Saturday, April 19, 2014

Opening Day 2014

The trout season officially opened in CT today.  In years past, I've opted to stay at home since  I don't enjoy the crowds or watching buckets full of fish taken from the rivers. Alan and I thought it would be far more enjoyable to mark the opening of the small streams, which have been closed since the end of February, by fishing a tiny wild trout stream tucked away from all the opening day attention.  This morning had the typical New England chill of a spring morning but the bright sun quickly began to warm to earth.  Alan and I met along the stream and Kirk was able to join us for some late morning fishing.

I was fishing a bead head pheasant tail soft hackle and had a couple small trout on briefly but that was it.  We decided to take a break and enjoy the warm sun, some coffee, muffins, and conversation.  After a little break, Kirk needed to head home and Alan I decided to head to another location.

In one long deep pool, I managed a couple of smaller brook trout on the pheasant tail and then made the decision to fish the rest of the afternoon with a dry fly.  I chose one of my favorites, the Royal Wulff.  For the next couple hours, it was as if I was out on an early summer afternoon where the brook trout slash at dries with abandon.  Quite a few gorgeous little fish were brought to hand along with a few more sizeable ones as well.  It was a wonderful afternoon of fishing that went a long way toward putting the memory of a long winter to bed.

The last and best fish of the afternoon

My favorite way to fish, a 5'9" 3wt and a Royal Wulff!

Wishing each of you and your families a wonderful Resurrection Sunday !

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Mediation for Good Friday

Today we consider the great cost of purchasing redemption from sin that took the lashing, the beating, the mocking, and the crucifixion of the holy and righteous Son of God.  

Jesus, you were not the victim but willingly chose this path of pain and anguish so that a greater victory could be purchased, peace between a holy God and my sinful self.

Jesus, I cannot fathom the brutal violence and physical pain you experienced but today I am reminded of the enormity of the gulf between me and God that you came to bridge.  Even more amazing and unimaginable is the depth of the struggle in the spiritual realm where you became sin and endured the all the furious wrath of a Holy God poured out to the dregs for the sins of those you came to redeem.   

Truly there is no greater love in all the world than this! Today we remember the cost, on Easter we will celebrate the victory won over our greatest enemies of sin and death.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

An early Saturday morning

This morning it was up early to fish a local Trout Management Area.  The trout season will open next Saturday and the small streams I enjoy fishing will be open again but for now, options are limited.  This morning the woods were cool and damp from rain the night before but the stream was in good shape.

I was fishing a black pheasant tail soft hackle on point with a hare's ear wet as a dropper.  A strong brook trout took the black pheasant tail in a favorite riffle.  After a few spirited runs, a nice brook trout was in the net.  The pheasant tail connected with another healthy, well colored brook trout before it was time to head home.

The trout lilies are starting to sprouting up through the damp, woody, debris.  It won't be long before we start to see their lovely yellow flowers.

Monday, April 7, 2014


I was out for a little on Saturday and Sunday afternoon.  Saturday was cold, raw, and overcast. The stream I fished was up quite a bit from some rain the nice before.  The stream was clear but I wasn't surprised that fishing streamers and wet flies did not produce much.

A grey day among the thorns

After a good bit of walking, I managed one decent sized, feisty, chub for my efforts.  Despite the dour day, I did notice several sign posts indicating a transition in the seasons, and so I remain hopeful.

Finally some green showing on the skunk cabbage

Sunday was a completely different day with a warm inviting sun.  Walking along a local stream, I noticed a decent stonefly hatch.  The first decent one of the season but the fish really didn't take any notice.  Maybe in the warmer days ahead.

The trees are getting ready for spring

Thursday, April 3, 2014

After the rain

Last Saturday and Sunday New England got the first heavy rain of this spring.  Rivers large and small were running a high and muddy.  Flows are settling but they still are high even for this time of year.  Yesterday I decided to make a quick trip to a local river after work.  The clarity was good but it was still quite high.  With some warmer afternoon temperatures I was wondering if I would see any stoneflies.  I saw the odd one here and there but they really haven't started to come out in any numbers yet.

Most of the softer seams, where I usually find fish, had a pretty stiff current in them and were generally unproductive.  It will probably take another day or two before flows return to more normal levels for this time of year.  I did manage a rainbow and a brown Euro nymphing in one of the deeper pools.  Both fish took a black bead head pheasant tail soft hackle dropper with a heavier fly on point to get the rig down and slow the drift.

As I walked along, I noticed that the skunk cabbage  has not begun to open up let alone sprout. This is usually one of the first plants to sprout their large green leaves in the spring.  I went back to some pictures from past seasons and found the photo below.  In the year the photo was taken, spring came a couple weeks early.  My best guess is that we are 2-3 weeks away from seeing the usual sights of spring.

Skunk cabbage still looking like this picture taken on March 8, 2012

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The first wildflowers of spring

With gray skies and the water a chilly 42F, the fishing on the Farmington River was pretty slow but Pete and I managed a handful on wooley buggers with sink tip lines.  While walking to the first stop we fished I noticed a bunch of snow drops.  While these are not true wildflowers (they are transplants from Europe), they are nevertheless the first flowers I've seen growing in the wild this spring.  The earth is starting to awake from a long, cold winter

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Wind knots and ice in the guides

You would think that by the end of March we would be finished with dealing with ice in the guides although we expect some windy days this time of year.  Yesterday both the wind and the temperatures conspired to make fishing seem like an insane proposition.  With temperatures hovering around the freezing mark and winds from 25mph to 40mph, it was going to be tough fishing. But then again, such conditions have a way of insuring that you certainly experience a measure of solitude and there is something to be said for the sense of accomplishment when you get out there anyway, undaunted by the weather.  How else can you explain why some of us fish all winter long?

After getting rigged and suited up I decided that today the best tactic would be to swing a brace of wets through the likely holding spots and cover a lot of ground.  I quickly discovered the only problem with that plan was the fact that the wind was throwing a lot of leaves into the water and almost every drift required removing the leaves hooked on the swing and then there was the ice in the guides to deal with.  Nevertheless, I was quickly into fish so I stuck with it.  I fished a black bead head pheasant tail soft hackle on point with a hare’s ear soft hackle as a dropper.  The preference was for the hare’s ear but fish were taken on both flies. 

After about two hours in the cold wind, my hands were becoming unusable.  When the wind started really kicking up and bringing limbs down all around me, I called it quits and hiked back to the truck.  My hands had gotten so cold that I couldn’t release the clips on my wader suspenders.   It took about 10 minutes into the ride home before I could feel my fingers again but it was still fun to get out there and catch a frozen handful of browns and the odd rainbow fishing wets.

a brown and a rainbow willing to chase a wet fly on a cold windy day