Monday, October 16, 2017

A couple mornings on the Yellow Breeches

I was back in PA the end of last week and early this week and had the opportunity to spend a couple hours on two mornings on the Yellow Breeches.  Last week, the recent rains had brought the river up a touch and it was off-color but not muddy.  The morning I was out there was a light rain but nothing too heavy.  I started out nymphing a soft-hackled pheasant tail that had worked well a couple of weeks earlier when the river was low and clear.  This particular morning the PT was not attracting any fish, I suspect because of the lower clarity of the river.  I figure something with a bright hot spot might be a better choice so I switched to a frenchie of about the same size with a pink ice-dub collar and stuck with that the rest of the morning. 

The first fish of the day was a gorgeous wild brown with beautiful golden belly and well defined red spots, red flair on the adipose fin and bright red rays in the tail, all indicative of a stream-born brown.  Unfortunately in my desire to keep the fish in the water, it managed to take off before I could get a picture.  I found another downstream but it slipped the hook right before the net.  While I stuck with the frenchie as the point fly of the two nymph rig I like to use, I did experiment with various droppers.  I was convinced that a caddis puppa in the right size and color would interest a fish or two but regardless of the dropper, all the fish took the frenchie.  The odd thing with the Breeches is that I can't remember ever catching anything on a dropper where at home in NE I catch almost half of the fish brought to the net on the smaller dropper.
Look at all the spots on the lower jaw and belly

For a couple hours the browns seemed to be the most active but I did catch a couple of colorful rainbows similar to those I found on the last trip.  In fact, I am certain that the first rainbow of the day was one I had caught back in mid-September.  It was sitting in the exactly where I found it previously, right up against a sycamore tree. 

I was a little concerned whether I would be able to stay dry since I had left my rain jacket at home but the rain was fairly light and the gray overcast drizzly morning was delightful in the way the gray drizzly mornings often are.

Then this week, I explored another section of the Yellow Breeches.  The river was clearer than I was expecting.  The frenchie was not working in the greater water clarity so switched on a more natural caddis and zebra midge.  I did manage a couple of stocked browns and one beast of a fall fish.  There were sporadic rises all around me making me wonder how I would have done fishing a small olive dry fly.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Indian Summer days

I spent a recent afternoon out enjoying the Indian summer weather we've been experiencing.  It's been a pretty dry fall so far and the rivers are low but remaining cool. With the lower water, I took the opportunity to explore some sections of the river that are normally not accessible to wading under normal conditions thinking that fish might have moved into runs with a decent flow and some depth.  Approaching the first promising run, it took about three drifts before the first brown was in the net.

Somebody is watching
As I was bring the fish to the net, I noticed that I was being watched.  Not wanted to be tangling with hungry heron, I quickly released the brown into some deeper water nearby and moved on.  I spent the rest of the afternoon picking my way among the boulder strewn stream bed with only a couple of taps to show for my efforts.  After working my way back, I decided to move to a run/pool that I haven't fished since last fall to see what the evening would bring.

Late in the afternoon, I noticed some subtle rises in the tail of a long riffle.  I had seen some olives appearing as the clouds began to dominate the sky.  After experimenting with the best position in which to get a decent drift among the conflicting currents, the #22 olive CDC emerger drew the first strike but I only managed to briefly hook the fish.  This pattern repeated itself twice more before the subtle dimpled rises ceased.  Then what I believe were little yellow quill spinners (Leucrocuta hebe) started appearing in number over the water surface and fish began rising again.  As I've seen before the fish were actually taking the spinners in the air rather than off the water's surface and it can be a very frustrating experience and this evening was no different.  I did managed to fool one brown with a small comparadun but that was it.  I tried every pale spinner, parachute and comparadun I had with me but nothing drew any interest. So I've spent the last couple days doing a little research to figure out what I was seeing and collecting some ideas to go back to the tying bench.

The one brown that was willing to take a comparadun

Monday, October 2, 2017

September on the Yellow Breeches

I was visiting my youngest at college a couple weeks ago and had a couple hours in the afternoon to fish a little bit along the Yellow Breeches.  Having fished mostly New England freestone streams it's always an interesting experience to fish a limestone stream in PA. While I grew up in PA and started fishing there as a young boy, I don't recall fishing any limestone streams as a boy.  My first limestone experience was last fall visiting my daughter in her first year at college.  One of the first things I noticed on the few limestone streams I've fished is the stream bottom which is mostly very fine gravel and what appears to be ground up shells.  The boulders and pocket water typical of a freestone stream are replaced with a gentle but steady current bank to bank with little pocket water to speak of.  Sometimes the fish will be holding in the gentlest of depressions in the bottom often in the gravel channels between weed growth.  With each visit, new observations are made and experience grows.

Yellow Breeches wild brown
For whatever reason, the fish I catch in the Yellow Breeches take a bead head pheasant tail soft hackle even though this stream is loaded with caddis.  Last spring I was amazed at the number of caddis cases I was finding along the river bottom.  One particular spot where a nice current runs up along the roots of an old sycamore tree I've managed to find a fish or two each time I've fished this particular section.  This afternoon it seemed no one was home until I put the pheasant tail on point and used a zebra midge as the dropper and ran the flies a little closer to the roots.  I was pleased to find a pretty little wild brown.  I love finding these wild browns wherever I fish as they signal healthy rivers able sustain trout.  I was reasonably sure there was a large fish around those roots somewhere soI tried to put the flies as close tree as I could and I saw a nice rainbow take the pheasant tail inches from the where the tree met the water.

I messed around with various droppers over the course of a couple hours but it really didn't matter as all the fish took the pheasant tail.  Once I re-familiarized myself with paying closer attention to the smaller depressions I was able to bring to net a handful of nice rainbows.  One couldn't but notice how red their flanks had gotten and how dark these fish were across the back.  Have a look for yourself and feel free to comment if you think this is a strain of rainbows common to PA or whether these fish might be unique to the Yellow Breeches.  I will say that all the fish had well developed, rose colored fins that isn't typical of the stocked fish I usually see.

Notice the dark wide red stripe and how the red continues all the way down to the belly of this rainbow

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

September in the Adriondacks

Signs of fall are all around
A couple weeks ago we had the chance to spend a couple days up in the Adirondacks.  The mountains were starting to show signs of the approaching fall and despite the wet spring and summer this past fall has been reasonably dry in the mountains.

The mountains are especially quiet and beautiful in September which seems to heighten the sense of remoteness that one feels in the less traveled parts of the Adirondack Park.  The families that vacation in the mountains in the summer are back to their regular routines and those who like to observe the fall foliage are still planning their travels.  My wife and I enjoyed some fantastic weather for hiking and I fished a familiar small stream and did a little prospecting on a new stream.

So clear that you can see the High Peaks in the distance (looking NE)
A typically colored brook trout from a tanin-stained
Adirondack brook
I have always wondered whether a particular small stream held brook trout but finally got a chance check it out. The stream had a nice flow of tanin-stained water with some deeper runs and pools that looked very promising.  I found one deep, long pool with a nice flow of water at the head which probably would hold fish in the spring but on a clear September day the fish were likely tucked under a bank somewhere.  I didn't spend a long time exploring but after drifting the Royal Wulff through a couple of promising areas, I did confirm that the stream is worth exploring further.  It is always nice to see another stream where these native fish are still holding strong.

Adirondack Reflections

The next day, I fished a familiar stream and found fish willing to chase a foam ant, Royal Wulff, or Ausable Bomber.  The fly didn't really matter much.  The fish seemed to be hiding under the rocks along the banks.  Most of the brook trout that were willing to show themselves were of the smaller variety but I did see more than a  few dark shadows scurrying for cover in the low, clear water of early fall.  It was fun to watch the brook trout dart from under a rock or bank to intercept a fly working it's way along the current.

Even though our visit was brief I was so thankful to have the opportunity to enjoy the mountains at this wonderful time of year.  Our final day in the mountains we decided to hike early and enjoy the view below before heading home.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Back to fishing

The first brown of the evening
I have been out a couple times in the last few weeks taking advantage of the pre-fall like weather in both the Adirondacks and in southern New England.  This is one of my favorite times of year for both fishing and hiking.  So for a change of pace, I decided to head up to the Houstatonic river and see how it was fishing. I arrived late afternoon with hopes of casting dry flies large and small to rising fish.  It took a while to get going but fish started rising as the afternoon turned toward evening.  I did manage to observe one fish that was rising in the same general location so I settled in to figure out what this particular fish was feeding on.  After drifting the isonychia emerger several times right over where I had observed the rises, I downsized to small olive dries and wets and went down in tippet size to 6x but still failed to attract any interest.  At this point in the evening there were a good number of summer steno spinners hovering over the water.  This is a scenerio I had seen before so I switched to a #16 pale parachute and got a decent drift and the fish was on it!  It turned out to be a very healthy brown in excellent condition with all the fins intact, possibly a hold-over.  I stuck with the parachute but didn't see any more rises but I did have a fish slam the parachute as I was pulling it back in to make another cast.  It felt like a decent sized fish and it hit the fly so hard that it broke the fly off.

I rested for a while and observed, searching for other fish rising in the area.  Upstream a bit there was a father and daughter fishing over a group of steadily rising fish so I moved below them to watch and see if there were any fish that were outside of the area they were working, not wanting to crowd them.  Both he and his daughter had caught a few fish, and I think the young lady may have caught here first trout on a dry fly, judging from her Dad's excitement while she was bringing it to the net.  I just love seeing Dad's out with their children!  The rises had become more subtle which sometimes indicates that the fish are taking spinners so I switched to a #16 pale spinner and picked up a few more nice browns and a couple of rainbows.

The highlight of the evening was when I overheard the father say to his daughter, "one more fly change and I'm done".  He was clearly getting frustrated trying to figure out what the fish were sipping.  I asked him if he had any #16 pale spinners and offered him one if he didn't.  He said he had some spinners and within a few casts he had a beast of a brown on the line.  He was able to get it to net with the help of his daughter and it was a pleasure to watch them take a few pictures, release the fish, and then head back to there car satisfied to have had a nice evening on the river together.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Thanks to the Farmington River Anglers Association

Just a quick thank you to the Farmington River Anglers Association and Grady Allen for the invitation to speak last night about the Adirondacks and it's brook trout.

It was great meeting some new folks and I enjoyed the good discussion that followed.  If you are interested in me speaking to your group you can reach out to me via email.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Thanks to the Hammonassett TU

A Fly Fisherman's Guide to the Adirondacks
Thanks to the Hammonassett TU and Jim Woodworth for arranging thnigs and hosting me last night. I enjoyed meeting and talking with everyone.  I will presenting next week at Farmington River Angler's Association in case you are in the area and weren't able to make last night's presentation.

Wednesday Sept 20; 7PM
The Farmington River Angler's Association
Farmington Senior Center
321 New Britain Ave
Unionville, CT 06085

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Fly Fishermen's Guide to the Adirondacks

I will be presenting a "Fly Fishermen's Guide to the Adirondacks" twice in the coming month.  This presentation describes both the unique geology and history of the Adirondack mountains and how these have affected the brook trout of the region.  Information for accessing this unique fishery is also provided.

Thursday Sept 14; 7PM
Hammonasset Chapter of Trout Unlimitted
Quinnipiac River Watershed Association
540 Oregon Rd
Meriden, CT  06451

Wednesday Sept 20; 7PM
The Farmington River Angler's Association
Farmington Senior Center
321 New Britain Ave
Unionville, CT 06085

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Asters and Goldenrod

This past week it has definitely felt like the season is about to change.  The mornings have been cool enough to see your breath and after a good day of gentle rain I was thinking about fishing a small stream.  I figured the rain would have brought some more water into the small stream and so I decided to get up early and check a favorite out.  It definitely looked like fall as I drove along the meadows filled with ground fog and the grasses covered in dew.  These days the goldenrod and New England asters are everywhere, signalling the end of the summer and the changes that lie ahead.

New England Aster
The air temperature was 57 (F) and a quick check of the water temperature indicated it was about the same temperature.  The little brook was flowing nicely and very clear despite the previous day's steady rain.  I started off with larger flies but slowly worked down to a #16 Elk hair caddis, taking a queue from the tan caddis that I was occasionally observing as the sun began to warm things up.  Today there were many brief encounters as the fish were not that committed to taking anything but a handful of beautiful wild brook trout were brought to hand nevertheless.

After slowly working my way upstream, I turned around and saw another gentlemen quietly fishing behind me.  He didn't notice me, but when I said hello he quickly recognized me.  I was thinking about giving Alan a call to see if he wanted to fish this morning but decided that he must have plans on this Labor day so I didn't.  When I parked the truck I sort of expected to see his car, since I knew that the previous day's rain would have Alan thinking about a small stream also.  We took turns fishing our way upstream and observing all that was around us.  It was chance encounter but definitely made the morning all that much more enjoyable.  Today, most of the larger fish were sitting in the stronger riffles that ran along or under a bank and when a spot fitting that description was located there was usually a brook trout willing to at least take a swipe or two at a fly. 

One of the beautiful wild brook trout this small stream is home to

Friday, August 25, 2017


purple loosestrife are all over
I fish a good bit there’s no denying that fact but I do have other responsiblities and can’t fish whenever I like.  When I do have the time and opportunity, I tend to fish those spots that I know well for obvious reasons. The advantage of this strategy is that you get to know an area really well under a wide variety of conditions but there are also benefits to exploring less familiar areas.  This point was driven home by a blog post from  Domenick Swentosky over on Troutbitten entitled “Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #3 — Fish New Waters” (I highly recommend  you check out his blog regularly).  Domenick writes “ there’s an alternate reason for fishing new waters too, one that’s a little more tangible. When we fish new water, we learn new things…New water forces us to use fresh tactics, to adapt, to think and solve the riddles of a trout stream”.  I thought Domenick made a decent point and I decided would make effort to explore areas I don't know all that well more often.  I had done really well the two previous nights in a spot I have fished many times before so I was content to spend a couple hours exploring some new places.  I would probably not catch a lot of fish but would atleast see some new territory that might pay dividends in the future.

I arrived in the middle of the afternoon on a Sunday in August and needless to say I was not alone.  People were out enjoying the sun whether swimming, floating down the river in an inner tube or canoeing or kayaking.  But that was all ok because my mission was to look and see the character of a new section of the river.  I traveled light with just my long nymph rod and a small box of nymphs as I was planning on covering a lot of ground.

A wild Farmington River brook trout
I started at a strong rolling riffle that ran up against some big rocks along the opposite shore.  The current looked a bit too strong to hold fish so I nymphed the edges and found a little wild brook trout within the first dozen drifts.  I love seeing wild brook trout in the Farmington, as they signal that the river is in good health.  Usually, if I find one there are others around but I didn’t find any more close by so I decided to move on.  As I waded upriver there were many good looking areas and one really nice pocket water section that was really moving along.  When the flows are lower this would be a nice area to revisit but from the other side of the river next time! Along the way I found a decent brown, and hooked another when my anchor fly snagged a thick branch and the trout snatched the dropper as it was fluttering in the current.  I managed to land the branch (it fought like a tank) but the trout had long since freed itself in the struggle.  I was a but puzzled by this heavy pull with a little throbbing here and there that made we wonder if I had hooked the fish of a lifetime until I saw the log and the fish in the water!

Later in the afternoon I saw a couple fish take something off the surface so I walked back to the truck and rigged by dry fly rod.  I could not see anything on the water that would indicate what they rose to but they weren’t interested in a iso emerger.  As I retraced by my steps back to the truck I saw another fish rise in a shallow steady riffle.  I put on an elk hair caddis but I could get it to come up again.  As I was allow the fly to finish the drift a strong rainbow grabbed it from a shallow riffle and but up a nice fight and with that I called it a day.

The last fish of the day that took the EHC in a shallow riffle

I don’t know if I learned any new tactics but I did see some areas of the river that warrant some further investigation and found a few fish along the way!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Rain or shine, the fish don't care

With the rest of my family treaveling, I had plans for fishing a lot this past weekend.  The forecast wasn’t too encouraging with heavy rain predicted for Friday through Saturday morning.  When Friday came I was watching the radar to make a call whether the hour drive to the Farmington was worth it or not.  The storms were following two parallel fronts running NE and from what I could tell, the river was going to be sitting in between so I went.  As they say, "the best time to fish is whenever you can".

A dreamy fog that covered the river
The first couple hours were dry but the fishing was pretty dead.  At about 5:30, I headed to the spot I wanted to fish til last light. Fish were starting to rise.  I drifted a pair of nymphs through where I spotted a rising fish and connected briefly with a rainbow. A quick leap and it was free.  With more rising fish, I decided to switch rods so I headed back to the car to set up to fish dries and grabbed my raincoat.

It wasn't long before the rain started and it continued the rest of the evening alternating between periods of light rain and more intense showers but the fish continued to rise regardless. A #20 olive parachute was all that was needed to take rising fish in the dreamlike fog the shrouded the river, the result of the combination of warm air, rain, and cold water at the water's surface.  As the light finally faded in darkness the river became quite again.

A rainbow that took a small sulfur
Saturday was a bright clear day, in stark contrast to the day before. I headed up about mid afternoon and decided to fish the same area as the night before.  While olives were on the menu in the rain, the clear day brought some small sulfurs out and I did pretty well early in the evening on #20 light comparaduns.  Around sunset the fish continued to rise but the the fish were no longer interested in the small light fly so I switched back to the olive parachute but it failed to attract any attention.  I did manage one on a Griffth’s gnat (#22) and picked up the last fish of the night on the olive parachute but I think the fish had started taking small spinners (22/24) but try to tie on of those one in fading light!  

Two successive nights with different weather brought fish to the surface but each night was a different affair in terms what the fish were taking.  That’s what is so interesting about fly fishing, each new day brings different conditions that you have to figure out.  What worked the night before often doesn’t bring the same success.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The sights and sounds of Sumner

Bergamont blooming in a meadow as the sun sets
The wildflowers are still blooming but those aren't the only sights to see these days. Yesterday afternoon I took a drive up to the Farmington to do some fishing and on the way up and came upon a bear crossing the road in the middle of the afternoon. Before I could grab my camera it was gone.  I was quite surprised to see a black bear in the middle of the afternoon close to the road and homes.  In addition to the usual beaver sightings and herons hanging around the river, I also watched as an osprey plunged into the river.  It was not rewarded for it's effort but it was interesting to watch close up.

I wanted to fish lower on the river to see if I could find some fish taking isos.  I found the bugs but only the cedar waxings and I noticed them.  The fish pretty much ignored them but it is always a pleasure to watch and listen to the wax wings in flight.  The first spot I fished I opted to nyphing the faster moving water with a weighted #12 iso nymph with a smaller dropper.  I hooked 3 trout but wasn't able to bring any to the net including one bruiser that crushed the iso nymph at the end of the drift when I let it swing.  I could tell it was a really nice fish but I didn't get a good look.  The river was a little off-color probably from some overnight rain so decided to head up river toward the dam to find some clearer water and less people floating down the river in inner-tubes.

Every now and then you make a good call, and I was fortunate to find a location devoid of anglers with fish rising steadily into the evening. I fished small sulfur emergers, a #20 parachute Adams, small sulfur wets, and some smaller usuals.  Each accounted for a few fish a peice.  Included in the mix were some decent browns and one that managed to break off the 5X  with a strong deep run.

I don't exactly know what the fish were keying on as darkness enveloped the river but it looked as though there was a spinner fall.  As usual, the usual did a fine job of bringing up some nice browns in the dark.

A pair of night time sippers

Monday, July 31, 2017

When you can't see it, swing it!

Things have been pretty quite here on the blog.  Usually by this time of year I've been up to the Adirondacks a few times but things have been busy at home this summer.  Last night my Ben and a friend of his were going up to the Farmington so we made plans to go together.  Ben wanted to introduce his friend to fishing dry flies for trout.

A wild brookie that took a small
Parachute Adams
I did managed a couple of rainbows early in the afternoon nymphing some pocket water.  Late afternoon we started to see some rising fish.  I still have no idea what they were taking and after changing flies multiple times we ended up taking a few fish on Adams of various sizes.  When in doubt go with a general all round fly like the Adams!  Sonny got his first trout, a little wild brookie on a dry.  I think he's hooked on dry fly fishing for trout but there was more to come!

A brown that took the big usual on the swing

When things started to settle down, I had my doubts about the location were in so I decided to take a walk.  I found another spot where fish were working on what appeared to a light sulfur hatch.  I picked up one brown on a small sulfur wet fly and then switched to a smaller usual since the bugs were very pale almost white.  That's when things started getting interesting.  Fish started rising aggressively in little run on the other side of the river. I could reach them but getting a decent drift was challenging due to the varying speeds of several currents in between but when the drift was right a brown on rainbow usually took the fly.  Ben and his friend joined me and we fished to rising trout into the growing darkness.  I ended up switching to a #12 usual when I could not longer see the smaller one and took a few more browns and rainbows. When I could not longer see the big usual, I was just swinging it and still catching fish.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Just the usual

Fran Better's "Usual"
I was out earlier this week for a little fishing after work.  As I drove up to the Farmington River, I was working through a mental checklist of places to try becuase it's good to have a plan B and C on heavily fished rivers like the Farmington. Spot A was a bust, too many cars, so headed to the next spot on the list which had one other angler in it and there was plenty of water for us to explore.

There were a few sulfurs around early but the river was mostly devoid of rising fish, so I did some nymphing and picked up a couple of rainbows on a Walt's worm variation which has been a rainbow magnet for me lately.  After I saw the first couple rises, I headed back to the truck and put the nymphing rod away and rigged up the dry fly rod.

I toyed around with a sulfur comparadun but after drifting it over a few rises, I decided that I would go to "the usual".  I don't know why this rough looking fly does so well at dark but it rarely fails under these conditions and this night would be no different.  I tie two variations on short-shanked hooks in size 14 and 16.  I use either hot orange or pale yellow thread.  When the fly becomes wet, the body takes on the color of the thread due to the translucent nature of the snowshoe rabbit fur dubbing. With the pale sulfurs I was seeing, I chose the yellow thread variation. There weren't a lot of rising fish until the sun had set but once it did lots of fish were actively rising and I had the most consistent dry action of the season well into the darkness.

There was a brief lull that made be think the hatch was over but the rises started picking up again.  This time the usual, which had worked so well, was being ignored.  I tried a large sulfur spinner but that wasn't the ticket either. It wasn't until I turned on my headlamp to head out that I realized what was going on.  There were huge yellow mayflies (#10/#12) all over the river, either light Cahills or Yellow drakes.  I probably would have enjoyed the encore if I had switched to one of the big usuals I carry.  That's what is so fun about fly fishing, you are always learning to be more attentive to what's going on around you!

As much as I enjoy fishing dries at dark, those beaver tail slaps right behind me still give me the creeps!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

A rainy start

The past Friday afternoon Ben and I met up to fish the Farmington River.  We haven't had a chance to fish together this season so it was good to be able to ride up to the river together and talk about what has been going on with each other.  When we met, it was looking like it was going to be rainy start. On the ride up the rain was pretty steady but the forecast was calling for clearing by mid afternoon and I don't mind fishing in the rain for a little.

I ended up nymphing the pocket water looking for fish.  Things started off a little slow.  I found fish but I wasn't getting a good hook set for some reason but it was good to move fish.  I probably hooked a dozen fish but only landed a pair.  Some were just briefly hooked and others came off when I was trying to pull them out of the heavier current but that's part of fishing this type of water.  I enjoy searching out the seams, the aggressive way the fish take the flies in faster water, and the challenge of maneuvering the fish out of stronger current.

A wild Farmington Brook trout?
Late afternoon we tried another spot briefly before moving to where we wanted to fish til dark.  When we arrived I could see a couple fish taking something small in the surface film. The rises were very sporadic and the small olive dries I threw were pretty much ignored. Once the sulfurs started coming off things picked up a little.  I managed to pick off one brook trout on a small sulfur but the other rises were pretty much out of my reach until right before dark.  I put on a large usual and started fishing it in the the tail of the pool.  I could see subtle rises in about a foot or two of water and wondered if they were just small fish or salmon paar until one grabbed the usual and started running hard.  I was surprised at how strong this fish was running, taking line on several charges.  With one final leap, as if to say "see you later", it kindly returned the fly.  I think those subtle rises were decent fish taking spinners right before dark. With that last fish, we decided to call it quits while we could still make our way across the river and back to the truck.

Fishing in the dark is always a unique experience.  Whether it's jumping out of your skin when a beaver sneaks up behind you and slaps it's tail on the water a few feet behind you or stumbling upon a deer in the dark as you make you way out.  Unfortunately, we also had one more surprise on the way out when a set of red and blue lights started coming towards us.  A very polite officer stopped us and informed us that the area was closed at dark and that we had to leave the area before sunset.  I've fished this spot many times over the last few years and never had any issues with fishing late but I guess the local teens have been causing trouble in the area and the police were doing what they needed to.  The officer just gave us a warning but I we will have to find another spot were we can fish late.  It's too bad because I really would like another shot at the those fish in the shallow water with a large yellow spinner!

Friday, June 30, 2017

A summer afternoon

A survivor strain brown (yellow
elastomer behind the right eye) 
I spent this summer afternoon on the Farmington River.  I figured that now that summer is here, I would spend the afternoon nymphing the shady pocket water.  My hunch paid off as browns and rainbows were found in many of the shallow pockets.

Near the end of the afternoon, I found a stretch of promising water and quickly hooked three nice rainbows.  The sulfurs were just starting to come off in numbers when the skies got dark and I could hear rumbling in the distance.  At that point, I packed up and headed back to the truck and checked the radar and decided it was time to head home.  It wasn't long before the lightening was flashing and the rain was pouring down as strong line of storms moved through as they do on summer afternoons...


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

It's been quite around here for a reason

Father and  daughter
Yes it's been quiet around here at least on the fishing front and there are good reasons.  For most of the month of May were getting ready for a big day in our family, the marriage of our oldest daughter.  She enjoys the outdoors and we have had many adventures together over the years, camping, hiking, skiing and snowshoeing so it was no big surprise that she wanted to be married outdoors.   We had the event at a friends barn and had a wonderful day weather wise at a fanastic location and everything went as well as we could wish.  By the end of the day we were all pretty tired.

On Father's day, my youngest daughter and I went for hike along a favorite small stream.  The last time I fished this stream there were caterpillars everywhere.  Unfortunately, they were gypsy moth caterpillars.  We were amazed at how much of the forest they had destroyed in just a few weeks. The ground was covered with half eaten leaves.  The hillside in the picture below normally would be a lush green but all that the moths left were few half eaten leaves, tree trunks, and limbs.  It was really a sad sight to see.

The arbor I built from Adirondack birch

Last week we were away in the Adirondacks doing some long overdue spring clean up on my mother-in-law's place.  The Adirondacks have been getting a healthy dose of rain all spring and the lakes and streams were quite full.  Needless to say the grass has been growing like crazy so it took a good bit of effort to get things back under control again.  I did take a couple hour break one afternoon to check out a mountain stream.  It was as high and unruly as I have ever seen it in late June and it was tough getting a fly down to where the fish were probably hiding.  I did manage one brook trout to hand but it took a heavy Ausable ugly to coax it out of it's sheltered hiding place.

The firs Adirondack brook trout of the season
With the streams too high to fish, I turned to taking a canoe out in the nearby lake at dusk to fish poppers for smallmouth.  I am not much of a lake or bass fisherman but I do know a few spots that have some underwater structure that will hold bass in the summer.  The first night out I caught plenty of small smallmouth and rock bass to make it fun.

The next night when I canoe to those same spots things were pretty quiet.  I did catch a decent smallmouth on a foam popper so I switch to a small popper with a #14 hook thinking a smaller fly might get some more attention.  As I was working my way back through and area that usually holds fish, something came up and slammed the popper hard and then dove deep and stayed deep.  From the way I was getting towed around in the canoe, I knew this fish was going to be a good one so I didn't try to force the issue, especially with such a small hook that could easily bend.  When I finally got the fish up to the canoe, I was quite surprised to see a hefty largemouth bass on the end of the line, I guess it was roughly around 5lbs.

So that's what I've been up to lately.  I expect things will settle down some now and hopefully I can get back to trout fishing soon.

Adirondack Serenity