Monday, May 30, 2016

Dry Fly Time on my Home River

There are many times of year that are exceptional for dry fly fishing on my home stream, but only a few times when dry flies are dramatically more effective than nymphs, and windy days in early summer are particularly productive on the surface. Next time I visit this creek the water should be up a little and I'll probably opt for a big foam beetle with a PT dropper, but yesterday it was all stimulators and hoppers and bombers. I did have to use an Ausable Ugly for one deep plunge, but every other fish came up to the surface.

The first fish smashed a royal stimulator and I was very excited to see that it was quite a nice brookie, I only catch a few natives like this each year in this stream so every one is special.

There is literally always a trout next to that big rock, but I almost never hook it. In fact, it has been two years since I caught a fish in that pocket. It turned out to be a very pretty brown about 7 inches long. I photograph every decent sized fish I catch here, and I know for sure this one is one I have not caught before. I fish this stream at least one time a month and yet I have almost never caught the same fish more than once. By almost never I mean every one in ten fish is a repeat. There are a large number of fish in this stream!!!

The nine inch fish bellow is about as stunning as a wild brown trout will get. The huge bright red spots, the orange adipose fin, the dark navy spots on the cheeks. Tell me, is there a more beautiful trout out there?

I fished very quickly the yesterday. If we get the kind of rain we need, the next trip here I will fish much slower and cover the water more thoroughly and accurately.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Housatonic River

I have fished a lot of CT's rivers. I have always stayed east of the Naugatuck, however, until yesterday. My dad and I rolled out to the Housatonic looking to avoid the Memorial Day weekend crowds on the Farmington. That mission was highly successful, we only saw a handful of other fisherman.
Being the first time I have ever fished the Housi, I found it to be very different water. It is definitely the biggest river I have fished for trout in. The water clarity was much much lower than other rivers, and the bottom was frequently treacherous. We were both using wading staffs. The water temperature was warm, hovering very close to the upper range of trout's tolerance.

We struggled for a little while, but Dad was the first to hook up: he got two smallmouth in pocket water using an articulated streamer. Late in the afternoon we found rising trout in a huge flat pool. The were clearly feeding on small insects. I opted for a sulfur emerger and went to stalking and sight fishing trout that were rising. The first one I caught was in the tail of the pool, only a few inches from the bank. It turned out to be a nice brown.
A bit later my dad moved into that same spot and caught three rainbows right were the pool transitioned into the riffle.

I spotted a big brown working it's way up the pool about 50 feet out. It was easily over 20 inches. I had to really work to get my roll cast out in front of that fish, which was doing very showy head and tail rises. I also had to chase it, as it would rise three times and then move ten feet upstream. I never ended up hooking it, but I did get into a good position to work a pod of risers. The second one I caught was a gorgeous little wild brown.

We were doing fairly well as the evening progressed. We both got into some fish, and although I had a take from one of the big ones we failed to get any true giants. That's OK, it was fun to fish such big water and consistently hook fish.

As we were walking out through the tail of the pool we saw a big flight of spinners. Fish had begun to rise like mad there, and I'm sure we would have caught more had we stayed, but we really had to get going. That sums up my first experience with the Housatonic, I'm looking forward to fishing it a few more times this year and maybe getting into some of its big bass.

Friday, May 27, 2016

What it's About

There are some moments I have burned into my memory. Today I got one of my casting students into his very first trout. I couldn't have been more pleased.

I caught a few before and after too, but they really didn't matter as much.

We had such a classic rise tonight. The river was loaded with trout coming up to munch on the plethora of insects on the surface. I snapped this photo right as I was about to leave. I didn't notice the deer until after I got home and put it on the computer.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

CT Small Stream Heaven

As I rode out yesterday morning to fish for wild trout in small low gradient streams, I couldn't help but think how nice things are this time of year. I saw deer, rabbits, woodchucks, beavers, turkey, and tons of other birds and wildlife. Things are green and yet it is still not too hot out. Just the perfect time to go for a day long fishing trip.

The first stream I visited is my secret brook trout filled spring creek. I have yet to see any of those giant fish I was seeing last year, and because this stream flows into a sizable lake I suspect they spend the winter and spring, and probably early summer in that body of water. 

One thing you can be sure of when fishing this stream is that the fish you will catch are just about the prettiest brook trout around. Here it seems like it is always early fall, because some of the brook trout are permanently colored bright red on their stomachs. Another expectation here is that I will catch a lot of fish, although many will be small. My favorite brook trout stream did not disappoint.

I stopped and had breakfast at this pool. It is the kind of place you expect to produce 12 inchers in such a fertile stream. I was not so lucky today. I was still very much content with the gorgeous little brookies that I did catch, and I enjoyed the most wonderful breakfast I have had in a while.

On I went to the next stream, a place where I have seen a good number of really large wild brown trout and never managed to hook into one. I have caught plenty of rainbows there before, and this day would be no different. I caught one brookie here on my last visit, and today would improve on that number. I am beginning to believe that this stream is farm more full of life than my first few visits seemed to imply.

The rainbow bellow is one of the biggest I have caught in a stream this small, and it gave me one heck of a battle. It ran up and downstream, pulling drag and dodging dangerously close to logs and debris. It was quite a battle.

In one short stretch I got the trout slam, a small brown that I believe is the result of the state's juvenile trout stockings completed it for me.

Further downstream I found a nice fish rising for mayflies in a slow glide. I figure it was probably another rainbow. I switched the Ausable Ugly out for a parachute hendrickson. I was surprised and very pleased by what came up for my fly because it was a fish I have been trying to catch for a while now.

This may just look like a creek chub to you, but to me this is an absolutely stunning male fallfish in spawning dress. Such a beautiful fish! And it fought SO hard for its size.

The next stream I fished is absolutely tiny. I have crossed over it many many times and fished it once. I have hooked brook trout there before but never caught one. Today I caught three beautiful old fish in that stream. In such tiny streams, a brook trout can be four years old and only five inches or less long.

Further down on the other stream I continued to catch rainbows and smaller fallfish, and some fingerling browns.

After I was just about sick of catching stocked rainbows, even fin perfect specimens like the beauty above, I went on the hunt for more brook trout. I found them in a weird spot, a big deep spillway bellow a reservoir.

Stripping a Cinburgh just bellow the surface of that huge deep pool was downright deadly. I very rarely count fish, but I counted them today just to see how many I could get. I ended up with 47. 47 brook trout in one hour on only two flies! That is about as crazy a brook trout day as I have ever had here in CT. It reminded me of fishing a pond up in the White Mountains. I kept on expecting to hook into something really big, but it just never came.

I also got a pair of smaller wild browns in that pool.

On to a new stretch of river that I have never fished. I worked all the likely looking spots, fishing the Ausable Ugly and Bomber. I got one little rainbow in the pocket bellow and a few little brook trout. Then something crazy showed up.

I have seen some really big small stream brook trout in the past year or so. But this day I saw a fish that was so old and so big an so ancient that it left me shaking. I was fishing the Ugly through another of many big flat pools with undercut brush on one side when a HUGE brook trout came out from that brush to take the fly. I can still see t in my mind's eye. It was so beautiful. Of course, as it goes I missed the hookset and it wouldn't come back. I'm not even going to say how big I think it was. That doesn't matter. Just know that if you come across this fish in your travels, you'd better make sure you have your camera ready, because it is very likely one of the only ones of its kind left in these parts.