Sunday, May 17, 2015

Off Color

Overnight rain had tried to do it's part to foil Saturday fishing but the real impediment to angling was a handful of chores that had to be completed. By early afternoon I was wadered and standing above a bend pool trying to decide if I should fish here or head to a tributary that might be clearer. According to the rocks, the water was down about two inches and while it wasn't muddy I couldn't see bottom; not opaque enough to chase me away but gloomy enough to lower expectations.

Upstream I found the water clearer and fished a dry-dropper rig. I placed a flashy fly on the bottom hoping it would distinguish itself in the gloom. It was the first time I had fished this stretch since winter and the modest run off had moved a few things around. For years the river has been trying to decide whether to carve a new channel from a former braid and it seems settled now that the old channel will remain. That braid has always looked fishy but I've never found anything there.

The bend that has had it's flow restored is well known to locals as a reliable spot. The years of lowered flow sanded up the far bank and I found it the better location to cast into the head of the pool. The dropper quickly brought the first trout of the day to hand. I fished the deeper recesses of the hole hoping for some fatter cousins but they resisted my charms.

Upstream is another big pool but the fast water in between holds fish and the second came in the soft water not far from the start of the run. It's one of those spots where the stream goes straight when it would seem that it should arc away. There's something about that far bank, perhaps a piece of ledge, that resists the water's efforts. So, you get a deep fast run which is a nice way to mix it up from an angling perspective.

The big pool above, where Jonny took a surprisingly big brown a few years ago had been reordered as a large stump guarding the head finally dislodged. I expect things are going to shift significantly once we get another good rain. I should have fished it down with a wet but for some reason I decided to fish up without changing rigs. Perhaps it was laziness. Or maybe hope.

The small tributary was clear and I wandered upstream when I got to it's mouth. I fished quickly moving from spot to spot making a few casts. I had switched to a dry and hoped that the fish were looking up in the clearer water. By the time I got to the old bridge, perhaps a quarter mile of water, I knew of my delusion and switched to a nymph rig sporting a small pheasant tail beneath a large BH pheasant tail.

Purple. The new black.
There's a spot that I think of as "three fish hole". It's a marvel of hydraulics that holds trout reliably though it looks so nondescript that I only discovered it by accident. On a trip to the stream a few years ago I resolved to fish every bit of the water, fishy or not, to see what I might find. It turns out there were things to discover.

On the first cast I get a brown trout on the smaller PT. A few casts later I get another. The third trout eluded me though it didn't stop me from casting in the water long after I should have expected results. I fished the pockets above with no luck though it was all just prelude to the next fishy spot.

At the bend I cast the nymph rig to the foot of the hole but my eye was on an overhanging branch that provided a sheltered spot near a root ball. There was no way the nymph rig was getting in there without making a hell of a racket so I put on a purple Adams and cast side arm under the brush. I was a bit disappointed by the lack of results. These small stream trout are generally less discerning so anything buggy will usually do. I was worried that my choice of purple had perhaps gone a bit too far from something recognizable as food. But then I flubbed a cast and it landed in the softer near seam. And a brown smacked it.

I suppose I should have discerned that the soft water was the more likely holding spot in the higher flows but that's hindsight talking. Maybe it was just a bit of luck, something that all anglers can use from time to time.

Serendipitous Trout

A disease resistant Elm planted by Trout Unlimited to help shade the bank during future generations

A line of trees planted eight years ago help shade the stream today.

Ent roots.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Thursday's Calendar

May 2014. Streamer Hatch.
Friday I float the Delaware with my buddy Bill. Saturday, we'll wade a bit hoping that the slowly warming conditions of this long delayed spring might turn on the bugs in a way we haven't seen yet. And while I'm at the desk tying flies and fantasizing about the two days of angling, my eye is on the calendar, Thursday's calendar to be exact.

Somewhere in Thursday's calendar is the hope of a few hours in the evening for casting to impossible fish at the lodge's eddy. But with two plus hours in the car I won't get there before last light unless Thursday's calendar can be wrestled to the ground and forced to submit time between conference calls so I can point the fish sled towards Hancock. Somewhere in there is hope. I just have to find it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Where have I been?

Every place and no place at once.

January was a blur of work and fishing in frigid weather on the Farmington. Egg patterns brought enough fish to hand to make it all worthwhile though there were moments when my fingers and nose, burned from the frigid wind, may have disagreed.

February began with a little light knee surgery followed by physical therapy and whining. It took longer than I thought to get back into fighting shape but by the end of the month my right leg was doing what it was supposed to do without much complaining. I didn't bounce back as quickly as from the knee surgery a decade ago but then someone did mention I'm not getting any younger.

March brought upper and lower GI prodding by various and sundry medical professionals. At least they told me they were professionals. And no fishing. And, fortunately, no medical conditions that can't be solved without some minor medications and drinking habit dietary changes.

While I haven't scribbled anything here in some time I've been sporadically writing for Hatch Magazine as well as The Drake and The Flyfish Journal. Writing for these outlets has been financially satisfying (you, dear reader, are notoriously frugal) and, more importantly, has caused me to slow down and write what I consider to be some better pieces. You can judge for yourself, but you'll have to go out and buy those magazine before they're off of the news stand.

Over the past few weeks I've stumbled upon these little gems.
There's no promise I'll be back here anytime soon but at least you know that I remember that this place exists and if you add yourself to the mailing list (link at upper right) you'll at least hear from me when I am back.

Even though it's mud season in much of the northeast, the hills are getting the red blush that tells you leaf out is not far off. I walked along some small streams with a rod over the past few weeks. I've seen some fish and caught none. The good fishing is just ahead. I'll see you on the water.

After this long winter, my back feels like that.
Winter has placed two trees in the middle of a fine run.

Mud season has come to the Pootatuck

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

At the end of the year

Thanks for sending along "Hendricksons" for our review. It has its moments, and it carries strong feelings of familiarity for all us aging anglers. Therein lies its charm, but also its drawback: it's simply too familiar an approach, into far too familiar a topic, to elbow its way into [Insert name of famous journal]. - Editor

As the year waned I was consumed by urgent professional matters that seem to have evaporated opportunities for angling, heck, for much of anything other than email and PowerPoint. I see that my last post was in early October which was roughly the last time I wrote for Hatch Magazine and fell into a black hole of work. Being in the middle of the holiday season, work has moved to the background and I've been able to refocus on the important things: family, rest, sport.

I sat in a blind last week waiting for geese to fly. We saw some geese but the only shot we took was at the bull. It was good to be among sportsman again talking about nothing more consequential than whether we needed more dekes and if that was a crow or a hawk on the far treeline; consensus was a hawk.

My boots, muddy from the cornfield, got a proper cleaning when Ann and I took Ripley for a walk in the woods. Sam and I got them dirty all over again yesterday as we spent a few hours wandering on the trail. There's something to be said for having opportunities to get wet and muddy. It feels a whole lot more like living than what we do most days. Tomorrow I'll be on a stream hoping for a winter trout. It's good to be out again.

I've been in a bit of a writing funk. I'm not sure if that's due to the urgent, stressful matters at work or if there's something else at play. Regardless the words have been slow in coming though I do have several half-written pieces that I should probably be polishing up. I've set some time aside today to write and clean my office. I'll probably get more of one done than the other but at least I set off with the right intentions.

In this stack of writing there's a piece of fiction I wrote two or more years ago. It sat with an editor for almost a year as he promised to put it "in the next issue". It turns out his publisher didn't like it as much as he did. We eventually agreed to set it free. Since that time it's been with several other editors. Some sent quick declines, others sat on it and one, the author of the quote above, made it clear this piece wasn't publishable.

In May I sent it off to yet another home and since I haven't heard back I'm now confident I've exhausted opportunities for financial renumeration. I'll have to be satisfied with the renumeration of knowing that someone other than a few editors have read the piece.

So, to end the year, I present Hendricksons for your reading pleasure and critical review.

I hope you enjoy the piece. Have a happy and safe evening tonight, and I wish you all a prosperous New Year!