Sunday, May 3, 2015

May wildflowers

A woodlawn brook in the early morning sun
I was up and out early this cool quite spring morning.  The woods were still but alive with the first blooms of wildflowers this spring. The early morning sun provided a soft light over wood anemone, dwarf ginseng, marsh marigold and fiddle head ferns were beginning to unfurl their hairy heads.  I spent most of the early morning just taking pictures and enjoying the quite of the woods.

This morning the Royal Wulff was mostly ignored probably because the brook was a bit low and very clear.  I did see a good number of dark shadows darting for cover as I walked along.

dwarf ginseng

Fiddlehead fern, wood anemone, and some ginseng
A more subtle fly was the better choice on a day like this so I switched to a #16 parachute Adams which I kept on most of the morning except for those times I just wanted to experiment.

As the morning air warmed the interest in the Adams picked up.  Near the end of the morning I hooked and lost three nice brooks all within a foot or two of each other.  Not wanting to end the day on that note I did manage to drift the Adams past a nice undercut and out charged the last brook trout of the day to intercept the Adams.

marsh marigold

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Laurel and Ledges

The Connecticut landscape full of laurel and ledges
When I think of my adopted home state, I think of woodlands covered with mountain laurel and ledges.  I have no idea how the early settlers to this area managed to farm this rocky ground.  As spring approaches about the only green you can see in the woods is the mountain laurel and skunk cabbage but if you look closely you can see signs of wildflowers being to poke through the fallen leaves of last autumn.

Signs of new life
Pete and I were out enjoying another warm spring afternoon watching the brook trout turning themselves inside out chasing down the Royal Wulff.  When I lost my smaller Wulff, I ended up fishing a size #12 and they were still smacking it.

Small streams like this one can be surprisingly deep in spots.  The undercuts like the one below were generally holding trout.

Several times during the afternoon, I switched flies just to see if I could catch something on another fly.  The Bomber or parachute Adams would entice the odd fish or two but for some reason the Royal Wulff was getting the most attention.

I don't have any idea how many fish we actually brought to hand but it didn't really matter, we both had an afternoon full of laughs watching the brooks attack the dry fly.  This afternoon the fish were mostly in the riffles and tail outs.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Some classic Adirondack wets

It was my pleasure to be included in the Connecticut Fly Fisherman's Association (CFFA) Fly Tyer's round table.  A special thanks to Roger and the club for including me in this year's event!

It was a lot of fun to talk to people, some of whom read this blog.  While at the event, I decided to tie some classic Adirondack wet flies.  Here are a couple of the flies that have roots back to the late 19th century.  Both the Adirondack and the Reuben Wood (reub wood) are included in the color plates in Ray Bergman's classic "Trout".  The Reuben wood is  an imitative pattern said to resemble the white moths often seen on Adirondack waters while the "Adirondack" is more of an "attractor" type of fly.

Reuben Wood (reub wood; rube wood)
Mustad 3399 wet fly hook #10-12
red floss tip
Mallard flank fibers (tail)
white micro chenille (body)
brown hen (throat)
matched mallard flank feather (wing)
red UTC 70DN thread

Mustad 3399 wet fly hook #10-12
Yellow floss tip
Black hackle fibers (tail)
Hare's ear dubbing (body)
orange hackle fibers (throat)
matched mallard quill (dyed white)
black UTC 70DN thread

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Opening Day

Today was the opening day of trout season in CT.  For those who love the peace and solitude of small streams, fishing among the crowds on the stocked rivers across the state is not that exciting a prospect.  But it was gorgeous spring day here in CT with warm sun and when I checked the water temperature at mid day it had gotten up to 50F!  At times, I just enjoyed taking pictures of the landscape.  The wildflowers haven't started blooming yet and the only thing poking through the earth at this point is skunk cabbage!

The first brook of the season
As we did last year, a few of us made plans to fish a small wild trout stream far away from all the fuss.  Alan, Kirk and I met for a country breakfast and then one to the stream of choice.  We were later joined by Pete and his son Matt.

Matt's first brook trout 

Things started off slow but eventually everyone was able to coax a brook trout to take a weighted soft hackle.  As the sun began to warm things up, I decided to see if I could coax a brook trout to take a royal wulff dry.  After a few drifts in the likely places a pair of brook trout were brought to hand and for the rest of the afternoon most of us fished various dries with success. A beautiful, warm spring day, brooks willing to chase down a dry, the camaraderie of others who enjoy small streams and corn bread....priceless!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Spring's first outing

Sin and Death have been defeated!

Happy Easter everyone!

It's been a long time since I was on a small stream!  Plans were made to meet  Alan and Kirk on a small wild trout stream.  When we made our plans we hadn't counted on the strong rains last night.  When I met Alan the stream was off color and quite high.

This freestone stream had an angry chalky look to it today!

Signs of spring!

I checked the water temp it was barely 40F, not very encouraging but it did feel nice to be out especially when the sun poked through!  Walking along the forest I did see a skunk cabbage here and there breaking through the earth indicating that warmer days are ahead.  I started with small beadhead white bugger but thought it was a little too bright for the water and switched to a black one.

I had one brief hookup in some softer water and thought that might be it for the day.  We finished up at a deep plunge pool and I thought I saw a quiet seam along the opposite bank.  I had one fish follow the bugger and then turn away at the last minute but I kept at it and managed to land a pretty little wild brown.  After that I called it quits and headed home content to spend some time outdoors with good friends.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

More Palmers

I've been tying some more Palmer style flies today.  In the picture below you can see some of the larger black palmers with the red bucktail tail, some black palmer red tag wets, some brown palmer red tag wets and a bomber style dry fly.

A handful of wet and dry Palmers

I've had the idea of tying a black bomber swimming around for a while in my head.  When I started reading about the palmer style wet flies things started to come together.  I really like the heavily hackled bomber for fishing small, tumbly water and the white calf tail wing really helps keep track of the fly.  Combining these elements with a red bucktail tail and a peacock herl body resulted in a palmer style dry fly reminiscent of Fran Better's Ausable bomber.  I've a few for trying out in both brown and black hackle. (brown shown below).

Materal's list
TMC 100 #14 dry fly hook
black 8/0 Uni thread
stacked red bucktail for the tail
3 strands of peacock herl reinforced with thread for the body
White calf tail wing
brown or black saddle hackle palmered from rear to front

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Black Zulu

I've been intrigued with the name and history of the Adirondack pond fly I showed in the previous post.  I figured was probably and adaption of a similar classic wet fly so I turned to the plates of Ray Bergman's Trout and found a fly that looked very similar on plate #2 called the black palmer red tag.  The materials listed for this fly were a red wool tag, peacock herl body and black hackle palmered over the fly.  Here is my interpretation of the black palmer tied on a mustad S70-3399 #10.  You can see the similarity to the Adirondack fly which uses a longer streamer hook and a sparse red bucktail tail to create the illusion of a blood trail behind the leech.

The Black Palmer has an older relative from Scotland in the Black Zulu.  The Zulu is a classic loch fly which I found interesting in that the Adirondack variation is also used for still water fishing.  Below I've tied the Zulu on the mustad S70-3399 #10 with softer hen hackle  to give more movement to the hackle when fishing still waters as is typically the custom.