Saturday, February 28, 2015

On its way out.......

Well here it is the last day of February but it's like the first day of February. The ground is still covered with several feet of snow, and the cold seems to be locked in. They tell me this is the coldest February since 1935. But I have taken heart to the fact that tomorrow is March 1st. the unofficial start of Spring. For several days now on my morning walk I have noticed the sweet sound of birds singing, and that is a sure sign that the better days are on our doorstep. The days have been getting longer and the suns angle has proven in places that its rays are strong. I'm looking forward to my first outing since mid January, and that should come soon.

By the way do you remember that 100 mile piece of cheddar cheese I went after. On top of several macaroni and cheese dishes there were a few of these.

Granville Country Store N.Y. cheddar.

Grilled cheese on thickly sliced crusty bread.

Happy March folks.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cabela's C.G.R. Glass Rod

While wondering about Cabela's web site last week I came upon a sale that caught my eye. It was a particular fly rod, that fly rod was their "CGR" Cabela's Glass Rod. It was a three piece five foot nine inch three weight. It's price was 79.95. So for that price I was sure I was going to order one, and I did.

The rod was delivered to the Cabela's retail store in East Hartford, so there was no shipping charge, and I picked it up Tuesday. When I brought it home and unpacked it I was thrilled by what I saw. The rod blank was a polished green, and had spigot ferrules, precise markings, nicely spaced guides and exceptional cork. The reel seat is also cork which is part of the handle which has a very nice taper, sliding rings are used to hold the reel.

When I assembled the rod the three pieces fit snuggly and separated with that nice "pop". When assembled the rod had a great feel, soft but not like a wet noodle. I paired it up with a Battenkill 3/4 reel with a 3wt line and took it out to cast it. The rod loaded well and cast the line beautifully. I was able to roll cast without much effort, which is a big part of small stream fishing.

I am very anxious to fish this rod. I have a particular stream in mind but I'll have to wait until the freeze is gone. I think for a price of 79.95 I got a gem of a deal.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


To evolve, not in the sense of long time evolution as with time since it all began, but the evolution of a fly angler. Many an angler has evolved from the typical bait fisherman, one who loves to catch any fish that will take his bait, and hopes that the fish will be plenty and fill his bucket. Said angler then finds lures, these wonderful deceivers made of shinny steel, colored plastic and rubber. These tools enable him to catch many fish and also bigger fish. The progression continues and soon many of these anglers find fly fishing. A whole new world opens up. There are wonderful tools available to the fly angler and the way a finger nail clipper has evolved over the years, he will never catch up on what's new.

So now with the way of taking fish the fly angler still has that desire to catch the most and biggest fish. His end method has changed and catch and release is employed. The description I have written can apply to many, and I have been part of some of the above. Now going 20 plus years my love has been in the quest of wild trout and these seem to be found in small streams.

Out of these streams there will never be a monster taken unless you might consider a 10 inch fish a monster...I have though. The clarity of the water, the small rise forms seen as a brook trout surfaces to grab an insect, and the sound that you can only hear while fishing a small stream.

It's places like these where I have evolved to. This is where I most want to be. I can find pleasure in in these places that I can't find on other waters. My pleasure grows with the capture and release of a 5 inch brook trout, probably more so than I can describe.

How can ones day be any brighter.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

His back is broken. And some streamer stuff.

I'm not going to dwell on winter for long, giving it but a few words. We have snow in our forecast but it comes with some moderating temps, it's going to get to about 40 tomorrow, a slight dip into the mid teens early next week and after that I see the old mans back broken. The other day Jeanette and I went searching for some open water and we found it. The only problem there was thigh high snow leading to it. I think a week from now I might be able to access the stream.

Now to some streamer stuff. I was tinkering around with the use of certain feathers to create a more life like streamer. Below is some of my tinkering.

The two base wing feathers are a badger feather dyed black. Some of the highlights of this feather show clearly. The second feather is a grizzly feather dyed green. It is a feather that can show many variations depending on how deep it is fished.

This is a marabou feather from a ringneck pheasant. These feathers are located along the back and the rump of the bird.

This is the marabou after the fluff at the base is stripped away. This feather will be used as a shoulder for the streamer.

Here is the complete wing. The black feather followed by the green grizzly feather, then the marabou shoulder and jungle cock. My thought on using the marabou for the shoulder is that the movement of the marabou in the water will give the illusion of a gill plate moving in a life like motion. This is subtle but at time could make the difference between a look and a strike. After assembly of the fly I realized some added realism could be had by placing a small red mallard feather before the marabou.

The completed streamer fly. It has a green yarn body with gold tinsel. The belly is white schlappen with a red throat.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

What are you doing..........

With all of the snow and brutal cold there's not much doing outdoors. We still take our daily walk, although limited it's still fresh air. Indoors is reserved to cleaning reels, eliminating flies from boxes, the kind that you haven't used, "why are they in there in the first place"...who knows. As you can see from my desk I have been tying and trying. I have to organize that desk. Last night I couldn't find room for my coffee cup.

Below are a couple of "light cahill" dry flies tied in the Catskill style. As you look at them you'll notice they do not have wings, innovative right, well maybe but I was not the first to try such a thing. While looking at several books about the Catskills I found several photos which show several of the well known tyers of that era tying flies without wings. In Mike Valla's book it shows several Rube Cross dry flies wingless as well as Art Flicks variant's. In the book "Land of Little Rivers" it shows a Walt Dette fly called the "Conover". This fly is also tied without wings.

I am sure there are many other patterns and tyers who also tied these delicate and crisp patterns without wings.
Though the two fies represent the "light cahill" they are a bit different. The shades of hackle are a light ginger, and a medium ginger. These are tied for the discriminating tastes of certain trout.

I just want to show you my latest piece of brook trout art. It's a line drawn male brook trout with a blue winged olive dry fly. The artist in Chase Bartee. He has several other outstanding art pieces for sale at his site. He and his friend Aimee, who is also an artist and is very good with a camera. They make some wonderful videos which you can view on their site Tell them you saw it here.

Monday, February 16, 2015

A Mountain Stream

Mountain streams, those swift boulder strewn hemlock lined bodies of water that are scattered through out my native state of Connecticut. This is a digest of an outing on such a stream that took place back in July of last year. In the upper reaches of this stream the water was flowing with volume, the sort of which happens this time of year after several days of rain. This is where I started fishing. The day called for dry flies and that is what I started with. The little pools created below stone plunges were holding brook trout and it did not take long for a response to the fly. Within a few casts I had my first brookie of the day. He was a little guy and was sent off to find more food that would grow him instead of the kind that pricks him.

As I moved downstream I could not have been happier. Beautiful surroundings this early Summer day along with the purest of blue skies made me feel complete. With that there was a quest to take a larger brook trout than the few I had already taken. The thought in my mind was that the little guys had no problem whacking the dry fly but the bigger boys were reluctant to show interest.

As I came upon a series of pools, I tied on a wet fly, the thought being perhaps they would rather dine in private, that being subsurface. Well my thoughts were soon to be proven. As the fly swept toward a boulder a trout struck. There was a brief fight but soon a wild jewel was at hand. This guy was what I was looking for.

I continued to fish along this boulder rich stream, many of the pools and runs gave up some beautiful brook trout.

Four plus hours later, minus a few flies I had completed my day. Such a day I look forward to soon.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Church Windows, and Saddle Shoes

As a young boy growing up in the 1950's a big part of my attire was a brown and white oxford shoe. These shoe's were also known as "saddle shoes". I can remember the name brand of the saddle shoe mom bought us they were "Buster Brown". Great memories, and still vivid. I think the saddle shoe is still in production, maybe LL Bean stocks them.

Church windows, these are those feathers from a ringneck pheasant. They are called such because they look like church windows. These are great feathers in the construction of featherwing streamers. Their natural shape and color are perfect for the shoulder of a streamer, giving size, and a beautiful silhouette to the front of the streamer.

Below are the components and construction of a streamer I have named "Oxford"

Two saddle feathers are selected one white, which will be the base feather and a brown one which will be the top feather.

The bottom fibers of the brown feather are stripped away from the stem, leaving only the top of the feather. Care must be taken when stripping the fibers because they can tear the feather and you have two halves which are useless.

The brown feather is fitted on top of the white feather and matched to the natural center stem of the white of feather. A small amount of cement is used to hold the feathers. The cement is placed on the stems.

The church window feather is then matched and secured to the brown and white feather. The right and left wing assembly is then tied to the streamer body, and Jungle Cock feathers are added as cheeks to finish the fly.

The "Oxford"

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Corned Venison

Corned venison
Being blessed with two deer this last December our little freezer in the garage was pretty full. We are a family who enjoys venison, and we have a few friends who also like it so it will be consumed. I'm always looking for a new preparation for this wild meat, and I have found just that. It's corning. I'm sure all of you have had corned beef, be it in a dinner with cabbage and potatoes, or perhaps thinly sliced on a crusty rye bread. Well this is the same only substituting venison for beef.

The preparation involves making a brine in which the venison will cure. The brine consists of spring water, sea salt, bay leaves, garlic cloves, mustard seed, peppercorns, and pink salt. The spices are placed in a pot and brought to the boil then allowed to cool completely. The raw venison is cleaned of silver skin and unwanted bits of fat. I usually use meat from the hind leg, but meat from other parts of the deer can be used. When the brine is cooled the deer is placed into a canister. A large stainless steel pot, a sturdy plastic container, or a crock. Make sure that the venison is completely covered with the brine. The vessel holding the meat should be placed into the refrigerator and allowed to cure, this will take about 7 days. Each day the venison should be turned so that it cures evenly.

At the end of 7 days the corned venison is taken out and placed into a pot of cold water. The water is brought to the boil then the heat reduced and allowed to simmer for 3 hours, at which time the vegetables are added and allowed to cook until tender.

When served like this one can not determine it is deer and not beef. The benefit is the natural goodness of lean deer and not fatty beef.

One of the best ways to enjoy corned venison is in a hash. This is my favorite.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

What's in a name?

This is about an outing I had in early September. The Farmington river was in prime condition with flows that are to my liking. I had tied up a few soft hackles that I wanted to give a try. I saw the pattern for a fly called "grouse and flash" in Hatch Guide For New England Streams. The recipe called for pearl krystal flash for the body and grouse for the wing. At the time I had neither so I substituted pink holographic tinsel and partridge. What's in a name, and what difference does it make in what color or bird type is used. That's exactly what I thought when tying the fly. Then after reading some thoughts on the same subject I found out that others in the fly tying business and anglers as well came to the conclusion. It's more about what the fly represents, which is an insect struggling to hold on in an environment that's not letting it do so, than it's ability to match the insect precisely.

So I fished this fly and did so almost the entire time I was on the river. The trout responded very well and I enjoyed one of my better days on the Farmington that year.

The "grouse and flash" as pictured in the Hatch Guide. It is tied with the exact ingredients.

This is the fly I tied, "partridge and pink flash".

This Farmington river brook trout found the fly to interesting to pass up, as did many others that day, I might add so did the brook trout in Shenandoah.

I retired this fly, and as you can see it deserved it after the workout it received.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The 100 mile piece of cheese.

Yesterday was my birthday and I was determined not to remain in the cabin and let some flurries keep me there. I had woke up and had a hankering for a piece of cheese, not any cheese but a good hunk of cheddar, not any cheddar but the fine cheddar from the Granville Country Store. The store is located in Granville Massachusetts which is about 50 plus miles one way from home. The ride is a beautiful one under normal circumstances but yesterday it was snowing and some places it was a white out. This was my day and my craving so nothing was going to stop me.

As we moved along the winding roads I stopped to take a few photos. Some of the streams that I fish were almost completely covered in thick ice as well as snow. We saw a few snow machines and a few folks on snow shoes. We then came upon these big strong fellas enjoying some hay. Some investigating lead me to find out they were going to hooked to a sled and were going to transport ice blocks which were being cut from a nearby pond. It was how it was done years ago.

We arrived at the Granville store, which was busy for such a day. I walked up to the counter and had the lady cut me two pieces of sharp cheddar from the large block of cheese. This cheddar is made in upstate New York near the Canada border. It has been made by the same farmer/cheese maker for years.

It is wonderful eating by itself, with crackers or fruit. But I love it in macaroni and cheese. My craving was satisfied this birthday, and the trip was worth it.

Friday, February 6, 2015

A Glass Fly Rod

The resurgence of fiberglass into the fly rod has been going on for some time. I believe that the Diamondback Rod Company when they were an independent company in Vermont were the first maker of glass rods to start the trend. Most of us have had a glass rod as the first rod we fished with, I know my first fly rod was a Cortland 7ft 5wt. The market is now engrossed with glass and many high end manufacturers are producing them. These rods run a price from 100.00 up to 500.00. There are many small companies that will custom build a glass rod for you and some of these rods can top out at well over 500.00.

Ebay is a good source for finding many used glass fly rods, but some of the better ones will also bring a steep price. I had thought about going back to fishing glass for a few years but never cared to spend a lot of money on a rod. I had done some research on glass rods on various forums and decided to go out and make a purchase.

I chose the "Eagle Claw" Featherlight. The rod is a 6ft 6in rated for a 3/4 weight line. When I recieved the rod I was amazed. For a price of 29.95 I could not believe the quality. The workmanship in the fine tuning of the rod was not that bad. It came with a beautiful wood insert on the reel seat. The cork handle was well done, and it has a beautiful taper. The snake guides are aligned nicely and the wraps well done.

I took this rod out and lawn cast it using several lines form 2wt to 5wt. I found that a 4wt worked best. This rod was able to throw a 30ft cast very nicely and it also roll cast just as well. This will be primarily used on small streams so casting distance is not an issue.

I have decided to match it with a Pflueger Medalist 1494 reel. The reel seems to balance well and it seems to be the right choice. I am anxious to give this rod a stream tryout.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


Partly cloudy with the chance of isolated thunder showers. Crazy, you bet. I fish lots of streams with populations of brook trout. Many of them also hold the brown trout and they do coexist without to much conflict. This is a post about one such stream.

I fished here over the course of a week or so.and brookies were the fish I targeted. Well that's not what I hooked. The Trillium was in bloom and I was really absorbed in its beauty. It seemed to me that this flower is one that enjoys the solitude, for it's always by itself. When I spot these flowers in spring I know the fishing will be alright, and this was the case these days. The brown trout and not the brookie would dominate, and I was thrilled by their spunk and aggressiveness. They seemed to enjoy all offerings from streamers to dry flies.

Like brook trout brown trout offer a wide variety in color and spots, some with bold black spots and some with spots more like a leopard. Some have a silvery coat, while others one more like melted butter. The one thing they all possess is being able to detect you presence.

Incredible markings on the wild brown trout. From red laced adipose fins and red lined tails, to gold pectoral fins.

Think like it was a day in May...........

Strong rugged fish, a trout not afraid to dine on the surface.

As the sun appears after a brief shower, one knows the trout will be rising. As the dainty little flies appear, in shades of cream and pink. Their dance will be noticed.

Soon my friends.