Thursday, October 13, 2016

On of those afternoons...

What says "New England" more than a covered bridge over the
Housatonic River in the fall? 
It was one of those afternoons, those crystalline clear, cool early fall afternoons that we day-dreamed about back in the hot humid days of summer.  One of those afternoons, when you just wanted to be outside to breathe the air and to lift your eyes toward a vast landscape of greens with small pockets of yellow, orange, and red.  All signs of even more beautiful days ahead.

It was one of those afternoons, when you explore miles of good looking water without even a bump using your go to nymphing rig.  But, no worries because it's just one of those fall days that being outside is enough.

Some great looking water but NO interest from the fish!

It was one of those afternoons when everything seemed to turn on at just the expected time.  Where you were in the right place at the right time.  Where you had everything figured out before things even started to happen.  It was one of those afternoons, where for 2 solid hours you and your buddy had non-stop action starting with a small #20 CDC olive emerger and then swinging small wets.  It was one of those afternoons when everyone around you was wondering "what are those guys doing right?".  Yes it was one of those afternoons you dream about and every now and then experience! It was one of those afternoons.

The first fish of the evening, a "survivor strain" brown as indicated by
the red elastomer behind the left eye

The best brown of the evening, a solid, highly colored brown that took the small olive CDC emerger

The last brown of the night before things settled down

Monday, October 3, 2016

A fall day on the big river

An early fall day on the Housatonic River
The leaves are starting to turn in CT and it won't be long before the trees will be covered with maple reds, oranges, and birch yellow.

Fall always reminds me of some memorable late afternoons fishing one of our larger rivers, the Housatonic.  I love fishing smaller water but there is something very enjoyable about fishing the Housatonic in the fall.

Most years, there is a good population of holdovers in the river but with this year's drought and high water temperatures, I wondered how many fish survived the summer. With cooler weather and overcast skies, I headed up to the river to find out.  I fished an area that doesn't see a ton of attention and probably wasn't stocked recently.  I was quite pleased to pick up a nice holdover brown on an iso comparadun after a couple of decent drifts.  However, the iso was ignored for the rest of the afternoon.

I did see a few fish working during the afternoon but nothing really rising and nymphing proved unproductive so I stuck with dries.  Later in the afternoon, there was more bug activity and I did manage another colorful brown and a handful of smallmouth bass on a larger cahill comparadun.  I didn't have a banner afternoon numbers wise but you can't put a price on a quiet and peaceful afternoon of solitude!

Some interesting markings on this brown

The largest of a handful of small mouth bass

Monday, September 26, 2016

PA Limestone 101

The Lake at Boiling Springs,the shop is the building on the left
This past weekend my wife and I went down to south central PA to spend Parent's weekend with my youngest daughter who is attending Messiah College.  She was expecting to have a fair amount of work to do for school so I was told to bring my fishing gear as the famed Yellow Breeches runs right through campus.

Brad Bashore was gracious to provide a lot of information on the Yellow Breeches and some suggestions on where to fish, flies, etc.  He also suggested that I stop by the TCO fly shop in Boiling Springs.  Neil spent a good deal of time telling me about the area and what to expect.  He took a look at my fly boxes and then suggested a few local favorites.  I like having a few local flies from the places I visit.  If you are ever in central PA, this is a shop I would high recommend you stop by.  They are very knowledgeable and will give you an honest opinion of what you need to be successful and nothing more.

One of several springs at the one end of the Lake
Boiling Springs is a very unique place.  There are several springs at the end of the lake that supply crystal clear cold water to the lake, "the run" and then eventually to the Yellow Breeches where "the run"dumps it's cold flow into the main stem.  I enjoyed a walk around this picturesque lake, marveling at the size of some massive sycamore trees that had me wondering how old they were.

I chose to focus during the afternoon on the main stem of the river below the run.  I didn't see any rising fish during the time I was on the river so I focused on nymphing and managed to entice a rainbow and a brown with one of the local nymphs that Neil had suggested.  Later in the afternoon I did venture up into the run but my long 10ft nymph rod was way too long to effectively fish the smaller run.  I would have been more at home with my 6ft fiberglass rod and some tiny nymphs.  I was amazed at how many fish were sitting in the shallow riffles of the run.   This is obviously a very productive stretch of water.  I did see a couple of pairs of fish looking like they were getting ready to spawn, one of which was a massive brook trout.

The beautiful Yellow Breeches where the "run" joins the main stem
A nice Yellow Breeches brown
A special thanks to Brad Bashore and Neil Sunday for their help, suggestions and advice.  They definitely made my visit so enjoyable.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Adirondack Summer

A video I put together of pictures from hiking a fishing this summer in the Adirondack Park.  The music was written and produced by Rachel Lynn Wittman.  Check her out on Soundcloud.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Tale of two brooks

Wood aster dominate the September
I had been wanting to fish a favorite mountain brook all summer but the heat and dry weather had reduced it to barely a trickle for most of the summer but with hopeful optimism, I assembled my fiberglass rod, put a small fly box and some odds and ends in my pockets, slung my camera over my shoulder and headed up the trail along the ridge line of a deep valley.  I listened intently for the sound of running water but the forest was silent.  After a steep descent into the valley I realized just how dry this little stream had become.  Depressions that were once a couple feet deep and provided refuge to the brook trout were now mostly exposed. Knowing this brook pretty well, I could estimate that the water level was more than 2 feet below typical summer levels.  A couple small brook trout did attack my Royal Wulff but I just didn't want to fish the brook under these conditions so I hiked back up the valley and back to the car.

While the first stream was disappointingly low, I did have a plan B in mind.  Arriving at a second brook, I could see that the water was low but still cold and there were still pockets of deeper water for the fish to take refuge in.   Even though I brought along a small fly box, I really only need one fly for the couple hours I fished, a #16 foam ant.  Anywhere there was a little depth and some moving water there was usually a brook trout waiting to pounce on the ant.   It was so nice to fish a small stream once again after a very dry summer. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Some exploring in the Adirondacks

This past week, my wife and I took some time off to enjoy a quite week in the Adirondacks.  I was looking forward exploring a wilderness area that I haven't had the opportunity to spend much time in.

Moose tracks
Early in the week, we headed up an unmarked trail into a gorge with a brook running through it.  I was curious if it held any brook trout.  As we drove into the area we spotted a large bull moose crossing the road.  He was across the road and through the underbrush and gone in just a few long strides.  The land speed of this massive creature was truly impressive.  Unfortunately, there wasn't enough time to grab the camera and get off a quick shot. He had quite a rack on him that I estimated at 6 ft across. On the hike it we saw lots of moose tracks in the softer ground.

A small cave in the gorge
As we hiked up into the gorge, I was  encouraged to see a good flow of water despite the generally dry conditions in the mountains.  Later in the week I visited a favorite mountain brook and was disappointed to see it too low to even fish. When we reached a nice looking plunge pool, I put my rod together and did a little prospecting with a Royal Wulff and a nymph dropper.  After a few drifts through the pool, the dry went under and I was soon holding a beautiful brook trout in my hands. Some smaller brook trout attacked the dry and the nymph before I packed up the rod knowing that the brook was promising lead for further future exploration.

Just what I was looking for
        Later in the week, we hiked up to a trout pond to have a look.  The dry conditions of this past summer had encouraged a good deal of weed growth in the more shallow parts of the pond but it was a pretty little pond that we enjoyed spending a little time resting by.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Odds and ends

It's been a busy last few weeks in our house with getting our youngest off to college but now we can say "Mission Accomplished"

New York Asters are everywhere
I can't say that's it been great fishing around CT lately.  Like a lot of places in the northeast, it has been hot, humid, and very dry. This is the first year that I can remember that fishing has been closed around feeder streams on the lower Farmington River as fish seek thermal refuge around the inlets.  I would recommend that anglers just stop fishing the lower river until consistent cool evenings bring the water temperature back down into a more healthy range for the fish.  The upper river while low, is still cool, so I have been out once before dawn and at sunset earlier this week.

touch me not
There wasn't really much of anything going on in terms of tricos or the summer/winter caddis which the Farmington is famous for on my early in the morning excursion but I did find a few small wild browns willing to swipe at a small elk hair caddis and one rainbow that took the dropper on a dry dropper rig that I fished later in the morning.

Monday evening, my lovely wife came along with me.  I set up a couple chairs and we enjoyed dinner by the river together.  This
was the first time she had seen the river I fish so often and she enjoyed it, especially when a young bald eagle made an appearance.  When darkness eveloped the river wild brookies and browns were rising to spinners.  A usual cast into the darkness brought a few to hand.  Hopefully some cooler weather and rain will come our way soon.

A camera shy rainbow
One of a handful of healthy wild browns that the Farmington is producing this year (love that red flare on the adipose fin)