For the last 24 months, two whole years, I have caught at least one salmonid on a dry fly each and every month. Today was the official end of that stretch of my self-imposed challenge. I caught not one, but two February dry fly brookies today. And after that I caught a whole bunch more on a sinking fly.
The stream is one that I have fished just one other time, in early spring of 2016. I caught three beautiful brookies that day. Today, oddly enough, I caught nearly 20. Granted these were small fish, but the size is a reflection of the stream they live in. It is so small it has not been deemed significant enough to be named. Seriously, there is no name for this stream on any map I have ever looked at, and some maps don't even have a little blue line where it runs. So I have given it a name: Char Brook.
The first fish I caught took a little black beetle. I expected that if I was going to get a fish on a dry it would have to be a small, dark one. But after fishing it for a bit longer and missing a bunch more fish I changed to a size 16 Ausable Bomber, one of my favorite dry flies for small streams. I caught one more brookie on a dry before the Bomber started to get ignored.
When the fish stopped coming up I decided to go for a new twist on a style of fly that a lot of us CT small stream fly fishing bloggers have been tying and using for a while now. Alan, Kirk, and Mark use pink ultra chenille. When John's blog was active I saw that he was using a version with a crystal/cactus type chenille. I've used floss on my version. All are incarnations of something Alan calls "Pinkie". I've been mulling over my version for a while. No doubt, the floss pinkie works and works well. But movement and color had to be traded out to create the slim profile needed on top of the wire I used to weight them. I wanted to create something that was slim in profile, had some movement, was lighter in color, and looked good with a beadhead. The pinkie looked terrible with a bead. I finally got it down to what I was looking for: I used an Allan J100BL jig hook, a gold slotted tungsten bead, and pink angora yarn.
Today was the first test run of the new fly, which I have christened "Euro Pinkie" due to its similarity to many flies frequently used my tight-line nymphers. Boy can this little bug hunt! I was impressed by the shear number of brookies I caught; as well as the aggressiveness of their takes in that cold water. I was simple casting it into the plunge pools and twitching it along the bottom. The fish would charge up and pick the fly up, often leaving a tiny cloud of sand after the hookset.
I've had some great days of fishing in February, but I have to say this one reminds me of one day in 2014 when I fished a similarly tiny stream during a brief period of warm weather. I caught a whole pile of little wild brook trout very much like the ones I caught today. Fitting... happy Groundhog Day.