Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mid summer in the Adirondacks

A crystal clear Adirondack Mt brook
Just back from a weekend in the Adirondacks Mts of New York State.  I spent a couple hours Saturday afternoon exploring another mountain brook.  The water was low as you can tell by all the exposed rocks but the water was still quite cool and crystal clear.  Brook trout were found in almost every plunge pool.  The brook trout were all over the Ausable bomber and Royal Wulff.

Brook trout were lined up along the ledge along the riffle

One of the many beautiful brook trout that inhabit this stream
I found a brook trout hiding in this tiny refuge between some large boulders

The largest a prettiest trout of the afternoon, God paints in rich colors!

I am thankful to have beautiful, peaceful places like this to hike and enjoy!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Summertime is certainly here.  The wildflowers in the meadows are blooming like crazy and the days are long, hot, and humid.  I ventured out to a small stream on Sunday afternoon hoping to find some decent flows from some shower activity we had the week before but water levels were disappointingly low.  I tossed a dry in some of the deeper spots but there only interest from some of the smaller brookies so I called quits and headed home.

Yesterday afternoon I headed up to the Farmington river after work.  Flows in the Farmington have been up from their usual late July levels.  My guess is that the local water authority is draining some excess capacity from the reservoir that feeds the upper river.  Good flows of cold water are hard to find around here this time of year.  My plan was to euro nymph a spot that I haven't fished in a while and then move up river later to see if I could find some sort of hatch and maybe a spinner fall at dark.

In the first spot I managed a nice rainbow on a bead head pheasant tail soft hackle which I was using as a dropper.  This fly has been working very well for me this year on the Euro rig.  I had a lousy hook set on another fish, and long distance released another big rainbow on the PT.

Around 5:30 I moved up river.  After driving by the spot I had in mind I didn't see anyone fishing so I parked and walked in but found another angler there who graciously shared the run with me.  He fished the head of the riffle and I worked the tail.  I picked up a brown on the PT and stung another fish nymphing.  By then there were a number of fish sporadically taking dries.  There was a mix of olives and isonychias coming in alternating waves.

Another brown that took the pheasant tail
I fished an isonychia comparadun and had a few fish flow it or turn on it but no solid takers so I switched to a #18 olive comparadun and took a well colored brown.  I fished the olive for a while but had no more interest.

By then the isonychia were coming off in good numbers so I switched back to the iso comparadun and took half dozen or so rainbows and browns on the iso right up until dark.  I can't think of a better way to fish than tossing big dries late in the day to eager fish.  From what I could see the other gentlemen who was sharing the run with me did quite well also with olives and isonychias.

A Farmington River brown with my Ichthus 3/4 reel from Risen fly on the TFO BVK 8'6" 4wt
As the light began to fade there wasn't much activity.  I saw a few big sulfurs and I did mange one more nice brown on a #16 sulfur comparadun before everything calmed down just before dark.  I didn't see a spinner fall or a decent hatch at dark but between the two of us we caught quite a few trout on dries that made for another good evening of fishing and a new acquaintance.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Another Farmy Friday

A new one to me, purple loosestrife?
Another good afternoon on the Farmington River yesterday.  I started around 1 PM Euro nymphing in a nice deep run where the river funnels down into a narrow channel.  About half way down the run I tied into something big.  After a number of strong runs, I was able to get the fish out of the heavy current and got a good look at a huge rainbow.  I managed get her in the net but she barely fit in.  As I was getting ready to take a picture she easily flopped out of the net and was on her way.  When I got home I measured the bag of the net and figure she was a conservative 20" long and very wide.  Guess I may need to look into a net with a bigger bag!  I landed another brown further down the run and a couple of small salmon.  All the fish took the #12 super simple anchor.

About 3 PM I headed upriver to another location and nymphed there and picked up some smaller (wild?) browns. One took the #12 super simple and two on a small DDT that I was using as a dropper.  For kicks I put on a #12 Stimulator and sent it along the bank, as the fly passed over a deeper slot I saw a big dark brown come off the bottom and follow it for about 6ft and then nose it and turn away.  I waited a little, and tried again.  Again the fish followed it, this time a little further out into the current as it began to swing at the end of the drift but again nudged it but didn't take it.  The brown had turned twice on the Stimulator and I didn't want to drift it over him again so I waited a bit and took a look at my fly box to consider my next move.  I figured something a little smaller but still big and maybe not as bright as the yellow Stimulator might be the best approach.  That's when my eyes turned to the Ausable bomber.  I figured the size 14 bomber was just about right.  On the first drift the brown came up again, followed the bomber for a little and then took it.  I over-reacted and end up snapping the fly off the 5x tippet like it was attached with spider silk.  While I was certainly disappointed in not hooking the fish, you have to count your victories in this game and I was pleased my strategy and patience had paid off even though I didn't seal the deal.

Ran across this guy in my travels

A couple of pretty browns that took the nypmhs

About 5 PM I headed to another section that I have done well nymphing previously and came up empty. Encouraged by the previous experience with the Stimulator, I gave it a few drifts and picked up another brown that nailed it as I twitched and skated it in a seam behind a boulder.  

One of the browns that took the Stimulator late in the day

I finished the afternoon in a different location waiting to see what would happen around dark. As I waited for the end of the day, I put the Stimulator on again and fished it through some pocket water.  I had a couple brief hookups and landed one nice brown.  As the daylight began to fade quite a few tan caddis were around and the fish were starting to get active.  I took one fish fishing a wingless wet fly and then finished with a tan elk hair caddis. Another gentlemen, who I have meet here before, and I did pretty well fishing caddis dries til dark.  As we were leaving the river, we finally had an opportunity to introduce ourselves.  I love meeting folks on the river and shaking hands in the dark seemed a fitting way to end another lovely afternoon on the Farmington.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Adirondacks - Part II

Last week I also explored another stream that I discovered last fall.  This brook is less than 2 miles from brook described in the previous post (Adirondacks - Part I) but runs through an adjacent valley leading eventually into the same larger river system.  Even though these two streams run very close to one another the geology and water chemistry of these two streams are very different from one another as you can see from some of the pictures that follow.  I will let the pictures speak for me...

The stream has several pools that are quite deep and yet you can easily see the bottom as can be seen in the picture below.  For reference, the deepest part of this pool (dead center) is over 3' deep.  In addition to the clarity of the water, the rocks and gravel in this stream have an orange color to them.  I think both of these factors have an effect on the coloration of the trout that inhabit this stream.

One of many deep, clear, pools

 The coloration of the brook trout reside in this stream are much lighter across the back and flanks with a hint of orange in the tail fin relative to the tannin stained stream close by.  While most of the fish were small, they made up for their size in strength and beauty.

The section I was fishing had a pretty steep gradient and there was a strong current but even here there are places for fish to hide.  I threw the Royal Wulff under the overhanging boulder pictured below and out from the shadow came another gorgeous brook trout.  I had fun trying to pry it loose from his lair without sending him down over the next plunge.

Here you can see the orange color of the granite this stream runs over

The color of the stream bed is reflected in the tail of this brook trout
One the last cast of the afternoon, I managed to find one of the larger residents.  After a quick picture I called it a night with plans to come back and explore some more water upstream.

A lovely stream running through a Hemlock forest

A few days later, I revisited this lovely stream.  Some strong thunderstorms had moved through the area the day before and the water level was up quite a bit.  It was hard to find some quite water where the fish could hold and I could get a fly to them but I did find a few places.

Another deep plunge, streamers might have been a better option this day

The view looking downstream. Plunge after plunge stepping down the mountain

I have to visit this stream again when the water levels are down a bit more
On the way home, I crossed the head waters of the of the stream described in Part I.  This upstream section can get quite low in the summer but the new push of water made this section come alive so I decided to fish the Wulff in a nice run and saw a fish slash at the fly in a seam between to riffles.  The second drift sealed the deal and brought the best fish of the day to hand but it didn't want to hang around for a quick picture.  The rest of the stream was pretty dead so I called it a day and headed home.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Adirondacks - Part I

Wood sorrel was everywhere
I just got back from a trip to Adirondack Mountains.  This was the first time this year that I had the chance to fish some of the mountain brooks.

My first trip out, I was up early hiking into a mountain valley by 6:30 am.  The brook was a bit high for this time of year. The Adirondacks have been getting a lot of rain this season so I was not surprised to hear and eventually see the normally tannin stained brook carrying a bit more water and color than normal. A quick check of the water temp showed it about 67F.

This brook is filled with large boulders and plunge pools
the dark brook trout that inhabit this tannin stained brook

This high gradient brook is easily fished upstream, allowing one to keep a low profile hopping along from boulder to boulder.  This is simple fishing at it's best.  Hiking boots, a few Ausable Bombers and Royal Wulffs in a small tin, some extra mono, some floatant, and a camera.  Traveling light you can cover a lot of water looking for the deeper pockets where the larger fish are usually found.

Morning sun beginning peaking through the forest

Endless plunge pools

Quite a few small brook trout slashed at the dries I fished, although the Royal Wulff always seems to draw the most attention on Adirondack Mountain brooks in my experience.  Most of the fish where in the top half of the pools rather than in the slower tails.  This stream usually holds a decent number of larger fish but they were not showing themselves this day.  Hopefully the harshness of this past winter hasn't taken it's toll on this mountain brook.

This brook trout  liked the look of an Ausable Bomber
Another resident of the Adirondack forests