Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Some new small stream flies – the peacock and deer hair stone fly

Continuing in the series of new small stream flies is a small stone fly dry.  Again this is not a “new” fly as other’s have described a similar fly.  I got the idea for this fly last winter when I noticed brook trout taking small flies off the surface in January and February.  That got me thinking that a small slender dry with a peacock herl body might work well.  The early stone flies are very slender, so this fly is simple and slender. 

I just use two materials peacock herl and deer hair.   I wrap the black thread on the hook and tie in the herl at the head of the hook leaving a small space for the deer hair head.  Then wrap the thread down to the bend, followed by wrapping the herl down to the bend.  Catch the herl with a couple wraps and then wind the thread back up through the herl to give it a little more durability.  I use dark comparadun deer hair for the wing, trim the head and whip finish and you are finished.

You can fish this little dry at the tail of a riffle and along the bank.  Twitching it back to you along the banks will often induce a strike.

TMC 100; #18
Black thread
peacock herl body
dark comparadun deer hair

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Some new small stream flies - the pinkie

Last year I reviewed my top ten flies for 2013.  When looking at my logbook, I quickly realized that the top ten didn't change much in 2014.  Comaparaduns of various colors and sizes dominated my fishing on larger rivers.  I did notice that this year, I introduced a couple new small stream flies into the small stream box.  Over the next couple weeks, I will post a picture and recipe for these flies that I've found myself using more frequently on small streams.  The flies aren't new but I have discovered their effectiveness in various small stream situations over this past year.

My small stream fishing is still dominated by Fran Better's Ausable Bomber and the Royal Wulff. This year, I've add Fran's mini muddler with yellow quill wing to the mix.  This fly has become one of my top three.   Links to all three flies can be found in the fly box section on the right hand side of the blog.   This winter, I've discovered how effective the very simple pinkie can be.  Alan (Small stream reflections) introduced me to this fly and to be honest, I was skeptical about using a bright pink fly. It just doesn't look like a trout fly!  But in the winter, this fly will take brook trout and wild browns as well.  I don't fish it with any weight since the streams I fish this fly in don't really need it but you could add a brass or tungsten bead to provide a little more weight for those deeper runs. There are only two materials needed to tie this fly; hot pink micro ultra chenille and pink thread and that's it!  I use a short hook like the TMC 2487 and wrap the chenille around the hook 3 times and leave excess at both ends.  In the water the ends move around giving it some movement.

This far-out fly has found a place in my box.  Although I have it in the last row so I can easily put my hand over them when someone wants to look in my box!  We wouldn't want anyone to see that I carry pink flies with me!

The pinkie
TMC 2487 #16 hook 
Pink thread
Pink micro ultra chenille

Monday, January 20, 2014

Fishing Dries in January?

The forecast for today looked like it was going to be the warmest day of the week, so plans were made to met Alan on a favorite small stream.  We had planned to meet around the warmest part of the day and I was hoping to find a trout or two willing to take a stonefly off the surface.

I started off with the pinkie and managed to cox a small brook trout out from under a brush pile.  It wasn't long before Alan spotted a fish taking something off the surface.  He put on a bomber and had a few swipes, I fished a #18 elk hair caddis with a peacock herl body.  That fly managed to fool a handful of brook trout before things went quite.  I took the water temp and was surprised to see it read 39F which might explain the willingness of the trout to be looking up.  So for now the streak is still alive with another month in the logbook taking trout on the dry.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Favorite flies - Haystacks/comparaduns

Hendrickson comparadun
 At the start of the year, I review my log book to see which flies were my top flies in the previous year so that I check my box to see if I need to tie some more.  This past year, I fished the same flies as the previous year with a couple new additions.  My favorite dry fly by a wide margin is the Haystack or comparadun.  I tie them using a variety of dubbings to cover the prevalent hatches in southern New England.  I really like using spectrumized dubbing which is a blend of several colors of dubbing.  This dubbing can be obtained from the Delaware River club.

The comparadun is really a modification of the Haystack which was originated by Fran Betters.  The Haystack replaced the traditional catskill style hackle with a deer hair wing.  Fran used a deer hair tail to add more buoyancy.  The comparadun uses a micro fibbet split tail to replace the deer hair tail of the Haystack. There is also a sparkle dun variation that uses a few fibers of emerger yarn for the tail.  Personally, I find split microfibbet tail to work best on larger flies (hendricksons, sulfurs, and isonychia) and use the emerger yarn for dries size 20 and smaller (olives).

Here why I like the comparadun so much.  It sits low in the water,  it can be fished as an emerger, dun, or spinner, uses simple and inexpensive materials, is quick to tie, durable, and floats really well.  You can see the recipes for the Hendrickson, sulfur, and isonychia comparaduns in the fly box to the right.  Just click on the link.

#24 olive snowshoe variation
One new variation that worked very well for my in the late fall for small olives (#20-#24) is the olive snowshoe emerger.  This simple little fly uses an olive thread body, 4-6 strands of brown emerger yarn for the tail and snowshoe rabbit for the wing.  The snowshoe rabbit wing has less bulk behind the wing compared to a deer hair wing and this helps keep the fly’s body slender, key for these tiny flies.  The snowshoe rabbit wing makes it easier to see this fly.  

Friday, January 3, 2014

A snowy friday

Junco in the snow

We are sitting under a blanket of new snow and the thermometer is hovering around 10F.  I enjoy mornings like these; watching the birds at the feeders, some hot coffee, and some reading.  Then it's out in the snow to clear off the driveway and sidewalks.   I will probably spend the afternoon doing a few odd jobs around the house and maybe some winter tying.

Here are a few shots of the birds at the feeders this morning...

Cardinal and Junco sharing the feeder

A tufted titmouse

I will be tying more large articulated streamers this winter for fishing next year.  Some late fall success with these meaty offerings has me wanting to fish these more in the coming year.   Shown below is a super-sized version of Kelly Gallop's barely legal that should draw some attention! I also hope to tie a few classic wets as well in the coming months.

Top fly is the super-sized version complete with Fish Skulz head.
The fly on the bottom is one I purchased from Feather-Craft

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Continuing the tradition

Brk Trt (Alan), TROUTI (Pete), RKM (Kirk), Apache Trout (John), and I met up this morning to fish a small stream like we have the last the couple years.  I can't think of a better way to start the New Year then to get up early and out in the crisp winter air with some friends and ice a line while the rest of the world is still sleeping off the night before.

Pete and I headed upstream and found a couple of nice wild browns right out of the gate.  All the browns took the pink version of the green winnie .  The rest of the morning was quite.

The first fish of the New Year

Pete's first fish of 2014

A gorgeous winter brown, notice the red highlights around the adipose fin and tail

We all met up for a hot lunch of homemade chicken soup (thanks to Sandra) and the traditional venison chili courtesy of chef Alan.  After lunch there was a little more fishing but the cold had pretty much shut things down.

Two camp stoves warming up lunch in the back of Kirk's truck

Here are some pictures shot along the stream this morning.

A tiny tributary flowing down into the main stream

Best wishes to all of you in the coming New Year!