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


  1. Will,
    Awesome wild brown. I love the Crowningshield variant. I love when the dubbing becomes loose a scraggly, seems like the trout really whack it.
    Are you going to retire that fly?

    1. Agreed Alan, something about those scraggly beat up flies. We try to make em look nice, and then they always work best after they get beat up a bit :)

      I thought about retiring it... But instead, Ill fish it. I tied up a few more last night... so Ill be bummed if I lose the original, but overall, I want it to keep building on things.

  2. Nice brownie, especially for that sized stream!

    1. No kidding RM. I was really surprised! TU took out a dam about a mile and a half to 2 miles down stream from here, just above a generally warm and a bit polluted major river. But, I cant help but wonder if there are browns making that river home and using some cool feeders like this in the summer for refuge. I need to fish the big river a bit. 1.) there are carp in it, 2.) there are carp in it and 3.) there may be some brown's using it for parts of the year... I fished it once last year (the part I can access is .5 miles down stream from a waste water treatment plant and smells soapy - makes it, um, not real enjoyable to fish at times. I caught some huge fall fish, but that was it. But man, there are some big undercut's with probably 6-10 foot deep pools. It's worth trying more to see if any large browns are hanging in there...

      I say all that because I've caught browns in a few feeders to this larger river, and after discussions with mass fish and wildlife, I know there have never been browns stocked in any of the streams or the river.

      Regardless, I should try to fish it a bit more for "research" purposes... and carp :)

  3. Awesome fish!

    I've been fishing the same stream quite a bit in the last few weeks. No browns, but the dry fly fishing for brookies has been on fire. Check out the section running through the former pond if you get a chance - It doesn't look like it would hold fish, but there are plenty in there and the casting room is a huge bonus.

    1. Cool Coleman! You are not kidding on the dry fly fishing - it's been awesome. One of these days we will bump into each other over there! If you see a brownish Tacoma, that's me. I've not fished that section this year - now I need to. Have you gone up above there and fished the, um, to put it nicely, wretched thicket? Some awesome cut banks in there that hold a lot of fish. It's brutal, but if you bust through there and get up towards the powerline there is some amazing water and fishing that NEVER get's touched!

    2. Yeah I've gone up there a few times - it can be hard to motivate myself to make the trek in there, but it's definitely worth it. If there's more 12"+ browns in there I bet that's where they're hanging out.

      I'll be on the lookout for your truck - if you see a Volkswagen GTI that's me.

    3. Cool - will do Coleman! It's really rough this time of year with the green up. Claustrophobic :)!