Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The "Ausable Ugly" well not quite.

I received an interesting e-mail from a angler about a fly and some success he has been having. He asked me if I had ever fished a fly called a "Ausable Ugly", to be honest I have never heard any thing about the fly. He said it had been producing very well for him on wild brook trout. I looked up the fly and it has that unmistakeable look of an Adirondack fly. The fly was similar to a wooly bugger. It had a bead head and was a buggy looking specimen.

He said that the fly was much better than the soft hackles he had been previously using. I suggested the reason for the fly being so effective was the fact that the bead was allowing the fly to get down near the bottom where the brookies were feeding. I said to him that I thought that the streams temperature has been running colder than normal, and the trout were slow to look up. Give the water a few weeks to warm a bit and the table will be set higher... and the soft hackles and dries shall dominate in the small streams.

While these flies do not incorporate a brass bead they are still weighted. I use a under wrap of non-lead wire which brings the fly down.

The Ausable Ugly with a hair cut.

These flies have a lot of Jack Gartside about them.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Sunday 4-26-15

Sunday beautiful Sunday. Paid visits to a few streams, which were the first time this year. The day had been some what nice as far as feeling warm was concerned and that made for an enjoyable outing. Before I forget we stopped at a gas station to get a coffee and were rewarded with a no charge. The owner said the coffee is on me, which was a Green Mountain Nantucket Blend.

Off to try and bring a brook trout to hand. This stream is the recipient of water from a stream known as the "stream by the red barn" I did a post on it several years ago. While I did not fish the red barn stream today I did fish the brook it flows into.

It was in this junction pool that I was able to fool a fish.

These guys were into wet flies.

The second stream was a classic tumble down freestone in the New England style. Lots of plunge pools, laurel and hemlocks. And in a few of these pools were a few willing brook trout.

Now you know there has to be a brookie in a place as such. As a matter of fact there were several. Only one that made it to hand. He was a very spunky fighter.

I only fished this stream to this point. There is a lot more to go.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Excitement, like its your birthday

A Saturday, nice weather and a wonderful trek along some streams. Jeanette and I walked along two streams today. The one constant was not another soul to be seen. I had not been to either one of these streams since last fall. No fly gear just observations. I will fish both of these streams tomorrow and I'm very excited, imagine a grown man in his 6th decade getting excited like a kid.

Well I went home and to ease the pressure I tied up a fly that I will christen tomorrow.

Hares ear and peacock with a twist of ginger.

For supper, a grilled rib eye steak with onion rings.

I was only able to eat half the remainder will be cut up and added to a lovely salad of bitter greens and enjoyed tomorrow.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Earth Day in Brook Trout Forest

I was up at 4am, had some coffee, shower and other necessities taken care of I placed the appropriate gear in the car and I was off. Today I headed east and as I crossed the big river that big bright ball of flame was in my eyes and I knew this was to be a great day. This was Earth Day 2015 and I choose a special stream to fish this day, a stream in Brook Trout Forest. About an hour in to the ride I stopped at a Dunkin Donuts for a cup of coffee. I was close to the stream and I wanted to enjoy a few minutes alongside it with some coffee. As I pulled onto to the forest service road I could see that winter was rough, and the heavy rains the day before had left some very deep ruts to negotiate which I did without spilling a drop of coffee. As the car stopped at a pull off right at the stream I glanced at the flowing waters. It was at a near perfect level, tumbling over rock and blow down. Its tannin stained water glistened in the sunlight which had now poked through the hemlocks. I was anxious to fish the stream but took the time to savor the coffee and enjoy what I was viewing.

I geared up and was walking along the brook when I spooked my first fish. The brookie came darting from upstream and was gone in a second. The first cast quickly brought a response, and a hard strike was felt. When I saw the fish I could not believe his size. I estimated him to be 3 inches. What a strong fish for its size. These fish were hungry this day and I hoped to take advantage. I had not fished here since last August, but the stream was pretty much the same as last I fished it. A few more trees in the water to deal with and perhaps more sand in places but overall in great shape.

This is an upstream run that I love to fish. Its waters flow smoothly and offer deep water with some wonderful undercuts. The one problem are the briars that grow along side. Right now they are tolerable but within a few weeks they will be all but closing the upper part of the stream except to those who enjoy giving blood. It was along this section that my first brook trout came to hand.

He was a handsome male that took a wet fly. His condition was solid and he seemed to weather the tough winter better than most of us did.

I continued to move up and fish, taking several hits as I moved. I was at a point where the briars were about to receive my white flag. In one of the last few casts made I had a fish dart sideways from a bank and strike the fly. The fish went airborne and tried to throw the fly. Moments later I had in hand one of the special brookies this stream harbors. He was almost black in color. The dark tea stained waters of this stream produce these fish.

Notice the spider near my finger.....
I love these dark brook trout.

Lots of new green showing along the streams. Even as you walk through the forest the signs of new life is about.

The stream was tumbling along, crashing against the rocks. The brook trout were there in the back eddies and at those slick spots here and there. They will grab a fly as it hangs momentarily in the current.

I took a break for lunch and enjoyed a cup of coffee and a snack bar. A simple snack can taste so good when its served up with the right amount nature to season it.

The last fish of the day showed a more common look of the eastern brook trout. I was lucky to have been able to fish for both this day.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Walk in the Woods

I want to share some photos of a recent outing Jeanette and I took. It was purely a walk in the woods with no fishing gear. The tract of woods lies in western Massachusetts and has several little streams that run through it. There is a stream that I have fished now for several years now and has been a fine one for native brook trout. I usually start to fish this stream about the last of April. From the walk on Saturday I guess the start time for me to fish it will be some what later, maybe the second week in May.

After several hours of walking and taking in various views of both stream and the grand Hemlocks that fill this forest we came to a high ridge overlooking the stream. The footing was a bit unstable so the decision was made to wait for a better time to photograph it.

The water flowing over these solid rock ledges was beautiful in the sunlight. The sound was deafening.

There were signs of new growth throughout the forest.

We spotted this guy walking along a fire road. He was picking up gravel and did not seem to care that we were close. We watched for a spell and he eventually walked up into some thick undergrowth.

After yesterdays rain I think I let the little river be for a while.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

"Cabin Creek" Spiders

I am offering a couple of fly selections for sale. One is a four fly soft hackle tied with four different color bodies, peacock thorax and partridge hackle. The other is a four fly different color body, peacock thorax with starling hackle.

These flies are tied with attention to detail, with materials known to take trout.

Selection #1, is the four partridge hackle selection.
Tied on #14 hooks.

Selection #2 is the starling hackle set.
These are also tied on #14 hooks.

The price of each set is $8.00 plus shipping. If interested you can contact me at

Friday, April 17, 2015

It's not just pea soup.....

Growing up I always enjoyed hot soups. My mom was a magician at taking so little and making so much. One of my favorites was pea soup but that was one soup mom did not make. She would honor my request for such a soup and would purchase can pea soup. The can soup she would select was Habitant, a French Canadian style and it was the best. Unfortunately it was not a fast mover on grocery store shelves here and was not available. I'm not sure if it is now, for I have long stopped looking and I started to make my own which is quite similar to the one I remember a a kid. Pea soup has a long history. Seems it was a staple on the explorations of Champlain in the 17th century. Here's my recipe for this rich flavorful soup.

Ingredients..ham bone with lots of leftover bits of meat, if that's not available a couple of smoked ham hocks will do...2 large carrots,..1 large onion...2 medium red potatoes...fresh ground black pepper. I don't add salt to this recipe at this point, the ham can be salty enough. You can always add salt at the table,...and one and a quarter bags of green split peas, each bag is about 1 lb.

In a large pot place the ham bone, add 10 cups of cold water, half of the onion and one carrot roughly cut in about four pieces. Place on stove and bring to a boil reduce to a simi-fast simmer and cook for an hour. Remove ham bone and place on a dish and let cool. Now add to the stock the potatoes diced small, the other half of the onion and the last carrot, these should also be diced, and the dried peas. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer. This is where the love comes in. A cover is placed on the soup and the slow simmer must be taken to not let the the soup thicken without stirring. The process will take about 2 hours. In the meantime remove all the meat from the bone, try to make the pieces vary in size. Add the meat to the soup and cook about 15 minutes. Your soup should be done. If the soup is to thick you can add water, a little at a time. I like mine thick. This soup is best served the day after it's made. Don't be scared if the soup looks like a thick mess when you remove it from the refrigerator just place it on the stove a warm slowly on low heat, stirring.

Serve this hearty soup with a crusty french bread and enjoy.

"Antipasto" the before the meal "Meal"

Many times this is the complete meal. I like mine with crisp greens, roasted red peppers, ham, thin sliced soppressata, a sharp cheese, olives, all drizzled with EV olive oil and fresh lemon.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Monday 4-13-15, small wonders.

Another stream visited, one that was seemingly dead under mounds of ice for what felt like forever. When approaching the water it looked so inviting. The flow was as I remembered from last year, some of the structure from above was now in the stream and always where you want to cast a fly. All good though, "protection afforded".

As I always do I scan for those visible bumps on the water surface, and that determines my first choice of flies. This day with no signs of surface activity I chose a wet fly. Casting in several locations, searching for that first fish I noticed a swirl behind my fly. Normally in such clear water I can see the trout clearly as it heads for the fly but not this time it was just a swirl and gone.

I continued to work the pools and runs of this little gem of a stream, knowing I would soon be into a fish.

As the fly stopped at the end of its drift and lay there a moment the fish struck, "oh that feeling". The brook trout worked the 3wt piece of glass and showed his true color...tenacity. I put my hand into the water and lifted him ever so slightly. A quick photo and off he went.

I continued to walk and fish. I admired how the countryside was slowly coming to life. With Springs bright warm sunshine and Aprils gentile rains all is well.

Brook trout continued to take the fly. I was happy with the condition of the fish as well as the shear number of real small trout I observed.

As I made my way to the car I fished a pool that I reserve for my last casts. It is the final place on this stream before it enters places I do not like to fish.

It is in this place that I took the last fish of the day. A beautiful wild brown. It's remarkable how a fish so colorful can be so invisible. What a memory to bring home.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Connecticut's Opening, 2015

Another opening day, and again peace and quiet were the hosts. Plans were made to meet on a small stream in the woods of Connecticut. Mark, Kirk, Pete, Matt, and myself all converged on the forest stream. It seems like a lot of anglers for such small waters but the stream is quite long and has always had a fair share of brookies to keep one busy.

The stream was in tremendous condition, its waters so clear and crisp. I for one had some problems with hooking a fish. It seems as if I had forgot to tie the flies to an actual hook. One of the nicest things to happen this day was the fact that Matt, who is Pete's son was able to catch his first wild brook trout.

As the day progressed we were all able to catch a few and to take in the beauty along the stream.

"Spring" really!

It would be so much easier if the trout would be holding in front of the fallen branch.

Typical brook trout from this stream. These fish moved to the fly and took a variety of soft hackles and a few dries.

Water clarity, defined.

A survivor of a very tough winter.

Looking at it now it's hard to believe this stream was almost a solid block of ice weeks ago.

Thanks guys for the company............

Friday, April 10, 2015

New season, and a new twist.

Tomorrow is the opening of the trout season in Connecticut. The opening is a week early, it was always the third Saturday in April but for some reason they moved it up a week. That's OK for it enables a lot of younger anglers more time to fish. Most of them will be off from school next week and that will mean fishing instead of computer games.

A big part of the anglers will be out on the states larger rivers, most of them have been stocked over the last few weeks and should provide lots of family fun and many memories. We have been receiving rain over the last few days and it's raining pretty hard as I type this, hopefully the rain will slow and allow the rivers a chance to recover.

I tied up a few flies I'll be trying tomorrow. We will pay a visit to a few small streams and the first fly cast will be a dry.

This is not a new pattern, just an old one with a new twist. It's an Ausable Bomber tied with a CDC wing. It looks pretty good.

The second fly is a soft hackle tied with CDC both as a light dubbing and collar, with a ginger hen hackle.