Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Starting Young... And Happy Christmas / New Years to all!

Last weekend, after doing some grocery shopping we were about to do some final Christmas shopping, but the boy really wanted to go home... We had to go by home to do the rest of the errands, so he and I stayed home and the girls kept shopping.

We started out playing catch with a football.  Then tag.  Then Will wanted to see how the circular saw worked.  So I hacked up a 2 X 4 real well... Then he saw the chain saw.  We had to do some pruning on a spruce that blocked a walking path around the house, so I gassed up and let Will hold the blade cover and wear the big hearing protection (and stand well back) while I trimmed some limbs.

After all that fun, He leads me back in the garage and see's my 6wt BVK.  I don't know how many of you have cast one of TFO's BVK series... But wholly smokes - they cast like an 800+ dollar rod and cost about 225.  Great rods.  Any way... Will remembered trying to cast it once before, and asked if we could go cast...  So we did.

First we went all Lefty Kreh and I stripped out about 20 feet of line (meaning 20 feet beyond the tip of the rod) and he just had fun making it move horizontal to the ground - swinging the rod left and right.  Then he started sort of roll casting on his own.  He liked the "loop" so he started just trying to make the line swing round all silly.  In the pic, you can see the line is caught up a bit in the apple tree in our front yard...

He'd have me make loops and then he'd make some.  Then he realized that if he tied the leader to the apple tree, he could jump over the line when I held the rod.  That lasted a few minutes until I lifted the line before he could jump, and thus he "missed".  Now we had a new game and we'd go back and forth taking turns lifting the rod so that the other couldn't jump the line.

All in all, it was about 20' of the 4 year old playing with fly casting.  It was awesome :).  Maybe some day he will find satisfaction in this activity just like I have...  Up to him.

Not sure if everyone who may see this celebrates Christmas, so if you don't, happy holidays!  But if you do, enjoy Christmas eve and day.  And happy New Year to all!

Be well

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving.

I hope everyone is having a great Thanksgiving Holiday!  The list of things to be thankful for is amazingly long, and I'm just super glad our family gets to spend the holiday together.

I'm excited to be about a week and a half out from my winter break from school.  The fall term's have been good, but man... put grad school, work, and family on a plate... and things are busy.  I'm looking forward to going to bed before 10 a few times :)

That said, I have managed to get out to bowhunt a few times before work.  I filled my doe tag, and the family is going to have awesome, free range and truly "organic" meat for the year ahead.  Very happy about that.

Prior to getting down to track the doe, another group came through and I snapped a pic of the "leader".  I've never snapped a pic of a deer while on stand before, so this was really fun.  Nice to see these amazing creatures just doing their thing.  They are really, really, awesome animals.

Last Friday (I think) I shot out to a local wild brookie and brown trout stream near home.  I never changed flies, and just drifted a sort of modified picket pin.  I forget the name, but it's similar to a fly Don Bastian ties - rust hackle tail, silver tinsel body, squirrel tail wing and peacock herl wrapped for the head.  Simple, and that's what I was after.  Simplicity.

I managed to catch a couple little chubs.  While some folks poo poo species like these, they are really amazing.  They are also really pretty.  Look at that chrome and steel!

I managed one lone little brookie.  Several hook ups, but only one came all the way to hand.  Amazingly, I'd fished a number of good holes with good takes and misses in many... And in this one little spot, that is about the size of a laundry basket, often cut off from the stream by a gravel bar and at most 12" deep that I caught this little guy.  I was absolutely amazed he was there - I've never had a take or caught a fish in that hole despite dropping a fly in it almost every time I'm on this stream.

Keep enjoying the outdoors - it's an amazing time of year to be out!

And, keep enjoying life - it's a gift to be thankful for, for certain!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Regal History Video

Growing up in Petersham MA, I was only 10-12 miles from the early home of the Regal Vice Company.   After getting into tying as a kid, with a basic starting kit, I remember my parents bringing me to the Regal factory when I was in grade school, around Christmas.  We looked at the cork drag reel's they were also making at that time (mid-late 80's), and then at the vices.  My dad let me pick out a medallion with the brass base as my Christmas gift.  My parents were not fishermen, but always felt that you could do more with good tools, and thus, were not against what, looking back, seems like an extravagant purchase for a kid!

Any way, I tied on that regal for years, and only a few years ago was given another, newer regal with stainless jaws and a pocket base as a gift.  Lucky guy!

So, you can probably tell I'm Regal Vice focused :)

When I bumped into this video, I thought it was great, and figured it was worth a share - it's a bit of history on Regal vices.  I had no idea for example the first ones had an Oak head!  enjoy:

It's been a good few weeks overall since my last post.  No more salmon fishing due to falling water, work, school and family - as well as hitting the deer woods.  Managed a nice little buck with the bow and now will be more focused on when I get into the woods - looking for a big mature buck and letting everything else pass.

Good times!

I hope all of you are well - Enjoy the midst of fall!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Hi-Lite of the day..

Finally had some good rain, bringing the local salmon river up from a trickle to about 13.5cfs, which is a solid little flow but not "high" on this river.  Thankfully, it was high enough to get a few fish to start coming up from the reservoir below.  A few follows... and landed one about 20".

Lucky for me, a nice guy named John was working his way down stream and we were chatting just as this fish took.  He got a nice view of the fight - which included 4 solid leaps well into the air - and took a pic for me from the other side of the river.  If you ever see this - thanks John!

The fly of the day, and one I really love for this (or bass fishing, or trout fishing...) is Steve Culton's Hi-Liter.  You can see my version below.  I dont use a bead, I just wrap the underbody with some .20 non lead weight.  Rides great in the water, and with a loop knot, it dances seductively - especially when swung through the current and given the wet fly wiggle so to speak...

Here's my version of Steves great fly...  You can see his step by step, and a bit of his story regarding this fly's development here: http://currentseams.com/2015/09/22/the-hi-liter-soft-hackled-streamer/

I've been in the woods some with bow in hand... but thus far, the deer have evaded my attempts at bringing them home for super :).  On opening day a gorgeous, probably 3.5 year old buck came by only 10 steps out, but was, surprisingly given the 19th of October is early for rut action, totally trolling for does and would not stop - just kept trotting on nose to ground.  Since, I've seen a few does with no shots and had one deer of unknown gender come by in the dark prior to shooting light.  Enjoying some relaxation in the trees though... it's good for me!

That's where I thought I'd have a shot, two runs intersect there dead center (above pic) and though hard to see there are three scrapes.  Another week and this spot should produce a sighting or two.

This is the little swamp coming off the edge of a pond.  Often they come from over there, after bedding for the day behind some homes.

There are some white oaks behind me dropping like crazy - so good eats for the deer in this area.  The open spaces are this weird (and currently dry) canal that goes around a shruby blueberry covered island at the edge of a pond.  Deer often bed on this impenetrable tangle.

Some times I call that stand site the "Engine Block Stand", because, blocked by trees in the above pic, is an old truck's front end - I'm talking 30's or 40's truck.  It's all rusted out, and never will be useful again, but its cool to see in the woods, and makes you wonder what was going on and why it was left there...

Hope you all are enjoying some of the amazing sights, sounds, smells and adventures fall offers!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Little fishing, little riding, lots of beauty...

This past weekend we did a little charity ride to help raise $ for a local family who's child is going through treatment for cancer.  You don't have to twist my arm to raise funds for such a cause.  After we were on the receiving end of such work, I can safely say it's a gift that is hugely helpful.  That said, this ride was made sweeter by including the trails I first started to ride.

When I was a kid, I'd fish constantly.  My dad likes to say he put the first 5k on his subaru wagon (about 30 years ago) by driving me to fishing spots - over one season!  So, as mountain bikes became more common, they decided it was cheaper to get me one for a birthday gift than it was to keep driving me around...

They bought me a bike, and at first, I rode every where to fish.  My good friend started to too.  And then we started riding to ride, then racing... and a second lifelong curiosity was born for me: preparation for and performance in endurance sports.  That lead to reading college sports science texts for fun in high school, and having been involved with endurance sports for over 25 years with about 20 of those as coach professionally.

It's been an amazing part of my life, but, over the last 10-15 years, I've been so busy professionally and then family wise, that I've had time to really train and enjoy sport myself as much.  I get to ride some or run some or hike or lift or whatever, but rare is a consistent patch of actual training or the chance to do a solid all day ride through the woods.  All fun things I enjoy... and hope to gradually get back to.

But, short term... What a day Saturday was.  2 river valleys, both containing wild fish, both that I've loved to fish pretty much my whole life.  Plus lots and lots of great ridges to climb and descend, awesome single track along rivers... Just great on all levels.  Do that on a perfect fall day - 60 degrees, nice breeze, great color... Ahhhhhh!

There is a bridge which no longer is passable by car over this river.  The trail goes up stream to the bridge, crosses the bridge/river and goes up stream on the other side.  This pic is looking south west, down stream with the river 30' below.  Had a day with a friend where we must have been fishing a few hours after the stocking truck, because we must have caught 30-40 rainbow's below this bridge each that night!

A locally famous trail that we call "the river trail" which was made by fishermen over the years, and maybe by native people's before hand.  I'm standing on the right side, but the trail is just left of that little tree left center and goes a bit diagonally from left to right to the center of the pic then straight away.  It's a trail with some technical points, but it's beauty next to the river is worth it!

Sitting on a rock jutting out into the river eating a cliff bar and enjoying a little break.  I've caught a lot of fish in this run...

Then today, I took lunch stream side.  Quick shot to a local wild trout water, and it was great.  Cooler still in the shade of the forest - the brightening leaves still offering shade.  The water temp was low, but the flow on the light side for this largely spring fed water.  And, the result was that, although I saw several fish, I only had 2 takes and both were missed on my part.  Not sure if they were brookies, browns or fall fish.  Regardless, it was really enjoyable to walk the stream and take in the sights.

Next to that log on the right, about 3/4 up, I caught a 13" brown earlier this year - giant on this stream.  I thought that the changing colors today were pretty and that this pic of the spot from late may or early June this year showed some neat changes - same spot... Greener and more water below.
The fall picture above this one was taken standing pretty much on that little rock pile.  

One of my favorite runs, today was quite still due to low flow.  That giant hemlock on the left, about half of that tree is undercut by the water and what a cavern it creates for the trout to hide.

I also saw something that could save this sport we all love.  A rare site today regrettably, and something that made me really feel good.  As I pulled in, I saw to creatures leaving the stream with rod's jammed into back packs - those creatures were kids of the 12-14 year old variety, pedaling away on their bikes.  I could see sneaker tracks working the edges of some pools as I fished, and it made me feel great.  I don't know if those kids caught anything.  I dont know if they were using bait or spinners.  But I know they looked like they had fun, and they were fishing in the outdoors.  Exploring the world on their terms and learning.  AWESOME!

Keep well

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

As is often the case for a parent of little kids... Life's been busy.  But, grad school's going well, kids, wife and family are good, and it's fall in New England - AWESOME!

Today I shot out to prospect.  We had some rain last week, and I hoped that perhaps a few salmon had shot up a local river that gets a great run of landlocked salmon and big browns in the fall.  Big meaning, it's not uncommon to see a fish in the upper 20's and low 30's go by (inches)... They are not easy to catch, but it's fun to try given the river is only about 10-15 yards wide in most areas!

It's a little early, and things had been so dry, that I wondered if any fish had come in... but at least from what I could see, there were no salmon in.  Lot's of young pickerel hiding in the shallows in the lower sections, but no big fish yet... A little more cool, and a good rain event and we should be in business.  Usually it's the last 2 weeks of October and first 2 of November, sometimes even as late as early December... So I'm on the early edge.

That said, it was really nice to be out and enjoying a gorgeous fall day.  Now I'm settling in to some good work projects and school projects and figured I'd pop up a quick post as a "warm up" to work :)!

I've had a few trail cam's out as well.  I'm not getting to many buck pic's this year - well, mature bucks.  But lots of does and 1.5 year old bucks.  The big surprise after last winters epic snow, is the number of does with fawns I've had on cam.  Pretty cool to see.

Also cool, was getting a shot of this old bruiser for the 3rd year in a row.  I'm going to call him 5.5 or 6.5 years old based on the racks the last 3 years.  Actually seems to be starting to get smaller now.  His rack is cool.  It does not have a ton of tines, but, it's really neat the way his right is only a 3 point side and seems to reach out to the side more.  Given he lives in a public land area, and an area that gets pretty stout pressure during gun season, it's really cool to see him still going - perhaps the fact I've only seen him on cam at night is part of his success.  Regardless, on a few ideal day's in November Ill see if I can see him during the day with bow in hand... 

Have an awesome week!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Relaxing and Bassin

After dinner last night I managed to get out for an hour of bass fishing. It's fun when you open the box arriving at the pond and there is lots of big, fluffy and ugly staring back!  It's been to long fluffy flies... it's been to long!

The pond of choice was a local one about 10' from home.  We run or walk the rail trail that passes the pond often.  It actually splits it.  The trail literally forms an isthmus between two parts of the same body of water.  the west side is weedier and shallower, and the east side is deeper and rockier.  

It's not super easy to fly fish given there is not much room for casting, so it feels sort of like fishing the salt - a quick double haul and let the line fly, or a fairly powerful roll cast are your only options. You are not allowed to wade or swim, either of which would make it a lot easier to fly fish... Of if I had a kayak instead of a float tube - the former is legal and the latter would not be on this pond, so... the shore it is.

The fishing was slow at first.  Had I grabbed some smaller flies and opted to pop for blue gill's / crappies etc I'd likely have caught a ton.  I'd often see the fly get pulled under by a panfish grabbing the bunny strip tail on my deer hair diver.

Shortly after it occurred on one cast, a bass of perhaps 3 pounds went air borne for the fly - tossing itself, the small blue gill that had been grabbing the tail and my fly air borne.  A guy who was dragging his kayak through the canal connecting the ponds halves saw it and we both got a good kick out of it.  About 10' later I got my first of the night, a spunky little 10 incher who managed to get the whole fly in his mouth. 

 The sun set was awesome.  Totally beautiful.  You can see ripples from about 5 kayaks that came from the other half of the pond to get over here and see the sun go down on the right edge of the pic.  Amazingly, there were no mosquito's.  Not sure if it was the dry weather we have had or what... But Ill take it :)!

The sun starting to go down, and needing to get home, I started to walk back to the truck, but stopped to fish the other side of the pond for a few minutes.  I missed a good one on the first cast.  He took mid strip and held for only a minute before tossing the fly.  About 5 casts later on the other side of the little point this little bass took the popper.  After this, I shot a few more casts to a downed tree to my north, and then headed home.

Very pleasant way to spend a warm evening for sure!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A little time on the Swift

Played hooky last night.  Rosemary had taken the kids to the beach, so, looking at a mound of work for the next 3 months, and knowing this may be my last shot to get to the Swift, I took a shot and went out.

Opted to use my long rod.  The flow's are up on the river which sometimes lends itself to high sticking with a worm anchor and tiny nymph suspended above... So the 11ft 4 wt was my choice.  I can throw big dry's on this stick, and that's a major bonus given August/september is an awesome time to fish large terrestrials here.  It's a river known for #18-24 nymphs and #20-32 dry's.  Its a river, who's upper reaches are basically sand or a bit of moss.  It's BWO's, small ones... Midges and some caddis or other mayflies like sulfurs.  But August and September is the fisherman's revenge..  You can drop the 7-8X tippet, and tie on a Chernobyl ant on a #6 streamer hook and catch fish consistently.  Nothing like seeing an 18" rainbow that for months would only look up at a #28 puff of thread and cdc drifted perfectly... Now attacking a 2" long foam bug like a pike to a 2/0 deer hair slider :)!  FUN.

So, I set up with my midge / larva box at the ready, but with a beetle on a #10 as the first option.  Had a few attack it and I missed... So, time to go bigger, because these fish were looking up :)

I'd tied up these chernobyls recently (below).  Two were given to a friend, and two dropped in my bag... Some how, I'd forgotten my box full of them... so I had two on the day.  Probably caught 5, missed several others and had two break me off - which stunk.  one was a poor knot to the fly on my part, the other a poor knot to the micro ring I was trying rather than tying leader to leader.  Ugh.  Out of big dry's, I tried a few small nymphs and caught one.  then a small black hackled dry with a bright orange body that I learned about in a Brittish fly fishing mag last year.  That was just a totally random "what the heck lets try it" deal.  I finished up back to the beetle and caught a couple more and missed several by setting to soon.

The pic was taken with my phone, in a sandwich bag.  Considering that, it came out pretty good I think :)... This fish was about 18" long, he's flexed nicely in there.  The fish were fat and all in the 16-19" range I'd suspect.  Big, fat, and strong fighting in the low 50's degree water that flow's here.


On the way in, I'd noticed a car I suspected belonged to a local guide / fly fishing "celebrity" who's got a book and last year had a nice write up on her series of flies based on one created on the Swift she named the Jail Bird.  Her name is Marla Blair.  When I got back to the truck, she was packing up to go, so I grabbed a little bug that I've had luck with that's a hybrid of the Jail Bird and another larva I like.  I brought it over, introduced myself, thanked her for the great article in Fly Tyer last year and gave her a bug.  She was real appreciative and friendly, and I headed back to the truck to pack up.

Then I look up, and here comes Marla, and she graciously gave me a Jail Bird she tied.  Very cool to see it tied by the originator.  Thanks for the kind gesture Marla (if you ever bumble into this post :)), I really appreciated it!

One final point.  Matt Grobert always wraps up his great blog Caddis Chronicals (http://www.caddischronicles.com/) always signs of noting to sharpen your hooks.  Ill agree, but suggest checking your knots.  I thought i'd done well, but, clearly had not.  And it cost me some nice fish... So, tie good knots when you fish!

Keep well

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A little catching up...

Well, the last few months have been pretty much, um, all over the place.  A few days after my last fishing post, I was driving west to south eastern Ohio (and past a lot of good looking trout water) for an on campus part of my graduate program @ Ohio University.  I'd heard the campus was beautiful, and the trip did not disappoint.  Below is the upper entrance to the student center, and if I'd done a 180 and taken more pic's, you would see some beautiful brick dorm buildings the merge smoothly into the very quaint "college town" that is Athens Ohio.  It was a fun trip, with a lot of great learning more about things ranging from athlete monitoring, to coaching practice to sports psychology and several other related areas from some amazing presenters.   Intense, and really enjoyable!

We go visit Rosemary's family during the summer most years.  We thought we would do it around my Ohio trip to keep things smooth... but it got all funky.  We ended up with me renting a car to drive to Ohio, and Rosemary drove (with her mom who graciously flew out from MN to MA to help Rosemary on the drive with the kids) out with the aim of getting to Athens early afternoon Sunday after my final class had finished.  The timing worked out perfectly, and with a bit of a push, we made it to Moline Ill that night.  Now, if you think, Why go to Moline if you are going to north central MN... Because we have 4 year olds, and Moline is home to the John Deere Pavilion - which is awesome!

Here's a quick shot of Rosemary and Emily about to cross from the hotel in Moline over to the Pavilion.  The JD Pavilion is home to a bunch of awesome tractors and other neat JD equipment. While the timberwalker (a tree feller buncher that WALKS on 4 legs for steep terrain) is probably my favorite, the robot lawnmower that works like a "roomba" robotic vacuum is probably the one I'd consider owning the most.  That said, the kids are allowed to climb up and sit inside all kinds of equipment from front end loaders to combine harvesters and they can play with lots of cool toys as well.  If you have a kid who loves tractors, it's worth a trip!

Once in MN, we went right up to Gull Lake and stayed with Rosemary's mom at the cabin which Rosemary's great grampa built in the late 20's or early 30's.  It's a great spot, and a highlight is that every summer, each tuesday and on the fourth, the town (Nisswa) puts on a "turtle race".  It's awesome fun.  The kids had a total blast - Rosemary was helping Emily launch her turtle into orbit in the pic :)!

Last year I found this cool little trout stream just down the road from the cabin and flowing into the northern reaches of Gull.  It was a pleasure to fish.  This year, not so much.  I was tight on time, and fished it about 45' from about 9-9:45 PM one day (it's light a lot later there).  I was skunked, and the stream was flowing pretty low this year, but also hugely different due to a tornado (I assume) that went through the area late last summer I'd suspect.  The current directions were all different due to massive amounts of wood that had blown into the stream - by wood, I mean full on trees.  It was like an entirely different stream.  So outside a nice encounter with a doe deer, and a failed attempt at one rising trout in a really tricky skinny water area (I blew it - to clumsy on approach), it was just a nice walk in the woods.  Hopefully next year will be better... But a tornado that went through a week or so after we left may have caused even more damage based on the reports Rosemary's mom sent us!

The kids and I did use some poppers along the dock though to catch sunfish... and everyone spent a ton of time in the lake.  I think that's me floating with Will - pretty much how the kids spent every day while we were up there.  Grammy had bought a new dock this year and it was GREAT, with a nice bench and going out to about 4.5' deep water, the kids must have jumped off a thousand times :)!

The morning after we made it home from MN (driving) Rosemary had to work two 12 hr shifts Saturday and Sunday.  So I took the kids out to visit my mom and dad.  I grew up in a town called Petersham MA - which is, the greatest place on earth still.  I'm biased in this matter, and there is no changing my mind on that one :)!  After dry mopping Mia's floor, we walked the kids up to the country store where they could use their hard earned 25 cents to buy actual penny candy (that's what's in the bags).  But they were amazed at the excavators that were on the side of the road where the town was putting in some new drainage piping.  Really fun!


That Monday, we shot up to Maine for a few days with my folks and sister.  We had a blast at the amusement park, and playing on the beach.  But, the little chick's we'd ordered earlier in the year, with a delivery date of July 20, came a week early, thus one night I shot home,  set up the chicks with the heat lamp and thanked the neighbors hugely - they went to the post office for us to pick up the "girls".  It gave me a chance to go through emails for work so I was not crazy behind, and then drive back to York Me for another day and a half with the family.  A bummer, but, good to get the "girls" situated.

Since then, it's been about catching up on work, getting school work done, and when possible, hitting a local beach with the kids.  Amazing that, if I get there (or Rosemary does) before 10AM we have a few hours of the beach to ourselves.  It's awesome.  The kids have loved it, and have combined playing in the sand, in the water, and catching about a million sun fish over the trips there this year.

Will's been wanting a bow bad.  He think's it's fun to see me practice - watching he and Emily run to the target butt at my folks to help me pull arrows is awesome.  We'd got him on for his B-Day (July 4), but it really just didn't work great.  The long suction cup arrows were really hard to get on the string and shoot.  So a trip to the local Cabelas resulted in this cool bow that shoots little nerf darts, he LOVES it.  Emily went in wanting a bow to... but seeing the stuffed animals near the other toys, she was swayed to a stuffed, plush deer.  They had a blast.

Last week I had that Monday trip to the tail water.  I had a blast and caught a lot... but realized I was low on some flies... and wanted to give a few flies to a friend.  One I was low in was Chernobyl Ant's and the other was that I'd lost a few Chimera Caddis larva's that Monday so I needed more.  Tightlines productions vimeo page had a Chernobyl Ant video this week that showed me a way to tie that fly I'd not tried before and added motivation, so last night I had some vice time and tied up a bunch of Chernobyl's, Chimera's and then a green version of the Chimera that I've wanted to play with using wine colored thread for the underbody and head (that tail water fishes great with a little green and red fly called the Jail Bird, and this is simpler and probably a bit more durable, so I have wanted to try it)...   Here's a few pic's of the bugs...

Here are the Chimera's and Olive and wine pupa's.  These flies are tied using flexy floss which is colored, stretchy and sort of transparent.  So the chimeras have an orange thread base, over wrapped with yellow flexy floss and then finished with brown thread for the head.  The wine and olive ones are just wine underbody, olive flexi floss and wipped off.  These are all size 18's which has always worked best for me with the Chimera Caddis.

Ok, now I'm caught up here from the past 8 weeks...  Hopefully I can get into a better posting pattern again here soon.


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Time away, Time with trout, Time to get back to action.

I knew this year would be pretty darn crazy.  And it certainly has been that!  I hope to post a little about some adventures over the next week... But first, a little post about my first (ugh) fishing trip in about 6 weeks.

Last night, I decided I needed a "personal" day.  A short one, but, one none the less.  To do that, I worked until noon, then headed to a tailwater about an hour away.  There were fish all over the darn place, but I focused on two sections I really enjoy fishing.  One is a slow, deep glide with one side open and shrubby and the other covered in hemlocks.  Just below this a power line crosses the river and the water becomes much skinnier and with a bit of structure rather than a sand bottom.  It's not a riffle, the water slides through this area in 1-2 foot depths, and gin clear.

It's a fun spot, full of well educated fish, and with memories from my childhood and development as an angler.

It was a really valuable half a day.  I caught a number of fish on the Chimera Caddis in a #18... but never broke out the camera.  The day was about doing some de-stressing, and just being outside.  And, it was that.

Plus, I met a few real nice fellow anglers, which added to the day for sure.

Monday, June 15, 2015

What was once a pond...

Comments from Coleman after my last blog inspired a brief bit of fishing today.  Coleman had mentioned he had been fishing down stream on the same brook I had fished the other day and it was going well.

I've not fished that area yet this year, despite it being at most 2 miles from home... Today I had to run an errand that forced me to cross the stream, so I brought the 2wt and spent probably 20-30' drifting the ABD (Allan's Brownie dry I noted in my last blog).

I wanted to waste no time, so I basically started right where an old dam was removed by TU a bit over a year ago, and slowly poked up stream.  This was a pond 18 months ago, and the soil that is home to the plants on the left of the stream, just a year ago, was flat out dangerous.  It was 18" to 4' thick pasty muck that you would sink into nicely.  With a year of plant life growing up and snow compression and dry days... it's walkable now for the most part - though you need to be cautious because some areas are still a bit soupy and the undercut banks are insane in places.

The bottom through this lower section often is sandy or pea gravel, with clumps of rock, wood, or rootball here and there.

This section in the pic varries from close to 3feet deep in a few little holes to about 10" deep.  Good looking dry fly water huh :)?


I had the ABD still on from last week's trip, so I just started with that.  Good choice, the brookies happily ate the fly through this new meadow.  It was fun!  Maybe missed or lost 4 and landed 3.  Not bad for a pit stop of a fishing "trip".

Pretty awesome to see this hard work of local conservation groups and national (TU) groups come together and create a real positive situation for the environment in this area, and for the wild fish (and other animals) who live here.

Thanks for the nudge Coleman!  I'd likely have waited and kept fishing other areas had you not mentioned it.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

New fly, first fish, biggest fish...

Recently Alan, the author of the Small Stream Reflections blog, posted about a new fly he was working on that he had named the "Crowningshield".  The fly had been working well... So the other night when I sat down to tie a few flies, I thought I'd work up a few.

Alan's fly sort of reminded me of this un-named Ausable Wulff variant I tie up and like to fish on small streams... Because of that, it really motivated me to get to the vice ready to go.

I don't know about those of you reading this, but for me, tying is rarely an act of repetition.  A very brief bit of "production" tying 25-30 years ago as a kid taught me that.  I have a real hard time tying flies to pattern.  Most of the time... Well, I sat down with good intentions, but the cree hackle was at the top of the hackle bin and my hand bumbled into the SLF red squirrel nymph color and well... I was lazy and got to work.

The top fly is the main critter.  Not sure what to call it, but I may call it "Alan's Brownie" for reasons Ill get to in a minute.  That was my variant of the Crowningshield.  It's first outing proved it a keeper.

The lower fly was a yellow stone dry I like to fish on a local stream.  Basically X-Caddis with a yellow stone colored body and some hackle for a tail.  Works well on the Quinnipoxet which is a large river (by Massachusetts standards at least) and a few other streams near here this time of year.

Today I took a lunch on a local stream.  Good day to get my head right, and the flow's have looked good lately with some nice little thunder storms the last few weeks.  Well, "Alan's Brownie" (Yep, it's starting to flow... that name may just stick :)) took it's first drift in the pool at the head of this pic.  The first drift yielded nothing... the second drift, a fish literally came out of the water for the fly like the great white sharks on the discovery channel!  It was a big fish too, not the normal 4-7" wild brookies or occasional wild brown I catch here.  He pushed up to the riffle at the head of the pool, dove under the log, but did not come loose... and thus, "Alan's Brownie" had caught it's first fish, and by far the largest I have seen caught on this wild trout stream, a 13-14" wild brown.


The picture is pretty horrible, but point blank, I wanted him back in the water ASAP, and snapping a pic on my cell is not always easy with wet hands.  Thus, a sort of sloppy pic that does not do him justice... Great memories for me though!

This run often brings a fish.  It's one riffle up from where the big brown took, and nicely shaded by hemlock to the east and a variety of hardwoods to the west.  The best takes come from doing (and I only pull this off about 2 out of 5 times!) a hook cast.  You get in there and side arm a cast under that angled limb/tree in the water, and using a hook cast, you pop the end of the cast so the leader does a near 90 degree bend at the end, thus letting the fly drift along the edge (left of the pic) which is surprisingly deep.  It's actually about 2-2.5 feet deep, which is quite deep on this stream, and thus, why this run tends to hold fish.  Today it only held a LDR with what looked like a 5-6" brookie.

Hiking, hunting, fishing, biking... Multiflora rose can be tough to move through.  But dang, it smells so good!  The next pool I fished is usually awesome on this stream.  It's a spot that almost always yields a fish... But today, I did not get a rise in the main pool, but the first run out of it, I missed a rise and then did a LDR on a real small fish, maybe a 4 incher...

I moved up a short riffle, and there is a great run with a massive undercut bank to the right.  It gets some sun, but overall, the current and depth give it some cover - especially with that undercut.  this is likely darn near 2.5-3 feet deep.  I know it has fish every time I fish it, and almost always catch one.  a few LDR's and misses today, then I landed a nice 6-7" brookie (above) and another (below) that was a little smaller.  It's a really fun run to fish!

I kept working up stream.  I didnt feel like fishing the riffles for some reason today.  I just hit the big pools or runs (relatively speaking :)) and then a small section of tumble water before calling it a day.  Only about 50' on the stream, but probably 6-8 fish including the largest Ive caught on this stream and on a new dry fly to boot.  Awesome!

"Alan's Brownie" (yep, it's sticking!) looks a little tired as I got ready to head out.  The wing and hackle were pretty chewed and the dubbing a little loose... But ready to go on my next trip out!

This pic is the spot where I leave the stream to get to the truck.  I took it hoping... but it didnt work.  There are a ton, probably more than 50, 1-2" long brookies in this picture.  AWESOME to see that, and leave the stream knowing the future looks bright!

Keep living well

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Healthy Places.

 I feel very fortunate to be able to adjust and build my schedule a bit.  It's a perk of self employment!  Thursday I was feeling pretty stressed out about some work and school tasks, and decided to accept some lost time, and fish a very relaxing stream about 15' from home.

It's a cold spring fed stream.  As a result, it's very dependent on good ground water levels to have good flow.  Even just a week ago, it was a trickle... But yesterday, after 3 days of rain, it was flowing just right.

The beauty of being spring fed though, is that even when it's barely a trickle come mid August, the water is still in the low 60's at most, and never totally stops flowing.  It may be just a seep between pools, but it's there, and with it, are the dark places under big rocks or under cut banks where the brookies survive one year to the next.  Generation to generation.  Amazing what these little fish are capable of!

It makes for a really healthy place.  The forest itself which surrounds the stream's upper reaches is protected by the Massachusetts DCR.  The trees are varied and occasional logging coupled with significant elevation change creates a wide range of habitat's for the wildlife who lives here.

The forest helps protect the stream too.  Filtering the snow melt and rain fall to pristine levels before entering the stream... And creating an aromatic mix of hemlock, wildflower and moss to entertain your olfactory system.

The best part though... I've literally never seen another person fishing here.  I've seen evidence of other's who have hunted here.  A few ancient tree stands no longer in use - one even blown down into the stream as part of a log jam.  That's about it though... Just one of those spots easy to overlook - thankfully.

For that reason, I found myself there yesterday with the plan to fish my lunch "break" to clear my head.

Getting to see nice spots like this and hear the flow of water is amazingly regenerative.  It's some what funny, but in my work, we like to really explore what types of things can balance out or restore the balance of our autonomic nervous systems - which run the primary functions of life, below our level of consciousness.  One strategy to calm the flight or fight sympathetic system while increasing parasympathetic (the rest and digest system) drive is literally a relaxed walk in the woods.  There's actually legit, scientific evidence to this fact.  Those who have enjoyed time in the woods know this without the research though.  Some things, we can learn with certainty without a class room!

Spots like this, moss to bank, water alternating between rushing forward and briefly pausing to collect itself, that the little scrappers - brookies - establish themselves as an amazing example of resilience and determination.

It's also where a few decided to eat a wingless light cahill wet fly :)

One thing about this stream, is that it's lower reaches begin to turn tanic, but up here, it's amazing how clear it runs.  The water in the pic above is flowing solidly and about 18" deep.  That, is clear water!

I never remember the name of these yellow flowers, but they are always around wild trout streams and other wet areas of the forest.  Super pretty little fellows.

Poison ivy is also around wild trout streams... and given my level of allergy to this three leaved beauty of a monster ;) I am glad I tend to fish these streams wearing knee high or hip high rubber boots!

Have a great weekend!