Streamer color with leaves in the water (and other ramblings)

When there’s an abundance of leaves in the water, conventional wisdom holds that the best streamer colors are black or white. The logic is easy to understand. Those colors are unlike any that the fish are likely to see from dead vegetation. I find that of the two choices, black provides an even more dramatic contrast than white. Of course, everyone has their personal theory and opinion about streamer colors, and at any given moment, someone can prove yours wrong.

But I don’t really want to talk about color. I want to talk about motion, movement, and presentation. Take a look at this very short clip. It’s an underwater shot of a white micro bugger dancing through a leaf-infested pool.

As you can see, the leaves have a very distinct motion as they move through the water. They slowly tumble and glide. If they move laterally or horizontally, it is at the pace of the current — in this case, somewhere around languid. The streamer moves quite differently. It is faster than the leaves. It jerks, shudders, and sharply rises and falls. Yes, the white helps it stand out. But for me, what creates the greatest differentiation between it and the leaves is its movement.

Something to think about next time you’re out.

Farmington River Report 10/15/21: Slow. Slower. Slowest.

Doug and Paul chose a spectacular fall day for a session with yours truly. Unfortunately, the bite didn’t match up to the conditions. We fished two sizable marks from 10am-2pm, and all we could manage was one bump and one hookup. That actually isn’t as bad as it sounds; angler traffic was fairly heavy for a fall weekday, and I didn’t see anyone else hook up the entire time. So well done, Doug and Paul! The river was running medium high (530cfs) and the water is beginning to cool nicely. Observed: caddis and a few tiny BWOs. Leaves are a bit of an issue, and we had all our action on white streamers. (I should have mentioned that we were dedicated to the streamer cause, both traditional presentations and long-leader jigged micro streamers.) Both anglers fished hard and well, and on another day might have connected with dozens.

Doug having at it. Perseverance helps on slow days, and Doug was rewarded not too long after I took this shot.
Paul makes the point that there are worse ways to spend a few minutes on a sunny fall afternoon than sitting on a log with your feet in a river. I loved how Paul asked so many questions. Thinking anglers are better anglers. A most enjoyable day, gents!

10/15/20 Housy Report and Thank You CFFA, Russell Library, and Croton TU!

Thanks so much to the Connecticut Fly Fisherman’s Association, Middletown’s Russell Library, and the Croton Watershed TU Chapter for inviting me to host some fly fishing Zoom meetings. I was able to speak to over 100 people this week, and I’m grateful for the opportunity.

To the Hous: I fished within the TMA yesterday, and my experience can best be summed up by one Mr. Robert Zimmerman, who said in his epic song “Highlands,” “you picked the wrong day to come.” Okay, the weather was magnificent. It was great to be out. But there were scores of anglers competing for the honey holes (more people yesterday than I’ve seen in the last 10 years in the fall combined — really) — the water was loaded with leaves and evergreen needles (beware the windy autumn day) — and the trout were most uncooperative (I hit five marks in two hours and saw one fish landed). The river height was an excellent 325cfs, but those looking for solitude and leaf-free waters should be advised to wait a bit. Rain’s coming as I write this, and that should spike the flow this weekend.

With all this flotsam, it was challenging to get an unmolested drift.