wet fly that I first considered not to fish. There are times when you just tie a fly or flies that are just for the pleasure of tying. As you know if you have followed my writings you know I love to create, "freelance" for lack of a better word many of the flies I tie. Traditional patterns are good and time tested but I like to create my own.

Back to the subject which is what I did with those feathers.


Late spring, the greens are incredible.

This is a perfect place to try the new soft hackle. A little bit of speed in the current going into a deeper pool. The fly sweeps in fast and suddenly starts to slows and fills out.

The take was typical and the fish beautiful.

A classic creation? I don't think so but to me it's world class.

We both agree.


Wednesday, May 26, 2021

A Tiny Master and some Sakasa Kebari

 It was last summer when I had the pleasure of meeting the lil' angler. She was on the bank of a stream with her dad close by. In her hand was a small fishing rod which turned out to be a Tiny Ten tenkara rod. Dad had tied on a fly and she showed this veteran fly fisher how it was done. It was in this meeting where she convinced me to try tenkara. Besides being able to actually catch fish it also had a very exciting price. Her dad, who is Nate Camp filled me in on all the particulars of the rod to which I purchased one a week later. Since that meeting of last year Nate has filled me in on some of the lil' anglers ramblings. By the way her name is Natty.


With a smile like that any brookie would gladly take a fly presented.

She is accomplished. That is a trophy wild brown from that stream. It is a wonderful thing when children are introduced to fishing. Great job Nate and Natty.

Sakasa Kebari

 Sakasa Kebari

I have a major milestone coming in a few weeks and it involves this blog. I have been doing this for over ten years now and I have to make a few decisions. More to come.


Monday, May 24, 2021

On the forest floor there were these......

The sun making it's light shine through the forest, giving hope to what will be a beautiful day. There is a trail that winds through this forest that is littered with pine needles. The needles put down a carpet that is comforting and protective in many ways. Not far is a stream that flows rough and tumble style and it's cold waters are home to wild brook trout. It was on this day that I was seeking these brook trout but in the process found something else.

On the forest floor on top of the amber pine needles were a clump of feathers. These feathers were not bound to the forest floor and could have blown away with the slightest breeze but they didn't. I reached down and picked them up. They were not identified by me and they looked as if they were plucked out of the bird instead of feathers that were torn out by some predator. I picked the feathers up and placed them in a plastic bag I carry in my pack and took them home.


I sorted the feathers and found them quite nice. They had a dark center with white tips. The fibers were soft and had a feel of marabou. I prepped a couple of feathers and and tied them to a hook.

The two flies they created were beautiful. Simplicity was key but that elegance that simple things can bring forth.

 I am not certain I will catch a trout on these flies, or if I will ever fish them.


Saturday, May 22, 2021

"Dace and Darters".....

Darter #1
Minnows a group of little fish that includes those darters and dace and a few others. We all have seen them in waters we fish be it be lakes ponds or flowing streams. They are at times speed demons in their attempts to flee and other times just seem to lie motionless. Their colors can range from just blah-bland to absolutely vibrant colors. Sometime just Google "dace and darters" or "minnows" and you'll will see color. But the minnow provides food for almost any fish that swims. Even small brook trout will attack a minnow that is actually to big to fit in it's mouth. And brown trout are what streamer flies were made for.

Here are a few streamers that represent those dace and darters that frequent our waters.


A self published book on streamers. Lot's of "shiner" patterns.

Dace #1..typical dark stripe along flank


Dace #2


Dace #3
A little more complex in construction.

Dace # 4



Thursday, May 20, 2021

New Water

 Upstream from this bridge lies some new waters for me. I was out a couple of days ago when I finally decided to investigate a lovely looking piece of water. The main issue was the stream flowed through a large tract of private land. When I come upon such places what i do is to walk on the property so as to let anybody within the house I am there and to do this by being seen. Most times it does not take long before I'm confronted and that's when I lay it out as to my purpose. Well I was really surprised when the landowner took the time to talk to me and even showed an interest in my doings. He said I could fish through his property with just one request, do not enter an area he regarded as family private area. I agreed. Thanked him so much. Now to tell you what I found within that little stream.


I found places like this. Now that's a trout hideout if there ever was one. The stream is quite open and casting was a pleasure.

I found several of these guys nearby and they were happy to take my offerings.

The American are these trees a big part in keeping brook trout happy. Their leaves provide an abundance of shade and that is critical in keeping water temps cool for the brookies.

The stream is pretty much like this. Easy access, low banks, and a clear trail.

And so far the residents of said stream are just fine. I still have some scouting to do but I think I may have found a real sweet stream.


Monday, May 17, 2021

You just never know, or do you.

As I move forward in life I have found some interesting challenges. While out and about one day Jeanette and I came upon a lovey crystal clear stream. Looking at it flowing through the woods the term ultra skinny blue line seemed to come into mind. I later looked on a pretty good map and to my surprise it was on there. A real scraggly line but being on the map it was a good indication that water flows in it all year. The plunge pool in the video shows some of why it may hold a trout. There are a couple of nice undercut banks. The rock at the head of the pool held a undercut to. I said to myself and to Jeanette...maybe just maybe there is a brookie in there. One way to find out. I removed the soft hackle fly I had on and a dry fly was tied on. Places like these need a dry fly for that's the way you'll find out if anything is in there. I planned just where to drop the fly and then let it happen. A nano second after hitting the water that little pool erupted. A few strong zig zags and low and behold a wild jewel was at hand.  


There were two brookies in that pool. I never saw two but I just felt it.



Friday, May 14, 2021

The "Magic" Of.....

Over our lifetime we as anglers have found many things that inspire us. Not all are related to fly fishing or fishing in general. I have been so blessed with so many of these inspirations over sixty plus years and I can remember what they were, this is an accomplishment for I have difficulty  remembering what I had for breakfast some days. I would like to share this with you. In a magazine article published in the Spring 2004 issue of Fish & Fly. By the way I believe that magazine to be the finest publication ever to the passion which is fly fishing. The article was written by Datus Proper and it tells of his experience fishing Shenandoah National Park for wild brook trout. In that four page article are words that so profound that it inspired me to go see this place known as Shenandoah. It did take me about twelve years to get there but I did. Since that first time I have been back there four times and if all goes well I'll be back for a fifth time this year.


 The first page of the article. I wish I could show you the rest of it and allow you to read it.

 This tells you of what inspired me. I hope you can experience it on your own Native Mountain Brook Trout stream this Spring.


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

What a time of year...

Here in Connecticut we are blessed with an incredible amount of state owned and state leased open space. This along with local towns who have purchased parcels of land and have protected them to insure they remain as they are now. These sanctuaries benefit so many in so many ways, be it the hiker, the angler, the hunter the artist, the bird watcher and many others. Just to sit along a stream and "look and listen" will give you an unbelievable feeling of peace. These are wild places within a "new world"...

The last week or so I have been walking these "mini" wild places...a fly rod in hand. No hip boots, only hiking shoes and a single fly box. A bottle of water and a snack and I was off to see what was out there. 

I found it friends and it's quite special.


Look at that collection of wood. My that is so important to the little native brook trout who live within the confines of this protected parcel of land.

In this stream today they liked their meal in the form of something on the surface. This brookie took a "mini 'Hornberg.

Shadows on the stream. Shade is so important in brook trout forest.

It is in the bands of shade where you will find those wild natives.

 Jut to show you a sample of the beauty near the stream. There are so many flowers in bloom now that my camera is always snapping the memories.


Monday, May 10, 2021

Friends from Argentina

Tied and photographed by Humberto Zilocchi
It is now a world classic. The Lackie Special, aka Lackawaxen Emerger. A wet fly originated in Pennsylvania on the banks of the Lackawaxen River. I have fished this fly for a long time and have some awesome days with it. An angler and fly tyer from Argentina and frequent contributor on SSR's who's name is Humberto Zilocchi. He also writes a good blog which is named Achalabrookies. He has some beautiful streams that he fishes and the brookies are stunning.

The other day on his blog he did a post on fishing Tierra del Fuego and the Rio Grande river. The area appears to be quite windy and perhaps a bit chilly but the fish that come out of these rivers are special.


The post featured two anglers, one of which is Armando Milosevic which you know is a contributor to SSR's. The other angler is his son Eric. Armando told me of the fish which are sea-run brown trout. He said they were first stocked in the Rio Grande river in 1935. Over the years they have evolved into a major fishery. These brown trout are born in fresh water and migrate to sea. Here they grow fast on the bounty the sea offers and reach sizes from 7 to 20lbs. They do return to fresh water and when in there their instincts on feeding take them back to insects.

Eric with a beautiful well shaped specimen. When I first saw this picture I thought it was a Atlantic salmon. Looking at the photo it looks cold.

These are the flies they were using...sizes 12-16....a brown trout who has been eating meat at sea now returns and remembers what he ate in his youth.

Over the weeks I'll highlight many of these personal stories from many of the contributors that have sent me photos and stories....a truly international blog.


Saturday, May 8, 2021

Hairwing Streamers aka Bucktails

The bucktail, man what a perfect fly tying material. If you follow this blog you well know i love streamer flies. Many of the feather wing Rangeley style flies are represented here. These flies are gorgeous and truly works of art. But they are fishing flies and will get it done when called upon.

But this is about the meat and potato flies called bucktails. These flies have a basic simple body, some color in the form of hackle fibers and hair form a whitetail deer. The buck tail comes in natural and many dyed colors. Your imagination can run wild when creating these flies. Although I used the whole tail in selecting the hair I especially like the back of the tail for my bucktail streamers. The natural is just super and the colored ones although primarily brown have a tint of the dye of the color. This is subtle but when wet makes a big difference.


Here are a few hairwing streamer flies. In here are bucktails and some squirrel tailed streamers.

As you can see I tie them both on the sparse side and some a little more fuller.

This simple bucktail was tied using the backside of the tail. You can see the nice taper along with the lighter front and a darker tail.

In this one, a squirrel tail is tied a little fuller. Squirrel tail will fill out near the head as it moves through the water, a beautiful impression.

This male brook trout took the bucktail as it moved swiftly through the stream.

This brook trout took the squirrel tail very aggressively  as it was stripped quickly.

I will post just how to tie these in a future post.