Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tying the Catskill March Brown

I love tying the traditional Catskill patterns, and this is one of my favorites.  The colors and the overall form of the pattern are so appealing to the eye, as is the almost majestic way it rests on its tail and hackle.  As I write this, I can see it in my mind's eye 30 feet away on the end of my tippet, drifting along the water surface toward a feeding trout.  And I wish it was a warm, cloud covered, windless June day and I'm standing in the cool Upper Delaware River anticipating the take.  This is how I think whenever I tie a fly; how will it look when its on or in the water when it is fished?


Hook: Mustad 94840 #10-12, or your preferred standard dry fly hook.
Thread: 6/0 Olive Danville
Wing: Woodduck flank feather
Tail: Medium brown hackle fibers
Body: Fawn colored rabbit
Hackle: Brown and grizzly mixed

Thanks again to Tim and Joan Flagler for an incredible job with the video production.

Sharpen those hooks, and do a rain dance!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Autumn Sunset

The rivers and streams may be very low in these parts, but there are still plenty of things in nature to marvel at.   This was the view on my drive home tonight. 

Sharpen your hooks, and do a rain dance.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Put a Ring on It - Using Tippet Rings

Here's a video Tim Flagler produced on how tippet rings are used to attach tippet to the end of your leader. I've never used them, but some of the anglers I fish with do use them, and like them for certain applications. I know others that think they are not worth the effort, or they think using them is akin to spin fishing. Personally I don't think they are a good or bad thing, they are just another way to rig your leader/tippet, and they may work for some and not for others. I do plan to try them at some point for no other reason than to form a first hand opinion on them.
Sharpen your hooks!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Breaking the Surface - Atlantic Salmon on Dries

The King of Fish taking dry flies. Awesome and inspiring.


St. Louis River Labrador, Canada

Via: Moldy Chum 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Weekend in the Catskills

We spent this past weekend in the Catskills doing some fishing and watching the FIPS-Mouche style fly fishing competition on Saturday and Sunday, in which Douglas and two of his friends – Bryson and Alex - participated. We also spent time at the Beaverkill Angler fly shop in Roscoe where they had Troutoberfest going on both days. It was a wonderful weekend of fishing, seeing friends, meeting new ones, and spending time with some of my favorite people.

On Friday evening, Doug and I fished the Beaverkill so he could familiarize himself with the river before the comp, since he had never fished it. It was a beautiful evening, mostly clear and calm, with about half the trees lining the mountains still with leaves creating a dull tapestry of earthy colors wherever you looked. This year the foliage seems to lack the brightness normally associated with autumn in the Northeast, the prevailing reason is the lack of rainfall late in the summer and into the fall. The condition of the river was all one needed to see to confirm this fact, as the Beaverkill was very low; as low as I have ever seen it this time of the year in 30+ years of fishing it.

Here's Douglas hitting the riffle below the island at Wagon Tracks on the Beaverkill.

There were quite a few blue-winged olives on the water along with some little olive sulphurs. The BWO’s were small, sizes #22-24, and the olive sulphurs size #18 or so. Early on I took a couple of nice browns on a small soft hackle emerger fished in the film, but the fish stopped rising as the afternoon wore on. Doug fished some fast water with his comp nymph set up, and as luck would have it, the trout apparently stopped feeding subsurface as well.

We didn't get much fishing in before Doug had to be at the Beaverkill Angler for the pre-comp meeting and beat selection process.  There were about 26 participants, and the meeting went off without a hitch.  Before long we were back out and headed to the river to get in a few minutes before sundown.

When we got back to the cabin after the meeting, we had about 30 minutes of sunlight left.  The cabin overlooks the Beaverkill, so rather than drive somewhere, Doug quickly got his gear on and I directed him to the fast water down below the cabin.  I grabbed a beer, my camera, and followed him down.   Shortly after we got down to the water, Doug caught a small rainbow, but that was it for the night.  We did get to witness a glorious sunset (see my previous post).

I'll spare you all the details of the comp except to say everyone met at 6:15am both days in the center of Roscoe before heading out to their beats.  Beats were situated on the Beaverkill, Willowemoc and the East Branch of the Delaware Rivers.  If you want to learn more about competitive fly fishing, you can go to the Trout Legend website HERE.  From my experience this weekend, it is nothing like you may think.  The anglers and the organizers are anything but competitive, except while on the water, and only in their efforts to catch fish.  The prevailing sentiment of the event was one of camaraderie, conservation, respect, and inclusiveness.  It was a pleasure hanging out with these guys all weekend.

Now for the fishing, or lack thereof.  Seriously, the fishing on Saturday was about as tough as it gets, with gusting winds and very low water.  The contestants struggled just to get one fish during their 1 1/2 hour sessions, but not one of them gave up at any point.  I fished for a short period of time, and took one nice brown on a soft hackle emerger.  The tough fishing continued on Sunday as well, without the wind interfering and adding to the frustration of everyone on the water.

After dinners at the Riverside CafĂ© in Cooks Falls each night,  we went back to the cabin to tie flies and tell stories.  On Saturday, Bryson and Alex joined us.
                                                       Photo by L. Muhlfelder
When it all was over, the high hook for the weekend was 5 fish.  The average per angler that caught fish was 2, and unfortunately a number the anglers got blanked.  

Finally, here is the event's winner, Bill Chioffi, with his new Orvis Helios2 fly rod.....and his new shirt.  Thanks!  

So much for a short blog entry.  Sharpen your hooks, and do a rain dance!         

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Will This Be Another Ghost Post?

Since the weekend I've written two posts on the Chronicles, and they both mysteriously disappeared without so much as a trace.  Usually, a draft gets saved in the "posts" section of the layout pages, but that didn't happen with these.  It's likely user error, the result of having returned from a great weekend in the Catskills and my having low batteries as a consequence.  Fortunately, the first post was written in Word, so I can resurrect that one tonight.  The other one is a fascinating discourse personal perspective on fly fishing competitions, as witnessed by myself this past weekend on the hallowed waters of the birthplace of American fly fishing - irony notwithstanding.  By the way, Douglas did quite well, placing 10th overall out of 26 anglers, and 1st in the Youth Division.

Here's a few photos. Let's see if they stick this time, and if so, I'll catch up with you all later today.

Friday evening I sat on a big, water smoothed rock watching Doug fish the Beaverkill down below the cabin under a glowing sky.  

Saturday morning all that remained of the dawn's thick fog was the dew revealing the innumerable geometric traps of the spiders living along the Willowemoc.

       (Click photo to enlarge)
Do trout eat spiders?  I'm thinking some new fly patterns need to be developed to imitate the eight-legged variety of a hatch.  BTW - I recently read (can't remember where) that in the U.S. there are an average of 400lbs. of insects per acre.  Chew on that!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tying the Picket Pin

Here's a really cool tying video that Tim Flagler made on how he ties the Picket Pin, complete with retro tools and hooks.  This is a fairly old pattern that originated in Montana, that still produces well throughout the US of A, for trout and panfish.  I know a few anglers that fish it regularly and do quite well: they fish it dead-drift as you would a nymph; swing as you would a wet fly; and also by retrieving it just as you would fish a streamer.  The primary material in this pattern is peacock herl, which as any fly fisherman knows, has almost magical properties when it comes to attracting trout.  Make sure you watch this with the sound on.

Tie some up, and sharpen your hooks!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Tying the Same Thing Murray

This week's fly tying video is a hair wing Atlantic salmon fly that was invented by Doug Hastings of Sydney, Nova Scotia.  From all accounts it has been a serious producer of the "King of Fish" for some twenty years or so.  As usual, Tim Flagler did a great job producing the video and capturing the essence of the fly and the elements that make it so aesthetically appealing to both the angler and apparently the salmon.  I used black goat hair for the wing, but I have seen this pattern tied with black bear hair and also moose hair, which I understand is how the original "Murray" was tied.

Sometimes the same thing is a good thing. 

Sharpen your hooks.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Trickle Down Theory - A Different Take

Unfortunately for the wader industry it appears front zippers are doomed based on the Fish & Wildlife’s concern about chumming … 
From the fly fishing humorist Singlebarbed:  If you peed enough Bacon would trout want a pork chop?