Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Frenchie

Not much fishing around here lately with the high temps and low water so I am catching up on some of my fly tying.  Here's a video of me tying the frenchie, which is one of my top anchor flies when fishing a two fly rig.  I find this nymph to be a good choice early and late in the season.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Strike two!

Some tiny E.needihami 
It was another hot and humid day so I was up early and in the river at dawn.  I left the waders at home and wet waded! I was back to take another shot at fishing tiny flies to rising fish. There weren't as many rising fish this morning but I did find a little brook trout that wanted to play tag with a small ant a couple of consistent risers after the sun was up for a while.  This morning the fish got the best of me but at least I can say that I can tie and present a small chocolate CDC emerger well enough to entice a few fish but I am still having trouble hanging on!  I had two solid hookups and broke both off again but I'm not giving up just yet!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Always learnng

Woodland Sunflower
One of the things that I love about fly fishing, is that there are always new challenges to overcome. I do most of my fishing in the afternoons and evening due to my work schedule and because I have less experience fishing in the mornings, I am not as acquainted with the bugs that hatch early.

Yesterday morning, I decided to fish the Farmington at dawn.  I love getting up early and getting outside so I was looking forward to some early morning fishing.  When I arrived, I was encouraged to see fish rising.  I did see some trico spinners in the water along the bank as I waded in, so I tied a spinner on but it was ignored.  Maybe the hatch is just starting and the fish aren't used to seeing them yet.  I switched to a small ant and on the next drift a beautiful wild brook trout nailed it.   I just love finding these wild fish in the Farmington.  Brook trout don't often pass up an opportunity to grab an ant, but the ant wasn't the solution.

Cardinal flower
I waded a little further downriver and watched a nice pod of fish working something small on the surface.  I thought they might be taking Needhami, which is a very small, chocolate colored  mayfly that hatches on the Farmington River in the mornings.  I've never actually seen this hatch since I don't fish mornings, but I did have two in my box that I bought years ago and have never used.  They are about a size 24 so I needed to take my tippet from 5x down to 6x so that I could thread the eye of the hook.  I rarely fish below 5x, which actually surprises a lot of people who think you need to fish 6x to 8x tippets on this river.  I find fishing the heavier tippet just let's me get the fish in faster and with the right presentation, the tippet size isn't that important.

 Since I fish heavier tippet, I knew that I would have to be more careful on setting the hook.  Well guess what...I actually got a fish to the take the tiny fly and I promptly blew the hook set and snapped the tippet.  Now I was down to the last fly.  I got another take and set the hook carefully this time and I could feel the weight of a solid fish.  From the tiny rises you would have thought that the rising fish were small.  Well this one wasn't, and it was smart too, heading straight for the shallow bottom where there was some woody debris.  It managed to get the line tangled in the brush, the tippet broke, taking the last fly with him.   It was fun trying to figure things out, a moral victory of sorts, but I'm going to need a lot more practice (and flies) fishing these tiny flies on light tippet!

I have a passing interest in target recurves

After losing the last fly, I strung up the nymphing rod and headed to some faster water.  I caught a brown and a rainbow on a small nymph before the heat and humidity got the best of me and I headed home to take care of some work around the house and watch the men's team archery event at the Olympics. Congratulations to the US men's team that took a silver medal against a near-perfect Korean team.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Where did the water go?

I woke early yesterday morning and noticed it was darker than usual. The sky was heavily overcast and low clouds filled the sky.  A few lighting flashes and some distant rumbling indicated a thunderstorm was headed our way.  I headed out for my run anyway, I actually like running in summer showers since it adds a little adventure to my morning routine.  Just when I was furthest from the house the rain started, gentle at first but growing stronger with each stride.  By the time I made it back home I was soaked but refreshed.  I thought the local showers the past two days would bring the water level up a bit in the river but when I checked the river gauge for the Farmington river, I was very surprised to see the flow out of the dam had been cut back to about 25% of the flow at the beginning of July.  Ben and I had made plans to fish after work, so I wasn't exactly sure what the fishing would be like later in the day.

Ben had arrived before me and settled into a good location considering the conditions.  I was amazed at how low the river was.   I could now wade out to areas that I typically can not fish under normal flows.  I did hook one nice brown but it managed to snap off a worn tippet. With little to show for our efforts, we decided to move to some faster pocket water.  Ben did well with a dry dropper rig while I nymphed.  We both caught a mix of rainbows and browns before we decided to move again.

We spent the waning daylight fishing usuals to eager wild brookies and browns.  Nothing big but to a die hard small stream guy, it was definitely a lot of fun.  Too bad my camera battery died earlier in the evening.  These wild fish were  as strong as they were beautiful.  It's always nice to find small pockets of wild fish as it indicates a healthy river system.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Thursday evening session

a pocket water brown
We are getting some much needed rain today with the possibility of strong thundershowers throughout the day and into the evening. I thought a quick trip to the Farmington last night ahead of the rain would be my best shot to fish for the next few days.

With the hot dry weather lately, I figured the fish might be up in the faster moving, more oxygenated water so I headed to a stretch of pocket water that I have wanted to explore but hadn't until last night.

My hunch proved accurate as I worked up through the faster water, I found fish in almost all the pockets like the one pictured to the left. The wading was a bit slippery but I managed to stay mostly upright and in two hours I had found close to a dozen fish.  Some took a Walt's Worm and the rest a small DDT nymph.  Hopefully the 2 inches of rain predicted will bring some new life to our local streams.

Another pretty Farmington rainbow

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Bead head pheasant tail soft hackle

It's been a while since I put up a tying video.  Here's one of my favorite soft hackles.  I fish this as a dropper on a two nymph rig, as the dropper off a large dry, and as a wet fly.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

An evening session

The first brown of the evening taken on #18 olive parachute
Earlier this week, I met my neighbor Mike up on the Farmington river for a short evening session after work.  Mike was up on the river ahead of me and found a nice quite spot where he found fish rising to small olives.  After arriving, I strung up my 8.5' 4wt dry fly rod and put on a #18 olive parachute and found my first brown of the evening.  While I was fishing the olive parachute, I noticed several smaller fish following the fly but not take it, so I switched to #20 parachute Adams which worked out very well.  For the next 90 minutes, we both enjoyed some of the best dry fly action I've seen this season.

I have been fishing a small parachute Adams a lot this season and it has become the first fly out of my box when I suspect the fish are taking small flies, especially olives.  The fly is effective and the white parachute post makes it easier for me to see on the water.

After the dry fly action slacked off, I went back to the truck to get a jacket and rig my nymphing rod. Mike had introduced me to a section of the river that I had not fished before and I wanted to explore the long series of riffles and pockets.  Overall, the run looked to be about 3-5' deep with a "walking pace" flow and lots rocks to for cover.  I ended up taking another handful of browns and rainbows on a small olive nymph before Mike suggested we relocate before the sun set.

With about an hour of light left we headed to a popular dry fly pool that I had never fished before.  I tend to stay away from those areas that get a lot of attention.  I asked Mike if he thought we could find a place to fish there.  He was confident that we could so we made the move.  I watched the river for a little and did see rising fish.  After observing for a little, I tried to figure out where I should be to target them.  I had to move around a bit to get into a good position but, as darkness came, a few fish started working.  I couldn't see exactly what they were taking but it looked like the sort of rise you see when fish are taking spinners.  This along with the fact that I did see some large pale spinners in the air convinced me to try I a Cahill spinner.  I was rewarded with a decent fish that solidly took the fly.  We contined to fish into the dark and I had one final pull, fishing the spinner downstream on a tight line but I didn't connect.  At that point it was just too dark to really see what we were doing so we ended a great evening on the river.  We enjoyed some great dry fly action and I got to fish a couple of areas that were new to me thanks to Mike.

Finishing up the night brown that took the Cahill spinner