Saturday, January 31, 2015

Euro nymphing - Part 1.

It's the season for tying around here since the cold and snow has kept me off the streams.  I thought a couple of posts on European style nymphing would be of interest so I will be showing you some of the flies and setup I have been using.  I refer to this style of nymphing as "European" rather than the more descriptive terms of Czech , Spanish, or French.  Not being one to get caught up in proper names, European is probably a better term for the hybrid technique I use anyway.  This past year I've caught more, and larger trout using this basically simple technique, which is new to me since I really enjoy fishing dry flies.

European nymphing for me is really no more that "tight line" nymphing that enables me to easily feel, see, and react to a fish taking the fly.  The basic leader setup I use is shown in the diagram below. Sometimes I use a tippet ring, but if I need to rebuild the leader and tippet section on the stream, I will use a triple surgeon's knot and tie the dropper off the tag end.  I like to use a bicolor section of fluorescent mono as a "sighter" which helps me  see where the leader is and follow its movement through the drift.

My basic leader setup
 This technique uses weighted flies to get them down to the fish quickly. Being a minimalist to the core, I really like the fact that I can catch fish year round on the same basic set of flies that fit neatly into a slim fly box. I typically fish a two fly rig with a heavily weighted "anchor" fly as the point fly and a smaller nymph as the dropper which is representative of whatever nymphs are in the water at that particular time of the year.  Over the next couple posts I will show you how I weight the anchor flies and provide recipes and tips for fishing some of my favorites from the box below.   I also want to acknowledge Rich Strolis of Catching Shadows who who sent me a set of his top flies that helped me see the actual flies and improve my ability to effectively tie of them.  Rich has some very informative tying videos up at his vimeo channel that are linked in the fly box over to the right of the blog.

Everything in one neat little box 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A little snow

It's a snowy day here in central CT.  It's hard to tell just how much snow is on the ground due to the windy conditions but it doesn't look like it is measuring up to the "storm of the century" hype the news has been drumming up over the past couple days. In any case, my workplace was closed so I am enjoying a day at home.

Not much on the fishing front lately with the colder weather we've had but I have been busy finishing up some furled leaders, putting the jig away, and cleaning up my tying bench.  My tying area is a combination of my work bench for various home projects and fly tying and it's gotten out of hand of late.  I bought some small drawers from the local Walmart and used the peg board to hang dubbing packages where I can easily get to them. All the hooks and beads are in Kraft Lockables trays (upper left) and hung also on the pegboard to create a little more useable bench space.  So now I can get back to tying again!  In a few days I will highlight a few of the Euro nymphs I've been using this past year for those interested in this style of nymphing so stay tuned.

With the snow flying, I enjoy watching the juncos, cardinals, tufted titmice, downy woodpeckers, flickers, finches, and nuthatches coming to the feeder.  Days like these seems to draw them to the feeder.  Hope my friends in the northeast are staying warm today!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Furled leaders for small streams

It's been too cold for any fishing around here lately, so I've been doing some tying and furling some leaders for small streams.  Here is my favorite setup for a small stream leader that works well with the shorter rod I use for fishing small streams.  I use Uni 6/0 thread in either gray or olive.  The leader is a 40/40/20 design with 40% butt section, 40% taper, and 20% tippet.  The leaders are finished with a shorb loop and a tippet ring for attaching the tippet.

The 5/8" dowels are set in my (pictured below) at the following lengths with the indicated number of wraps.

First leg: 13" (6.5wraps); 25.5" (4.5wraps); 48" (2.5wraps)
Second leg: 19" (6.5wraps); 36" (4.5wraps); 48" (2.5wraps)

Jig, a couple leaders in grey and olive, and Steve Zondag's book

Tip - a small knit-picker makes forming the shorb loop a lot easier and I've found that working the knit picker into the last loop of the leader and then grabbing the tippet ring with the hook allows for slipping the loop over the ring to make the leader to tippet ring loop to loop connection A LOT EASIER.  Happy furling!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Welcoming the New Year - part II

A warmer day to try the Bomber
New Year's Day was cold and blustery and not a day to fish dries even though Kirk managed to find one interested in flirting with a Royal Wulff.  All the action was subsurface with the pinkie.

Today was a bit warmer and I thought it might be worth committing to the dry and see what I could find.  I fished a different location for a couple hours during the "heat" of the day to increase my chances.

I fished an Ausable bomber all afternoon and found plenty of brooks willing to dance.  A few were brought to hand including a little rainbow.  The streak (catching a trout each month on a dry fly) of nearly two years is still alive for another month anyway.

The first brook trout of 2015 on a dry

The brook was sitting just in front of the rock midstream

A little rainbow

Welcoming the New Year

Alan , Kirk, Pete and I met up yesterday morning to continue an annual tradition of fishing for brook trout on a small CT stream on the first day of each year.  Unfortunately, John, the other member of the crew was at home sick.

You never know what to expect fishing on January 1.  Some years it was warm and others brutally cold.  Yesterday was the later.  Between the wind and the cold temps it was a challenge to keep the hands warm.  It was definitely one of those days that you stick with the same fly the whole day because the hands become unable to perform after a hour or two.  Most of us fished a pink San Juan worm we call the "pinkie" although Kirk had a brook flirt with a dry at one point.

The early part of the morning I spent mostly taking pictures of the ice that had formed in some interesting shapes and structures.  With the sun shining brightly it was quite beautiful.

I did manage to bring the first brook trout of 2015 to hand for a quick picture.  Holding these fish in the hand and seeing their beauty never seems get old for me and reminds me of glory of their Creator and Sustainer even in the harsh winter months.

the first brook trout of the year

After a morning of being out in the cold, it was good to get some warm soup and chili in our bodies thanks to Alan and my wife.  My little Peak1 backpacking stove can still bring the heat once it gets going even after 40 years!.

Hot chicken soup and chili for a cold winter day

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas to all of you

Wishing all of you a Merry Christmas and best wishes to all in 2015.  Thanks for following along for another year!

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.  And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find the baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger."  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

"Glory to God in the highest and on earth Peace among those with whom He is pleased!"

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Rainy Days and Mondays...

Every now and then I remember the old Carpenter's song "rainy days and Mondays always get me down" but I guess they didn't know the simple solution to the Monday blues:  go fishing!  The last two Mondays I've been able to use up some vacation time and fish.  It really does help get the week off to a good relaxing start.  For me it provides an added day of rest to consider things that were discussed in Sunday's sermon or Bible study.

Yesterday, a friend from work and I made plans to fish the Farmington River together.  He is an experienced smallmouth bass, walleye, pike, and muskie fisherman from the Midwest with some experience with the fly rod but he had never fished for trout.  I rigged the euro nymphing rod for him and he had getting a good drift down by the time we left the first spot we fished.  This is my usual "get on the board" spot and we blanked so I was wondering if I was going to be able to get him into some interested fish.   After not finding fish in the usual spots, I decided we should move on, a decision that proved to be a good one.

the first Farmington River brown of the day

The river was up higher than I usually like to fish and at the next stop the river had an angry look to it.  I had my wading staff so, I eased him out into the strong current and got his feet planted with the staff anchored between us just in case.  As I was showing him where to drift the flies, the first brown took the frenchie and took off downstream.  After a couple of strong runs, the hook popped out but no worries, we had found fish.  I ended up putting my heaviest stonefly nymph on point and the #10 frenchie as the dropper just to make sure the rig got down as quickly as it could.  It wasn't long before he got his first lesson on fighting a Farmington brown.  The brown won that battle but experience was gained.  In the end he was able to land a couple and I was as well.  All the fish took the frenchie, which is proving to be a fine fly for winter nymphing.  We fished a third location without any interest and a few more lost flies but the wading staff I dredged up nymphing this spot a month ago was still sitting on the bank where I left it, so John had a recycled wading staff for the next trip!  You can't beat fishing on a December Monday and catching a few! Who says Monday's have to get you down.

John's first Farmington Brown.  Opps, I forgot to tell the smallmouth fisherman how to hold a trout!