Thursday, March 31, 2016

Dry fly... Ahhhhhh

It was so nice today, that despite the 40 mph wind gusts, I decided to hit the stream across the street for 20-30' after lunch.  I started with a stimulator in a #16 and took a fish in the first run.

Crazy that is March 31 and there are maple flowers dropping... those shouldnt be raining down for a few more weeks based on "normal" winters!

My rusty dry fly "trigger finger" pulled the fly from a few more fish - awesome to see them attack vigorously!  

I adjusted to a bomber, well, the "modified bomber" I'm growing to really like - I just trim the hackles off the bottom, so they are basically a semi circle from the side and over the top of the fly.  It sits a little lower in the water in calmer glides, seems to float as well as a "normal" round hackle bomber and... this is probably my perception or confirmation bias, but I feel like my hook up ratio is better as well.  (probably is bias, because I've never noticed a lack of hook ups on a stimi before despite round hackles... :))

Well the bomber resulted in several more slightly smaller up to about the same size.  Ended up more like 40', and worth every second.  

You can kinda see the bottom of the hackles are trimmed off... the bomber is blurry in the picture, but hopefully it's visible enough to get the concept through...
Enjoy the blooming spring everyone!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Healthy Waters

It's been to long.  Lots of good things, but things that kept me off the water and slowed bench time at the vice.  Last night, I took some time to tie and today I took a couple hours after lunch to fish a stream about 7-8 miles from home which slides off the eastern side of a local ski hill.  

Last night though I had that vice time.  There were a few things I needed to restock - some sparkle pupa's and a few dry's... But yesterday I saw a fly come through my email feed from the intheriffle folks - they make great video's!  I forget the name of it, though they called it a caddis.  I really liked it, so I started there and whipped up a few for my small stream box and a few for my big stream/river box...

From there I did a few sparkle pupa's.  I like to do these with fire orange thread, so the "guts" sort of shine through when the fly is wet.  I tried this one with a gray head, but didnt really like it, so went over the gray dubbing with my normal choice of dark brown.  Oddly, the two tone look is really cool and may signal something for me to try in the future "intentionally :)!

Got some good things done this morning, and then hit the stream.  Due to my normal access point, this is the first spot I typically fish... The base of that hemlock which is sort of in the water is always a good spot.  I was surprised not to get a tap here today.

A few runs and pools up and nothing.  Not even a fish moved from what I could see.  Weird.  Finally on a nice bend pool, near a rock about a third through the pool, a fish took the picket pin variant I was using.  Nice little fish about 5-6" long.

He took about at the far right side of the pic below.  the water was so clear, I was amazed that I couldnt see fish.  A few others came up to hit the fly and missed... You would see them dart up and try, then they would literally vanish.  Amazing how well these little creatures blend in!

One thing that amazed me, after working up stream to a big pool that is just before where the stream splits momentarily into two smaller halves, was catching what may be the smallest wild trout I've ever caught - it's close for sure.  This thing was maybe 3" long.  it took the soft hackle I'd swapped to with fire, almost pulling the rod from my hands and testing the drag on my reel... ;) FYI, that's a size 16 partridge soft hackle hook... It looks like a 4/0 in a bass's mouth!

All kidding aside, it was great to see that little guy.  I generally catch brookies in the 5-9" range here.  So seeing one this small makes me feel positive about the coming years on this water.  Very nice to see that!

As I was leaving I had to take a pic of this, someone's old tree stand barely attached to a down tree that's been in the stream for a number of years and has carved out a heck of a hole in the stream bed (maybe 3-4 feet of water!).  It's pretty close to the road, so not sure it was ever legal, but it's always intriguing to me to see these ancient sign's of hunters past.  Certainly lots of deer sign in the area, so it would not surprise me if some one had fed their family well from this structure prior to it's demise...

Good to get out, and I'm really hopeful that I can get out again next weekend!  I've been really itching to fish a bit of water between a huge swamp and swimming hole of my adolescence and teen years... Hopefully this weekend I can get that in!

Enjoy your time afield -

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Presentations and New Flies.

The past few weeks have involved a lot of fun projects.  A big event for me each year is a major triathlon focused expo and seminar/clinic day in Boston.  I've had the honor of speaking each year the event has happened, so about 14-15 years at this point which surprises me to say out loud!

It's a blast of a day seeing many athletes I coach, many friends of old and making new friends as well.  The day feels like a "season kickoff" or a family reunion - you cant' go 10 feet without seeing someone you know but haven't seen in while.  Makes for a really good time.

My talk was very well received based on the feedback many of the 200-250 who attended provided.  Feels good to have a lot of hard work in preparation rewarded with good feedback - feels better knowing I was able to give those athletes something to apply down the road which could help them stay healthier and perform better.

That was the capstone of a period with a few school projects due, normal work, and a seminar last Thursday night and yesterday (Monday) as well for a few different groups.  Thankfully I have a bit of time here now where I can focus on family, normal coaching work, school work and finally get some fishing in and tie some flies!

Pic of my title slide from saturday's presentation which was in the gym at the Boston University Fitness and Recreation Center - beautiful new facility built by BU.  It's an awesome set up.

And with the chance to fish a bit, I hope to take a lead from "Trout Stream Day Dreams".  Coleman over there describes some awesome mid western, but also north eastern adventures - we have never met, but actually fish a lot of the same water here in the north east actually.  Because of that, his recent posts about / or showing the results of using a tiny woolly bugger got me figuring I better whip up a few - This is my attempt at the fly he's posted a few times lately.  Fingers crossed I can get it wet in the next few days!

Have a super day everyone - get out and fish!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Stream Visit: An Old Friend

This weekend I got a little time on a stream I've not fished in 20 years.  The trip started the Sunday prior, when my daughter scratched her eye while having a foam sword fight with her brother.  We had to go make sure her eye was ok at a local urgent care, and then from there to my folks - who we were going to visit - I had to drive past this stream.  I don't believe it has a name.  Maybe 15 years ago, a pond upstream suffered a dam break and really washed this little treasure out. 

In the years since, it's found it's path again and is happily rolling along.

Well, driving past the stream, I was really feeling a pull to get back to it.  So if I got a chance to go this weekend - that was to be my destination. 

 The weekend started though with me managing to finish work with good time Friday, so I was able to spin up a few little bugs I needed to restock - Picket Pin variations which are basically just picket pin's tied with the wing straight to the fly's head and no hackle palmering.  Works well, fast to tie.

At the stream, woody debris, largely from the 08 ice storm and 2010 Halloween blizzard created some awesome pockets, plunges and cover.  The stream was not unfishable, but it did have some unique challenges in sections which absolutely helps the stream.  It's awesome habitat for the fluvial creatures that call this water home!

This pic is a better example of the streams quality.  Lots of undercuts, riffles, pools, runs and frequent pine or hemlock cover overhead for much of it's run.

Another day, Ill catch a fish here..  Look at that plunge!  It's scoured a hole 3 feet deep and has all kinds of cover with overhead wood.  Today was not the day... But Ill get one there.

This pic, is the same stream above the pics I've already posted!  After crossing under a state road, it dumps out of the narrow concrete culvert and has absolutely scoured an amazing pool.  This thing is 15 yards across, 4-5 feet deep at the culvert with consistent 3 foot depths.  probably 20 yards long.  It's HUGE for a tiny stream.  It felt like there had to be a few fish here - it was only 28 when I left and the cold morning had felt like it shut the stream off... But as I walked up the stream preparing to leave, I happened to see a rise at the tail of the pool.  I had a white and orange streamer on from my earlier prospecting, so I took position above the fish, roll cast, and let the fly swing with a few little twitches.

And this gorgeous little trout attacked!  Awesome!  Look at those halo's and the way this fish has held the color of a fading sunset along it's lower flank.  These fish truly are jewels!  Not only do they remind us that the habitat is well, they amaze us with resilience and art.  I didn't fish any more.  I let him go, and headed home, ready to play with the twins and enjoy my day.

Lucky for me there was a D And D on the way (then again, in New England, it's hard to drive 2 miles without one!) to warm my cold hands.  I'm excited to get back here.  it's been to long, and looking at the stream, I'm convinced there are many more brookies, and possibly some browns given the river it flows into a half to three quarters of a mile down stream has a real healthy population of the latter... I just feel like the super cold morning I was there had the fish holding calm.  The predicted warm this week should have the stream ready to go over the next few weeks.  I'm going to head back.  And I'm excited about it!

Keep well

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Experimental Fly

Being between classes this week, I have a hair more time... so I've tried playing with a few different flies I wanted to try tying for the spring.

The one I wanted to try most, was a little fry pattern I've seen a couple times - once on youtube and once in a British fly fishing and tying mag.  It's basically a flashy body, with big stick on eyes, and some form of feather flipped over from front to back, then ribbed into place.  These were my first two attempts and both are reflecting my current rusty-ness at the vice ;)... they are tied on #12 nymph hooks.

It was a pattern that just really caught my eye as a possible success anywhere, but especially for those small stream brookies that are so fun to chase... or for the rainbow's on a local tailwater that get pounded with tiny flies all year long.  This seemed like a "different" enough streamer that it could really work on those fish... Ill be trying to do up some more that are a little neater (for fun sake), though I dont think the fish will mind these :)

Keep well