Tuesday, February 28, 2017

"Hemlock Brook"

Last week I ventured out to a new stream. The day was predicted to be very warm and with the snow melt I guessed the waters would be cold and off color, "wrong". They were indeed cold but the clarity was unreal. As I moved along the stream I saw places that just screamed brookies, but knowing full well of last summer and fall's hot and dry conditions I really did not know what I would find in the stream. I found a nice feeder stream and wanted to check that out as well but time was limited and I chose to fish the main brook and visit the little feeder next time.

Water rushing into a beautiful pool, what will it hold?

Well a dry fly fished along a seam told me what it held.

Why the stream in named "Hemlock Brook" some areas are so thick with them, they are old growth and appear to be doing fine.

Some of the deeper water gave up several brookies that viciously slammed a streamer. Can you identify the streamer?

The further up stream I worked the more fish I saw, but not necessarily caught.

Wild and strong....

That was my first visit here. I did go back yesterday to fish it again and I'll tell you about it in my next post.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Saturday In New England

Red Brook Where It Meets Buttermilk Bay
Yesterday Jeanette and I got into the little Honda at 6 am and proceeded to head to Cape Cod. Our destination was Red Brook. The drive featured rain, clouds and bright sunshine which is pretty typical for New England. We arrived at Buzzards Bay and Leo's restaurant for breakfast. The place was packed and we were fortunate to find a booth vacant. We did not require menus for breakfast was already decided upon when we left the house...the item was a grilled blueberry muffin. For those who know and those who don't Leo's has the very "best" home made muffins in New England. They are ample sized, moist, and loaded with blueberries. They come grilled with whipped butter on the side. Plenty of hot coffee, for your cup never go's empty.

We then paid a visit to Red Brook. A beautiful place at any time but exceptional this warm February morning. It's such a pleasure to walk the Lyman Preserve..birds were vocal, the smell of pine and a fragrant hint of the sea were in the air.

Folk's if your ever in the area stop at Leo's.

We then drove to Taunton for the annual Bears Den Fly Fishing Show. Bears Den is a premier shop, they cover everything from trout to stripers to smallmouth bass to bluegills, and everything needed to catch them on the fly. We met some old friends, as well as some new friends. I was happy to gain some pointers in soft-hackle tying. I was happy to meet a very talented artist from Maine, her name is Karen Talbot. Her many fine pieces were on display and one in particular I could not pass up.

We did truly enjoy our Saturday.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

A Change In Plans Turns Out Well

Monday was here and I had planned to check out a new stream that I had my eye on for some time. The only problem was something needed to be done at home first and it would be later on in the day before I could get out there to explore. Sometimes things happen and what you thought would hamper an outing seem to turn out to be OK. What I'm saying is what I had to do Monday was actually put off until Tuesday. Well I headed for the new stream and was excited to see if my thoughts about it were accurate. When I found the access point there was an issue. Many areas were heavily posted. I drove all around looking for a place to park and get in. I did find a spot to park but then it involved walking through what looked like a swampy briar filled piece of terrain. I was not ready to explore this area with snow on the ground so I chose to let it be until I had better conditions.

So I drove to stream #2...which was in great condition. There was snow on the ground but I was familiar with the area, and I now have a good relationship with the landowners and walking through a yard or two is OK. You know what's nice is that they even stop and ask me how I'm doing.

The stream was clear as could be. I observed several brookies holding in the shallows, and they never spooked. What else I noticed were fish rising quite frequently. Glancing about I noticed winter stones crawling all over and midges hatching at will. With all that activity I tied on a dry fly and proceeded to have one fine outing.

These guys were aggressive. They hit the fly over and over until they were hooked.

Unbelievable water clarity.

Yes this is February, and that is a Neversink Skater, and that is a beautiful wild jewel.

A Neversink Skater variant. I have to get the right hackle though

Monday, February 20, 2017

February In Brook Trout Forest, And The Upside Down Parachute Adams

Good morning folks. just one week ago we had a very big snow event upwards of a foot of the white stuff blanketed my back yard. Now this morning as I gaze out the window there is almost bare ground. That's New England.

This snow melt is not everywhere. Just a mere twenty miles from my home it was a winter wonderland. Kirk and I met to fish a lovely little stream. The sun was shinning so beautiful and the promise of warm temps was sure to bring some brook trout to the surface. Dry flies were used at first but they did not do as intended....until.

..we reached a famous pool on this stream. Mossy Pool as it is known has been a consistent brookie producer for as many years as I have fished it. Trout take flies from all over the pool, from head to to tail and anywhere in the middle. The only drawback to fishing it is the weird currents, you just never know how your fly will drift. Kirk was on the pools first, he fished several flies but was unsuccessful in bringing one to hand. He did notice a trout rising at the end of the pool. He stepped back and let me have a go at it. I had a parachute Adams on and sent the fly on a drift. Six times I tried to get that fly to the rising fish and failed. Finally I just gave the fly a quick flick in an attempt to get it further down the pool, and I did. The only drawback was the fly landed upside down. At that point I said "what the hell" it's down at the end of the pool let's see what happens.

Yes sir my friends the little brookie took that upside down parachute Adams and graced me with a most beautiful sight.

We continued to move upstream and we each were rewarded with some beautiful brook trout. The weather just got better and that gave me a super attitude.

This fly is a product of an article I read in book. I tied up a few variations of it and brought them to the stream...I'll tell you of the article in a later post..but they work.

This little riffle-run is one of my favorites.

And this is the reason why. Folks this is February 19th, but looking at this guy you would think it was October 19th. Notice the fly..it's a variant of the fly I just mentioned. What a great day this was in "Brook Trout Forest"

Saturday, February 18, 2017


"Italia" a beautiful feather wing streamer fly I created to highlight that wonderful country of Italy. Most of the colors in this fly, especially the wing are those of the Italian flag.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Mid-February Brookies

Getting back on track here I figure I would give a report on a few of my outings over the last weeks or so. I'm starting with my last outing first for it's the easiest to recall. Yesterday was a nice day for mid February, temps in the 40 or so range. The sun broke out and it felt very nice. The big thing about winter angling is the wind, when it's calm it feels 10 degrees warmer. Walking in through about 8 inches of snow, and by the way my tracks were the only ones there and that makes me happy.

Arriving stream side I quickly saw a buffet of insects about. There were the ever present midges, stone flies, both crawling and in flight, and I noticed what appeared to be caddis about.

So the first fly sent into action was a elk hair caddis. I worked the fly through riffles and a slow deep pool. It was soon made clear the fish were not ready to surface feed, so I tied on a soft-hackle and bingo. Several hits but it took some time before I had my first of the day.

A lovely little wild jewel.

Warmer temps can also cause problems. As snow melts along the side of the stream it drops and floats, this can cause water temps to cool and they will cloud up.

This male took a soft-hackle too. He also took a jump or two before sending up the white flag.

As time went by I noticed several faint rises. These were not the splashy ones but more like a sip.

I tied on a mini-hornberg and in the next half hour brought several brookies to hand.

The last fish of the day also took a dry fly. Well that gives me February in the books on a dry fly.

Monday, February 13, 2017


Tails, this is not going to be a post about the various type of tails used in fly tying, or some of those tall tails we anglers are prone to tell of, "tall tales", sorry. This is post about some of the most wonderful aspects of our passion. We often take photos of our catch, and most of them highlight the the whole, or much of the whole fish as possible. While this presents a very pleasing picture I think much of the beauty is missing.

The other end of the fish is as beautiful as any part of the fish...the tail can be so striking and so telling of a fishes life.

These are a few photos where the tails are the focus. I will not tell you the species but will let you make that call.

Next time out try taking a good look at your catches tail, better yet take a photo.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Fryin' And Tyin'.....What To Do On A Snow Day

Well for the last several days it's been snowing, not a constant but one day a nor'easter than sun then snow then clouds, then more snow, I think you get it. On days as such I will usually clean, the fly station is a disaster. A little dusting and perhaps catch up on some reading. I also like to cook on days when it's snowing, and the times in between. Fly tying is very satisfying in winter. The time spent now at the vise creating the flies that will catch that memorable fish, and when you do I want to hear abut it. So take a look how it's been going here.

What a breakfast sandwich...fried pork roll, egg and provolone cheese on a hard roll.

A "bunch of bombers" Fran Betters famous pattern. These are perhaps the very best wild brook trout dry flies. These are tied on #14 hooks, with materials from Fran's shop that was located in Wilmington N.Y.

A great little soft-hackle...olive thread, very sparse brown mole dubbing, and bleached starling hackle.....lots of subtle movement in this fly.

Looking at photos from last year make the snow day's easier to deal with. The fly in the brook trout's lip is a classic Catskill pattern known as the  "Conover"