Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Dry fly or bust

After a great afternoon of fishing with friends on New Year's Day, it was time to turn my attention to continuing my little personal challenge of catching a trout on dry during every month of the year.  As winter has arrived here in CT, the next three months will be the most challenging.

Snow still covering the woods on this gray January day
I had the day off work, and the usual suspects were all busy with various things so I decided to head out solo to one of my favorite stretches of stream.  The day was the polar opposite of the warm, sunny New Year's day afternoon; being a more typical New England raw, gray winter day complete with couple showers of sleet, freezing rain and various other forms of frozen precipitation.  Don't ask me why, but there is just something oddly pleasant about being outside on days like this.  Maybe it's just the silence you experience because everything is seeking shelter.

I headed to a pretty little waterfall I sometimes visit.  It seemed fitting to start the day and the year at at such a place.  Waterfalls are active and alive, they sing sweet music, and they remind me that life is dynamic, moving, and yet cyclical, a process of concurrent filing and emptying as new challenges and opportunities come our way.


This day I was committed to fishing a dry fly despite the raw weather and the lack of any insect activity.  Brook trout in these small streams aren't fussy and if it looks like food they don't usually refuse.  It wasn't long before I saw the first brook trout launch itself over the fly.  I was fishing a small tan elk hair caddis and after a few fish rose to it and failed to take it I decided to switch to a darker version.  In the winter there are sometimes small dark stoneflies active, so I typically carry caddis patterns with peacock herl and pheasant tail bodies during the winter months.  The peacock herl caddis brought a few small January brook trout to hand.




19 comments:

  1. Mark
    Beautiful waterfall, with a pool below that I suspect you will fish numerous times in the future. Glad you were successful today with the caddis. Thanks for sharing

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    1. Bill - I love visiting that waterfall and have caught some nice fish at the base of it but not this day!

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  2. Congrats on the dry fly accomplishment!! Familiar water fall!!!!

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    1. Pete - thanks! We caught some browns there one New Year's day didn't we!

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    2. Yes we did and it was a cold day too !!!

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  3. I love the idea of fish on dry flies in the Winter! I really enjoy your blog, especially the Christian fellowship. I also love chasing Brookies in tiny waters, albeit a bit further south in north Georgia. I was wondering what type of leader (length, tippet, knotted vs factory tapered, etc.) you prefer while fishing very small Brook trout streams? I have been tinkering with tying my own leaders and would value your input.
    Thanks

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    1. dawgvet1 - thanks for stopping by the blog and commenting. I always love hearing from those who are reading along. I use a furled leader that I tie with uni thread that is 48" long since I prefer short glass rods for small stream fishing. The rod I am using now is a 6'6" 3wt so the 48" furled leader works really nicely and roll casts very well. You can find the details for building this leader at http://fishingsmallstreams.blogspot.com/2015/01/furled-leaders-for-small-streams.html

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  4. The Search feature over on the right side of the blog will allow you to search for information that I may have covered on previous posts. Give it a try if you are looking for specifics about leaders or flies or anything else.

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  5. Mark, it looks like you've accomplished your first month, in my opinion,the hardest one. We have stoneflies that start showing up fairly regular,starting next month,January is always up in the air. That is one beautiful waterfall,I could spend a lot of time their. Just got to love a caddis,my favorite fly. Thankyou,very nice post.

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    1. Thanks Brad. Oddly enough the month of March broke my last streak. I find February and March the toughest months to fish a dry around here.

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  6. Well done, Mark, I am sure you have already scratched January off the to do list for dry fly fishing. Nice looking Brookies for this time of year. Enjoy the new year and on to February for dry fly fishing.

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    1. Mel - thanks! I will still be fishing dries the rest of this month though :)

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  7. Small waterfalls and plunge-pools are irresistible for casting a fly. I haven't had much luck with dries in higher-altitude winter streams, but maybe I'll give those little pools more attention with a floater this season. Always looking to expand horizons. Nice start to the new year!

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    1. Thanks Walt. Even though there are more effective ways to fool winter trout none are as fun fishing a dry that isn't supposed to work in the winter.

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  8. well done mark, lovely scenery & fish

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  9. Beautiful stream and brookies, Mark. Well done!

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