Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I am going to take a couple days off to celebrate Christmas with my family and start to get organized for my trip to Florida. I'll be back online in a few days.
Merry Christmas to you and your family and may you have a healthy, peaceful and prosperous New Year (with lots of time to get out on the water!)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tying Time - Variation on a Variation part 4

Well, I think this theme has just about run its course, I'll finish with a flourish of three more variations.
The first one is a variation on my rootbeer bugger. It has an orange glass beadhead. The orange could look like an egg, or just a shiny attractant that flows with the other colors of the fly. I like the glass beads for some of our shallower streams. It sinks the fly, but not as deep as brass or tungsten, so it won't get hung-up as much. If it isn't getting deep enough, just add a pinch of tunsten putty.

The second fly is my yellow/olive WB with a green glass bead. Gives a little flash and will sink the fly gradually.

The last one is the old standby olive WB with an olive glass beadhead. Nothing spectacular, but maybe just that little bit of distinction that will trigger a strike.

What variationsdo you tie?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Tying Time - Variation on a Variation part 3

I call this fly the"Bruiser." Yes, it is a big, meaty chunk for hungry fish, but it is black and blue, too. This WB is definitely a variation of the egg-sucking leech, which usually is tied as a black WB with an orange or red head. I once read that rainbow trout are attracted to the color blue in flies. So this seemed like a natural color combo for those early season rainbows that cough-up hatchery pellets when you land them.
Note: you might not (probably won't!) find in a fly shop all the different colored beads I use. Last winter my buddy Jerry Bernier bought a big supply of various colored glass beads and I bought a couple bucks worth off him. The red, pink, yellow and clear ones make great egg-flies. The others show up on my woolly buggers and larger soft hackle flies.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tying Time - Variation on a Variation part 2

Here is another variation using the red "gill-bead" to add a splash of red. This might also be a variation of the Egg-sucking leech pattern. The color doesn't show on the scan, but I also "ruggedized"this fly using fine red wire as a ribbing. This adds another bit of color flash and also anticipates the success of the fly by adding the wire rib to keep the many fish which bite it from tearing it shreds. If you aren't an optimist, you are a fly fisherman! BTW, I always put a layer of head cement on the hook prior to wrapping the chenille body on my woolly-buggers. I almost always add a wire rib over-wrap, as well. Usually fine gold wire, but sometimes copper or red. This fly also has a few strands of black crystal flash in the tail. You might also notice that I usually tie the tails on my WB a little shorter than you might see elsewhere. It pisses me off when I get short-strikes and have to pinch off some of that flowing tail. So, I got into the habit of tying a little shorter tail, cutting down on missed strikes. It might look a little short to the fisherman, but the fish don't care!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tying Time - Variation on a Variation

It is a well-known, revered tradition that when the snow starts to fly, New England fly fishermen hunker down in front of their vises and crank out flies to fill the holes in their fly boxes for the next season. As you can see by the dearth of fishing reports, this fisherman has hunkered down sooner than ever! Before this latest snowstorm hit, I was over to the Evening Sun fly shop chewing the fat with Charlie, Nelson and John and replenishing some tying supplies. Charlie was sharing some unique material he had just acquired and when I got home I sat down at the vise to try it out. It is really just a variation on some readily available materials in a unique color. I tied a few flies with the new material and when I stuck them into the foam block next to some other flies I had recently tied, it struck me that I was continuing the variation on a theme. The theme is tying tried and true patterns and the variation is to use some different colored materials to show the fish something different, but potentially even more appealing. The idea is not to be different just for difference sake, but to try to improve the effectiveness of existing patterns with "new" materials. The flies already tied so far are (Surprise!!) woolly-buggers. Yes, I tie them in all the "regular" colors - black, olive, brown and white. Lately I have added "root beer" to my repertoire. For the last couple years, I have also been using some material variations. The most successful of these has been to use yellow chenille body with olive tails and hackle. I will share some of these variations with you over the next few days. Keep in mind a couple things. First, these are tied to fish, not to win any beauty contests. Second, I just smacked them down on my scanner without combing, arranging or multiple scans. What you see is what the fish see and they don't give a darn, as long as it looks tasty!
Here is a variation on a variation. A yellow-body, olive bugger with conehead AND red glass bead tied on a size 10 nymph hook. The main variation here is the red bead. A lot of real successful flies have a splash of red. Some people think this simulates an injured fish or the color of the gills of a bait fish. Whatever the reason, this is the prototype and if it works, I'll tie some more, or it could just be an interesting "one-off" variation. Stay tuned for more variations on a variation.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Stan on the Swift River - Discussion with George

Yesterday I was up on the high bank upstream of route 9 spotting fish for Stan, when George (of woolly bugger fame) came along and kibitzed for a few minutes. (You may wonder about the sudden influx of videos. I was trying out my new FlipVideo, so stay tuned for more on-the-water action!)
He-e-e-e-r-e-s Stan! (And George!)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Last trip of the year?

Today Stan and I made the trek to the Swift River. 60F air temps and 46F water temp was close to December perfection. The video is a chunky rainbow from below the hatchery pipe.
We had the whole run to ourselves for most of the morning. The water was pretty high (about 160 CFS) compared to the low flows of the last couple months. Almost no rises were seen, so most fish were fooled with nymphs, such as olive scuds.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Local bamboo rodmaker

I direct your attention to the sidebar on the right under "My Favorite Blogs and websites." You will see a new entry for Riverstix, operated by DJ Duggan, a local bamboo rodmaker also offering repairs and restoration, as well as custom building graphite and glass rods. In the spirit of full disclosure, I have no commercial connection to DJ, but admire his work and respect him as a classy guy. Take a look at his site,and the next time you stop by Evening Sun fly shop in Pepperell, take a look at his rods that Charlie has on display.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Free Fly Tying Class - Manchester, NH

Click on the title of this post to access the Manchester, NH Public Library calendar, where you can register for the FREE Fly Tying Class to be held on January 31. See the post below about the Nashua, NH class for an overview. The class is free and all tools and materials are provided.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Swift River - Dec 4

They say "The Tug is the drug" and I needed to get out and feed my habit. Dick and I headed out to the Swift River and had good day on the water. (Aren't all days on the water good?) We spent most of the time below route 9. We had the run below the hatchery pipe to ourselves for about 15 minutes. then a few other folks spread out down the stream. Only saw a couple fish landed. This is Dick with the rainbow he landed. I only brought one to net, but broke off quite a few. Dick and I had just been talking about breaking off fish on light tippets and I proceeded to demonstrate the process. Small midge larva, SJW, and green copper John all accounted for fish, although there was quite a long time between tugs.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Learn to Tie Flies - Free!

If you have always wanted to learn how to tie flies, here is your chance. My buddies Jim Norton and Stan Jodziewicz will be teaching this free class at the Nashua Public Library on January 24. Click on the title of this post to get to the registration page. All tools and materials are included and there is no charge for the class. There will also be a class in Manchester, and I will post that information, in case Manchester is more convenient for you than Nashua. The classes are jointly sponsored by the State of NH Fish and Game department's "Let's Go Fishing" program, and Merrimack River Valley chapter TU, along with the folks at the library.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

More Pond Fishing Stuff

I hope everybody had a good Thanksgiving. Thanks to everybody who attended our "NH Trout Pond" presentation Tuesday night in Pepperell. Quite a few folks came out for the meeting and I know some of you aren't members of that chapter, but heard about the presentation here. Here is a link to a couple articles I wrote that are published in the New England Fresh water Fishing Guides.

I was going to go fishing yesterday, but wimped-out. Charlie, Artie and Richie had planned to fish the Swift and Dick and Jim were considering the Cocheco/Isinglass. If I get any reports from hardy (or fool-hardy) souls who braved the elements, I'll pass it along. How about it guys? Anything to report?
tight lines!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pond Fishing Reflections (Pun intended)

As noted below, my buddy Jim and I are giving a presentation about pond fishing Tuesday night in Pepperell at the Squanna-a-tissit TU chapter meeting. We have some ponds in our overview FF in NH pitch, but the prep for Tuesday required some additional material. Every season I probably spend 90% of the time fishing rivers and streams, but some of the best memories I have are of fishing ponds. Fishing rivers, I have almost limitless patience. As long as I am confident that there are fish there to be caught, I'll hike for miles and try hundreds of flies and consider it a success if I even see one fish inspect my offering. On the other hand, unless I see fish rising or catch one or two on a subsurface pattern, my patience on ponds has a short fuse. But when a pond is "on" there is nothing like it! Most of my best pond-fishing memories are of fishing the hex hatch in summer. Huge mayflies bring every fish in the pond up to the surface. But in May you can also have great days as the water warms in the afternoon and smaller mayflies begin hatching. One of my kids graduated from Plymouth State U. On May 18 of one of her years there, I went up there to move her out of the dorm. She was on one of the upper floors and they had assigned time slots for use of the elevator. Well I took advantage of the occasion to stop by one of my favorite ponds in the WMNF. Not much was happening until about a half hour before I needed to leave to be on time for the assigned elevator slot. Then it began - aggressive rises just off the canoe launch (I was wading.) I used a small beadhead mayfly softhackle and I must have caught over 30 fish in the next 90 minutes. I kept saying, if I make three casts without getting a fish, I'll change to a dry - I never changed flies. I reluctantly reeled-up with a few fish still rising. Suffice to say it was a tense ride home from school, but she got over it (Good practice in case she settles down with a flyfisherman.) Another great time to have a memorable day on a pond is in September, as the surface water cools. Flying ants are often the abundant insect on the water. That same pond has surrendered dozens of bright orange-bellied brookies on sunny September afternoons on big ant patterns and small hoppers. Well, back to my presentation. Click the title of this entry for a link to more info about pond fishing for trout.
Tight lines

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Posting comments

I have had a few questions about posting comments. When you want to add a comment, just click on Comments, add your comment in the box and click the button below that says Post Comment. If you have an instant message ID, input when prompted. If you don't have an ID, click on the Google selection and it will perform a VERY simple registration, like input email and select a password. That's it! Takes 20 seconds for the whole thing.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Isinglass River - November 16

Reported by my buddy Dick: River fished well today -- got a dozen strikes - landed about half - water was 49.2F - a couple of fish were really active jumped a couple of times each --- only one fish at Falls on soft hackle - and another at first bend pool (Steep Bank Pool) - also on soft hackle - then moved downstream - further than I have been before - fish in every slower run or pool -- everything downstream were on small buggers - yellow and black and all black - down in this area - none hit the soft hackle - or the nymph dropper.
Lost several rigs to submerged logs - water was considerably higher than on 11/04.
On way out found two spin fishermen (guys about 30 years old) fishing worms at Falls - showed them the rules book - they reluctantly left.
No other fly fishermen -- had the place to myself from 11 am to 3 PM - one guy - with wife and two kids - was carrying a fly rod - but no waders or vest or fly box - they were hiking and exploring. Lots of people with large dogs ...........

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Presentation on November 25

Here is a presentation with a little advance notice. "Fly Fishing Ponds of NH" will be our topic at the Squan-a-tissit TU Chapter meeting November 25 in Pepperell. We will mostly cover ponds that are a day-trip from Greater-Boston, but will also include a few remote ponds and a couple wild trout ponds. See you there!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Pemigewasset in Bristol

Stan and I decided to go salmon hunting today in Bristol. Nice and cool and drizzly all day. No other anglers spotted. Nice having the whole river to yourself. Water temp was 42.7 and air was about 47F. We covered a lot of water and not a lot to show for it. It looks like the cold air is settling in for a while, so time to start thinking about tying some flies.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Presentation tonight - November 13

Ooops! I almost forgot to mention it. My guiding partner Jim and I are giving a presentation at Central MASS TU tonight in Worcester. Our topic is "Fly Fishing the Large Rivers of NH." If you attend, please introduce yourself. Google Central Mass TU for directions.
See ya there!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Swift River agony - November 10

Monday I took my buddy Dick on a tour of the Swift River in Central Mass. Air temp 52F, water temp 53F, light breeze, 46CFS flow - VERY low. I like to fish it about 100CFS. In the morning we went above route 9 to the Bubbler Arm and spotted some nice, spooky rainbows. Then we fished the Y-pool for awhile. Dick had heard all the stories about the tough, technical spring-creek conditions, and we certainly found them. After dozens of inspections and near-miss refusals, we worked our way down through the Hemlock and Cable runs. Down along the wing dams Dick got into the water and I spotted for him from the high bank. Here the water spreads out, is fairly shallow and the trout have a long time to inspect your fly. Once again, a few refusals from large rainbows (some looked about 20 inches.) The good news is we saw no other fisherman until we were walking back to the car to move down river. After eating some lunch on the newly dubbed "table-rock" we joined the crew settled in near the Hatchery Pipe. Dick was ready to go back to the solitude above route 9, but I assured him it wasn't really that crowded compared to other times. We settled into a spot below the fallen/overhanging tree and proceeded to get frustrated by the hyper-educated fish feeding on size 128 emerging midges. I had stocked up on some specially crafted size 26 BWO emergers at Evening Sun Fly Shop in Pepperell (thanks Charlie!), and had tied up some size 22 and 24 Shadan Softhackles, but the fish wanted something even smaller. I guess I need to get a microscope attachment for my vise and get some size 30 hooks. Just before we packed it in Dick started getting quite a few strikes and landed a nice rainbow. As always, we had a great time, but came away humbled by those pea-brained critters.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New Blog

Well, I have thrown in the towel on trying to get comments to work on the other Blog format. Let's try this one. I'll add some reports and graphics. In the mean time, can you do the simple registration and post a test comment, to make sure this thing is firing on all cylinders?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Votes are in - the Rainbows win

Jim, Dick and I made an early trip to the polls and after casting our votes, we cast our lines on the Lamprey and Isinglass Rivers. We all caught fish, all rainbows. Mostly on nymphs and heavily weighted woolly buggers. What a beautiful day! No wind and temperature in the upper 60s. Water temp was in the low 40s on both rivers. Quite a few people were at the Lamprey, but just a bunch of moms and kids hiking the beautiful trails at the Isinglass and enjoying the election day outdoors.