Saturday, December 28, 2013

Last Trout of 2013?

I had time today to spend fishing a small stream. I chose one with a good population of brook trout. I first tried some dry flies, but the didn't get attention. My next choice was a bead head prince. Luckily it did the trick. I landed a sizable brown. I let him go and returned to fishing, but not one of the pretty native brook trout that inhabit the creek hit the fly.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Hunting in an Icy Valley

I got to spend an hour or so yesterday exploring a piece of river I thought would hold good rainbow trout. I was correct, but they didn't eat my black woolly bugger. I saw some tankers in that water. It was at the best possible level and clarity, but some ice was floating the current.

I don't mind trips during which I catch no fish (this time of year they are numerous), particularly in such a setting. This little mossy valley contained an environment not completely unlike the Pacific Northwest, with plenty of conifers and moss. Ice crystals covered the bank, and I tried my best not to damage the gorgeous formations. Who says fishing should be a warm weather activity?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Before all of the holiday festivities begin this afternoon, I needed to get in some fishing. Three trips that all resulted in getting skunked was too much to bare. I went to a stream that provided me with fantastic fish the past two trips. Little did I know what it would give up today.

I reached the bridge pool that I thought would have the best chance of holding fish. The stream was high and slightly discolored, so I tied on a big red worm pattern with bright gold tinsel ribbing. A few casts to the head of the pool produced a drift that was probably too high in the water column. I decided to cast across and let it swing through the tail of the pool. On the third drift the line stopped and I lightly put on the tension. I knew that if it was a trout a strong hook set would pull the fly upstream out of his mouth, and if it was a snag the fly would be hopelessly lodged in the rocks. Luckily, rocks don't tend to thrash around on the surface when hooked.

As soon as I saw the thrashing I realized the trout at the end of my line was a true beast. After a few head shakes the fish went for a short run. It peeled out the line in my hand and some from the reel. Luckily I was able to turn him and get him in deeper, less snag filled water. He proceeded to shake his powerful head, and then bore into the bottom. Pulling him up was quite a chore with a four weight, but the rod was able to safely glide the fish to the net. When I was finally sure I was safe from losing the big trout, I realized what a miracle it was. I had just pulled a 20+ inch wild brown trout from this small mountain stream. That is just remarkable, and something that may very well never happen for me again. I marveled at the colors, the powerful tail, the orange adipose fin, the kype jaw, everything. This was truly a fish to behold. I also knew that it must return to the water, and  was happy when it kicked away so quickly. WOW! The world had just given me a fantastic Christmas present. I was ecstatic.

I flipped a few more casts, but I knew it was useless. And what could possibly have improved my day anyway? I rode home still shaking.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Had Better Days,

I didn't have the best fishing today. I didn't catch anything. I did see two brook trout, so I know they were in there. I saw caddis, and one stone fly, so I tried some dry flies in the mix with a large variety of nymphs, worms, wet flies, and streamer. I only got two twitches that could easily have been the bottom. I did still have a good time traversing the misty mountain stream. I watched as three deer ran on the hillside parallel to the stream.

Maybe the brown two weeks ago was my last fish of 2013.... and maybe not!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Sulfur Patterns

Today I tied three patterns to use during evening sulfur hatches. The first is a parachute with a medium dun tail and hackle, and similarly colored hackle post, a bright yellow yarn body, and the fluff from a yellow mallard flank around the base o the hackle post. The main goal of the pattern is to make an obvious and accurate surface impression that would match both duns and emergers. The next is an emerger pattern tied with the same tail and hackle color, but a more dull dubbing and a white CDC wing. The final pattern is a wet fly that matches a spent insect or an emerger. Its purpose is to serve as a pattern that requires no sight, as swinging it would result in hits that would be easy to feel. It is tied with a light dun tail, a bright yellow body with copper wire ribbing, and medium dun hackle.

Two Different Skunkings

Earlier this week I headed out to fish a nice wild trout stream. What greeted me upon reaching the stream was a sight to frustrate even the calmest angler. I had hiked 3 steep, could, trail-less mile to fish a stretch of ice with tiny patches of open water. I cast into one briefly but decide just to go wander around in the woods. I did get to partake in a conversation between two barred owls. It was quite long.

Today was to be much warmer, and I assumed that snow melt would bring up water levels and in turn break up the ice. I had assumed correctly. I fished a portion up stream from where I had previously been. The water looked perfect, but it was just not to be. I landed no fish Czech nymphing from the top of a big rock.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Fishing Adventure: Hot Summer Trout

Many rivers in CT get too warm to hold fish in the summer. This year rain kept some of them cool long enough that I could fish in July without fear of putting stress on the fish. My dad and I headed out to fish a long pool with deep channels on either side and a gravel bar down the middle. I love this pool. It gets less attention and often holds less weary trout. On this particular day I tied on a light monofilament body caddis pupa below a Royal Wulff. The big Wulff would mainly serve as a tool to spot the general area of the pupa. The pupa would only sink about a half an inch. If I saw a rise about ten inches behind the Wulff, I set the hook. The first fish, coincidentally, took the big dry. I was not surprised to find a bluegill at the end o my line. The next four fish took the pupa. Three were brown trout and one was a brookie. If I remember correctly, I out fished my dad. I am surprised that I do so because he has been fishing for so much longer than I have. It is acceptable though, I have more experience on CT's rivers, streams, and lakes.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


One of the most well known food sources for trout is the mayfly. There are many species of these graceful insects. I am always fascinated by them and the role they play in the stream environment.

Flight. He will only enjoy this for another 10 minutes.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Another Good Day

(12/8/2018- This post contains examples of very poor fish handling. Use them as an example of what not to do. Thank you, 
R.M. Lytle)

Today dawned frigid and cloudy, but I still felt that hitting a wild trout creek would be reasonable. I went to a fine freestone that has a good population of wild fish. I used the same fly as yesterday. The first pool gave up a little yearling brown. I hooked a baby rainbow too, but the little fella jumped off at my feet. The next pool was deeper and has a good run at the top. It was in this run that I hooked a good brown trout. He put up a good fight, thankfully clearing the ice out of my guides. The beautiful fish finally gave in after quite a struggle in the fast water at the tail of the pool. I photographed him and released the perfect fish back into the cold December river. This cold season has been so good to me so far!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Epic Day

(12/8/2018- This post contains examples of very poor fish handling. Use them as an example of what not to do. Thank you, 
R.M. Lytle)

The word 'epic' is used way too frequently by the younger generations these days. However, I would describe my fishing today as such.

It had rained quite a bit last night, so I expected that water levels would be higher in the stream I planned to fish. This stream is what I would consider to be the perfect trout stream. It is small, and receives almost no attention. It is set deep in a pine and laurel lined ravine, which occasionally experiences land slides. The stream has many big rocks with plunge pools and rifles, not to mention plenty of pocket water. Thick mayfly hatches occur in early spring. Best of all, I have never caught a stocked fish there.

The plan of attack today was to work the first pool with wet flies, then continue up using a heavy rubber legged stone fly nymph. When I reached the stream, I was happy to see it in a condition similar to the year before, with tea colored, slightly high water. Perfect. The wet fly received no interest. I tied on the nymph and slowly worked up stream. I fished every pool methodically, putting in hundreds of casts, drifting through every likely spot twice. I knew that the wild browns that inhabit the creek would be moving slow to conserve energy in the chilly water.

Finally, on my 30th cast in the 7th pool I was to fish, my line stopped. I lightly set and was into something weighty, I was concerned I had snagged a rock. A boiling on the surface and a flash of butter yellow briefly stopped my heart. The fish I saw on the end of my line topped any I had landed in this stream so far. It tore down in the current, shaking its head and forcing me to give line. I finally glided the fish across the surface and lightly grasped it. It was then that I knew it was an epic day. The fish allowed a quick photo op, and I admired it's colors before allowing it to return to it's could, rocky home. I watched the shadow weave out of sight and wondered if it was real. Big wild trout are like ghosts. They may only show themselves briefly, many are encountered but few are landed. They dissolve into the grays and browns of the streams bottom.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Small Stream Trout Flies: Dry Flies

When fishing small streams, it is important to note that there are less thick hatches that one needs to match. Also, food is scarce. I native brooky in a small freestone stream will often hit a little pine cone tossed into it's feeding lane. If a hatch is on, match it. Otherwise, tie on anything that looks buggy.

The Ausable Bomber is perhaps the all-around best dry fly for wild trout on small mountain creeks. I could not hope to count the number of trout this fly has caught me!

I should clip the hackle on the bottom of this one...
Another good pattern is the Humpy. Any fly fisher should have one, regardless of the size water that is preferred. They are a darned good prospecting fly.

I pack Wulffs in all colors and sizes, they work terrifically. Stimulaters work well especially if fish in the 6-14 in. range are present.

Of course, one should never go trout fishing without some Parachute Adams and Elk Hair Caddis

Warm December and Little Brookies

Today was unusually warm for December in New England, but I'm not complaining. It was good fishing weather! With fog swirling about, I hit a very native brook trout stream. The sizable trout there are spread out and very, very, very skittish. I crawled into position above a good pool that has a small dirt road crossing above it. Without this road a good cast would be impossible, as there are tons of logs crossing the tail. I worked a Kate McKlaren wet, and a little trout snapped at it. The tiny fish was captured with minimal effort. I didn't succeed in hooking any more fish, but went home pleased to have hooked one of the streams tricky residents.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Brook Trout Heaven

Today had to be one of my best fishing days this year. Maybe it could be the best. I had little time to head out before sunset, so I biked to a local native brook trout stream to get an hour of fishing in. I managed to find fish so willing to hit a fly that they couldn't be stopped. I only fished one pool. All of perhaps 50 casts got chases or hits. The drop dead beautiful little trout were hammering the red tag wet fly, skated as usual. Towards the end of my fishing session I saw a ghostly brown shadow engulf the fly, but I missed it. The same big fish hit the next three casts. I failed to hook her. I changed to an Edson Tiger. First cast and she rose up to catch what she thought would be a meaty minnow. As the tail of this marvelous creature broke the surface line suddenly peeled off my reel. The fish ran circles around the pool before reluctantly coming to my hand. I wet them as I had perhaps twenty times already, and quickly snapped a photo, removed the buck tail from her mouth, and let the incredible little fish return to her lie.

Final fish of the day

This was about the most beautiful of the day. 

This fish had no red spots. I haven't ever seen that before!