Monday, August 30, 2021

Changes And Mr. Rapidan Soft Hackle Nymph

The month of August is about to leave and September is looking to make it's debut. But the signs of Autumn are already making an appearance. Driving down a road in north west Connecticut one can see the leaves taking on some early color. The cool nights of September will speed up the color. I'm looking forward to the fall season.

Somewhere on the internet while searching for something I came across a fly I had no knowledge of. The fly was called the Mr. Rapidan soft hackle nymph. Harry Murray is credited with the Mr. Rapidan series of flies, the dry fly is a favorite of mine. One of the distinguishing characteristics of the Mr. Rapidan series is the orange wing. The soft hackle nymph uses that orange color in the thorax of the fly.

I have been unable to get the accurate materials list any where so in the next few days I'll reach out to Harry Murray and try and get it along with some info on the fly.


I have tied a couple of variations. The image I used was from Murrays website which features the flies photo. Not knowing what the dubbing was I put together my version of what it was. The thorax is orange dubbing and the hackle is a grouse feather. Now hopefully Harry can tell me the recipe and I can adjust. This fly has been fished and with good success.

This is the dubbing mix I used. It is part hares mask and SLF Squirrel.


Friday, August 27, 2021

A Spiral Note Pad

A tumbling free running stream as it wind through the eastern Connecticut highlands. The stream flows full and cold and the brook trout are pleased. The stream may have a name but it's not important. In my journal it is not even mentioned although I have fished it numerous times. As a younger guy i kept pretty good records of my wanderings but got away from that years ago. There comes changes in ones life where your recall is not as sharp. That is why I again have been keeping notes. Most times they are scratched down in a spiral memo pad but that works for me. What I'm trying to say is there will come that time when sharpness is not that sharp...write it down.


My fishing partner suggests this fly. A beautiful sparse wet fly.

She knows that the resident wild brookies in this stream like red.

A wild native taken from the stream. It's story is now written about in that spiral memo pad.


Tuesday, August 24, 2021

The Argument For Keeping It Simple, And "Royal Charlie"

I could type a thousand words to explain my argument for keeping it simple, hell my whole life has been based on simplicity. When I bought my condo I was ready to scrap the whole thing after learning what was involved with  buying it. But taking a low key simple approach to things is not depriving yourself of what is good but it does teach you that you can be just as happy eating a cube steak as you are eating a tenderloin. I never saw the need for the outlandish. Spaghetti with meatballs and sauce, or plain spaghetti with butter. It's all good.

This simplicity thing applies to my fly tying. As you see in the first picture a soft-hackle fly that is sparse. This fly accounts for many of the trout I catch. Red silk thread body, hares mask thorax and a couple of turns of partridge hackle. Now the trout I catch must hold the same beliefs as I do. They don't need meatballs, butter is just fine.



"Royal Charlie"...I first saw this fly in Robert Smiths book The North Country Fly. I admired it very much when I first saw it. I don't know why it took me so long to tie it. An old pattern that is good to use in off colored water.  Hook Firehole Barbless...Body, red silk...Rib, fine gold wire...Hackle, brownish tint partridge...Head, peacock herl.

I'm anxious to give it a try. Stay tuned.


Saturday, August 21, 2021

"Henri", Bamboo And "Gagootz"

"Got Water"?...yes we do. The streams of Connecticut have been doing well this summer thanks to mom nature providing ample rainfall at the right times.Just this past week during a night-early morning rain drop I registered  4". Other parts of the state recorded in the 6" range. Now I told this Sunday we are about to have a hurricane make landfall in the state. Rain is a concern now because of the already saturated ground. This along with high winds could be a disaster. Trees will come down. I hope that just maybe the storm will track out to sea, we shall see folks. Get prepped today....



It has been two years since i was gifted a beautiful bamboo fly rod. I have fished this rod many times in that time and my pleasure only grows with each cast. Just yesterday while fishing it I made a cast that seemed to go heading in the wrong place. It was corrected by me but it felt as if the rod had corrected it. I know it sounds strange but that's how  it felt. The rod is so forgiving and so sensitive. A 4" brookie is an absolute monster on the rod. I keep the bamboo rod in a safe place. It hangs in it's sock in the closet. And every morning as reach in to get my clothing it seems to say "are we going fishing" has been a pleasure fishing bamboo.

 Fried zucchini aka "gagootz"...I love this stuff. Take it and layer it with sauce and cheese and bake it until it's browned and bubbly. Then place it on a crusty Italian roll and you have a meal.


Wednesday, August 18, 2021

They're there....

Yes we are still fishing. The streams in Brook Trout Forest are doing fine and when the streams are fine so are the wild jewels who live in them. A couple of pools had several hungry brookies in them and while they did not take to the soft hackles they were presented they did have no objection to dry flies. It was quite amazing to see a brookie rise to take a dry fly and miss, but he continued to nip at it several times as it drifted downstream. These fish never cease to amaze me. They are the most predictable "unpredictable" of all fish I have ever pursued. Maybe that's why I'm still seeking them after all these years.


The water temps were just awesome. A combination of ample rain and cool weather prior to the heat has helped greatly. We will be graced by the rains from a tropical storm later this week. Good news for sure.

The brookies were healthy and feisty.

There are flowers blooming all over the forest. I love seeing this as much as I do bringing a brookie to hand...and that's the truth.

Even at the head of this pool in the fast water brookies tried to take the fly.

The minute the fly reached the calmer pool they were able to actually take the fly.

By now most of you have recognized the dry fly. If not then I ask why?

 The Ausable Bomber, aka "bomber"....The absolute best dry fly for wild trout in small streams ever created. Next time your in your fly shop ask for a couple and give them a try.


Sunday, August 15, 2021


One of the many aspects of fly fishing is the way we as anglers view our passions. Some of us find that special fly rod be it bamboo, graphite or glass. Others find pleasure in the craftmanship of those well made fly boxes. That old vest that dad wore for so many years or the felt hat that was the talk of the group. The list can be astounding and to numerous to list here. I'm sure you all have something that is treasured in some way. I hope you'll share that treasure with us.

I have a soft spot for flies. I love tying them and of course fishing them. I feel that when I'm wrapping thread and winding hackle on a steel hook the fly when completed will be the one that will catch my dream fish. Each fly is a bit of art. They may look alike but are all different. They have a sort of personality and that personality is unique to that one particular fly.  That being said I also believe a fly should be photographed in a setting that  reflects how and where it is to be used.  In the photos below I try to show how the fly in it's rustic reality reflects true art.







Thank you Armando


Thank you Hans



Thursday, August 12, 2021

"Soft" Hackles and "Hard" Tack?

 A couple of soft hackles I'd like to share with you. The one on the left uses Australian possum dubbing for the body and grizzly hackle. The one on the right uses a brown squirrel dubbing and a brown hackle. Both flies use orange silk thread. Both of these flies have been productive over the last weeks. One little addition to the recent success is the use of a larger size hook. I normally use size 12 and 14 hooks but while watching a video on the blog "Teton Tenkara" I saw Tom fishing a swift stream much like some of the streams I fish. His hookup rate was outstanding. So I asked him what size hook he used and he said #10...well I tried the larger hook and my hookup rate improved.


The slightly stiffer hackle on this fly will allow it to be fished dry.

Home made chocolate chip cookies that were allowed to be left a bit to long in the oven. The "hard tack" of cookies. I enjoy these sweeties by employing the equalizer....

....which is a hot cup of Columbian coffee. Cookies dunked in the brew come back to almost perfect.


Monday, August 9, 2021

It's all attitude....

 We all have differences, it's just part of our being, of who we are. Even as anglers who seek trout from pristine waters differ on methods of how to go about catching those wild jewels. One just has to click on a fly fishing site, pick up a national fly fishing magazine or go into a fly shop and you'll be directed to just what you need to be successful in your endeavor to catch that trophy trout. Don't worry that the price tag for catching that trout may set you back unbelievable amounts of money. All this is not necessary, don't get me wrong if you enjoy spending a lot of money on gear by all means go ahead but it's not necessary.

I believe it's your attitude that makes for those special days on stream and in the field. It's not the number of trout you catch but the quality of the trout you catch. Next time out take the time to appreciate what you have and how you put it to use. That wild jewel you managed to fool into taking that  no name fly you tied will always be foremost in your minds journal.





Saturday, August 7, 2021

The Joe Pye Bucktail

Joe Pye, a native American healer....he's responsible for using this beautiful flower in crafting medicine which aided many for various ailments. I'm sure he was thanked for that at the time. I appreciate this plant for it's reminder that we are moving toward a new season. I know it may not feel like it now but it is coming. With that in mind along with my love of simplicity both in life and in fly fishing I created a streamer honoring the man and his work. A little hint....streamers are a killer come Autumn, and they will work pretty well now too.


The "Joe Pye Bucktail"....Hook, Mustad 3665A #10...Body, Red Floss or Uni-Stretch...Tag and Rib, Flat Silver Tinsel...Throat, Yellow Hackle...Wing, Natural Bucktail.

You can tie this fly in larger sizes. Try to keep the bucktail sparse.



Thursday, August 5, 2021

The Winners Are



 Here are the winners.

Mike Paventa-streamer

John V-streamer

ski2hard-note cards

Sam-note cards

Unknown, Jim Babbit-print

Aaron Y- print

Unknown, Aug.1 2021 6:57 PM-book

Please email me at to make arrangements for shipping.

Thanks to all.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Hello August....

We are into August, and looking forward to September. The summer so far has been kind with ample rainfall and not as hot as previous summers. My hope is it will remain as such . I have noticed some changes signaling a season winding down and a new one coming. Joe Pye Weed is blooming. What a lovely history surrounding this plant. I'd tell you about it but it's easier to just have you Google it.

The oaks have been dropping acorns, and I must say there have been plenty and they are quite large. A good sign for wildlife, lots of mast to help them winter over.


These acorns are large enough to hollow out and make pipes out of them. We use to do that as kids. Never actually smoked any tobacco in them though.

The streams are in super shape. This one produced many brookies on a recent outing. I sat  alongside a pool just above where this photo was taken. I observed several brookies feeding on what appeared to be nymphs of some kind. Every so often I would see a brookie move forward with  speed and make a grab at something. I have pretty good vision but I could not identify what they were feeding on. I tossed an ant in the pool and instantly one rose and was on then off.

I did manage to find a few that played nice and came to hand.

This is a Partridge and Orange soft hackle. The body is Ephemera silk thread. Notice how the color changed when wet. Very much the same color as most underwater insects.


Sunday, August 1, 2021

Thank you....

On April 10th 2010 I  typed the first post and published it to Small Stream Reflections. Little did i know that the ride would continue for so long. Many would say that the reason for such a run is the content of the material, maybe the time was right, or perhaps the reason is the contributions of the readers. I think it's a bit of all with the bulk of success is the contribution of all of the readers. Small Stream Reflections has been read worldwide. Folks from big cities and little towns. Anglers with knowledge far beyond what I possess as well as those just starting. I have welcomed all.

Just a couple of stats...Small Stream Reflections went over the 2 million mark in page views about a month ago. The blog has produced 1789 posts. . 

To show my appreciation to my readers I'm offering a few "thank yous"....all that is required is a comment on this post. This will end on August 3rd at midnight. The name will be placed in a bucket and Jeanette will pick the winners.

The gifts are as follows..two Rangeley Featherwing Streamer flies. They will be given away as singles.


Two boxes of note cards. These feature 10 cards along with envelopes featuring prints of salter brook trout. The prints done by James Prosek and Flick Ford. Given away as single boxes.

Two copies of my book  Thin Blue Lines....also given away as singles.

Two beautiful watercolor art prints of a Brook Trout by artist David Scheirer. Given away as singles.

So good luck and I hope you'll continue to follow Small Stream Reflections.