Saturday, May 31, 2014

Transitions

Transitions, the calendar says this is the last day of May but the transition from season to season is more subtle out in the woodlands.  The transition from spring to summer is almost imperceptible, summer being a continuation of what was started in spring.  The trees are in full leaf now but still have that color of green that hints to shades of spring rather than the dark green of summer.  At home, the Iris and Rhododendron is in full bloom and the Peonies aren't far behind.

As the wind picks up a little you can hear the leaves moving to the gentle breeze as the stream joins in to lend it's playful voice to the chorus of bird song in the air.  It's a brief reminder that the earth is once again moving toward summer.  The fly box is now reorganized and the dries I love to fish in summer sit in neat rows,  Ausable Bombers, Royal Wulffs, Usuals, mini-Muddlers, Elk hair caddis, and Parachute Adams are all lined up and ready to go.

I had thought that maybe I could find a few wild browns willing to chase a dry but maybe the water was a little to high and off-color from showers the night before for them to rise to the surface.  After about an hour, I decided to head up to a smaller tributary and see if I could coax a few brook trout to a dry.  Niether the mini-muddler nor the Royal Wulff drew much of a response but a smaller Elk hair caddis did and the afternoon was spent walking along the stream and dabbling the caddis in the likely runs and pockets and finding willing brook trout in most of them.


Wild Lupine growing in the meadow


Friday, May 23, 2014

A brief afternoon out

Small stream fishing is all about keeping it simple
It has not been easy finding some time to get out between the rain we've been having and other commitments.  I did try to fish the Farmington river this past Monday afternoon but a significant increase in the water being released from the dam between when I left home and when I arrived, pretty much shut things down for the afternoon.

There was a brief window before more thunderstorms rolled in so I headed to a small brook close to home.  I love the simplicity of fishing small streams with just a few things in my pockets.  The skies were grey and the forest damp and quiet but full of the fragrance of spring.

I was expecting to see more water in the brook given the rain we've had the last week but it was a lot lower than I expected.  It wasn't long before I spotted a couple of rises and after changing to a small Adams parachute, I was soon holding the first of a number of small brook trout.




I saw quite a few yellow stone flies and an odd Hendrickson here and there.  About mid afternoon, I switched to a  tan elk hair caddis since it was the closest thing I had to the yellow stone flies I was seeing.  It worked pretty well but I did not find any of the larger trout this brook can sometimes give up.

In addition to fishing, I enjoyed photographing some of the wildflowers that are currently blooming.  Several varieties of violets were evident as were some pink lady slippers.  I don't see these wild orchids too often so it was nice to see a couple of them in bloom.

Blue violet
Pink lady slipper

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A more subtle approach


A carpet of  anemone
Another beautiful spring day in New England today.  I had hoped to fish the Farmington River today but with last week's rains, the reservoir is full and they have been dumping a lot of water out of the dam, so I opted to fish a small stream today.

I started out fishing the Royal Wulff again, but only small fish were interested in following it.  I also noticed a few of the larger brook trout follow it and then turn away.  After seeing a few smaller stone flies flying about, I switched to a #18 parachute Adams.  The small Adams quickly attracted the attention of a nice handsome wild brown and lots of beautiful brook trout for most of the afternoon.  Later in the afternoon I switched to a dark elk hair caddis and was drifting in through some roots when a decent sized trout took the fly.  I tried to quickly steer it away from the roots but crafty trout was able to use current and roots to it's advantage.

A handsome wild brown that took the parachute Adams

I never tire of holding and observing these amazingly beautiful fish


A nice secure hiding spot 
Late in the afternoon, I decided to head to a more overgrown section of stream in search of some larger browns.  In the first run I landed a nice brook trout.  As I worked the elk hair caddis in all the seams I did briefly hook a few browns that were quickly off.  I worked downstream to a deep run that I knew from experience has a couple good places for trout to hold.  Sure enough, drifting the caddis produced three brief tangles with some decent browns.



I really enjoy an afternoon walk along woodland brook.  These times give me the chance to put the busy, scheduled-to-the-moment, life aside and experience once again a deeper reality.  One in which I am not the center of the universe but simply a part of a massively bigger reality.  The songbird’s song, the fragrance of earth, the sunlight dancing on flowing water all speak an unheard but still intelligible language that points to an awesome God who created this vast but infinitely detailed universe.  The wildflowers remind me that God even dresses the tiny things in this world with a beauty that is unique.  The robin’s nest and the tiny young of the year brook trout remind me that He sustains life from year to year. In the words of Jesus "Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil or spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow in thrown into the over, how much more will he cloth you!"


A little colony of bellwort at the the base of a tree


Beauty in miniature...




Saturday, May 3, 2014

A beautiful spring afternoon

The lady of the forest (red trillium)
This afternoon was another beautiful New England spring afternoon.  I met Alan and Kirk to spend a couple hours along a favorite woodland stream.  The wildflowers are really starting to bloom now that the days are getting warmer.  This afternoon I noticed wood anemone, bellwort, ginseng, and trillium in bloom.

Wood Anemone
A wild brook trout in cold clear water

This interesting brook trout has no red spots on it's flank
The brook trout are definitely looking up these days and very anxious to chase down my Royal Wulff.  By the time I finished it was pretty tattered.  It was fun watching the brook trout launch themselves on the Wulff sometimes completely missing the fly and leaping over it.

Ginseng


Bellwort 

A darker colored brook trout, the biggest of the afternoon



By the end of the day, I wanted to see if I could entice a brown to the dry, so I headed further downstream where the browns are more abundant and managed a nice one in a long riffle.


A healthy wild brown to finish off the afternoon

After a long, cold winter these are the days we were all looking forward to, so for now I will thankfully take some long deep breaths of spring.

This is my Father's world 
and to my listening ears
all nature sings, and round me rings
The music of the spheres

This is my Father's world,
I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees of skies and seas
His hand the wonders wrought

This is my Father's world
the birds their carols raise
the morning light, the lilly white
declare their maker's praise

This is my Father's world
He shines in all that's fair
in the rustling grass, I hear Him pass
He speaks to me everywhere!