Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Doctor of the Double Haul

Where were these electives when I was in college?

Better yet, why wasn't I informed that this job was open?

UNH offers course on fly fishing


Okay, so Bill Ross (Genius) is an enviable guy. Job in academia (how hard can that be?). Lots of time for fly fishing during the summer no doubt. Basically a librarian (see previous snarky comment). Probably reads ancient tomes on fly fishing all day.

AND NOW TO ADD INSULT TO INJURY, he's teaching a college course in fly fishing. Has the man no decency?!

I salute you, Bill. You're living the dream.

Hanging around my neckDr. Slick Lanyard

Monday, September 27, 2010

The trout (and those damn bugs) are onto my minimalist approach

There are days, thankfully rare, that I do everything I can to avoid catching fish. Saturday was one of those days.

These days usually begin well in advance with some ideas about what will be hatching garnered from internet reports and stream-side smoke signals. This is followed by some time at the vise putting together the perfect fly with accompanying size, color and shape variations.

The final touches on the self deception are covered during the ride up where I presuppose where the fish will be located thus dictating where I will fish that day and I further presuppose when they'll be active and, finally, what they'll be eating (see flies tied at vise). Heck, since I know what's what, I'm not even going to head to the water until 4 pm cause I won't need any time to get things dialed in.

All this delusion is further abetted by my recent minimalism approach. Who needs a vest when you know what's happening? A small fly box. A lanyard with the right tools. Waders. Flask. Cigars. Done.

Well, as I approached the river I noted several rather large stoneflies who were doing their egg laying dance. And while trout rarely rise to grab those big suckers, eventually they die and an nice drowned PMX or Bugmeister would have been just the thing to tempt a large trout. But of course, I had no PMX or Bugmeister cause they were in the fly boxes in my vest left, not in the car, but at home in the garage. Nice.

So, I proceed to work the water with thems that I brung. I manage two Salmon Parr and a really nice rise from a fat trout that took my fly to the deep with him. He broke me off cleanly at the tippet knot. It was probably due to the hookset that would be more appropriate for a Tarpon than a trout.

As the evening gloom approached I realized that I didn't have my light with me (also back in the garage) nor did I have a Wooley Bugger or feather streamer to tempt the lock jawed trout (yup, garage).

So, in the dwindling light I tie on an emerger pattern that's worked well for me recently and get a few strikes but no solid hookups. At least some action comes my way despite my pig-headedness.

I really like the minimalist approach to fishing. It's refreshing to not be carrying all the bulk. However, in the future, I'm going to make sure all my crap is at least in the car. When those Stoneflies are dancing, I'm gonna be ready. Unless, of course, they're not.

I wish this were in my vest: Pentax Optio W90 12.1 MP Waterproof Digital Camera with 5x Wide Angle Zoom and 2.7-Inch LCD (Pistachio Green)

Friday, September 24, 2010


With these low flows in our streams the impact of man is evident. The gauge below is about a mile downstream of a sewage treatment plant.

On my bookshelf: Fly Tying For Beginners: How to Tie 50 Failsafe Flies

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I knew it! Fly Fishing is a holy endeavor!

On my bookshelf:Nymphs Volume I: The Mayflies: The Major Species

    A fly fishing movie that has characters other than fish?!

    If this is half as good as the trailer this may actually be a fishing film I could get my wife to watch. It focuses not only on the fishing but also on the fisherman (yeah, not fisherpersons, it's about two guys). Of course, all the good parts could be in the trailer and the whole thing could be complete trash. That said, it's got a wonderful look and two interesting characters.

    Wednesday, September 22, 2010

    Small Flies

    So those tiny flying ants that sated the trout and tormented me last weekend were the object being mimicked on my tying bench last night. Behold the #22 Ant fly. I even have a fancy version with a CDC wing, but I don't think the trout will care.

    Ant. #22

    On my bookshelf: Caddisflies: A Guide to Eastern Species for Anglers and Other Naturalists

    Monday, September 20, 2010

    Farmington River, 9.19

    Ann had been nursing a cold this weekend and needed to get out so we took a drive up to the Farmington. I brought along both the camera and a basic fishing kit (hippers/rod & reel/lanyard). If the light was good I hoped to get some practice with the camera. If not, perhaps a wee bit of fishing.

    Even though it was very overcast on the drive up, we arrived with some sun poking through the clouds imparting a late afternoon glow to the river scene. The clouds were parted for about fifteen minutes but then they just washed back in giving way to the flat, dull gray light that just doesn't do the majestic river any justice.

    So, out came the rod and on went the hippers. Having only a brief time on the water I grabbed a small fly box from my bag and threw on the lanyard.

    As I approached the water three ladies and a guide were coming off the water. The guide recommended a small ant. I had several with me so I was confident that I'd be able to get some action going. Of course, when I got to the water I realized that I had picked up the wrong small fly box. I had spinners, a couple of emergers and some small nymphs. Pressed for time I decided to fish with what I had in hand. 

    Ann walked our Lab for a bit while I got about thirty minutes of casting practice. Before she departed she pointed out a Bald Eagle as it swooped low through the valley and perched on a tree towards the tail of the pool. It's hard to believe that when I was a kid DDT had so ravaged the population of raptors that an Eagle was something that I didn't think I'd see in my lifetime. Now they're almost a common sight in the Farmington Valley. They're a real testament to how people can get together and protect and conserve those things that are important to us.

    The fish were doing a porpoising rise so I chose an emerger with a small PT dropper. On the second or third cast I got solid whack at the emerger and managed a nice fourteen inch wild Brown to the net. I had hooked him in the base of the pectoral fin so either my hookset was late or he veered off at the last moment. Either way, it was a very pretty fish.

    I cast a couple more times to the splashy rises that were growing more frequent but got no interest in either the emerger or the dropper. I then switched to a caddis puppa with the same PT nymph off the hook bend. That got me two fish on but both dropped off after a short while. Ann returned and as the light began to fall the water got more crowded so I called it a day.

    This is perfect weather to fish. The evenings are becoming crisp and while the days are shorter the fishing is good. I enjoy spring fishing, especially after a long winter, but late summer and fall fishing have a special charm all their own. Perhaps it's the urgency to get in some time on the water before the weather closes in.  Maybe it's just that I like wearing sweaters. Regardless, fall is a special time.

    Working downstream

    Before the hatch

    On my Fly Tying Bench: The Fly Tier's Benchside Reference

    Monday, September 13, 2010

    On the water, Deerfield River, 9.12

    It's been far too long since I wet a line in trouty environs but low water levels have prevented those short trips to local waters that usually fill my summers. Unfortunately, there's just been no time/energy to travel more broadly with any frequency so yesterday was the first time in almost a month that I'd fished for trout. So, a special trip was in order and that meant a call to Dan Harrison.

    The Harrison brothers guide up on the Deerfield River so the boys, myself and my best buddy Ross drove north early on Sunday. I've fished and hunted with the Harrisons a bunch of times over the past couple years and can't say enough about their skills as guides. More than anything, they're good people. It's fishing, so some days are good and others are mediocre (I'm reluctant to say that I've never been skunked fishing with them so as not to jinx myself so consider it unsaid) but regardless, Tom and Dan are great people to fish with on some very pretty and trouty water.

    The weather report threatened rain but we managed to avoid it. It was cooler than I would have expected but we had packed layers and that didn't detract from the fishing. The water was low, but not too low. The Deerfield is a tailwater so like the Farmington it gets cool water year-round. It's also a power generation tailwater so it gets a regular surge of water. Not quite the pond and release regime the Housy used to see but it does go through the daily up and down cycle.

    The day for myself started out slow with nothing to the net at mid-day but everyone else was into fish with the friendly boat vs boat competition dead even at lunch (well maybe one of the boats was ahead of the other but I did mention it was a friendly competition, didn't I?). 

    While we did have an odd Smallmouth or two (those ten inch Smallmouth fight like a trout at least 50% bigger) including the smallest I've ever seen taken on the fly (congrats to Ross), the largest Sucker I've ever seen (20"+, congrats to Sam for dragging the beast to the net), a tiny Shad (scored by Chris and generally referred to, and utilized as, bait) all the trout we caught were rainbows and all fat, chunky and in the 13"-18" range.

    Most of the fish, perhaps all of the fish, came nymphing a variety of nymphs. Mixing it up was the name of the game and we worked hard for the fish. There was no hatch to speak of though towards evening we did see a fairly regular light hatch of a small cream colored mayfly. The weather seemed ideal for BWOs but none appeared. Oh well.

    The boys surprised me and stuck with the fly rods all day. During one particularly slow period we did resort to some "non-fly fishing" methods to try and tempt the trout but there was no reward for the dark side (well, actually, there was one nice Rainbow who went into the cooler) and we went back to more traditional methods.

    We ended the day with a tie -- both boats had netted the same number of trout and the difference between high guy and low guy was one fish so we had all caught around the same number of trout. We couldn't have planned that result better if we tried.

    A few photos from the day.

    Chris looking mildly pleased with himself.
    First of several in the net for Sam
    My best of the day, 17.5 inches. 1/2 inch too short....
    More smiles
    Sam fighting a monster Sucker
    The Sucker!
    Dan at the net. Chris keeping his head down. Ross fighting an 18" bow. Best of the trip.
    I got action late in the day.
    Another Bow
    Myself, Tom, and Sam