Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thankfulness

Wishing all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving this year, we all have much to be thankful for!  
Thanks to all of you for following along again this year. God bless - mark

Saturday, November 19, 2016

A tale of two streams


We've had some warm, clear November afternoons this week. Earlier in the week, I spent the day on the Farmington River.  I haven't fished the Farmington in quite awhile and I was curious how it was fishing after the long dry spell we had this summer and are still having into the fall.  I fished hard the whole day with little to show for it except one brown, but who's complaining when you are outside all day.  It was disappointing to see areas of the river drier than I have ever seen them.  Some of those areas held wild brown trout indicating that spawning areas were close by.  I just didn't have the heart to take any pictures.  The highlight of the day was watching a couple bald eagles flying along the river with a crystal clear blue sky above.


A favorite small stream in the early morning sun
Alan and I made plans to meet this morning and fish a favorite small stream together.  Alan commented that it was been about 6 months since we fished together last!  We enjoyed some coffee and muffins and caught up in the warm morning sun.  I choose to fish a dry the entire day and hooked a bunch of wild brook trout bringing a couple to hand.  We commented throughout the day that this particular small stream was pretty healthy probably the result of a number of small springs and seeps in it's upper reaches that had keep the water cool and flowing through the drought.  We spotted lots of brook trout running for cover as we tried crept into position as well as hooked many young trout and a fewer healthy adults.   I fished a elk hair caddis and parachute adams most of the day.


The master at work

There is short video clip of Alan releasing a nice brook trout over on the Fishing Small Streams facebook page

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Small stream longings

The golds of November are dominating the forest
It's been a long time since I've fished a small stream, way too long! So last Sunday afternoon I took a drive to one of my favorite small streams.  Lately the forest has been dominated by the golden leaves of beech and oak which are still stubbornly hanging on to their leaves. This fall it's been a bit unusual in that the trees have been changing color at different times which has resulted in a protracted fall where the dominant colors have been shifting from yellow to red to golden orange.


With the shorter days now and going back to EST, I didn't have a lot of daylight to work with before the temperatures were going to drop.  I chose to fish one of my favorite flies for small streams in late fall, the Parachute Adams.  The smaller size and darker color just seems to draw more interest in late fall and this afternoon that observation was confirmed.  I found mostly smaller fish but I did see forms darting about in the deeper pools running for cover in the low clear water.  In spite of the near drought like conditions this past summer and fall, the brook trout seem to be hanging on here which is very encouraging.

November Gold

Sunday, November 6, 2016

A November morning

A November morning on the Yellow Breeches
We went to PA for the weekend to visit our daughter at college.  Saturday morning was one of those crystal clear, warm November mornings that are such a pleasure to be outside. The Yellow Breeches was quite picturesque with it's large sycamore trees standing guard along the banks and the woodland still showing the golds and oranges of late fall.

I ended up fishing a bead head pheasant tail soft hackle and hooked a handful of stunning browns in many shallow depressions with some moving water.



A beautiful wild Yellow Breeches brown


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

It was a nice day to be outside


I decided to fish for some of the broodstock Atlantic Salmon that the state of CT stocks in the Naugatuck River.  The day was one of those clear fall days with a northerly breeze.  I fished a couple spots pretty hard and got a couple bumps but couldn't coax the fish to take a fly.  About mid afternoon I changed locations and got another bump.  This time I rested the fish and tried again, stripping the fly back through the area and bam, fish on!  I had pretty good control of the fish until it decided it was time to get to work and was about to go airborn when the knot to the fly gave way I end up with a fly-less leader.  It was a good day from the learning perspective in that I got a couple of opportunities to work fish that had shown interest and was able connect with one and it was gorgeous day to be outside at my favorite time of year.  Special thanks to my friend and salmon expert Ben for doing some text coaching during the day.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A brief stop along the way

After spending a few days with my oldest daughter in the SNP, my wife and I made our way up to central PA to pick up our youngest for her fall break from Messiah College.  It just so happens that the Yellow Breeches runs right through the campus.  So what is a father supposed to when you are waiting for your daughter to get out of class?



I had a wonderful couple of hours exploring the river and even managed to find a few fish.  The browns looked in excellent shape and from the red fringe on the tail and the complete fins were likely holdovers or wild fish.  I even found a little wild brown, suggesting that this river is in excellent health.  What a great break from driving and I look forward to exploring it some more over the next 4 years!

A very good sign for the future

Friday, October 21, 2016

Fall colors

My wife and I had the pleasure of spending two wonderfully clear, warm days in the Shenandoah National Park with our oldest daughter this past week.  I've said this before, but the SNP is one of my favorite places and having the opportunity to visit during the fall foliage season made our visit especially memorable.



We spent the days hiking upper Hawksbill and the White Oak Canyon trail and taking pictures.  It was fun for me to show them around and I was thrilled that they were able to see lots of deer and watch a black bear along the Skyline Drive.




In addition to hiking and spending time together, I did manage a couple hours to fish a stream that I haven't had the chance to return to since my first trip to the park in the spring of 2015.  With 2 hours to fish before the sun set, I figured that if I really moved quickly I could reach the area I wanted to fish in about 45 minutes.  That would leave 30 minutes to fish and then hike back out but I would have to push since it would be all up hill on the way out.  Unfortunately, my watch had died a few days before so I was running solely on my internal sense of time.

I was not certain if the stream would have a decent flow of water with the dry summer and fall the East has experienced this year. When I reached the spot I had in mind, I was delighted to see a healthy flow of water, probably the result of Hurricane Michael that passed through the area about a week before.  I started fishing a foam ant but quickly switched to a Royal Wulff and then added a hare's ear dropper with a bright red bead in an attempt to move the larger fish hanging on the bottom of the plunge pools.


Southern Appalachian brook trout have to be one of the most beautiful strains of eastern brook trout and truly stunning in their fall colors.




After fishing a pretty stretch of stream and finding fish, I thought I should pack up and head back up the trail to the car.  On the way out, I startled an owl which silently took off through the trees in the late afternoon light.  As I ascended out of the hollow, I could see the sun still in the sky bringing a sense of relief that I hadn't stayed too long. When finally reached the car it was a few minutes before six o'clock, just enough time to pick up the girls and the camera gear and find a spot to watch the sun set together!

The end of a wonderful day in the park