Sunday, April 10, 2011

A local diversion

A local favorite
It's been a while since I've been out so I decided to take advantage of the moderate temperatures predicted for yesterday and visit a favorite local stream for a couple of hours.  It was a pleasant early spring day to be out with the warm sun reflecting off the water.  The stream was a bit on the low side and very clear.  There were signs of life along the banks with the early sprouts of skunk cabbage making their way through the dirt.

I had decided that I would fish mostly wet flies.  I started out with a bead head pheasant tail soft hackle with a wingless wet march brown as a dropper.  This tandem rig worked very nicely and accounted for a nice mix of brown and brook trout.  At one point, I had a pair of brook trout on each fly to deal with.
Ballie's Black Spider

As the late morning gave way to afternoon, small black stone flies began making an appearance.  I switched up to some North country spiders which I have been researching and tying over the past winter.  The black spider originally attributed to James Ballie in W. C. Stewart's The Practical Angler garnered the most interest.   I ended the day fishing a stone fly adult pattern that provoked a lot of interest but no takers.   All in all a very fine day indeed.


  1. Dustin, the stone flies looked to be about a #16 so I used a #16 black spider.

  2. Nice to see you're catching on these old flies. The black spider is just a fantatic servant.


  3. Jon - thanks, the north country tradition is starting to become a new addiction ! Stewart wrote you only needed three flies a black (far and away the best), red, and dun spider. One only wonders if that would still be the case

  4. Sounds like a good day on the water. Love those spiders. I'll have to look them up and give them a try.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Passinthru Outdoors Blog - Sharing the Passion

  5. Thanks for the post! I have always thought that North Country Spiders are great flies. When I'm not tying their "Far Eastern Cousins" the sakasa kebari, I still come back to them for tying and fishing. Most patterns have been around for hundreds of years, there is probably a good reason for that.

  6. Kiwi

    Just got a nice facsimile copy of Edmonds and Lee's "Brook and River Trouting" from the UK. It has a lot plates of north country flies and materials used. You might find some great inspiration for sakasa kebari versions. You can also find PDF versions online

  7. Thanks for the heads up. I have spent a lot of time pouring through Pritt's book and the practical angler for ideas or flies to tie. They are all great books. I just read through Nemes "Two centries of soft hackled flies" and enjoyed it greatly.

  8. Kiwi - Those are great books, just finished reading both. The Lee and Edmonds book is a nice catalog of fly patterns with pictures of the silk colors, the feathers and material used which is very helpful in reproducing these old patterns. I've found it very helpful