Sunday, March 3, 2019

The Ausable Ugly

Another of my favorite winter flies is the Ausable Ugly by Richard Garfield, a native of the Adriondacks. I have a particular love for flies designed for the high gradient waters of the Adirondacks.

I've been fishing the "Ugly" for a few years and often pull it out of the box when I need a heavy nymph/streamer to fish in the late winter or anytime the water is up after good rain.  Like the picket pin, it can be fished as a nymph, or retrieved like a mini streamer.  You will notice that I added a fire orange thread hot spot on two just to experiment.

Ausable Ugly Material list: 
Thread: Grey UTC 70DN
Tail - muskrat fibers
Body - heavily dubbed muskrat
Rib:  Silver ultrawire (Sm)
Hackle - grizzly hen, palmered from bend to eye
Rough it up with a wire brush or velcro when finished, it's supposed to be ugly!

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Picket Pin

Bead head and orange head versions
It's a rainy late February day outside so I've been meaning to tie a few "winter flies" for those late winter days when you need a nymph/wet fly/streamer to get down to where the fish are and keep it there.

I first learned about the Picket Pin from my good friend Alan (Small Stream Reflections).  It's not a well known fly, probably because it is an older pattern but if you are looking for a versatile fly for the winter, this one is it.  I've fished it as a nymph, swung it like a wet fly, and with a slow retrieve like a mini streamer.

I tie them with two strands of peacock herl for the body, brown hen hackle, palmered from eye to bend and then caught and counter wrapped with gold wire for added durability.  The wing is natural squirrel tail finished off with a couple turns of peacock herl in front of the wing. I typically tie with them with and without a tungsten bead.  For the unweighted version, I thought I would finish these off with a fire orange thread head hardened with some UV fly finish.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

The beauty of winter

I see a few posts here and there bemoaning winter and longing for spring.  While I certainly understand those sentiments, I actually enjoy winter.  For me winter is a time to get out and explore and the Adirondacks streams are iced in and the fishing season is closed anyway.  I often take my camera along with me cross country skiing, snowshoeing, or snowmobiling.

Winter reminds me of the necessity of quite and rest.  If you've ever spent any time in a hemlock forest in the winter then you know what silence feels like.  In this fast paced world we all live in,  quite reflection is a lost art and frankly it's not a good thing.

Here are some winter scenes that I hope encourage you to get outside and listen to the sounds of winter

Saturday, February 9, 2019

The Shenandoah National Park

Dark Hollow Falls
When I think of waterfalls, my mind is drawn to Shenandoah National Park.

I first discovered the park on  my drives to Memphis while by daughter was a student.  As someone who has fished mountain brooks in the Adirondacks and New England, I really had no idea what to expect in Southern Appalachia but I was struct by the ruggedness of the gorges and hollows in the park.  The streams are high-gradient mountain streams very similar in character to the types of streams I love fishing in the northeast. 

I fell in love with the park on that very first visit and have had the opportunity to camp and fish there a few times.  I hope these pictures will encourage you to explore this national treasure.  You will notice that almost all of the shots are rotated vertical to fully capture the waterfalls 

White Oak Canyon Falls in autumn

Rose River Falls
Lower Falls in Dark Hollow
We owe a debt of thanks to those who had the foresight to set up our national park system to preserve the diversity of our national landscape!

Beautiful Southern Appalachian brook trout call these waters home 

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Great Smokey Mountain National Park

Laurel Falls
While my oldest daughter was in college in Memphis, TN we had the opportunity to visit the Great Smokey Mountain National Park.  Our visits were brief but we tried to find an interesting hike to break up the trip back to CT.  Our first adventure took us to Gatlinburg, TN and a short hike to Laurel Falls.  It was a chilly morning and we saw lots of deer close up along the trail before we reached the falls.   This was my first experience in the southern Appalachians and I was impressed with the ruggedness of the terrain.

When it was time for her to graduate, I needed to drive an extra vehicle down to pick up her things so I took a few days and camped along the way down.  The highlights of that particular trip was seeing her graduate at the top of her class and spending a day chasing brook trout with David Knapp of The Trout Zone on some small streams in the Smokies.  We had a fantastic day together and a new friendship was formed.  Some day I hope to get there again!

Photo courtesy of David Knapp

Photo courtesy of  David Knapp

When I remember the GSMNP,  I remember Rhododendron and rocks

Friday, January 25, 2019

Adirondack Waterfalls

The Adirondacks are one of the wildest places that I've spent some time it.  The terrain is rugged and wet which combines to produce some very picturesque waterfalls.  I've photograph waterfalls in all seasons and here are some of my favorites.  Some are large and powerful others small and intimate and may only exist briefly for a season.

Auger Falls one of my favorite falls to hike to and photograph

This little "fall" I came across one spring 
A fall Adirondack scene
A newly discovered waterfall

Monday, January 21, 2019

Waterfalls - CT

Psalm 42:7,8  Deep calls to deep at the roar of you waterfalls, all your breakers and your waves have gone over me.  By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life (Psalm 42:7,8)

There is something about waterfalls that just draw us as fishermen who search the deep pools below them for what is often the strongest fish a particular stream.  But like the psalmist, they call to something deeper in me.  Their beauty, power, and thundering music have a way of reminding me that I am not the center of things, that I am small in the scheme of things. 

I have had the pleasure of hiking to, photographing, and fishing below waterfalls all over the eastern US so I thought I would share some  my favorite images of waterfalls from southern Appalachia, southern New England, and the Adirondack mountains in New York State.

Here are two of my favorite waterfalls in CT.  They aren't big thundering falls by any means but beautiful nevertheless.  For me they hold fond memories of  the people that I have shared these spaces with over the years.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

New Year's Day tradition

This past New Year's day Kirk, Alan and I continued our first day tradition of fishing a small stream together.  Past New Year days have brought cold bitter winds, single digit temperatures where finding open water was a challenge, and damp grey clouds but this year we were blessed with warm pleasant conditions.

Still the day brought it own challenge due to the heavy rains the previous evening prior.  I fished a pink worm with bead head, trailed by a small egg.  In some spots, I even needed to add a small shot to keep the flies down, something I rarely do on a small stream. 

The morning started off slow for all of us.  I had a few brief hookups on both the worm and egg.  Alan worked his way up to the pool below the waterfall to the right and connected with his first brown of the year ( see the link here:small stream reflections).  When I was looking through old pictures, I ran across a picture of our friend Pete, who passed away this past year, with his first brown of the year from that same pool the last time we all fished together.  A fitting tribute to a good friend!

Near the end of the afternoon, I manged to find a brook trout that was willing to take a weighted Ausable Ugly twice, so I switched to a silver doctor wet since I thought it would be fun to catch the first fish of the year on a classic wet fly,  He took it once but again I could not connect.