Thursday, January 28, 2016

Winter Tying & The Small Stream Special

The arrival of colder weather and piles of snow means more time is usually spent at the vice... And, reflecting on a year of success - countless days on the river in different locations around the world - it comes to mind that one trusty little creation is always at hand...

It all starts with a bead and a hook, whichever one deems best. Pearsall's silk or Danville's waxed, wrapped back then forward, dubbed then hackled - tagged and double whip-finished behind the bead.

Hen or pheasant adorns the body - wrap it as you please.

Places like this are where you'll drift, toss, and twitch this fly.

And wild ones that lurk beneath shall strike and pull and tug and leap!

Try it in white with pink, orange or red... see translucent effects with hair/yarn/thread.

Its called my little "small stream special" and here it is in many different shades!

But what about those warmer days? Or times when shallow water reflects the sun's bright rays?  Fear not... a dry or soft hackle is easily a short reach away.

But alas, back to thoughts of snow and ice and cold! And a few of my recent favorite patterns I'm tying, below:

The Rust Bucket
Grizzly-Bear Kebari
The Ron Burgundy
NJ Wild Brown Trout
See you at Somerset!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Tenkara on the Salmon River, CT

The Salmon river is one that's been on my radar for a little while, but until this fall, I had never taken the drive over that way. Much like the Farmington, but smaller, and with some higher gradient sections, it provides a great habitat for Trout as well as Salmon.

On my first visit, I fished the sections closest to the road. Although I missed one nice fish that I saw grab my fly and then spit it out, I didn't run into any of the stream's beautiful brook trout or any of the holdovers I had been hoping might take my fly.

I figured there would be some Salmon Parr in the runs, so I switched to a soft hackle fly and picked up a few Parr on the swing and the retrieve. 

There were plenty of water features like the ones below, but I didn't get any fish from the spots that looked like prime lies.

More Salmon Parr were to be had from the runs and the small deep pockets in the flatter water.

This is the kind of water that I find easiest to fish on the swing for these small fish.

They do look a lot like baby browns in some ways, but the forked tail and jaw/eye alignment give it away.

In case you aren't sure, signs are all around to help you, as well as to remind you that these fish are in need of protection and care.

Walking up a small tributary I discovered some pretty water that yielded no fish.

But along the walk I saw my favorite fall/winter fungus in its full form.

Driving back I knew I'd return...

And when I did return, it was a different scene altogether.

A week of sub-freezing temps and some snow had left much of the river obscured, and lots of ice shelves making the bank difficult and possibly dangerous to navigate.

Knowing that fishing would be tough, I spent most of the short winter afternoon scouting future locations to fish in the warmer months...

The beauty was unmatched even if the fishing wasn't great.

I was able to find an open stretch in the early evening as the sun began to dip. But melting remnants of the ice shelves up stream were floating down... some more threatening than others. I knew I didn't want to get knocked down by a floating sheet of ice if a larger one came my way.

But there was no real danger and I steered clear of the obstacles in my way.

This beautiful and wild forest calls me back once again, and I look forward to returning, hoping that I have a day when the crowds are not too thick and the fish are more willing to take my fly.

And in the meanwhile, I'll be whipping up more of these heavy winter nymphs that sink like a rock for the colder, faster water of deep winter.

Hook: Daiichi #2571 #8
Bead: 1/8th inch wide-holed tungsten, black nickel
Underbody: Danville's 6/0 flymaster waxed in Light Olive
Body: Mixed Dubbing - Muskrat back fur, Raccoon Tail, Hare's Mask
Hackle: Grizzly Hen Saddle