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.