Monday, November 29, 2021

Snow in the hemlocks and I'm jamed up...

We had a dusting of snow yesterday and the hemlocks were sprinkled with magic dust. The woods were so peaceful and quiet as we walked slowly through. The winter birds were about but the only vocals came from the Bluejays who seemed to be upset at our presence. As we walked to the stream a wind started to pick up and the air felt colder then it was when we started. Seasonal transitions, fall has not relinquished and winter is pressing. It was still a beautiful day in Brook Trout Forest.


There is one cold brookie.

Local jams....a variety of delicious jams. I love these in the morning on toast, and Jeanette loves them on waffles and pancakes. They will also make for a nice change of pace lunch.

Breakfast...toasted Vienna bread...the left has apple pie jam and pumpkin pie jam...the right has raspberry jam and wild blueberry jam.


Saturday, November 27, 2021

Anglers, Artists and Lovers of the Outdoors Part two

Mike S. fishing the Farmington River. He has a nice wild brookie. Mike and I have fished many times both in the Farmington and on some small streams.


Mike S is also a very accomplished rod maker and restorer. Here is one of his works. A bamboo rod a 6' 3wt.

Here's Matt S and his little girl. Matt is the son of a long time friend and fishing buddy Pete S. Pete has passed and deeply missed.

Shawn F...his photo of a small stream wild brookie.

Look, Alistair's version of a soft hackle streamer.

Matt Harding who hails from the pacific northwest. His patterns also work well with brookies.

Dean F at the desk with grand-daughter. Learning and teaching are so much enjoyment.

Grandfathers pride...a great job little one.


Thursday, November 25, 2021

Thanksgiving 2021 we gather to enjoy family and friends this day let us remember that we give thanks not only for the bounty of the earth but also the bounty of the heart.

Wishing all of you the very best this day....feast on friends.



Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Anglers, Artists And True Lovers Of the Outdoors...part one

I recieve many emails from readers that tell me of their adventures. They express their thoughts and ideas. I enjoy this very much. In these emails I also get photos of most everything related to fly fishing. These include pictures of flies, rivers, streams, trout and food. These photos are saved and now I would love to share them with you. So this is the first post with other anglers.

The streamer is from Bill Shuck. It it is the Footer Special. A Maine pattern created by Dave Footer.



Small stream angler RM Lytle...Rowans love for wild brook trout is off the charts.

"Beaverdam"...another fellow who has a strong attachment for small streams and wild brookies.

"Hans", this young man hails from Montana. Here he is fishing an alpine lake for cutthroat trout.

Armando Milosevic...a talent in many areas of fly fishing.


Saturday, November 20, 2021

Polish Rye And Cracklin's

I was born and raised in a city named New Britain. It's located in central Connecticut. It was a city of 85,000 people and about as diverse a population found anywhere. A blue collar hard working city that had owned the title of the "hardware city of the world"...if it was a nail, hinge, ball bearings, fry pans, toasters belt buckles etc etc chances are it was made in New Britain. Companies like Stanley, Fafner, Corbin were very large companies that employed the bread winners of the city. It was also home to Beehive Field...home of the New Britain Red Sox the AA farm team of the Boston Red later years it was home to the New Britain Rock Cats the AA farm team of the Minnesota Twins. Players like Roger Clemens, David Ortiz, Steve Lyons and many other major league players found playing time in Beehive.

Being in a home where my mom was Polish and dad Italian I was blessed with a diverse learning experience...and I loved it. New Britain is home to a very large Polish community. So much in fact that the President of Poland made sure to visit the city not long ago. There is a section of New Britain known as "little Poland"...Broad St. has markets, bakeries, clothing stores and many other business that are of Polish ownership. One of those bakeries as well as a Polish food store is the Roly Poly Bakery.

It is here that one can find anything Polish....check it out.


This morning while stopping in Roly poly to buy some rye bread with seeds. I also picked up some horns, which are a roll that has poppy seed and makes for a delicious breakfast. I remember as a kid after church on Sunday the family would gather at Ma's house for coffee and rolls.. Well this morning along with the bread I picked up some slab bacon.

Sliced and ready for the pan. You see the rind off to the left. You know why they call the rind cracklin's...just fry it and you'll see.

A fine breakfast thanks to the Roly Poly bakery....


Thursday, November 18, 2021

"Mutual Respect"

Many many times I have passed by a certain home on my way to fishing a stream in the area. The house is nothing special other than the fact there are always little quirky items about the front porch. These items have a seasonal look to them and I must say they are placed with care as to not be overwhelming. One other oddity is the fact that I have never seen anybody in or around this house and that had me wondering. Well yesterday I chose to stop and check things out. Upon driving in I noticed a dirt road just beyond the back yard of the house. I continued up the road noticing lots of other quirky things. There was fire wood stacked vertically instead of horizontally. And there in front of me was a big house. The area around it was in a natural state. It looked like it was lived in but I did not see a person. I got out of my car and walked around a bit looking and wondering. It was then that I heard a voice say "hello", I looked and could not see  anybody, again "hello"....suddenly there was a man standing in the yard. He approached me and asked what I was doing and I replied admiring what he had going. To keeps it short we introduced each other and he really opened up to me. I mean a great conversation for at least an hour. He told me the property was handed down to him from his grandparents who ran it as a small farm. Over the years he continued running as a farm but it had become difficult as of late. We continued to talk when he noticed the fly rod in my car. He asked if I fished and I told him of my exploits. He was quite interested and he surprised me with the fact that he had 300 feet of stream that ran on his property. Well I asked do you fish it and he said no....he said that he did not allow it. I did not press it but he came out and said he hated the fact that people would take a fish out of it's home and hang it on a stringer and display it.  In closing I agreed with him and did not press the issue...that is where this comes in...."mutual" a feeling or action experienced or done by each of two or more parties toward the other or others...



We ended our chat on a friendly note and I felt there was something we both had from the conversation. I said I like to stop by and talk again and he said he would enjoy that....and this is where this comes in,"respect"...a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities or achievements.


Monday, November 15, 2021

Odities And Normalities....

Traveling down many back roads and trails in the course of life I have come across many strange, odd or somewhat "quirky" items. Over the years I have featured some of these within this blog as well as other forums and in my little book. Some of these places and things are quite rustic from rocking chairs weathered and broken to old pickup trucks. Rusted baby strollers and car bumpers. Numerous hand crafted bird houses that have seen countless families of birds. These hold so much charm and maybe some history. There is a company who uses these quirky rustic images in their advertising. It's a company that produces fine products. That company is "Fishpond"


The Fishpond San Juan Vertical first pack was purchased 15 years ago when I gave up my vest. The pack is what some would call a minimalist pack, for me it has everything needed for how I fish. One large cargo pocket that hold one big fly box or two thinner fly boxes. It has zip storage for my survival tool, tippet spools, batteries, and some first aid stuff. There is a fly patch in the front portion of the pack which I removed and use the area for a camera cloth and a furled leader. It also holds a small fly box. The pack is strong and has taken beatings form rocks and those merciless briars. I wear it as a sling pack and overall it's very functional.

A 'fish pond' resident

Potato Pancakes...they're great for breakfast...


Saturday, November 13, 2021

Oh My....

Mid November and the Glorious season has passed. The days are now shorter and getting colder. I fished the bamboo rod for the last time and took my winter maintenance to it as I placed it into it's protective sleeve. It will now hang in a dry place in the closet until perhaps mid March. On and off through the winter I will take it out and assemble it, do a couple of false casts and dream of those days ahead.


Looking forward to that first snowfall of the season. We have had it fall before Thanksgiving in some years. There is a feeling that  comes over me when I fish a stream while the snowfalls. It seems so peaceful and clean. My Fiberglass 4' 10" 3wt will be my primary choice for most of the winter.

There is a 3 pound bag of gourmet jelly beans in front of me. As I reach for a few sweet sensations I think of the tasks I have before me. Christmas is coming and I know some replenishing of flies are needed. The "Winter Brown"...what a great fly to tie on these long nights.

Well I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and "thank you"...


Thursday, November 11, 2021

Scant Spiders, A Streamer And Some Smelts

A basic North Country Spider...Woodcock and Orange. The fly is tied very sparse using silk thread for a body some hares mask for the thorax and two turns of woodcock. This is an almost never fail fly. In the water it sends out in waves the words "eat me"...I was looking at some tying materials online and man inflation has hit those too. Some rooster saddles are going for 40 to 50 dollars and good luck finding the colors you want.


The woodcock and olive...olive thread, hares mask thorax and woodcock hackle.

The "Black Ghost"...Herb Welch's most popular streamer. This fly was created in Maine on the shores of Mooselookmeguntic Lake. The fly first tied at the Boston Sportsmen's Show in 1927. It does have to it's record a five and a half pound brook, and I'm sure a few larger. A great smelt fly pattern.

Fried smelts....a seasoned light batter and then fried in hot oil. I eat these whole, bones and all.


Tuesday, November 9, 2021

A time of transition....

There is some transition going on within the small streams. First is the transition to colder waters brought on by the drop in both daytime and night time air temperatures. This has slowed the feeding activity to certain times of the day, which are the warmest. The second transition taking place is the post spawn. Most brook trout have already spawned and by the way it should be a very successful one with almost perfect stream conditions. These small transitions should last for a week or so and the trout will adapt and get on with their lives. 

An outing I had on Sunday was one that was not stellar in catch counts or hookups in general. The two brookies I managed to  hook I landed, and believe me I was more then happy.


The "fly"...if you can wrap thread and hackle you can tie this very successful fish catching fly. I've had this fly in the box for awhile and have used on and off through the summer. Brookies and bluegill have taken it. About the first of September I found myself using the fly more and i was catching more brookies. It's tied like this....A slightly elongated head of orange silk thread. Five wraps of brown badger hackle. This hackle is cheap, it comes from those little India chickens. A cape is about 8 bucks. The body and thorax are of dark brown 3/o Uni-thread. That's it.

When the fish are not playing nice there is still lots to see...

These sights are limited as the November starkness takes over.

This is one of the brookies I managed to bring to hand. What impressed me was the superb condition of this male. Post spawn and obviously well fed.



Saturday, November 6, 2021

"bread and butter" brookies

My friends there are some beautiful colors out there. I'm certain this may be the last weekend for mother natures fall show. So if you have the opportunity please get out and enjoy it. 

There is a saying I like to use when referring to the type trout I seek. Most of you know what they are but don't know how I categorize them. I like to call those little jewels I catch "bread and butter" brookies. The streams I fish are not plentiful when it comes to feeding brookies. These little guys squeak out a life somehow and provide the most wonderful days afield and stream. While I get very lucky at times and manage to catch a 10 or 12 inch brookie most of what I catch are in that 4 to 7 inch range. I never grow tired of catching these small jewels and it's a good thing. At times one can compare life's dealings with the dealings of wild brook trout. They are a big part of the life I enjoy.


There are no prolific hatches taking place on a stream like this. But the unpretentious wild brookie cares not. He will adapt and survive.

This is a "bread and butter" brookie. He is a staple of a healthy small stream.

To the "bread and butter" wild brookie all that moves through the water is to be eaten.


Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Dace, Smelts and Rangeley Thoughts

The construction of Rangeley style streamers used many different types and styles of hackles. In many of the books written on hackle used were to create smelt imitations and quite a few attractor  patterns of bright colored flies. Many streamers were designed to be fished in those deep lakes of Maine, New Hampshire and New York. These lakes held landlocked salmon, brook and brown trout. The main forage of these salmonids was the smelt, with alewife and dace also in the mix. One common trait of the dace is usually that prominent lateral line. Some lines are real bold and others barely seen. So to get that predominant line to show a group of hackle was used. The group here is the Golden Badger Rooster Saddle and is pictured above.

When these saddle hackles are assembled and other materials used such as a throat, body, rib, shoulder and Jungle Cock eye a very representation of a "dace' comes through.

This is a Silver Badger Rooster Saddle. It's feathers also make for a fine Dace pattern. And with this one being silver it can also be used to create a smelt pattern.

Now anyone who has ever caught lake smelt will look at this streamer and suggest that is what is to represent. But it was tied to represent a "dace"..

If one does not have Badger hackle a substitute can be made with a white and brown feather from a standard rooster saddle.

One side of the brown hackle has had it's barbule's stripped off.

It is placed on top of the white feather.

A shoulder is added, a pheasant church window feather.

And when assembled together another fine "dace" pattern is created.

These Rangeley streamer flies are truly the fly tyers art. Many created during the depression and world wars. I can only imagine a fly tyer sitting at his vise on a cold January night. materials close by and a thought in hie head of a "big" brook trout or salmon taking his craft come
'ice out"