Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Still not much fishing, just enjoying the winter doing some skiing and snowmobiling checking out some new brooks in the back country and doing a lot of tying.

Here is one of my all time favorite Adirondack brook trout flies, the Royal Wulff.  These colorful flies definitely bring the brook trout up for a look.  I like these flies heavily hackled for high gradient mountain brooks.  The bright white wing makes keeping track of this fly a lot easier as they get tumbled and bounced around in the plunges and riffles.   I tie these on 2X long dry fly hooks in size 12 and 14 and use woodchuck guard hairs for the tail.

Lime Royal Wulff
2XL dry fly hook (#12/14)
Black thread
woodchuck guard hairs for tail
peacock herl body
Uni-floss (red or chartruse)
white calf tail wing, split
grizzly and brown hackle
A royal flush

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Just for fun

It's a raw, rainy New England winter day today so I thought I would tie some just for the fun of it. Among my favorite types of flies are the North country spiders.  There is just something simple yet elegant about these flies and tying them is something like eating "comfort" food.  I like to tie these on Mustad hooks because of their bronzed finish which shows through the silk when wet.  So here are a couple of North country classics for you to enjoy...

Snipe and Purple
purple Pearsall Gossomer silk (of course)
Snipe marginal covert
Mustad 94840-R50 #12
Partridge and Green
green Pearsall Gossomer silk
brown partridge (back)
Hare's ear thorax
Mustad 94840-R50 #12
 Partridge and Orange 
orange Pearsall Gossomer silk 
grey partridge 
Hares ear thorax 
Mustad 94840-R50 #12
Grouse and Orange 
orange Pearsall Gossomer silk 
grouse shoulder 
Mustad 94840-R50 #12

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A little reorg

I've been doing a little reorganization of the links and cleaning things up a bit.  I did notice some spam in the comments of some older posts.  In removing it, I may have mistakenly removed a valued comment or two.  My sincere apology if I have removed your comment as I value the participation of all those who take the time to comment.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Classic wet flies

Lately, I've been having fun tying some classic wet flies.  It started with the Fontinalis Fin I tied last week.  This week, I picked up a copy of Ray Bergman's "Trout" from our local library and was browsing through the "plates" of classic wet flies.  The plates while very beautiful are not detailed enough to give a good sense of what the flies look like in detail since they are an artist's rendering of the flies and are fairly small.  After doing some searching on the web I found the Ray Bergman collection, which has a quality photo and material list of many of the Bergman flies.

Here are two classic patterns reported to interest Northern brook trout, the Professor and the Grizzly King.  I'm looking forward to seeing how these perform this spring.  The mallard flank wing was giving me a little trouble until I figured out that lying two sets of cut barbs together and then folding in half and folding in half again provided a nicer looking wing (the Professor vs. the Grizzly king).

The Professor
Mustad 3399; #12
scarlet quill tail
yellow uni-floss body
gold tinsel tag and rib
brown hackle throat
mallard flank wing
black thread head
Grizzly King
Mustad 3399; #12
scarlet quill tail
green uni-floss body
gold tinsel tag and rib
grizzly hen hackle throat
mallard flank wing
black thread head

Monday, February 11, 2013

Passing the time

The roads are slowing getting into passable shape around here and I fully expect this mini stay-cation will be ending tomorrow morning.  Last night the biggest front end loader I've ever seen ran down our street so with the predicted rain today, my wife and I were out clearing the "wall" at the end of the driveway.  Today we got out and shoveled a friend's flat roof that had a lot of snow on it as we were concerned that the rain was going to bring it down.

After shoveling and some shopping for needed supplies, I spent the afternoon tying.   On the list today was to finish up with some Adirondack flies and then try a classic winged wet.   The one I had in mind was the Fontinalis Fin.  I've always liked the look of this fly and this would be the first chance to try building a married wing.  After watching some videos I was ready to give it try.  I was pleased with how my first attempt came out.  The old timers used to say you could catch brook trout on a brook trout fin and I am really curious if this thing will catch fish.  Hope you all are safe and warm, God bless

A Fran Fest, some nymphs, a dozen Bombers, and some Mini Muddlers
My first attempt at a Fontinalis Fin

Mustad 3399 #12 wet fly hook

black thread
white hackle tail
orange wool body
fine gold tinsel rib
furnace hen hackle throat tied as a collar and pulled down 
married duck quill wing orange, black, white 

Saturday, February 9, 2013


Started snowing yesterday and didn't stop til late this morning!  The most snow I've seen come down in one storm in quite a while!  The driveway and sidewalk are clear, the power's on, and there's heat in the house but I'm not sure how the plow is going to get down our street so it looks like I'll be stuck for a few days!  Guess I'll just have to do some more tying !

View out the back door early this morning.  I guess I'll have to dig a path for the dog
View out the garage door, this is going to take a while
Bottom of the bird bath is about 32 inches off the ground
Honda is completely buried in a drift which extends over the roof of my explorer
View of the drift after clearing the driveway
The snowblower saves the day.  The snow in the background is the snow in the street.  Think I'm stuck for a while!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Some Adirondack bucktails and a favorite dry

With snow coming down here in the Northeast , it's a good day to do some tying. Back in the fall I was invited to tie some flies for a book project that a Canadian tier, Damien Lee Welsh, is putting together.  Damien's project is to collect and photograph little known or forgotten trout patterns.  So I've decided to contribute some Adirondack bucktails and favorite Adirondack dry in addition to a couple soft hackles.

The bucktails shown here were tied by a lesser known Adirondack tyer, Ed Bendl.  Ed would often name his creations after Adirondack ponds and lakes.  The fly shown below is a bucktail variation of Ed's 13th Lake streamer.  I believe the original version was a trolling fly.  The streamer gets it's name from Thirteenth Lake, a lake in the middle of Siamese Ponds wilderness known for it's rainbows and landlock salmon.  The orange body with the black deer hair reminds me of a small brook trout.  I can vouch for the ability of this fly to attract Adirondack brook trout.

The 13th Lake Bucktail
mustad 3665 #10 
black thread
golden pheasent crest tips tail
orange floss body
gold tinsel rib
orange bucktail underwing
2 strands of rootbeer crystal flash
black bucktail upper wing

Here's another old Adirondack bucktail, that called the Kelly Bill.  The best information I have is that the fly  was first tied in 1925 by Herb Howard after a conversation with Bill Kelly of the Cranberry Lake region of the Adirondacks.  Again the black and orange color scheme is present.  The older verison of the flies use a fire orange head as shown below.  Personally, I like a black head on this one as it makes the orange wool stand out better.  I am looking forward to trying this one out this season.

The Kelly Bill Bucktail
mustad 3665 #10
orange yarn tail
fire orange thread/ black thread and head
holographic gold tinsel rear body section
orange yarn forward body
holographic gold/silver tinsel rib
black hackle throat
squirrel tail wing

One of my other contributions to the book project is another Fran Better's fly, the Ausable Bomber.  There isn't much written about this fly.  I first heard of this fly from Alan of Small Stream Reflections.  This fly has become one of my all time favorites for fishing small streams for brook trout.  This fly floats extremely well which makes it ideal for fishing the pocket water typical of Adirondack waters.  My other favorite way to fish this fly is above a soft hackled pheasant tail tied off the back of the hook.  This dry/dropper combination is hard to beat.

The Ausable Bomber
2x long dry fly #14 or #12
fire orange thread
woodchuck guard hairs tail
orange possum body
grizzly and brown hackle palmered over the possum dubbing
white calf tail wing

Saturday, February 2, 2013

A little fresh New England air

Clear cold day today, but I haven't been outside for any length of time for a few weeks so I decided to head out.  I wasn't really expecting to catch much, I really just wanted to feel the February sun on my face and get a lung full of frigid air and maybe take some pictures.

Usually on cold days like today, I have trouble keeping my hands warm.  I've never really found a pair of gloves that really keeps me warm until today.  Last year I bought a pair a Simms fingerless gloves with a mitten pull over.  These gloves were wonderful today, they kept my hands very warm and weren't constantly getting hung with the line or the fly.  The mitt can be tucked back into a band around the wrist and kept of the way.  Each thumb has a similar set up.  They were a bit pricey but well worth the money considering I was comfortable all day despite the cold

frozen runoff entering the stream keeping things cool
I fished most of the afternoon with few nymphs with no interest so I decided to try a parachute Adams for a while and then a tan elk hair caddis.  Towards the end of the day a decent brook trout decided the caddis was just what he was looking for and another winter brook trout was taken with a dry fly.  Overall, a very slow day but it was great to be outside and enjoy some winter air, take a walk in the woods, take some pictures and take a fish on a dry in February.

Apologies for the lack of focus but at least you can see the nice coloration on this
winter brook trout