Thursday, July 28, 2011

Last Call - Anniversary giveaway

Last call for the Fishing Small Streams Anniversary Giveaway. Leave a comment if you would like a selection of a dozen flies of your choosing that have been posted over the last year.  A random winner will be chosen August 1.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Fishing Small Streams turns one ! / Give away

Exactly one year ago today, I started "Fishing small streams".  Over the past year 50 followers have been added with over 6,000 page views.  When I started, I had no idea where all this was going but it’s been a lot of fun.  I hope the posts have entertained and provided some useful tips as well.  A special thanks to all those who regularly visit and leave comments.  

If you leave a comment about what you most like about Fishing Small streams, I will select someone to send a dozen flies of your choice from those highlighted over the last year for you to give a try on your home waters.

Hope you all enjoy another year of fishing your favorite stream, small or otherwise.


Friday, July 15, 2011

One more day out

The morning was a cool 58F and overcast, a perfect combination for the day's plan, to fish an old favorite.  The dry weather over the past couple of days had dropped the water level and would allow access to the upper reaches of this brook that I had not had a chance to fish yet this year.  A quick check of the water temp (60F) and up the trail I went.  At my first drop-in, I left the trail and headed down the steep valley guided by the gentle sounds of the brook below. 
I started off with an Ausable bomber and started working some of the pools.  I quickly realized that the lower water levels had moved the fish up into the head of the pools, just under the plunges or slightly below them.  Every promising spot resulted in a slash at the bomber but few solid hook-ups.  I switched to a smaller lime trude and BANG, problem solved!  This was the first time I had tried a lime trude and I was very pleased with the results.  The combination of the bright green floss and the down-wing style white calf tail made the fly easy to track.  A number of brook trout were brought to hand, photographed, and released.  After the trout had torn the lime floss to shreds, I switched to a larger royal trude as I worked by way upstream to the water I really wanted to fish.
Adirondack Gold

I had brought 10 brook trout to hand by the time I reached one of my favorite sections, a larger plunge pool with a nice undercut granite slab where big brook trout usually live.  I cast into the foam of the plunge and let the trude sink and continued the wet fly swing.  One of the things I love about fishing trudes is that the can be fished both dry and wet.  As the fly swung past the undercut a good sized fish hit the trude hard.  It was instantly obvious fish had some weight.  After putting a good bend in my 3wt and a couple of good charges, I landed a beautiful male about 10 inches.  After a quick couple of pictures I sent him back to his lair and moved up to my final destination.
After a couple of cast with no response I took a look at my fly and discovered that we had parted company somewhere.  Because I knew this next spot was deep, I decided to turn to the peacock and hen bugger that I have fished often this year.  Tossing it under the plunge and drawing it back along the near bank brought another strong response and this didn’t feel like a brookie.  As the battle ensued my mind began to wander back to a couple of years ago when my daughter and I were in this very spot in the early fall.  We were amazed that a beautiful rainbow had somehow managed to work it’s way upstream especially when you consider the distance and elevation difference between here and the nearest stocked river.  The first surface thrash of the fish quickly grabbed my attention and brought me back to the present.  The flash of silver and chrome revealed that I was probably dealing with the very same rainbow that had managed two harsh winters in this pool.  After bringing it to hand and a few photos I needed to decide what to do with it.  Inside my head a split secod wrestling match was taking place between logic and feelings.  Like a knock-down street brawl it was difficult to determin who had the upper hand.  Logic said “Keep it, it doesn’t belong here anyway.  Remember you haven’t caught anything in this pool since you caught this rainbow a couple of years ago” but then my love for the persistent, the ambitious, the underdog said “Let it go, besides would you really like to explain to your duaghter that the fish on the table is her friend from a couple of years ago ?”  In the end, we left together and joined some baked then pan- fried potatoes for a lovely lunch to end a wonderful morning.

Why I wear a "bear bell"
July 9,2011
Late afternoon I headed back to the stream with the beautiful log jam to see if a brook trout was hiding under that log jam.  The plan was just to fish this spot for an hour or so, take a few pictures and put the camera underwater to see what things looked like down under.  I settled onto my knees into the riffle as before observing.  It was then I realized I had left to important things at home, the bug repellent and my camera.  I’m not sure which I was more annoyed at, not having the camera or being bitten all over by misquito’s, biting flies and gnats.  Staying put, I saw a couple of rises along the hemlock branch but there was no interest in the tan caddis, black beetle, or black spider that I drifted down the riffle and along the branch.  At this point, I decided to change tactics to some old school, really old school, north country wet fly fishing!  I tied on a classic gold ribbed hare’s ear winged wet and sent it down the riffle, along the jam and then slowly retrieved it through the deep section of the pool.  One the second pass during the retrieve something hit the wet hard and fought like a ton of bricks, deep on a long line.  The strong fight had me hoping to see another big brookie.  As the fish reached the shallows, I slipped my hand under a nice fat little brook trout that really put up a struggle.  And so ended a wonderful week away…  

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Nobody's home

July 6, 2011
Took a break from fishing and took the girls hiking up a mountain with a fire tower on it.  The deer flies were pretty annoying despite the heavy dose of repellent.  Once we were up on the fire tower the strong winds made for a very pleasant candy bar and water snack and then back down to the trail head.  We did cross a nice looking brook but I didn't have the heart to ask the girls to wait there as "bug bait" while I checked to see if anyone was home.  Here are some views from the fire tower.
View towards home base
One of dozen's of Mud Lakes in the area.  The local guides would name the ponds Mud Lake to deter other guides from fishing them

July 7, 2011
I got up early again to more carefully explore two brooks I had visited on Monday.  Today, I would drive up some old logging roads further into the mountains to see if these brooks had some interesting water with some local residents at home.
The first brook had some interesting looking water a ways up so I looked for a spot to pull the truck off the single lane dirt logging road.  This brook had a lot of waist high grass and brush along the bank suggesting that during spring the brook is considerably wider.  I was soaking wet within a few minutes from trudging through the damp grass but I did find an interesting riffle/bend/pool combination.  Unfortunately nobody was home.  This was the case with several other promising spots I found along this brook.
Nobody's home ???
Undaunted, I packed it in and headed to the second brook.  Again I worked my way up a single lane dirt logging road and found a pull-off and headed into the forest.  This stream had a nice canopy of hemlocks and hardwoods but was considerably smaller.  The bomber was attacked in very pool I put it in but I couldn't hook a thing to have a look.  After some careful drifting I did manage to bring a few fish to hand unfortunately they were all fat head minnows.  This has been the tale of many too brooks and ponds in the A-dacks that once held brook trout where the careless release of bait fish has decimated the native brook trout population.

July 8, 2011
Best day out of the entire week - details to follow

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

More exploring

July 5, 2011
This evening I decided to explore a brook that I had spoted back in May.  There was some nice looking water upstream of where I entered and so I headed up.  I found several plunge pools and log jams with some depth but in each there were no response to the Ausable bomber.  After heading upstream for a while, I decided head back to where I started and explore downstream.  As I headed down I spotted a long, dark, tanin stained pool that looked like it had some depth against the opposite bank with some branch and root tangles in the deeper sections.  As I observed for a while I could see some tan caddis in the air along with some small olives.  It is rare that I see any insect life on these mountain streams, so I considered this a good sign and settled into the tall grass and brush to see if I could spot any noses.  After awhile I could see some rises, including a nice splash directly across from me.  Trying to stay low yet keep my cast above the grass and brush and shoot it under some hemlock branches was a bit challenging but I did get the bomber where it needed to go and bang a brookie slashed it.  The coloration on this brookie was a lot darker and more olive than those from the stream visited the prior day.  Althought I didn’t notice at the time, it had one single red spot with a blue hallow.  I stayed in this spot for a little and managed to raise a few more fish but failed to hook any.
A one-spotted brook trout
Moving further downstream, I found the makings of a beautiful spot.  A nice riffle led into a sharp bend pool.  The pool looked quite deep and the bend had a nice log jam with the current running slowly along the jam.  There had to be brook trout in there and maybe a big bomber!  Taking a page from Brk Trt’s book of tactics, I settled into the riffle on my knees and drifted the bomber down the riffle and along a hemlock branch that was trailing along the outside bank.  In the tail of the riffle there was a slash at the bomber as I slowly retrieved it and latter a slash along the trailing hemlock but no solid hookup.  I was surprized that I could not raise a fish along the log jam but my time was running out and I needed to head home.  I would come back later and spend a little more time here and possibly see what things looked like a little further downstream.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Outgoing Tide

We were up in the Adirondacks Mountains, NY over last week and I had the opportunity to fish a familiar brook as well as check out some brooks that had the potential to hold native brook trout.  The weather was great all week although we did have some heavy rain over the Fourth of July weekend.  I’ve updated the pictures on the blog and over the next week or so I will post a few details of the more noteable outings.

July 4, 2011 
I headed out early in the morning to my favorite mountain brook.  As I drove the air temp was a cool 58F and a low fog was draped over the mountain valleys.  I was not expecting the heavy flows I found and the brook was as high as I have ever seen it in the summer but running a cool 60F!  It was really thundering along and based on observations from later in the week it was up about 3-4 above normal and off-color from the heavy showers the previous evening.   I had been hoping to fish the “outgoing tide” (a receeding brook) since from past experience some of the larger brook trout can be caught under these conditions.
I quickly abandoned the notion of fishing dries, and tied on a “micro bugger” that I tie with a peacock herl body and palmered hen hackle and brass bead.  This combination usually works well in higher flows on this brook and this day was no different as half a dozen medium sized brookies were brought to hand and many others hooked but no large fish.  I did not venture further up into the mountains thinking that the pools I that most like to fish would not be worth the effort to get to them and there would be opportunity later in the week.  

After fishing for a couple of hours I decided to stop and look at a couple of the brooks that I wanted to explore later in the week.  The first brook looked very interesting but was considerable lower than the brook I had just fished which was very surprizing.  A limitted explore upstream and down did not reveal any signs of brook trout but it was getting near noon so I decided to explore further upstream on an early morning later in the week.  I did see this interesting tiger lilly with the trumpet shaped flowers pointing downward, which I had never seen before.
The second brook was considerable smaller but cold and had a very dense cover.  There were lots of small chubs and as I worked my way downstream I did hook a decent sized trout that came unbuttoned before getting it into the hand.  It was at the mouth of a larger river and so it could have been a brook or brown trout.  Again this stream would be explored again later in the week.
All in all it was a great start for the week with two new possiblities to explore.