Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Salters of Red Brook

Yesterday I paid a visit to a favorite stream of mine, Red Brook. Now this would be my second visit in a week, and one of so many over the years. Each time there I gain more knowledge of this incredible fishery. Having fished for brook trout for 40 plus years I figured I had things down pretty good, but these sea-run variety have me back in school.

When I arrived at the Lyman Reserve the weather was cloudy and a mist was a feature but the sun did make a welcomed appearence. I geared up and hit the trail. My plan was to walk upstream using the trail as far as it went, then bush whack a bit further and then fish downstream to tidewater.

The stream side vegetation is now complete and some areas it's very difficult to fish but the trout are there and were willing to take a fly.

Most of the brook trout up this far are in their stream dress, in other words they look like regular brookies. Remember these fish spend time in the sea and will loose their color but gain it back once in fresh water. In the bay they have lots of fish to eat and that's one of the reasons streamers are so effective.Now the curve ball...this beautiful Red Brook specimen took a spider pattern, a small fly if ever there was one. In the stream eat what's there I guess.

Here's where it got interesting. This is as close to the sea as one can get. Last week I hooked a large silver fish just upstream from here. He bolted upstream and then ran downstream very fast. I turned him but he was to strong and headed for the bottom eventually shaking the hook.

Red Brook "salter"
This day I hoked another fish and he started his fight much in the same way as the one I lost last week. This time I was able to win the battle. These are sea-run brook trout. This one still has a muted color from the salt. look at the size of his head and mouth...streamers are hit viciously here. The strength of these fish is hard to about in words but I will say this "they're not your average brook trout"....

I don't know if I'll be back this way for a spell. Summer is for tourists...October is for brook trout.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Anticipation....The Streamer

Jungle Cock
Today was one heck of a gloomy day. It seemed as if the weather did not know what to present. It was cloudy, rainy. the sky brightened and then it rained again. I had not tied a streamer in some time and today with the gloomy weather I chose to brighten things a bit with color. All in "Anticipation".......

The streamer is tied in the Rangeley Style. Classic lines with some color.

Materials....Hook, Martinek Rangeley Streamer....Body, Red Floss...Tail, Red Hackle Fibers...Tag and Rib, Flat Silver Tinsel...Throat, White Hackle, Yellow Hackle...Wing, 2 Yellow Saddle Hackles, followed by 2 Orange Saddle Hackles...Shoulder, R.N. Pheasant Dyed Red...Cheeks, Jungle Cock.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Spiders, Gingerbread And Something In Between

The Partridge and Blue, a common spider pattern that can be found in most fly shops...good luck on that quest. I came upon this fly in the book The North Country Fly. Checking further I found this out...James Blades said of this fly, It is a good fly from mid April to mid June. It is fished over fine sand where the natural insect it represents lives. The pattern is listed in Francis Walbran list of 1888.

Again simplicity is key...Body, Blue Silk Thread...Dubbing, Natural Mole Very Sparse...Partridge Hackle.

The fly has been productive when fished over sandy bottoms on several streams I've fished.

Several of the small streams I fished have gone under a bit of a remodel. The old obsolete culverts have been replaced by more fish friendly ones. On this stream I just know it's going to be beneficial to those brook trout down stream.They now will be able to access a great deal of prime upstream habitat.

Now I just have to fish this stream. The last time I was here was in late August, and it did not look like it does now.

In keeping with the theme simplicity, how about some Gingerbread.

A sprinkle of powdered sugar,maybe a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or perhaps some whipped cream....or as I like it, plain with a cup of coffee.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Red Brook 5-23-17...A Quest For Salters

The Lyman Cottage
Yesterday I spent some time at my favorite salter stream on Cape Cod. The trip was not planned but the time seemed right to do it. With the summer season about to begin which brings summer tourists and traffic associated with them now was the time. I left home at 5am and was having a blueberry muffin and coffee at Leo's in Buzzards Bay a little after 7. Breakfast finished it was a short drive to Red Brook. As I pulled into the parking lot I noticed two cars there and guessed they were walkers.

As I started to gear up I had the pleasure of seeing the Lyman Cottage, what a pretty sight to view before starting my fishing day. In a few minutes I was on the trail to the brook. The air was clean with a hint of salt. The sun was out and the air crisp.

Red Brook at tidewater, fresh meets salt. The tide was high and just starting to move out. I crossed the bridge and headed inland.

I moved along the trail that wanders near the brook. My plan was to walk upstream as far as I could and fish the brook all the way back to the sea. Let me tell you the walk alone is worth the trip. Wild life, birds, and the many forms of greenery.... "it's just beautiful".

I reached my starting point. I heard voices, which was strange for I had not passed anybody on the trail. As I peered through the trees I saw three young women in the stream. I said hello and it sort of startled them. I asked about them and their mission and was told the were students from Mass. Maritime Academy and they were doing a flow survey of the brook. It was part of a year long project to see how much flow the underground springs contribute to Red Brook. They were just finishing up, so I waited before starting my day.

Brook Trout...I don't know if this guy spent anytime at sea
Fishing streamers is always a good bet on Red Brook...and the third cast a streamer brought this beautiful unique strain of brook trout to hand. These fish are incredibly strong. They battle and will find every bit stream cover in an attempt to gain freedom.

Like I said the beauty along the stream is worth the trip.

So much vegetation, it's almost jungle like in places. I was working a streamer when I observed a fish rise. It's not uncommon to see that here but I attribute it to a larger fish chasing a smaller fish to the surface as apposed to a trout rising to an insect. But when it happened several times I decided to put on a dry fly and see if I could bring the fish up.

It worked...I was able to get two of these guys to take the dry.

An iconic New England streamer, stands ready to take an iconic New England brook trout.

I sat down here to have some water and a few walnuts. The peace and the quiet was refreshing.

This fish had such color. The blues and greens of its body really stood out from the "reddish" color of the brook.

I was on my way to a spot close to tidewater when I observed this was here where I encountered my strongest fish of the day..more later on it in the next post.

My day was complete at Red Brook. I caught a few brook trout and had a surprise or two.
One very pleasant surprise was and old friend, and a new one....It was nice seeing you again.

Monday, May 22, 2017

C'mon Take A Walk With Me

On a recent visit to a small stream that flows through "brook trout forest" I had the pleasure of seeing just how resilient the brook trout really are. The stream is a freestone similar to so many here in Connecticut. It's origin is typical in that it starts as a series of springs that put volume into it as it moves to it's destination. The area it moves through is mostly wooded with a meadow or two in the mix. Jeanette and I walked the trails nearby last fall, the stream was gone....a puddle here a slight riffle there. The only benefit was the deep shade the forest provided. Again nature had healed this stream and left some of it's residents in remarkably good shape.

So come take a walk with me and I'll show you some of the wonderful things in "brook trout forest"...

One of the pleasures of the small stream are the pockets and plunges.

Your fly as it dances upon the foam and bubbles will be attacked with vigor. And you'll soon hold these wild dark creatures.

You scope out the stream...a brookie might be holding anywhere.

Wonderfully cold water...46 degrees.

I love to drop a fly in places like this. Most times I'll snag a branch, but there are times when a fish will rise to the fly.

What beautiful markings on this wild native.

Observe the flowers that abound...for they will soon be gone.

Some places are left unfished...but once in awhile you'll give it a shot.

"Oh yes"...

The lady hopes you enjoyed your time in "brook trout forest"

Friday, May 19, 2017

When In Doubt "Betters" Seek A True Source

Several years ago I did a post on Fran Better's pattern the Ausable Caddis. In is book he listed the series and the variations of the five different flies. The post I did was based on this information which was from the book. Now comes the confusion. While attending the Fly Show in Marlboro or it may have been the one at Bears Den, I'm not sure. But I saw a version of the Ausable Caddis and it was tied much differently then the flies in Fran's book.
Now one can go online and find many other variations of the fly, and they claim to be Better's Ausable Caddis. So I chose to go to a source that I knew would set the record straight. That source was Jan Betters.

I sent her photos of the flies I tied thinking these were indeed the Ausable Caddis. She informed me they were not and that they were just caddis patterns Fran tied.

I then sent her the fly I tied taken from memory of the fly I saw at the fly show. She told me it was close to the Ausable Caddis, but the two hackles should be wound on together.

Back to the vise and I tied the Ausable Caddis the way Fran tied it.

This is a fly that I've been tying for awhile, elk hair and ginger hackle. It's been very effective here and I used it when I fished the streams of Memorial Forest in Sudbury.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Small Stream Journal 5-16-17...Recovery, And Break Out The Bombers

Hemlocks, there are many along this stream
Yesterday my son needed some work done on his truck. The shop was a distance from his job so I gave him a ride to work. He just so happens to work very close to a stream I have fished many times and you just can't let a chance like this go by. After dropping him off I headed to  Cumby's for coffee and drove to the stream.

As I walked down to the stream I noticed how beautiful it looked with it's water flowing full. This stream like so many others suffered terribly last year from a brutal drought and a hot summer. The stream you see was puddles and exposed rocks the last time I visited here. So not knowing what I would find I cast my fly on the water.

The very first pool just as the fly drifted under the shadow of an old wooden bridge a fish struck the fly and missed. A few repeated casts and up he came, this time the fly held. Moments later this wild jewel was at hand.

Now the fact that I had caught a brook trout from a stream that was almost non existent last year would have made my day, but a few more hours to spend along one of the most beautiful streams in Connecticut was my thought.

I'm not going to fill up this post with a lot of words, but I will show you just how well this stream recovered. Brook trout like this were found most everywhere.

A very picturesque and peaceful setting...the trout like it also.

This was another stream that has made a good recovery. I think in a year or two if conditions are favorable to our native char then this stream can become one of the best we have.

By the way...this fly had a lot to do with the success I had today. I knew if there were brook trout to be found this was the fly that would find them. It was the only fly I used this day.....The "Ausable Bomber".....