“The Little Things” and fly tying demo Wednesday May, 1 Russell Library, Middletown

I’ll be presenting one of my most popular fly fishing programs, “The Little Things,” at the Russell Library in Middletown, CT, Wednesday May 1 from 6pm-8pm. I’ll kick things off with a short fly tying demo, then we’ll go straight into the program, and finish with Q&A. This presentation is all about seemingly insignificant things that can make a huge difference in your fishing success. Everyone is welcome — hope to see you there! Here’s a link to the Russell Library website.

Want to catch more fish? Want to catch bigger fish? This is a good place to start.

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River Flows: It’s all too much

It’s the modern paradigm in the northeast: water flows are seemingly either off-the-charts high or bone-dry low. Normally, at this time of year I’d be writing to you about the tremendous wet fly bite on the Hendrickson hatch. The Hendricksons may indeed by hatching on the lower Farmington River, but you’d be hard-pressed to find any near-surface action in these flows. 800cfs is about the tipping point for surface action on the lower river — it’s been over 1K for the entire time you’d expect to start seeing Hendrickson action, and yesterday’s deluge will keep us out of wet fly range into May.

George Harrison was right.

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It’s not much better in the Permanent TMA, which is flowing at almost 2K this morning. Sure, the Still will fall, but it’s been a challenging spring for anglers. And you can forget the Hous for now. That river has been a high water nightmare since last summer.

Don’t get me wrong: I prefer too high over too low, and you can catch fish in higher flows if you know where and how. All I’m asking of Mother Nature is a little moderation. Please?

Stripers Ripped My Flesh

Oh yeah, we’ve got some serious striper thumb going. (Bonus points if you knew the Zappa reference in the title.) The Bass-O-Matic is on. No real size to them — my larger ones were in the 20-22 inch class — but they’re eager and spirited and you’ll feel like an instant expert. The new two-hander continues to be a learning experience. I’m not close to being dialed in (the right line will help significantly with that) but it felt good to be casting a 100 foot line and seeing the backing through the remaining line on the reel. Fished a Soft-Hackled Flatwing, a Crazy Menhaden hybrid, and then for giggles a deer hair-headed beast so I could watch the hysterical antics of bass chasing on the surface. You know, I almost forgot that it was pouring.

Get in line and catch a few.

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Striper report: Everyone Knows It’s Windy

Yeah. Hard times for fly casters yesterday with a sustained 15 knot southwest blow in our faces (and an especially unfavorable quarter for lefties) with some stronger gusts mixed in. I debuted my new custom two-hander, but I don’t have the right lines for it yet and it wasn’t the synergy I know I’ll eventually enjoy. Still, some small bass were brought to hand, and they felt like giants in a ripping moon tide.

A Soft Hackled Flatwing in RLS Easterly colors (grey dun and fluorescent yellow) caught the eyes of several feisty schoolies. The colors really popped in yesterday’s conditions.

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Leisenring’s Favorite Twelve Wets: Coachman

Not to be confused with the classic Leadwing Coachman — this fly is decidedly in the red/orange end of the color wheel. I tend to view the Coachman as an attractor, but in the interest of full disclosure I don’t often fish quill winged wets. On the other hand, it’s hard to go wrong with a peacock herl body.

Coachman

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~

Hook: Dry or wet fly, 12-13
Silk: Orange
Hackle: Bright red cockerel
Body: Bronze-colored peacock herl
Wings: Land rail, primary or secondary
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Tying Notes: You’re going to need to dip into your improvisation quiver for some of these materials. No cockerel in my feather bins, so I used a small feather from a red saddle. And land rail? Good luck. I substituted an orange-red dyed starling skin I picked up from Badger Creek a few shows ago. When I tie in a quill wing, I’ll hold it in place between my thumb and middle finger. Three taught wraps, then tighter wraps to finish. Like anything, it takes practice — I hadn’t tied a quill wing in about a year and I needed two tries to get this one right.

Farmington River Mini report 3/28/19: More anglers than trout

I continue to be amazed by the number of people who have nothing better to do on a weekday than fly fish on the Farmington River. Of course, I’m not a part of the solution. But never mind. Just a wee excursion today from 11:30am-2pm, and not all of it was fishing. Hit two spots on the lower river in 90 minutes, which at 800cfs and change was a little high for my liking. (Didn’t get a water temp.) Spot A was a blank, and I wasn’t surprised given the water height. Spot B was a surprising blank, what with a few bugs (midges, grey stones, small un-IDed mayfly) coming off and the water beginning to warm. I spent the last hour exploring a new area, trying to assess its fishiness, and then buying some clear midge rib at UpCountry.

I shall endeavor to get out more and produce a more useful report.

Today’s point fly and midge dropper at lower left.

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On the striped bass board for 2019

The best time to go fishing is when you can, and if the tides line up, so be it, north wind and rising barometer be damned. Just a quick sortie to three different spots on the same river. The first two were blanks. At the third, there was mischief afoot. On the dangle at the end of the swing, some quivering taps. A few minutes later, more of the same. Dinks? I thought so. But ten minutes later, when I connected, the fish felt decidedly undinkish. Okay, so a 20″ striper ain’t exactly one to put in the brag book. But when you only need one, and it’s your first of the year, it becomes the perfect fish.

Last night’s fly was a three-feather flatwing/bucktail hybrid of the Herr Blue, about 8″ long.

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