Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Closing out 2015

Yesterday winter finally arrived in southern New England with a light snow fall.  So it was only fitting that I close out 2015 with a quick trip to a small woodland stream on a damp, grey day with the new fallen snow still clinging to the ground.

I was wondering if the new snow would be cooling things down as it melted so I decided to fish a dry dropper rig today and let the fish tell me were they were looking.  The small Ausable bomber did get some attention from the smaller brook trout but the larger fish took the partridge and flash dropper today.  No surprise there!

A surprise rainbow and a handful of brook trout made for a pleasant closing of 2015.  Wishing all of you a happy New Year!

The first surprise of the day
And a handful of these little gems 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Wishing you a Merry Christmas

Thanks to all of you who check in here at Fishing Small Streams.  Merry Christmas to you and God's richest blessings to you and your families in 2016

...Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them and they were greatly afraid.  Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be the sign to you: You will find the Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger."  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

December Silence

I was up and out early this warm December day visiting a favorite small stream.  With all rhetoric going on about guns and terrorists, sometimes the soul needs silence to anchor it to the quiet confidence of timeless unchanging truth.

A little rain had refreshed things a bit, and the woods were quite this morning.  The sun was shining brightly on the water and I could feel the warm deep inside.

This wild brown started the morning off by crushing an Ausable Bomber
This warm December day was devoted to the dry and between an Ausable Bomber and an Elk hair caddis a brace of wild browns and a handful brook trout were photographed and quickly released. The bomber was effective early but the fish seemed more interested in chasing down the #16 tan caddis as the morning progressed.

Simple Beauty

Friday, December 11, 2015

A foggy start

We continue to have warm weather here in New England which means that some days start out pretty foggy and that was the case this morning.  I had wanted to fish a small stream but things have been very dry so plan B was to get up early and fish the Farmington again.  Wow what a difference a week can make in the water levels.  This morning I was standing on dry river bed where I was catching fish a week ago.

Later in the morning I met up with Alan, Kirk , and Pete.  We had to work for fish today but with persistence a frenchie/zebra midge combination brought some browns and a nice rainbow to the net. Not bad for a December!

Sunday, December 6, 2015


One of the reasons I love small stream fishing is the simplicity of it.  All you need is a small box of flies, a rod, and a pair of hiking boots.  There is no need for a heavy vest/pack filled with box and boxes of flies and all sorts of other equipment.  I like traveling light. This is one of the reasons I like tight line nypmhing.  No split shot or bobbers, just a handful of weighed flies and some extra tippet for when you break the flies off on the bottom and a pair of forceps and nippers.  So when I saw this article over at Hatches magazine the title caught my eye Winter is coming, 5 flies to get you through it.

As it turns out, I had 4 of them already in my box.  I've not fished a zebra midge before so I decided to tie a couple and give one a try and the last time I was out I caught a brown on one on the first few casts!  So for now there's a place in my box for a few.  I find that this time of year, I catch most of my trout on either a heavy frenchie or a foam egg.

So with a Saturday morning with no pressing concerns and a clear, cold morning on tap, I was up early to get a few things done and then out the door and on my way.  When I checked the river levels in the area of a couple small streams that I wanted to fish they were disappointingly low so the backup plan was to head up to the Farmington River.  The river was a up a bit due to extra release from the dam so I figured it would be a good morning to fish some of the softer water along the edge. I figured the higher flows may have pushed some fish out toward the edge especially early in the morning.


When I arrived the sun was up but it was still a little below freezing.  I had the river to myself  except for a flock of Canadian geese.  I will often fish with a couple rods (dry/wet rod, streamer rod, and nymph rod) but today I would strive for simplicity, a single rod and a small box of flies.  

I started working the edge of a gentle riffle and my suspicions were confirmed as I steadily was tight to browns over the next 90min in a couple feet of gently moving water.  Half of the fish took the egg the other half the frenchie.  I finished the day at another spot where a nice rainbow took the frenchie before I called it a morning and returned home enjoying the simplicity of an early morning outdoors.

'Tis the gift to be simple,
'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be...

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Giving Thanks

When I was young we used to go to my Grandparents home out in the country for thanksgiving.  One of my favorite memories was hunting with my Grandfather and cousins early each Thanksgiving day.  The day would usually be cold and after walking through fields and woodlands we would hike back to the warm house and enjoy a hot meal together. Even though the leaves are gone and the earth is blanketed in the grays and browns of late fall there remains a unique fondness and warmth deep inside me when I am outside in the cold around thanksgiving time.

Walking along the river this morning brought those memories back to mind. I was reminded of all the many blessings God has brought into my life, God's overwhelming gospel love for me, family, friends, provision and health but also the blessings that I often overlook like the brightness of the sun on crisp fall day as it dances on the river.

A #12 frenchie, a foam egg, and #18 Zebra midge accounted for a handful of browns

Happy thanksgiving to you and your families!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

A little rain

Some rain breathed a little life into this small stream
It's been a pretty dry fall this year, but a nice day of steady rain sure improved things on the small brooks.  This afternoon it was nice to hear the sound of moving water, the brook trout were eager to chase down a dry fly and all was good.

I changed flies a bit early in the afternoon starting with a small Adams parachute.  The brook trout would rise to it once and gently nip but not really take it.  I had a few chase down a mini muddler but the action picked up quite a bit after the Ausable bomber went on.

A lung full of cool November air and brook trout erupting on dries makes for a very nice afternoon.

colors that never get old

Saturday, November 7, 2015

An unusual November day

What a difference a week can make in the landscape in November.  Kirk and I meet to take a walk along the same woodland stream that I visited last Sunday afternoon.   Yesterday, all the leaves were down and the woods were dressed in the drab grays and browns of late fall.  The temperature however was anything from a usual late fall day!  By mid morning we were down to short sleeve shirts as the air temperature pushed above 70! But this was only the first of some unusual things we observed.

This woodland stream drains into a pond that is stocked by the state and as we were walking upstream Kirk spotted two large fish in a sandy area of the stream.  We think they were two spawning browns by the way they were moving around.  We watched them for a while as they would hold steady and then rapidly circle the small pool.  It was kind of like watching two large dogs playing in a kiddie pool because they were so large compared to the area they were in.

Many fish were hiding in the leave piles in shallow
tails of pool like the one above

I had decided to fish a small Ausable bomber and I stuck with it the entire day.  There were lots of small fish that would nip at the bomber but only a few larger brook trout that would actually take it.  Quite a few fish were holding in the tails of the micro pools and often in the wet leaf piles that would build up in the shallow areas there. Approaching each pool was a challenge and more often then not I would see a nice wake form as another fish rocketed out of the leaves.

A few small brook trout were brought to hand as well as a handsome wild brown and a small rainbow. I've caught the odd wild brown on this stream and will sometime find a rainbow in the fall but never all three on the same day.  It definitely was an unusual day!

Unfortunately, I was not able to get a better shot.  If you look closely from the dorsal fin back to the tail you can see the beautiful red spots that run along the entire flank of this brown.
A surprise ending to a odd day

Monday, November 2, 2015

November gold

November is here and the colorful leaves of autumn are soon to become a fond memory.  The woods that were once alive with color are now a monochromatic yellow.  I find that sometimes I just need a quite walk in the woods to refresh the soul.

By mid afternoon I was walking along a favorite woodland brook, one I had avoided during the dry summer and early fall.  It was pleasant to hear the flowing water again and breathe the sweet aroma that fills the woods when the leaves are falling.

This was a day to just enjoy being outside, to enjoy watching the fly glide through the tiny riffles and into slow water at the tail of each miniature pool.  It was in the slower water that the brook trout would show themselves, slashing once at the parachute Adams and then never to appear again.  Several beautifully colored brook trout were brought to hand, some showing the bronzed bellies of fish getting ready to spawn and others more muted in coloration.

November gold

Friday, October 23, 2015

Eagles and Olives

I was out yesterday afternoon looking for fish rising to small olives.  The olives were coming off heavy early in the afternoon but the wind must have put the fish down, since I didn't see a single rising fish.  Rather than stick it out for the winds to calm down, I made the call to change locations to another spot that usually has rising fish hoping the wind would be less of an issue.

The wind still made getting a good drift tough but I was able to bring a couple to net.  The first brown took a #20 parachute Adams and I though I had things dialed in but after many rises within inches of the fly I switched to a small wingless wet.  I quickly brought a rainbow to hand but it also was good for one fish and that was it.

The highlight of the afternoon was watching a bald eagle circle low over the river a couple of times and then roost in a nearby Sycamore tree.  I've seen eagles cruising the river before but this was the closest I've been to one.  I ran back to the car to get my good camera with a decent zoom on it but when I turned it on the battery was dead!  What an amazing and majestic bird and it's good to see that they are returning to healthy populations once again!

My afternoon fishing partner

Friday, October 16, 2015

Except for the wind

This time of year, I look forward to any opportunity to get out and enjoy the fall weather and the spectacular fall colors that cover the hillsides of New England.  This day's adventure would take me to a wide expansive river.  Big rivers require a bit of a learning curve since there are so many possibilities of where the fish can be but when the fish are rising, at least you increase your odds of finding fish.  I thought the forecast for cloudy skies and moderate air temperatures would equate to a banner "blue winged olive" day.

When I arrived, the cloudy skies prevailed and I started in nymphing the head of a large pool waiting for the olives to start coming off.  I picked up a couple healthy holder-over browns before the wind started picking up and made casting two weighed flies more about untangling windknots than actually fishing.

Between the wind and some light showers passing through, it wasn't long before I was damp, cold and wishing I had brought more than a light jacket.  I stuck it out most of the afternoon by getting out of the water to warm up and managed a couple of browns on a small olive parachute but the stiff headwind made it nearly impossible to reach the occasional rising fish without getting blown yards upstream of the target.   Later the fish were rising more frequently but again they were hopelessly out of reach under the conditions.  Although not the banner day I was hoping for, I was still able to catch a few and enjoy some great New England scenery.

A brief break in the clouds and wind but no rising fish

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Closing out the season

This weekend we made one last trip to the Adirondacks to fish a couple small streams before the trout season closes in NYS. Even though it's been very dry in CT, the Adirondack streams were quite healthy and running at levels typical of late spring.  Most of the brook trout brought to hand were small, fairly typical for these mountain brooks as the spawning season approaches. A few dries, droppers and wets were fished but the Ausable bomber got most of the attention.

Enjoy the colors of Autumn in the Adirondacks...

Monday, September 28, 2015

Fishing ahead of the blood moon

The super moon rise above the tree tops
Yesterday afternoon I headed north to do some early fall fishing and take some pictures of the moon during the lunar eclipse.  Last night was a coincidence of a super moon and a blood moon when the moon comes closest to earth and is eclipsed by its shadow.

I started off nymphing a nice run and took a couple of browns.  These were mostly holder trout that have been the river a while and some were showing some nice color.

After noticing some consistent surface activity in the tail of the pool, I headed downstream to see what was going on.  The subtle rises looked like the sort of rises you see when fish are taking small olive emergers so I tied on a #20 olive parachute and started to target the rises that were somewhat regular.  The fish consistently took the parachute most of the afternoon and the fly I was using seem to get more effective the more worn it became.  At one point the parachute post had taken so much abuse that I needed to change flies.  The new fly wasn’t nearly as convincing but once it had a taken a couple trout it fished well.  I found that fishing it slightly downstream was move effective and a fair number of fish took it on the slow swing at the end of the drift.  Maybe next time I should fish a small olive wet!

One of several colored holdover browns

As evening approached the yellow quills (Leucrocuta hebe) were starting to appear.  I watched carefully as the fish started to clear the surface either chasing rising nypmhs or trying to catch the spinners that were hovering a few inches above the surface.  A #18 olive/yellow parachute took a handful of fish including one that cleared the water and then took the parachute on the way down!  However, I think a small wet fly might have been more effective than fishing dries.  As the light faded the rise forms changed again becoming more subtle and less aggressive which led me to think the fish were taking spinners.  An olive/yellow spinner was pretty much ignored so I switch to a #20 rusty spinner and took the last trout of the evening.  It’s been a while since I’ve experienced several hours of consistent dry fly action and the pleasant weather and surroundings made for a wonderful Sunday afternoon outdoors.

Low clouds passing in front of the moon

As I finished packing up my gear back at the car, I could see the glow of the moon over the surrounding hills so I pulled out my camera and began scouting for a nice location to get some shots of the moon.  It was really amazing the watch the earth’s shadow travel over the face of the moon and then to see the moon turn red as the partial eclipse progressed.

The earths shadow progressing from left to right over the face of the moon

The blood moon