Friday, December 24, 2010

Peace And Good Will

On this Christmas Eve, as I approach the start of the second year at, I want to thank you all so much for your readership and e-mails.  I am truly blessed and joyfully surprised at the number of you who visit from the four corners of the angling world each day. 

Merry Christmas 
And A Happy New Year

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Midge Fly - So Many Choices

There is nothing like a good midge.  So many colors and variations will work and they are not only for the winter season.  They are simple to tie and use a limited number of materials.  Take a size 18 or 20 wide gap scud hook with a body of thread, a rib of mylar, mono or fine wire and then choose a wing casing or bead and a bit of dubbing.   Try black thread, silver wire and a silver bead.  It's called the Zebra. Be creative as there are so many different Chironomids that it would be hard to be wrong.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fly Tying Tip #105

There are certain patterns that are our go to flies. They need to constantly be replenished.  Some days, it seems, I lose enough of them to open a well stocked fly shop.  Because I don't ever want to run out, I am forced to the bench.  For those flies, shorten your time by gathering the materials and put everything in a zip top bag.  Label the bag and replenish materials as needed.  Easy start, easy finish.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Is It Winter Yet?

Well, I guess it's time to light the fire, tie up some flies, drink hot chocolate and wait for the rights of spring.   You don't buy that line do you?

Winter is a time to make the most of your rivers by changing the mindset of the approach.  Do you know the sound of  snow falling softly through the trees when the wind is still?  Or the gentle crackle of the hard woods swaying after a sharp freeze?  Some of the most memorable days possible are within your grasp right now.  Everything changes and so will you.

Slow - Not only should your fly presentation slow down, but you should move a bit slower and not take any chances of falling or getting wet.  When water temperatures go down so does the metabolic activity of a trout or salmon. They don't chase and tend to be in the deepest and slowest part of the pools. Your challenge is to hand feed the fish something that they will open their mouth to eat.  The other thing that slows is the rate of any insect activity in the river.  Mostly what will be available will be small larva and midges.

Low- Because the speed of things slows dramatically the fish will congregate in places where any food source will settle and be easy to catch.  Look for the deepest holes in the run and fish as low as possible.  If the fish are there they will eat all winter long.  You have a good chance at the largest fish of the year during these times.

Flow- Mid December starts to bring the snow and ice to the rivers of New England.  The further north you are the deeper the freeze.  Rains turn to snow and the ground holds the flow down.  River fluctuations are rare and you can learn the winter spots to go back to each time.  Even way up north there are tail water locations where the water temps stay in the 40's. 

Big & Small- When making fly choices, I tend to go big with marabou leaches in drab colors like black, brown and olive.  I will use this fly with a bead head in various sizes and weights and then add a very small midge type fly as a dropper.  WD40, Zebra, Brassies and other flies that imitate the family Chironomidae will all work.  As there are over 700 different species of these non biting midges in North America you will want to cover a number of colors.  Red, Crimson, olive, copper, black, brown, chartreuse and green are a few good choices.  Mix it up between thread and wire for the bodies.  Also Prince Nymph, Pheasant Tails and Scuds can be effective at times.  Just for that momentary magical time carry a few midge dry flies in white, grizzly and tan.  I have been told of trout feeding on snow flakes.

Some of us have no problem driving from southern New Hampshire all the way to the Great North Woods.  How about the other direction?  There are rivers in Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts that are open through the winter as well.  They have fall stocking programs and receive some of the largest fish at this time of year.  What makes the narrow choice of rivers large is that you will be alone for the most part because so many anglers can not put up with the cold or don't like the winter for fishing.   The peace of the woods is paramount during these shortened days. 

Warm-  Stay warm.  Having layers and a good pair of boot foot waders will keep you in good shape.  If you are feeling really cold you should head for the car.  It is very easy to miss judge how cold it gets when you have a river taking your body warmth down stream.  Shorten your day, be very direct in your approach, travel with a buddy and have liquids, food and fire capability with you.  Never walk on shelf ice.

Fly fishing is a twelve month season in most states.  So long as you can handle the line freeze, the feeling of solitude and the shorter time you will find the wonders of winter.  Just pick your days.

I took my own advise today, 12-11-10, and landed this beautiful 20" Brown Trout on a #20 Red Midge.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I Am Haunted By Fishes.....

These are the days that determine our creed. the code of our angling ethics.

Yesterday I ended the Landlocked Salmon season on one of my favorite rivers.  Usually during the last few days, as the season close is the 31st day of October, flow is blown out and swollen with snow falling.  Under normal conditions I am fishing in a more southerly location of New Hampshire for the finish.  This year the rains came early and even with the river still high I hoped it would fish well.  It did not.

Starting high up and working down river proved a casting experience.  I knew the fish were there but, for what ever reason, their jaws were locked.  I then decided to check out a run that always holds a number of fish.  It is heavily angled when the water is low enough to access.  By this time the fish have been there for a number of weeks and seen a whole bunch of flies.

Working down from the top of the rapid I was stopped dead in my boots.  Frozen in time and stilled with amazement as there before me was the largest Landlocked Salmon I have ever seen.  Next to that fish was another that was by Landlocked standards a true monster.  My guess was seven pounds or more.  I had a copper bead headed olive leech trailed by a Stalcup Caddis Emmerger on eight pound tippets.  I have learned that when fishing the new co-polymer leaders, available today, I no longer need to be using very low pound tippets.   Tied with Davy knots I have become very strong with the playing of the fish I hook.  I backed myself up into the bushes and made a cast in a dead drift nymph style.  Three casts later the big one inhaled the leech and I was in heaven.  One strong run up river that included a surface clearing jump and then pulled back to my feet.  I tried with my net and the fish bull dogged forward and away.  Close but not close enough.  Two more times and the same thing happened.  As I was working this magnificent salmon back for a forth try my barb free leech came out and the trailing fly caught in the fishes tail.  Having none of that, with one good tail slap she was free.

Now, I have been professing using barb free hooks as this blog will confirm.  But at that moment I lost a fish of a lifetime and I am almost certain that a barbed hook may have held tight.

"These are the times that try men's souls"  Thomas Paine said that.  "These are the times that make me want to throw in the rod".  I said that.

Later, while packing for the day, I stuck myself deep with a size 8 olive leech.   A moment of panic and then  the point being driven home.  It slipped out of my finger with ease.

Today as the vision of that fish dances in my brain, I have been wrestling with the choice of a possible trip to the hospital verses a photo with the largest landlocked salmon of my life.  This is really a hard one...........

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Salmon River Spey Question.......

Reader Question:

How are you?  I was wondering if you could give me some ideas on what type of leader you recommend for swinging Spey flies (size 1.5 to 5 Daiichi Alec Jackson Hooks) on the Salmon River in NY?  I've been fishing the 750cfs flow.  I'm using a 13 foot Dec Hogan with a Balastic Scandi Head.  Any help would be appreciated.....since I'm still very new to the Spey. 
FlySpoke Answer:
If the DH is an 8 weight it is perfect.  You have asked a question with many answers.   You are limiting the possibilities by using the Scandi.  Let's first look at the difference in three different styles of lines.  Each has a belly section that is the part of the line that propels your cast.  The belly on a Short Spey line is further back from the front of the line than a Scandi.  The belly of a Scandi is further back from the front as a Skagit.   The Skagit belly is more a barrel and extra heavy close to the front of the line.  The only other option that is on the horizon is coming from Rio.  It is a hybrid of a Scandi and Skagit they are calling The Steelhead line.  I hope to give one a try soon.

So, on the Salmon River where casting room is limited at times and you are wanting to use larger Spey style flies and you need to use sinking tips and poly leaders, I go with the Skagit.  You call your favorite line company and you tell them the rod you have and they will match the line grain weight exact to the rod.  There are both integrated as well as heads available.  I am using the Rio system and changing heads as needed.

Now, you need to have a collection of tips.  Tungsten gets you really deep.  These you make loop to loop connectors 3 feet, 5 feet, 7.5 feet and 10 feet.  The longer the tip the deeper you go.  You will also want to have a collection of poly leaders.  These are tapered coated mono that are available from a wide range on vendors in lengths and sink rates.  You could easily buy 20 different heads today.  I first purchased poly leaders while fishing in Scotland when no company or store in the US(well, East Coast Anyway) ever heard of them.  Today they are a standard.  Make sure you check the strength as there are now trout options and I go for the 20-24 pound strength.

Tippet is connected to the sink tip.  This now varies depending on depth and the sink tip you choose.  Last week I was fishing Atlantic Salmon in Nova Scotia and the water was up a bit.  I used a 12 foot poly at 6.4 inches per second sink rate with a 10 pound Maxima at 18 inches.  The longer the tippet the higher the fly will ride from the bottom.  This is something you need to experiment with.   When swinging flies for Steelhead the leader does not need to be as small as when indicator or nymph style fishing.  The leader is always behind the fly and the fish really can not see it well from that angle.   If you like fluorocarbon, there is no need to go lower that 10 pound test.  I do not taper the leaders.

The last piece to the puzzle is how do I keep my fly fishing deep without loosing too many flies on the bottom.  I am working on an article right now called "Loosing weight one shot at a time"   I am building trout and Steelhead flies weighted so that the hook rides up and the Spey flies are built up side down.  The amount of weight in the fly is another factor you must understand when choosing the fly on the piece of water you are fishing.  This is not a new concept but one that is not available to the non tier.  

So, I hope this helps a bit.  If you want to stay with your Scandi, then just do the same thing as I say off the tip.  It will be harder to cast and use more room around you but it will work.

If I can answer more specific questions please feel free to ask.

Always the very best,


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tails You Win, Heads You Lose

A few weeks ago I was fishing one of our northern rivers for Landlocked Salmon. The water was very high, the highest I have ever seen. After working hard all morning in slack water areas and behind boulders, without success,  I made my way back toward the car and met a few very interesting people.  Two Canadians, a couple who had just purchased property in the Great North Woods, and a fellow from Vermont named Mark Wilde.  After a longer time than I am usually willing to take from my fishing day, I'm not anti social but compulsively driven,  Mark and I decided to head down river together and fish a long straight run that is a staging area when the fish are on the move.  My good friend Leo was working his way down river caught up and the three of us made cast after cast and saw nothing at all.

Next we decided to give two different locations a go.  Leo and I went to the top end in the car and Mark wanted to try some of the middle runs. We would meet at 2pm to go to another river and fish for big browns.

Mark is a fishing guide in the state of Vermont and getting another river into my experience would be a positive on the day even if no fish came to hand.

Well let's just say I was a bit off the game.  I found myself sitting down on a big rock as Leo made a difficult trek down river to fish a few pools from river right.   Now close to 2pm I was hap hazardously throwing a few casts in the upper run when it happened.  Bang, I brought a nice nineteen inch salmon to net.  Leo showed up and while he was going to get Mark it happened again.  Another nineteen inch salmon.  I swear they were the same fish.

As Mark and Leo returned we exchange some info and I gave Mark the fly that was working.  Later he showed me the flies that work for him and the difference in the style and sizing was startling.   My box was full of small size 16 nymph like creations and his was chock full of leach looking stone fly  patterns in a number of colors.  The most interesting part of the fly was that they all keel point up.  They are weighted on the top and sides of the hook so that when in the water the hook point rides up and does not hang up as much.  This fishing requires a bottom presentation and this tying technique offers a way to fish more and tie knots a bit less.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that we continued to hook a few fish.

So thanks to Mark I now have a piece of the puzzle confirmed for the next post.  Maybe I will call it "Loosing Weight One Shot At A Time"

Mark catches fish.  He is available as a guide and I recommend  that you give him a call.  He can be reached through this link: Uncle Jammer Vermont Guide Service.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Margaree Copper Killer

1.5 Alec Jackson Gold Hook
Copper Wire
Green Floss
Red Golden Pheasant Breast Feather
Chinese Red Wool
Flat Copper Tinsel
Copper Wire
Bright Orange Hen Hackle
Red Squirrel Tail
Red Clear Head 4 Coats 

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Moment Might Matter

It was 3am on a Saturday in October and the anticipation that had been building for almost a year was in full gear.  I had a three hour drive, stoked by adrenalin, to be on the river with the anticipation that I would be the first through the run.  I just love using my two hand five weight switch rod to swing and bump for salmon.  No back casts in tree lined areas and the ability to switch over to nymph drifting where needed.  If you don't own one you are missing something very enjoyable.

After meeting my fishing buddy we made the balance of a drive that was sure to be a direct path to the best Landlocked Salmon  fishing of the season.  Pulling into the small parking area there was one other car.  "This is not unusual", I thought, "must just be there overnight", I said.  It was still dark with a glimmer showing over the hill and we started our walk and then in perfect unison, "Oh sh&^%@#"!!!. We saw the head lamps stumbling around the large and difficult to navigate boulders in the woods.

What could it have been?  Five, maybe ten minutes at best.  The difference between getting the most perfect Salmon pool I know or all the others was substantial.  Not that we would be without fish, but the quantity would be dramatically different.

As it turned out the winners to the pool were good friends and members of The Club. They had a great morning while we had a good one.  I'm chomping at the bit right now with only a few days to go before I am back on that water.  This year I'm leaving five minutes early.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Salmon Are Like A Box Of Chocolates

I'm back far too quickly from the long week ends trip.  The colors are changing, the temperature is down and the river is just full of salmon this year.  Every major holding pool has fish in the upper river.  The lower pools are not doing well at all.  Seems like the heat and low water of August pushed the fish that would stay in the lower pools higher up river.  As the season gets closer to spawning time new fish will arrive and some will drop back to the place of their birth.

The Matapedia is a Salmon fishermen's river.  Understanding the conditions takes the time to learn what the possibilities will be.  In my thirty years of angling there it still can take me a little bit of time to unlock the door.  This trip was no exception.

Over the past two weeks the night time thermometer has already hit 32 and the valley has had it's first frost.  The river was reading 51 degrees in the morning and only making it to 55 degrees by the afternoon.  The dry fly fishing I fantasized about was not going to happen.  I did try but there were no takers.  The smallest fly that was working only needed to be a size six.  This was a bit larger than I expected.  The fly of choice turned out to be the orange shrimp patterns like Alley's Shrimp, Pot Belly Pig and General Practitioners.  I hooked three fish on my Orange & Black and all Orange Generals.

If you were to look at the statistics for Matapedia you would find that in a great year like this the average is 1 fish for every 4 rod days. Most years you can expect to fish for six days per salmon.  Then look at the statistics and you will see that right now the average is running one salmon for every two days.  Very good indeed.

The river will fish well right now through the close at the end of the month.  If you have any questions on the Matapedia and surrounding area please sen me an email.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Love Quebec, Matapedia Bound

So right now I should be sleeping.  No can do because I am finishing packing to go to Matapedia and possibly over to Matane if needed.   The water is up and the river is out of this August's issues of high heat and the lowest recorded river height in history.  The Matapedia turns catch and release today, the locals will be in the woods hunting and the crowds of spring and early summer are gone.

This past June and July the Matapedia had it's best start in fifty years.  The fish were large and entering the river every day.  Sadly, I missed being there due to work and family responsibilities.  So, I am going to go for three days in September.  I have had a mixed bag of September fishing in past years but what I have noticed is that when the water has been revived with rain and cool nights the fishing can be wonderful.  I have had more than one three fish days in September on a number of Quebec rivers.

There are two ways to be successful.  The first is to use very small wet flies.  Size 8-12 tied sparsely.  You make your presentation so that the fly can dangle in the current as much as possible.  I then try to twitch the fly back in very short one to two inch strips.  This style of salmon fishing can be very tedious and at the same time a killer  for fish that have been in the river for a while.

The second and my absolute favorite way to fish Salmo Salar is dry fly.  You make quick casts on short drifts.  Pick up, lay down, pick up, lay down.  Look at the river as it is a big piece of graph paper.  Cover every one foot square from bottom to top.  Make the fly pop on the water and don't be afraid to make a commotion.  Most times the fish will come up and slap the fly.  If this is happening stay with the same fly in smaller or larger sizes.  They say in Quebec that the large bomber is for attracting the fish, the small bomber is for catching the fish.

My head is spinning, my equipment is squared away, I have all new leader material, my flies are in great condition, well sorted and arranged.   Three two handers are packed and each with multiple reels and lines.  I think the timing is right and I am filled with anticipation.  I have been on more Salmon trips than I could ever remember and I still feel like a kid every time.  Wish me luck!!!!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Heaven In October, They call It Margaree

For me the Margaree River on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia represents the end to my North American Atlantic Salmon season.  This is not a consolation prize.  The Margaree valley is so wonderful that just being there is magical.  The bonus of some large chrome is the cherry on top.

There is one very important factor that must be in play to make the circle complete.  A flush of water.

The river has two separate and distinctive runs each year.  There is a summer run in June and July that has been on the increase over the last few years.  These fish spread out over the entire river and receive steady angling pressure.   They will be very dark by the time October rolls around.  The fall run is made up of some very beautiful wide shoulder fish that will start to trickle during the first week of the month.  It's a nice steady increase of water that is important to this time.  I have seen the run hold off until later in low water years.

Some Margaree veterans say that you should wait as late as possible in October.  This year I am pushing the time back three days.  I have but four days to fish and want to make the best of the timing.  Most years you have a choice.  The second week of October will afford decent weather, sometimes down right perfect but there is a strong possibility that the fish don't show.  The third week the fish seem to like but the weather can snap to a winter feel over night.  I have experienced warm sun and light winds as well as snow flying sideways and the worst of conditions.  A fire and hot soup is advised.

The river is all public from the Big Intervale bridge down to the sea and offers very different challenges.  Make sure you drive up and see the area.   I bring three two hand rods.  15'/10, 13'/7 and 10'3"switch/8.  In October the rules require single hook that is barb free or pinched.  I use many different sizes of flies from size 6 to SunRay size tubes.  A big #2 Mickey Finn will do the trick on most pools.  You will want to have the color purple in some marabou collar flies and I strongly recommend the Ross Special.

I am giving this information and advise because I have never felt crowded on the Margaree.  Some of the pools can get a bit tight but there are so many places that can hold fish it is hard to cover but a few over a weeks trip.   The mix of people are the best you will find anywhere.  Please send me an e-mail should you desire any further information.  I think about the Margaree for the full twelve months waiting for the next trip. I call it  "Heaven In October"

Monday, September 6, 2010

What If?

What if?  Yea, what if you had to fish for a full year with just one fly pattern in any size needed.  What would your choice be?  I would choose the Pheasant Tail.

I have caught all sorts of fish on this fly.  Trout, Atlantic Salmon and Steelhead have all taken the pattern.  There are just so many different variations possible it seems like the choices are endless.  This photo is of some size 16's with brown hackle for legs.  I tie with burnt orange 12/0 Georgio Bennechi thread.

Frank Sawyer first tied the patter to imitate Baetis found in the chalk streams of England.  This simple and drab fly was tied using only the Pheasant tail for tail, body and wing casing with peacock hurl for the abdomen.  There was no tying thread but only fine copper wire.

For Steelhead I tie the fly on a size 8 to 12 Caddis style hook and will make the abdomen of different colors.  Chartreuse, bright blue and red will all work at different times.  Also the fly can be tied as an egg sucking Pheasant Tail.  It seems egg sucking anything will do well in Pulaski.
For Atlantic Salmon I use an up eye Salmon iron with the tail a bit longer.  Any size will work just fine depending on water conditions.  The photo is a size 6 heavy iron hook.  Try dead drifting when the fish have been in the river for a while with a size 12.  A little twitch might do the trick.

Use your imagination with this fly.  It will surprise you in all the forms it can take as well as all the different kinds of fish that will bite.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

#14's A Charm

Once upon a time I traveled,  with my brother, to New Brunswick, Canada each and every October to fish the Cains River.  Some years we saw good days, but mostly the season closed before the big run of fall Salmon were on the move in earnest.

One year though, the water was perfect and the fish were moving up river in massive quantity.  We traveled on the Cains River Road over the Miramichi and covered the five miles of dirt to where it meets the Cains.  Turn left on the logging road and you will find the magical pools between Coburn's down to Finn Brook.

This day we turned right and decided to fish The School House Pool that is right on the road.  Although the fish were very active we could not get a take.  They were moving through the pool and would not stop to even take a look.  I did notice that a short distance down river there was a constant show happening on river left.  We proceeded down and in a very small amount of time my brother landed the largest salmon of both our lives.  A nice female of about twenty pounds  At that moment I was in second place and it was not a comfortable position as a bit of a contorting smirk had developed on his face.

I waded out into the top of the bar and started to cast a #10 Copper Killer that produced an immediate boil to the fly.  Second cast, nothing.  Third, nothing.  Fourth, nothing.  For the next two hours I tied on twelve other flies and cast no more than four times with each.  The fish would  show to the first cast and then nothing.  On the fourteenth fly I went back to the first fly. I cast the tiny fly and the fish struck the tiny Copper Killer and tail danced backward for what seemed like minutes.  We measured from hook jaw to tail at 44" and let him go about 100 yards below the pool.

If you are going to be Salmon fishing during September and October make sure that you have a few Copper Killers in smaller sizes.  It just might be the trick that keeps a little brother from smiling too much.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Turning Goose Liver Into Goose Pate'

You want to give this a try.  There are many different feathers that can be used in the Spey style.  In order to get a wide range of sizing and looks different feathers are needed.

Burning these feathers is easy and very cost effective.  Please watch this video and then see for yourself.

William                                                                           The Crimson Tide

Burning Spey Hackles Video

Monday, August 2, 2010

Does The Fly Really Matter?

For many Octobers, I made a trip to New Brunswick, Canada to close out the Atlantic Salmon season.  I would base myself in the Blackville area and fish the fall run rivers.  Cains, Bartholomew, Little Sou' West and the Mirimichi.

On this particular trip the fishing was hard.  The major attraction for me was to go to the Cains River and have at it's famed large fish as they ran far up river.  The water was low and the fishing was slow.  My guide's two sons, who lived in Fredericton, called to say that the Nashwaak was up and the fish were is great numbers.  We drove to meet them at the Pig Farm Pool.  This pool is one of the first bar style pools that the fish encounter on the Nashwaak.  The water makes a right hand sweep over a bar and deflects off the deeper river left.  You can fish from the bar or as we did just below the bar on river left. 

A very interesting aspect of this tributary of the Saint John is that the headwaters start on the opposite slope that creates the Mirimichi River.  Nashwaak Lake is only five miles from Mirimachi Lake.  Today, the Nashwaak is closed to Salmon fishing as it is a Bay of Fundy class river and has seen a dramatic decrease in numbers.

This was one of those magical times when you could sit on the bank and watch for the fish coming.  There were just so many.  Hold, Hold, Hoooold, OK cast away.  Chances were good that if you had the right fly you could hook, not necessarily land, a salmon from each pod.  And that is exactly what happened.  I was on fire.  The salmon Gods were with me and I proceeded to hook nine salmon in one hour and fifteen minutes.  I landed three.

The fly was a well used and trusted Mickey Finn.  I hooked and released my first salmon from the Narraguagus River in Maine many years before on a Micky Finn.  This was my favorite fall fly, period.  On one poorly executed cast I caught the brush behind me and the Mickey was gone.  I looked and looked and could not retrieve that fly.  Oh well, I opened my box and tied on another Mickey Finn.  No problem, I would land my limit number four fish and we would go home. Right???

For the next three hours I watched wave after wave of salmon proceed past me with the same rod, the same reel, the same line, the same leader and the same fly.  No takers.  The same fly?  Well not really.  Is it possible that the flies that are so successful must be copied exactly in the shape and form in order to be right?  Is a Mickey a Mickey?  Or, as some might have you believe that the fly does not matter.

Today, I carry more than one fly in each of my go to patterns.  If I am not successful with a Black Dose and I want to go back to the Black Dose later, I use a different Black Dose.  Who knows, maybe the wing is the smallest amount too long.

I do wish I had that Micky Finn back.  It might answer so many questions.  And then again...................


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Syd Glasso Orange Heron

It  is very rare for a completely new fly form to be credited to just one person.   But in the case of Syd Glasso it is exactly what happened.  Syd Glasso shared his Steelhead Spey style flies and the use of Saddle tips as Spey wings was born.

Although there seems to be no exacting list of patterns, as Mr. Glasso tied many variations of his flies, there are a number of patterns that are well known and in common use today.

A few are Black, Purple, Gold, Orange and Silver Heron.  Sol Duc, Sol Duc Dark and Sol Duc Spey.  Any steelhead river will be very honored to be fished with the work of Syd Glasso.  I just think it is a great deal of fun and will be some of my go to flies in New York this November.

Orange Heron (in my variation)
Alex Jackson Gold  3.0
Orange Floss Rear Body
Gold Tag & Rib
Orange Dubbing Front Body
Natural Blue Eared Pheasant from Floss Forward
Teal Collar Pulled Down
Four Orange Saddle Hackle Tips Wing
Red Head With Four Coats Clear

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Four Days On Glen Emma

At 7:45 on the morning of June 25, 2006,  I arrived at the Glenn Emma Camp on the Matapedia River on the Gaspe Peninsula of Quebec. I drew #54 in the November lottery and picked the four days allowed. During my first visit to the Matapedia in 1980 I had the great fortune to get that certain feeling of the valley. There was something that called me back year after year, and now I understand why.

At 9:15 I had been through Angus Pool and already raised six fish, hooked two and landed a fifteen pound rocket. The one that got away Tarponed out of the tail of the pool, jump after jump straight down through the rapid below, deep into my backing and then my line went limp. This was the best hour and fifteen minutes of Salar I had experienced in many years.  My memory of that morning is stitched to my forehead as if I can see through a third eye.

The rotation rules at Glenn Emma are a wee bit complicated to understand at first. You can be in line for the best or something not quite the best. I hit the jackpot.

Glenn Emma fishes ten pools per session with one rod per pool.  If you land a fish in the morning session, you can not fish that pool for the evening and must move in a set rotation. A bit upset, yet not complaining, I was moved to sector 5 for the evening hours. My mind was on what I lost and not what I could gain. During the afternoon the sport in Milnikek Pool, the greatest of all pools on the river, made his limit. Now the person in sector 4 was called on the walkie talkie to move on down to Milnikek. As that angler made his final catch at 7:30, I could now move down into the famed waters. I landed my second and limit fish for the day after about 10 casts. A dime bright twelve pound fish. Now I get it, and I full well expected what was to come.

On day two my natural rotation was to sector 4, as I did not hook a fish there the day before. The highlight of this zone, is a great pool called Elm Tree. Spectacular ledge water with deep pockets and runs. We saw only one fish and could not get it to take. Again there was the calling of the radio in a French machine gun like voice, Milnikek, Milnikek, Milnikek is open. We slid on down.

That afternoon in this incredible water I raised more salmon than I had in the last ten years. I have fished on some of the best waters of the Gaspe, but nothing has been as magical as the waters set before me for these few days. By 8pm I was at my three fish limit with a bright beauty of 20+ pounds. We released her from the grip of a size 6 hybrid Black Dose. I slept well.

The next morning my natural rotation placed me in, yes that's right, Milnikek Pool. The weather was very different that day and the barometer was keeping the fish down. I had my chances to dries and wets all morning without a hook up. The rain fell hard and muddied the waters up stream out of the Causapscal, the Matapedia's main tributary and home to the largest fish the system holds.

The second half to the day found the river settled and clear yet started very slowly. Not until my trusted guide Guy Raymond said “the black dose" at exactly 8pm. Polling into expert position and pointing to the exact location of experience Guy said, "right there". One cast into the slick where Milnikek Stream enters the pool and we were fast to the largest fish of the trip. Twenty minutes of fight and we released a 25 pound beauty.

My fourth and final day was on a pool called Kennedy. Natural rotation, got it now.  A very long pool with different aspects of fast and slow water top to bottom. I managed to raise a few fish as well as bungle a take to an orange bomber. This was a no emergency day with little pressure. A day I simply enjoyed the fishing and the memories of the six fish that came before. I also wonder if my luck, possibly exhausted, will ever call me back to Milnikek.  Make sure you get your November 1 draw tickets for Glenn Emma.  I don't think the chances are very good to get three days on Milnikek but I would be happy for just one on Angus.

Right now the Matapedia is dancing in my head.  This is a Salmon fishers Salmon river at it's best and should be on every one's bucket list.  Go now!!!! The run is on.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hat's Off On North Conway's Saco River

The Saco River should be a destination for any angler who wants to have a complete New England fly casting experience.  My first visit was in the summer of 1973.  It's really simple.   This is New Hampshire's Beverkill, Battenkill and Ausable in the minds eye of a fly casters dream.  The beginnings of fly fishing in New England can be felt by those who what to experience the lore of the river.  She flows crystal from the Presidential Mountain Range for some 134 miles to enter the Atlantic at Saco, Maine.

I saw many very large browns cruising one of the pools I fished.  Some locations had only brook trout in the ten inch range but what they lack in size is made up in quantity.  They traveled in packs.  Yesterday was a very hard fishing day as the barometric pressure and higher than desired flow made for a hatch free day.  To say activity was low would be an understatement.  The highlight for this time of year is the spinner fall late in the day.  No hatch means no spinners.  I did manage three good browns and five brookies all on Light Cahill Wood Duck Emergers.  They had to be twitched and slowly stripped just under the surface.

You can walk the entire two and a half miles of the fly fishing controlled section to see all pools.  The land is private and locals ask for our civil awareness to keep the area clean.  The area is shadowed by the White Mountains and has the look and feel of the great outdoors at it's best.

By itself, New Hampshire does a fine job with stocking the river as the indigenous brook trout can not compete with angling pressure.   The added bonus is the tradition and understanding in North Conway that the health of the river, as a fishing and canoeing waterway, is vital.  The state gives permission for a controlled stocking in addition to it's investment.

 Bill Thompson, the owner of North Country Anglers writes, "In what has become an annual rite of spring the members of Saco Valley Anglers Trout Unlimited have once again stocked the Saco River with trout. Saco Valley Anglers have been doing this for over twenty-five years. The annual event came about do to the efforts of two of the founding members of the trout club Dick Surette and Dick Stewart. Dick Surette was always fond of saying: “Most clubs stock trout in private ponds for the exclusive use of their members, our club puts trout in public water so that anyone may fish for them”. The stocked fish are in addition to the trout stocked by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. The trout are paid for by funds raised by club members at their annual auction." 

If you are fishing Saco for the first time, I suggest you hire a guide.  You can also make part of the day going to the Ellis River for some quality rainbow fishing.  If you want the best of the fishing, you will not want to spend your time searching. 

The one thing that is hard to deal with is the canoe and kayak hatch.  This river is more heavily traveled as we get closer to July especially on week ends .  If you want to go, go now!


If you want to know more about the Saco then please Email me at

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Let It Rain, Dear Lord, Let It Rain

Yesterday, I made the trip to a favorite river in central New Hampshire.  This being my fourth attempt this year, I arrived to find the river was not stocked and looking as low as I have ever seen in early June.  Every place I go the water is seriously down and very warm and feels like the middle of July.  I changed location and did manage a reasonable day releasing 15 rainbows from the Pemigewasset.  All stocked fish and straight from the hatchery right down the road that fell for olive leaches and wood duck flies.

The Pemi is the main flow that feeds into the Merrimack River.  Early in it's history the Pemi was a thriving Atlantic Salmon run.  I sometimes catch myself feeling sorry for not having the opportunity to have been there then.  Salmon and Shad traveled the Merrimack to Franklin where the Winnipesaukee River enters.  At this point all the Shad went up the Winni and all the salmon continued up the Pemi.  With the headwaters high up in the White Mountains, the river flows through some of the most rugged land New Hampshire has to offer.  The area I fish, in Bristol, is boulder laden and not the easiest to navigate.   This is also the home of the state record rainbow at 14 pounds.

Right now, without wanting to travel into the North Country or North Woods your best bet for trout is on the Pemigewasset.  This vast area will hold many anglers and does have a substantial quantity of fish.  Native and stocked Brook Trout as well as stocked rainbows are available. Who knows, you may even hook into that eighteen pound Atlantic Salmon broodstock that was put in this spring.

So back to the rain.  Hopefully today we are seeing a bit of a change in the weather.  The rain is falling hard right now and the temperatures look like they will be lower for the next week.  We need to have some substantial precipitation in order to get things back to normal for the season.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Spey Fly?

There are big differences between the Traditional Spey Fly and the modern flies that are being tied today with long hackles.  From Steelhead to Atlantic Salmon fishing the use of long rods and flies with long hackles are being called 'Spey' like it is as generic as facial tissue.

In my opinion, to call this wonderful style of flies using more modern materials and more diverse hackles Spey flies, limits the true creative flair that has been implemented on our side of the pond.  Don't get me wrong, Spey, Dee, Don and British Feather Wings are wonderful examples of the style of that day.   As the Northern European casters move to tubes in Temple Dog and Sun Ray style, we for sure will follow suit.  I just think that today we should call this style of flies our own.  I call them North American Collar Flies.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Sad Truth About Climate Change

Dear Friends,

Yesterday, on a fishing forum, I had a very difficult encounter over my position on Climate Change and the relationship to fishing.  I did my best to not be political.  The responses that were posted on the forum became increasingly so.  Even though many members posted real statistics in volume they were discarded by some.

How do we confront the most important issue for the future of our country and planet without the conversation turning political?  Why can't we have a lucid conversation that culminates in an intelligent conclusion and course of action?

Is Global Warming and Climate Change real?  I personally think so.  Should we do anything about it?  I think that we have a duty to God and Country to do so?

I posted this chart as what I see as courses of action as I do not see middle ground on this topic.  You ether want to do something or you don't.
What was replied from one member was a rash of information about treating people as morons by using fear as a motive.

I did nothing of the sort.  I truly do not see any alternatives to these positions.  The poster did not offer a fifth option.  Just rants about taxes, hunger the death penalty and Al Gores private jets.

I know that talking about this topic has ramifications that may have some of you tune me out.  If you do then it is my opinion that you are making a political choice and not basing your action on data.  I don't believe that Climate Change is happening or not based on what the talking heads have to say.  I base it on the last fifty years of charted statistics.  I also believe that the situation can move in the other direction with one good volcano.

In the forum discussion some wanted to tune out.  Please don't.  My position is that we must all try to civilly work together on this problem.  "Divided We Fall"  The little things can mean so much in total.  Water filters rather than plastic bottles,  reusable shopping bags and not paper or plastic,  making your next auto purchase have better mileage, supporting higher fuel standards,  supporting reusable energy companies,  the list goes on.

So how does this relate to a fishing blog?

Water, air, climate and the desire to keep them safe for generations to come.  I am not trying to offend anyone or pick sides in an election but given the events in the Gulf Of Mexico over the past month, Drill Baby Drill is not high on my list of solutions to better fishing.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fly Tying Tip 103

When using floss always make sure that you match the effect desired with a twist.  If you use floss loosely spun it will apply very flat.  When wrapping from head to tag and back make sure that the wrap at the tag is twisted tighter and then made loose to go back to the head.  This will give a flat body and not have your floss fall off the end when fishing.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Can Lightning Strike Twice??????

On Friday night I received a phone call from one of my good Fish Club friends.  He told me that he just experienced some of the best dry fly action and I should get there on Saturday.  Having great respect for this gentleman I made my way to the river.

Now what you must know is that the fish were all Landlocked Salmon ranging from eighteen to twenty two inches.  Five in total over the span of two hours.  Even the most avid of salmon anglers may never have such an opportunity and at the location the possibility only happens some years.  The door stays open for a very, very short time and can slam shut in a heartbeat..

Saturday started out very slow I was thinking that I missed it and traveled to another location to find some fish..  I called my friend and he said that the window was connected to a hatch cadence for the Caddis that were the attraction to the salmon.  He said that he did not get to the river until 3pm the day before and he would meet me there at that time.  Hatches of all kinds have a rhythm.  

When I arrived back at the location I found  the fish boiling on caddis all over the place.  I landed a nineteen inch fish on my first presentation.  For three hours we both released nine fish each and missed many more.  All on dry flies.  The most exciting dry fly action I have ever experienced.

On the ride home I called my fishing buddy and told him of the event.  He said that he has been waiting five years for this situation to happen again and would join me the next day.  Because the weather was going to be sunnier and warmer we decided to get there a bit earlier and arrive at the river at 1PM.  The fish were happening even more intense than the day before.  I missed a fish and my friend landed a twenty inch beauty and then the whole thing shut down.  It seems that the hatch happened even earlier than anticipated.  We stayed until 7PM and the hatch never came back.

Wow!!!  What a difference a day can make.

Rule Of The Game

Get there early and wait it out and do not give up.  You may never get a chance at such wealth again.


If you would like more information on this post please E-mail
If you would like to post a comment please click the title

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Two Hand Salter Style

If you have been in the two hand casting game for at least five years then you have seen a dramatic increase in the old world styles popularity. A re-birth of what was the norm many years ago.  The benefits of  Spey, Skagit and Scandi for Salmon and Steelhead have been written about for some time now. There is one aspect of the two hand rod that has not received a great deal of attention. Salt water casting from a non platform position with the use of a striping basket.  Let's define what I am talking about.

Say you are fishing from the beach, rocks, flats or jetty. This means that the environment at your feet is probably not very friendly.  In theory the advantage of the longer rod will be of relevance when you are able to cast farther using big flies. Having the extra length of rod should keep you clear above debris and rolling waves to achieve this goal. With the techniques below you will be casting farther and have greater control of each presentation.

One of the strongest casts that can be made with a two hand rod is with dominant hand up and over the opposite shoulder. The style is used by Scandinavian casters with shooting heads to gain great distance. This cast makes it possible to fish the salt with a two hand rod and not have your lower hand interfere with the need for a striping basket. The basket will be worn on the same side hip as your lower hand. You will also note that this keeps the bottom of the handle on your dominant hand side and does not hinder striping line.

For Wind Behind,Right To Left or Head On
  • Right hand up over left shoulder = Right foot forward
  • Body canters fore and aft with cast motion
  • Right hand up = Stripping Basket on Left Hip
  • Shooting with intermediate and sinking heads will cast best
  • Use 11' to 14' firmer fast action style rods that are as light as possible with short bottom hand grips
  • Back casts are made by pointing the rod tip at 10 o'clock and pulling up and back to 2 o'clock hard
  • Forward cast is stopped abruptly at 11 o'clock keeping hands close to the body and making a strong pulling with the bottom hand
  • Arms must be kept tight to the body with very little extension of the dominate hand
For Wind Left To Right
  • Sling Cast holding dominate hand at shoulder level
  • Lower hand at chest level
  • Pull hard with lower hand
  • Rock back and forward and use body momentum
  • Forward Cast is stopped abruptly at 11 o'clock at horizon
  • Keep arms as compact and tight to the body as possible
As all of this casting is overhead style we can also include a standard cast with the bottom hand held higher. This hand also becomes the underhand pull that is required for distance.
    I introduce the Salter Casts for two hand rods.


    For more information about this post please email me at If you would like to comment on this post please click on the time stamp.

      Friday, April 23, 2010

      Peche Au Saumon A La Mouche

      Spring comes later than usual in Quebec.  The trees have not started to show life as in our greening New England.  The word from up north this year is that things are progressing a bit faster than in the past.  With the full moon on May 27 we might be surprised with some earlier than usual arrivals.

      It is now time to finalize and secure your Atlantic Salmon dates.  If you have not won water in the November draws, you may choose to play it by ear and wait to check conditions.  This is all well and good so long as private water with the best guides is not your game.  Given the state of our economy, there are some quality destinations still available.   The only time I have ever had an issue with lodging in Quebec was during my very first excursion in 1980.   I have always been able to find a bed, but I now always book in advance to be safe.

      Thanks to the demands of the great people in Quebec, there is a substantial amount of public non reserved water available.  All rivers except The Restigouche, Grande Cascapedia, Ste. Anne and Madeline have open public stretches available for a daily access fee.  You can buy your license and access fee at a number of locations close to the river you choose.  Guides are not mandatory but will shorten your learning curve dramatically.

      I have wonderful memories of Quebec, it's people and Salmon.  The days I spend on a Salmon river are all very dear.  My choice of location and timing holds a higher level of anticipation that a big white hot screamer might be lurking.

      You cast a tight line, you and your guides eyes swing in tandem arc.......the boil......the pull.........I'm home.


      If you have any questions about this post please e-mail
      If you would like to post a comment please click on the title 

      Thursday, April 15, 2010

      Try To Get There Now

      If there ever is a time to get out to New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania to fish for Steelhead it is now.  The water is warming and the fish will be traveling back to the lake as drop backs.  Also on some of the creeks there will be fresh fish on the move.

      This is a perfect time to get out that two hand set up and swing flies.  Big marabou and bunny leeches will work. If you need to be more sophisticated then tie large tube files in Temple Dog and Sun Ray style.  Just so long as they are big and bright.  Pink, purple, black and bright blue will all work great.

      For The Salmon River & Pulaski
      Check the Water
      Check the Weather
      Check the Reports

      There are other rivers that don't get as much attention as the Salmon River.  Look hard for more information west of Pulaski and you could take advantage of some of the best fishing in the North East.

      If you would like more information on this post please Email
      If you would like to post a comment please click the title

      Thursday, April 8, 2010


      I have fished this fly with great success. Originally called the Green Butt Black Bear and now the Black Bear Green Butt. When the first Black Bear fly was created it had a yellow floss tag and no tail. The body was black floss and the throat was black hen hackle.Many patterns have been derived from that first tied Black Bear. You could make an entire complement of patterns by just changing the color of the tail, throat & butt. I'm going for the Black Bear Blue Butt next. In the spectrum of color that a salmon can see, black, blue, white and green are the winners. In full sun the spectrum is a total of 23 colors. In darkness, only black and white can be seen. You will notice that I have taken some liberty with materials in the video. Creativity is the route of invention. Try anything because it all works.


      YouTube Step By Step Link

      Monday, April 5, 2010

      Fishless Day, Oh No!!!!

      Saturday I set an alarm for 5am. I was promptly out of the house and made a one and a half hour drive so I could be on the river early. When I arrive there were already six rods in the water.

      It felt like I was in Pulaski and I will need to set my alarm for 4am next time. I had been thinking of this morning all week with work being more than demanding. Even with the crowds, the fishing felt rewarding. I finished the day hooking six fish with one that screamed toward the down tree and snapped 6.4 pound test. For sure this was a salmon as the rainbows tend to dog the bottom. This fish, that took my Opechee Smelt fly, felt like it had some weight and may have exceeded twenty inches. Other flies that were working were Hot Pink San Juan Worms, Green Caddis Pupa, Heron flies, Jail Birds and Woody flies.

      My hard to believe, and unanticipated, result was that all six fish hooked were lost. Mostly to dropping my barb free hooks. The salmon will take and then make very erratic movements sometimes straight into the air. Many times they will dart up river and then down like they are going back to the lake as fast as possible.

      I must say that the anglers that were on the river today are really a great group. All with the passion and desire for a wonderful day fishing. The banter went on, up and down the run, till only a few die hard casters were left.

      In the distance I can see them coming, around the bend and up to the run. The time between is but a moment. I am the moment and the time is the past.


      If you would like more information on this post please email me at
      If you would like to post a comment please click the title.

      Wednesday, March 31, 2010

      Is This Really About Fishing?????

      I read a post on one of the forums asking if we should be upset if something changes our opening day plans??? Damn right, we should be!!!! Our lives have been altered through no fault of our own. If we weren't, some might think that our passion has not hit the level needed for transformation of thought into creative action. Kind of like taking the last shot with half a second left without thinking of what to do. It just is, and comes without premeditation. We are one with the quarry.

      All winter I am fantasizing about that first cast in a place I love. I'm there early to be number 1 on my favorite run. My life is connected to these places and that is clear. I am always seeking the perfect wave!!

      This is not about competition. It is about the undisturbed antithesis of our other than family passions. We need to take the act of angling to that special moment lost in time.

      When expectations are removed we have the ability to change for sure. The only thing that is lost are the brain cells used while creating perfection in our mind.

      The very good part of change is that all is transformed with that first fish. We are in the zone, time doesn't matter and life goes on.

      So, are we happy now?


      Saturday, March 20, 2010

      When You See A Rainbow

      It's time for the Bows.  Through the month of March, no matter what the weather, when the urge hits, the run will be on.  Where is your favorite lake or pond with hold over rainbow trout?  What is the inflowing river? 

      Don't be surprised to pull out the biggest trout you have ever seen or maybe a good size Landlocked Salmon.


      If you would like more information about this post please Email me at
      If you would like to comment on this post please click the time stamp 

      Thursday, March 18, 2010

      The Orange Dog

      The Orange Dog Step By Step On YouTube
      Thread- Black 8/0
      Hook- Daiichi 452 Stanless Or Your Favorite Tube Hook
      Connector Tube- Red
      Body Tube- Eumer Brass Teardrop Black
      Inner Tube- Eumer Silicone Small
      1st Wing- Purple Angel Hair Flash-a-bou
      2nd Wing- Lilac Fine Deer Hair
      3rd Wing- Orange Arctic Fox
      1st Collar- Orange Spey Hackle
      2nd Collar- Black Blue Eared Pheasant
      Eyes- Jungle Cock Nails
      Cone- Eumer Monster Cone Copper

      This fly is designed for fishing Steelhead and Brown Trout in Western New York State on the swing.  The style comes from Scandinavian  flies called Temple Dogs as this is the very soft and flowing hair that is used in their patterns.  If you change the colors and keep the basis of construction you will have a very complete selection to use for two hand rods with Skagit and Shooting lines.

      Wednesday, March 17, 2010

      Come On!!!!!! Let's Go Fishing

      This week I received an Email from a fellow who saw a post I made on a New England fishing forum. He related how the post reminded him of times with his late brother and said to me, "you made my day friend".

      My emotions were conflicted between sorrow and joy. I was able to empathize with this part of life as I also have a brother. We have shared the special bond of fishing in some wonderful places. At the same time, I was deeply moved with how a small action of mine could touch some ones life.

      Each October, for I don't remember how many years, my brother and I traveled to New Brunswick, Canada and fished for Atlantic Salmon. We would spend four days on the Marimichi, Cains, Dungarven, Bartholomew and Renous. Sadly, our last trip was now over ten years ago and for me something is missing.

      The years are flying by, life seems more complicated and there are so many distractions, including this blog, but for some time each year we should all find a way to go back. Simply put, what could be more important than a few days with your brother? A few days that will represent a mere fraction of our available existence. I don't care if it's New Brunswick or New York or New Jersey or New Hampshire so long as we make it happen.

      I'm sorry that I have taken some ones fond memories and related them to me. On the other hand I am thankful for being shown what is truly important.

      Come On!!!!!! Let's Go Fishing

      Sunday, March 14, 2010

      In And Around The Lake

      I traveled to a number of spots that I like around Lake Winnipesaukee yesterday. I wanted to get out, before the big rain, and check out if the Salmon and Trout were moving yet. The only fish I found were below the bridge in Alton Bay. I saw both Salmon and Rainbows moving in and out. Nothing above the bridge at all.

      The highlight of the day was going to the Powder Mill Fish Hatchery in New Durham. The breeders are very big this year and both Brook and Rainbow Trout are ready to be stocked.

      I had a great day and never cast a fly.


      If you have any questions on this post please Email me at
      If you would like to comment on this post please click the time stamp

      Thursday, March 11, 2010

      Matapedia Rose

      Hook-Gamagatzu Salmon T10-6H Matte Nickel
      Tag-Ultra Fine French Twist Silver
      Tail-Lady Amherst Tippet Natural Red
      Tag-Black Ostrich Hurl
      Body-Red Holographic Mylar
      Rib-Ultra Fine French Twist Silver
      1st Wing-Pink Marabou on top only
      2nd Wing- 3 ultra fine strands blue holographic flash
      1st Collar- Red Marabou
      2nd Collar-Black Blue Eared Pheasant
      Eyes-Jungle Cock
      Head & Thread 14/0 Black


      Tuesday, March 9, 2010

      April Swing

      The word is anglers having the greatest success for Steelhead are using  some very large Rabbit Leach and Sculpin style flies.  Just look at what Greg Senyo, from Ohio, is doing in Steelhead Alley.
      I have been building a number of these flies in bright to very drab patterns.  I plan to go to Pulaski at least twice from now through April and want to swing with two hand rods.                                                                              
      I have also been developing what I call the dangle style of mending line.  Simply, I cast at a right angle and keep throwing additional line in up stream mends as the fly moves down stream.  I keep just enough tension on the line for the fly to swim but not swing quickly.

      When the fly has completed the swing hold it in the current for as much as a full minute.

      Now you are fishing Danglers on the Dangle.

      If you have any questions about this post please Email me at
      If you would like to comment please click the time stamp

      Sunday, March 7, 2010

      Joss Hole Tail-Out

      This is the tail-out of The Joss Hole on the Salmon River in New York.  The photo was taken just after a large Steelhead rolled on my fly in the center of the flow.

      In a few weeks the time will come for the winters run to start moving back to the lake.   At the same time the spring bright fish are arriving each day.  The water starts to warm and the Steelhead get more active and will strike a big fly.

      This is a great time to be on the Douglaston Salmon Run purely swinging with two hands.


      If you have any questions about this post please Email me at
      If you would like to comment please click the time stamp

      Friday, March 5, 2010

      Egg Sucking Stone

      This very simple fly is a must for Steelhead in the spring.  Commonly known as The Red Head and can be fished in a dead drift or on a swing.  This was one of Whitakers hot flies of the month in the fall.

      Hook: Tiemco #2457
      Thread: Black 8/0 Uni
      Body: Black Uni-Mohair Flowing
      Egg: Chinese Red Uni -Yarn
      Weight is Optional

      If you have any questions about this post please Email me at
      If you would like to comment please click the time stamp

      Monday, March 1, 2010

      'For Judy'

      Six years ago a good friend of my wife and I went through a battle with cancer. I don't think I would have survived what she experienced. While in the heart of treatment, I visited with her and what impressed me most was she could laugh.

      Now, if you know Judy, then you know that this is not just any laugh. It is one that comes from deep down and has a life of it's own. What I heard and saw that night was the strength demanded to defeat her illness. She lives happy and well in recovery.

      I present, 'For Judy', my entry into the Casting For Recovery Pink Fly Contest. If you are a long time fly fisher you know the true joy of our sport is not catching fish. It is the transformation of reality to a place where time is lost. Please make a donation today that will give recovering women the freedom we experience while lost in time.


      If you would like to comment on this post please click the date stamp.
      If you have any questions about "For Judy" please E-mail me at

      What Is The Most Important Aspect

      For February, in my monthly poll, I asked what the most important aspect of a fly would be.  Size, Presentation, Color and Pattern were the choices.  Overwhelmingly, 63% of you chose Presentation.

      So, let's be clear.  If I were to make the perfect presentation of a perfectly tied caddis dry that was red and not the correct olive color in a size 4 not the correct size 14,  should expect to fool an 18 inch hold over brown that has seen the best of the best?  Or maybe,  if I have the perfectly correct caddis dry that is the exact size as the natural in a perfectly matching color and I drag it under the surface then should also expect to fool that same fish?

      Are you getting the picture?  Think about it like this.  I first position myself with as much stealth as possible in the run I want to fish.  Then the first thing I must do is think about the conditions.  Time of day, temperature, wind,  weather and barometric pressure let alone water conditions and water color.  I am taking in all that I can including if there is any insect activity.  Then I choose my pattern by size,  because having the wrong pattern and size creates a major problem.  We have all had the frustration of the guy just down stream who is on fire and we can't buy a fish. What fly are you using?  At the same exact time I pick pattern and size I am choosing the color.  So then the last thing I must do is create the perfect presentation.  I am converting thought into physical action.  Yes?

      My point is that there is no correct or wrong answer.  Without getting all four correct we are limited to the fish that have just been stocked or just too hungry to say no.  When you go to the river, have a mental check list of what is truly important for your success.  Treat pattern, color, size and presentation as if they are one action.

      I promise that the poll for March is not a trick question.

      If you would like to make a comment on this post please click the time stamp
      If you would like to ask a question about this post please E-mail me at

      Friday, February 26, 2010

      An Angry Lamprey

      I went over to check out the Lamprey after the big rain. I'm standing
      over the gauge that is reading 3460cfs. The river will fish well at

      Sent from my IPhone

      If you have any questions about this post please E-mail me at
      If you would like to comment on this post please click the date stamp

      Fly Tying Tip 102

      When buying natural materials have a magnifying glass with you so that you can look at the very tips of hair and feathers.  There are great differences in material quality.  Learn to recognize the best.  You will save money and produce better quality flies.

      Tuesday, February 23, 2010

      Salmon River

      I spent the last three days on the Salmon River in Pulaski New York.  There is so much to love about this river and at the same time you can find a lot that is a bit too gritty.

      The history is just amazing as the namesake of the Salmon River is the mighty Atlantic Salmon.  At one time this was a very productive fishery with great quantities of Salmon being netted for commercial value.  The fish never went beyond the boundaries of Lake Ontario.  At some point, Alewives were allowed introduction to the Great Lakes.  The Alewives have thiaminase, that when eaten adult female fish, cause the newly hatched Salmon to have a high mortality rate.  It is recorded that thousands of fish were taken in single nights in the pools close to the town of Pulaski.  Today the Atlantic Salmon is making a comeback from eggs from the Penobscot River in Maine.  Fish as large as sixteen pounds have be angled and the runs are getting larger.

      I have fished this gem from the past a number of times.  Mostly during the winter floating from pool to pool by drift boat and bottom bouncing with  nymphs and egg imitations.  On this occasion we went to give a go at winter swinging with two hand rods, larger marabou and bunny leach style files and foot warmers in our boots.

      As conditions were not very good, we suffered the fate of winter and did not land a fish.  A few takes and one decent fish I had on for about thirty seconds until my barb free hook fell out.

      We found fishing pressure to be light for the most part.  I did see a number of fish taken by the spin boys and center pins bottoming egg sacks down through Schoolhouse Pool in Altmar.

      In March we will fish the creeks and then in April, as the fish are making their way back to the lake, it will be back to the Salmon.  This becomes a much better time to swing as the water temperatures start to raise and the fish get more active.


      If you have any questions about the Salmon River please send an E-mail to

      If you would like to comment on this post pleas click the date stamp

      Friday, February 19, 2010

      Ricky Took The Benz

      A number of years ago when I was younger and stronger, I booked a week of floating the upper public pools on the Matapedia River in Quebec. The photo is of Cullen's Rock Pool taken on that journey. My favorite time to be there is on Ste Jean de Baptiste celebration day, June 24.

      The reason for this is simple. The last week of June represents the end of the doldrums between the first run in late May and the start of the quantity season. Also the night before there is a great party and the locals want to sleep late for some reason. Fish of all sizes from very large to Grilse, one sea winter salmon, will run under normal water conditions. It is also a time before the warmer days of July are dominant.

      First, you must get the 400 pound, 26 foot Gaspe Boat up the river. This is made simple if you have the correct trailer. As no motors are legal above the Saint-Alexis-de-Matap├ędia bridge, the pick and poll method is the means of travel and direction.

      On this particular day Ricky Gray, my competent guide, and I were running the river in segments. We needed to stop and drive the car ahead of our river travels. Not the easiest or best way to do this but sometimes you do what you must to have that certain dream experience.

      Well, it was time to get the car. Ricky had never driven a Mercedes Benz and for that matter I had never polled a Gaspe Boat. So Ricky went for the Benz and I was to move the boat down to the next pool. Ricky asked, "Are You Sure? He wasn't confirming my willingness to let him drive my car.

      I now can tell you for absolute certainty that your guide works harder than hard for his money. Polling a 26 foot canoe down a moving salmon river in late June is as hard as anything I have ever done. When I realized that things were not going well it was just too late to turn back.

      I almost lost the poll twice, once to the point of snapping it and vaulting me out of the boat as the current continued. My hands were starting to bleed, the boat was picking up speed and the only thing I could think of was to drop the killick in mid current. The good part was that the water was not deep and Ricky managed to walk out into the river and pull me to safety.

      Conclusion: I'm happy that Ricky had fun driving the Benz and I promised myself that I would never try to poll again. Treat your guide well. They are not paid a great deal of money for the service provided.


      If you would like to comment on this post click the time stamp.