Thursday, August 31, 2017

A Few Walks

The CT. section of the AT
Over the last two weeks Jeanette and I have done a bit of walking. The trails selected took us to some special parts of Connecticut and western Massachusetts. The days that we hiked were perfect weather days, an option you have when your retired. So join us and with the great last day of August weather we may be leaving once again.

What a view. We met some through hikers on the AT, some from Georgia and some from Oklahoma

This fellow had a productive day in the woods.
Not very friendly, but pretty.

A mountain meadow. Peace and solitude.

Some natural sweets

Carved out of an old tree stump....mountain ingenuity.

Home Sweet Home


Monday, August 28, 2017

"Homewater" 8-24-17

A little blue line that winds its way through a valley and is home to a lovely native was the choice for me this next to last week of August. I had not been here since perhaps May and did not know what to expect. Mark had told me of the destruction to the trees from the gypsy moths. I was happy to see some of the trees had repaired themselves and the shade canopy was keeping the stream cool. This stream receives almost no fishing pressure and the only problem is that the hiking trail nearby will bring some dogs to the stream for a drink and a brief cooing off. About the only changes I noticed was a portion of the bank had been washed into the brook. There was a small tree that held it together and provided a corner "nook" that seemed to always hold a brook trout.

The stream and some of my "lucky spots"...the bomber did bring a few to the surface.

A "home water" wild one. Beautiful, and spunky. There are three flies that prove to be awesome on this stream, they are the Bomber, Elk Hair Caddis, and the Parachute Adams. I did not have an Adams but the Mr. Rapidan parachute worked just as well.

There were several places where I spooked some nice fish.

Overall though I did not do to bad. It's always a pleasure to be gifted one of these jewels.

I finished my day in a very positive way. The stream was healthy and the brookies were too. A good sign for the future.

Friday, August 25, 2017

A Couple Of Flymphs And A Nymph

BT's Brown Flymph
Here are a few flies that I put together and while they don't represent any one insect, they do represent many. They are constructed with materials and in a fashion to draw a response from a hungry trout. The first flymph has materials used quite often in Fran Betters flies. Tail, woodchuck guard hair, body dubbed Australian possum, partridge hackle, and that wonderful orange thread.

BT's Tan Flymph
The second flymph uses tan thread, a dubbed body of fox squirrel belly, a fine silver wire rib, and a badger hen hackle.

BT's Brown Nymph
While I don't often fish nymphs I do keep a few in my box. Here's one that is simple and probably effective on a small stream. It is highly generic. Tail, woodchuck guard hair, the same Australian possum as the first flymph, partridge hackle, brass bead and a collar of orange thread.

Now for some breakfast....soft boiled eggs. These are a favorite of mine since childhood, with a great piece of toasted bread and "bring on the day"....

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Dark Brook Trout And Unexpected Company

Sunday morning plans were to fish the Farmington and that's what I did. I got to the river kind of late but was still the only angler in the runs I planned to fish. Stepping into the river I looked for rising fish and I observed one solitary fish working a spot close to the bank. A dry fly was cast and he rose, but being slow I did not set the hook. Keeping it short, I fished the next hour in a bit of a strong breeze and had issues trying to work the fly on the little 5foot 2weight. Frustration was setting in and I decided I would soon leave. Well you know what happened, breeze subsided and I hooked my first fish and managed to bring it to hand.

That was the only fish I would have on this Farmington outing. Farmington brookies are strong fighters but they lack that great color of small stream brook trout. I walked back to the car and drove to a small stream that's pretty close...I felt at home.

What a beautiful stream...dark water, and dark brookies.

These special native char are the absolute epitome of tannin waters. These guys were hunkered down in the rocks but shot right up for the dry/wet fly.

These flowers lined the stream, so pleasing.

In this little run I hooked several wild jewels.

While fishing my eye caught some movement in the woods. My first thought was that it was a deer....not.

This fellow wandered close to the stream, then stopped. I was ready to vacate when he stopped and looked at me. A few seconds and he turned and started to walk back into the woods. I got the camera out of my pack, trying to focus and get a photo but the bear kept walking. I did manage a couple of photos, this one was the best. I estimate him to be 150 to 200 lbs. Friends parted, both of us happy.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

"Bachelor Button"

I can recall a special little flower that folks called a Bachelor Button. It was a pretty little blossom that caught my eye and the name stated with me for all these years. I had the thought of creating featherwing streamer using the colors of this beautiful blue flower. Below is that streamer.

"Bachelor Button"

The fly is tied in the Rangeley Style, using a Martinek hook. The body is a purple silk, the tail red hackle, it has a silver tinsel tag, and a peacock twist for the butt. The belly is peacock herl, followed by fine white bucktail, the throat is a splash of bright red hackle. The wing is blue saddle hackle, shoulders are guinea fowl and topped with jungle cock for the eyes.

Friday, August 18, 2017

A Small Stream Outing...And One "P.O."ed Brook Trout

I got a late start on Wednesday and found myself arriving at the stream around nine. The morning was on the humid side with the sun doing its part to make it feel worse. But what the heck I was fishing, there were brook trout to be caught and I had a few hours to spend on a beautiful freestone stream. The water flows were stable and the shade was a blessing. Today would a day of fishing those little pockets of deeper water, areas of broken water, and undercuts.

It was in places as this where the brookies came up for the dry fly.

I know he's little but look at the overwhelming beauty of this wild fish.

The 16th of August and a water temp of 56 degrees, amazing my friends.

Places like this log fall are ideal for brook trout. You will usually have one shot at presenting and making a hookup, and that is exactly what happened.

The fly hit the water and he rose and grabbed it in a split second. A nice fish for this little stream.

I worked my way along the stream. Never bypass anything that looks like it may hold a trout.

Such was the case with this beautiful brook trout. I fished  the run pictured above and from behind one of those stones came this fellow. He grabbed the fly and proceeded to run. The fish was strong and took to the air once in an attempt to throw the hook. In the twist and turns of the battle I could see his orange flanks, and I hoped he would be at my hand soon. It all worked out and as I lifted this magnificent jewel up I was astonished at his beauty and tenacity. A quick photo and back in. The trout was no doubt "pissed off" for when he hit the water he sort of flipped his tail at me in the same way as one would flip the "bird"....well done, and thank you friend.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Little Walk In The Valley

Last Saturday Jeanette and I took a nice walk through one of Connecticut and Massachusetts loveliest valleys. It is almost wild, the fact that not very many people about. It is home to bear, deer and a moose or two. We spent close to 5 hours walking and viewing the land and mountains. There were some interesting rock formations as well as several little streams. I hope you enjoy the walk.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The "Ausable Stonefly" Mystery Solved

I came across an interesting pattern in my surfing travels. The fly was labeled as an Ausable Stonefly and the article claimed it was tied by Fran Betters. The text was that Fran had tied a few of these and sold them in his shop. I can't recall the fly on his website years ago nor could I find it in his pattern book. So from the not so good photo and a few materials that were thought to be what was used in the fly I tied up a couple of them. The fly I tied was close but not quite to the photo that was posted.

This is the first fly I tied using the materials they thought Fran had used. Tail and wing were woodchuck, body was orange Australian opossum, brown body hackle, grizzly hackle for the head, and orange thread. These materials were staple items on Frans tying desk and it seemed logical that they were true except for the fact that the color of the wing was much more brownish.

Well I thought I'd try the fly and see how it was received. The brookies pounced on it. Looking at the fly it is designed for rough water, almost unsinkable. It would bring big fish up in fast water.

So in my quest to get the wing color more in line with the original I searched for some woodchuck I got from Frans shop. The small patch gave me the right brownish color needed. Problem solved "Not so"...I only had enough to tie a few flies and where was I going to source more of this unique color woodchuck.

So I was in "Upcountry" and found some some Nutria..I then tied this fly and again the color was close but Nutria does not yield enough hair.

Ausable Stimulator tied by Fran Betters....Jan Betters photo
At this point I felt it necessary to go to a very good source one who could set things right. That source was Jan Betters. I asked her if Fran had ever tied an Ausable Stonefly. In the email I sent her a photo of the one I tied and she responded that he had tied the fly but he called it a stimulator. She said that he liked to use the fly for the large drake hatches in the Adirondaks. The fly above was tied by Fran and you can see it has all of those wonderful attributes of a Betters fly. She told me that the wing and tail material was actually rust orange dyed deer hair.

Jan Betters photo
She sent along this photo also. In her words...."is when we were playing around one morning after fishing Lake Placid during a hex hatch. We caught a male and female and when they were still alive the next morning, Fran suggested we put them with the fly we were using. This was the result. Picture’s worth a thousand words,eh?

Here is the fly tied with the materials she said were used. Deer was used for tail and wing but it is nor rust orange, I'm working on that.

Here are the four flies I tied using different wing materials. I don't think Fran would mind with my fumbling with his pattern. Thanks to Jan Betters for her wonderful insight.