Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Headwaters, "Hemlock Creek"

This is another one of those streams that I have fished several times. I usually go so far up and have been satisfied with the results. This day I was determined to fish the headwaters of this tea colored blue line. I picked a good day to do the exploration. This part of the state had received some pretty hefty rains, along with the area of the Massachusetts Berkshires so the stream was really flowing. The weather was almost perfect with sunshine and cool temps for this end of July. To compliment this there was also a nice breeze which kept the insects at bay.

This stream has hemlocks, both along the stream and the surrounding forest for miles. I could say that this is as heavy an area for these evergreens of any stream I've fished. With all that tannin the stream is as truly "dark tea stained". Did you know that hemlock bark was used in the process of leather tanning..I didn't until the other day.

Well back to fishing. I found brookies in almost every place I tossed a fly. These fish were very aggressive, so much so that most did not hookup, but the brookies that came to hand were gorgeous.
I continued upstream for hours, one pool and one run at a time.

Wild....a "Hemlock Creek" brook trout.

I took so many photos of this stream. Now it's hard to select which ones to show you.

There were a few rising trout in this pool. The only surface activity viewed this day.

Hot coffee at the end of my day. A welcome feeling this day in late July.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

I can still remember......

Friday morning found me driving to a few streams in northwest Connecticut. I was on the road before 5:30 already well into my 3rd coffee. The weather for this day was cool, clear and abundant sunshine. I had planned to fish the Farmington but changed my mind and opted for the little waters instead. Arriving at the first stream I found the conditions to be good, as far as flows go. There were places where it was a bit skinny, but the flows often led to some pretty big pools. Out came the thermometer and first things first. The water was 60, and several checks through out the day showed it to remain well within the safety zone for trout.

I had with me my TQR 5ft 2wt. This little rod was perfect for these streams. I like this combo and don't know why I don't fish it more often. I made my first casts with a dry fly attached and worked the pools. I was sure that the fly would be beaten up by the brook trout. I fished several pools, and runs with out a strike. I changed to a stimulator thinking this will do it, but it didn't. So now I figured they either were sleeping in later, or were looking for something below the surface. Thumbing and looking through the fly box I selected a Picket Pin wet fly, I think a soft hackle, or a dark Cahill would have worked also but it was the Picket Pin that went on to the leader. As it turns out that was the only fly used this day. On the second cast I saw a brookie chase it and back off. A cast or two later and fish on...then off. I was to have an awesome day, with endless takes and although many came to hand more were able to elude.

These cool tanic waters are home to some wonderful wild jewels.

This was the first one to grace my eyes. Is there anything more colorful?

I saw quite a few deer this morning, all on the run. Even flushed a few woodcock.

Remember when you were a kid, it's still the same wonderful feeling every time.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

A mid summer walk, and I can't wait.

It was a beautiful day here in New England. We just had a bout with summer and today was the refreshing change that will be with us for a few days.

On such a day we decided to take a woodland walk and enjoy the free natural show now showing. The walk had a beautiful little stream that wound its way through hardwood and hemlock woods. There were birds about as well as a few woodchucks that seemed to play hide and seek with us.

Several fields were in the mix and they offered flowers of various colors and sizes. One of the fields was quite large and for the eye to take in the beauty was difficult. This is a nice photo and is now my screen saver, but it was much more brilliant in person.

Near an old barn were these flowers swaying in the breeze. When I saw them I thought of a male brook trout in Autumn.

I plan to fish here come mid October. These are some of the flies that will attempt to persuade a brook trout or two. I'm like a kid and I can't wait.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A wild brown trout, and some blueberries.

There are many times when people who follow my blog will email me with their thoughts as well as a photo or two. Many of their outings as well as there locations are given to me and they are held in confidence. And there are those photos in which the angler does not mind sharing and gives me the O.K. to post on my blog. This is one of a host of photos that Michael Stephens has sent to me. The photo is absolutely gorgeous.

Mike is also a rod maker with many fine rods to his credit. I am trying now to decide just how I want mine built.

Wild brown trout.  Photo Michael Stephens

The next few weeks are going to be hot, mid summer here. In these times some of the small streams need a break from fishing. While there are certain times when I'll pay them a visit as well as the cold tailwaters of the Farmington. I do have many summer activities that keep me busy as well as outdoors.

One such activity took place yesterday. Jeanette and I went blueberry picking for the first time this year.

On this farm the bluberries span as far as you can see.

Native Connecticut blueberries. These were sorted and debris removed. They were placed on cookie sheets and put into the freezer. Today they will be bagged and frozen. They will be wonderful eating come winter. A reminder of a hot July day.

Jeanette's blueberry muffins. Had one last night, and perhaps one for breakfast this A.M.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Stevens Method....Streamer Wings

I have been asked many times "how do you tie those streamers", using so many feathers and keeping them together. Just in my last post I was asked do you glue them as Carrie Stevens did, and the answer is yes.

The style of building a streamer wing that I use is known as the Stevens Method. This method is described very well in the Hilyard book and is the best way of gaining control of so many feathers and being able to tie them to the hook in such a manner as to not have a huge head.

In photo 1 feathers are selected from saddles. One feather from the right and left side of the saddle, this way the natural shape of the feather will form to the hook.

The fluffy marabou is then stripped from the feathers and they are sized to the hook being used. In this case it's a Mustad 3665A size 4.

The glue used is really a head finish called Cellire, an English product. Others can be used such as Hansens Hard as Nails or your particular selection.

Only one small drop is needed to complete the process. Placed on a index card and applied with a bodkin.

A tiny bit is placed on the feather, one must be careful not to apply to much cement here causing it to run and make a total mess.

The second feather is placed on the cement containing feather and pressure is applied to set the cement.

Then a feather selected as the shoulder and prepared as the others. The feather used here is a Silver Pheasant. Cement is applied to the previous feathers and the shoulder feather is cemented.

We have now cemented two wing feathers and the shoulder feather.

A Jungle Cock cape is where we will select a feather for our cheek.

After choosing the right size JC nail I remove the fluff and apply just a small amount of cement to the back of the feather. This will enable the feather to fit tightly against the shoulder and make the fly more durable.

A complete featherwing assembly. This is one side of the streamer. When tied onto the hook along with the other completed wing you'll have tied a beautiful Rangeley streamer using Carrie Stevens method of wing construction.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The "Enticer"

A featherwing streamer that I believe will make a fine Autumn attractor especially for brook trout. The colors used in this fly have been associated with those brook trout favorites.

Hook, Mustad 3665A #4...Body, Orange Floss...Rib, Fine Copper Wire...Throat, Red Hackle tied in to point of hook, followed by Yellow Hackle one half the length of Red Hackle...Wing, 2 Yellow Saddle Hackles, 2 Silver Badger Saddle Hackles...Cheek, Jungle Cock.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Brook Trout and........

For the last week we have been in a soupy, sticky humid air mass. The days have been cloudy with an occasional brightening of the sky. Come afternoon and evening the skies opened up and the rains came. Some of these storms brought heavy rains which led to the filling up of those little streams.

This outing found me moving about the woods early morning. Everything was damp and soon I was part of this dampness for brushing against ferns and bushes is unavoidable. The waters movement was audible in the damp air but the birds seemed to be so quiet. What the damp woodland air does enhance is the smell. It seems as if every tree and plant gives off a scent that can't be described.

I had been toying with some feathers and put together a caddis fly that I thought had a shot of fooling a few did. More on this fly in a later post.

The new caddis fly had managed to fool a few of the streams smaller residents it wasn't until this guy hit that I realized the fly's ability to coax a fish to strike. The male brook trout was in super shape and seemed to take on some early colors of a season to come.

Further down as I moved along the stream I was able to bring a few more brookies to hand. Again these fish were very healthy and quite spunky.

With the damp forest floor these were as plentiful as the brook trout in the stream. Edible?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Small stream scouting.....7-12-14

Saturday we did some exploring of a stream in northwest CT. It's a little freestone that I was told about by a co-worker several years ago. He told me of the wild brook trout there and how as a kid he would catch them on worms. When asked he told me he had not fished the stream in many years, moving up to fishing larger rivers. He said that his brother was still fishing the stream and it was still giving up some wild brookies.

Well I got out the atlas and found the necessary routes and town roads that got us to the stream. Parked the Honda on the side of a dirt road that saw more bike travel than autos and started our walk. The road follows the stream and allows access to it with relative ease in parts and in others it's a little tricky. While walking for the 2.5 miles of the stream we saw 3 bike riders and one auto, just the way I like it.

The stream was low and incredibly clear. It had the usual runs and riffles with some deep pools. Peering into a few of these pools as we walked I observed several, to many rising trout. Further spying revealed the trout to be browns. These fish were eating ants probably as I saw no visible insects.

The water clarity was outstanding the entire length of the stream we walked.

We came upon several pools like these. There were trout at the head, center and tail of the pool. Suddenly at the head a trout would rise and all the others would swim in the direction of the rising fish, hoping he would miss the insect and give them the chance to grab it themselves. These trout were all browns.

I will venture back to this stream again, with fly rod and fly.