Currentseams Tuesday Night Zoom, Feb. 9, 8pm: Small Stream Fly Fishing

Small streams and wild trout are a passion, so tomorrow night I’ll be talking about thin blue lines and the exquisite gems that live in them. If you haven’t been getting the Zoom links — I send them out Tuesday late afternoon — please check your spam box. See you Tuesday night!

You are Cleared for Small Stream Takeoff

A few months ago I asked that you suspend fishing on Connecticut’s small streams until the drought was remedied and the spawn was complete. Check on both boxes. With a favorable amount of water for two months, the locals that survived the harsh summer conditions have had a chance to recover, fool around, and now prepare to hunker down for the winter. I have two requests (I know, I ask a lot) if you must fish small streams. First, try to stay out of the water as much as possible. The thought behind this is that you don’t want to walk over a redd and destroy the next generation before they’ve had a chance to hatch. Two, consider using a bushy dry with the hook point removed, or an over-sized dry that the little guys can’t get their mouth around. It’s nice to hold a small wild char in your hands and release it, but truly, isn’t the fun really derived just from fooling a fish? I appreciate your consideration. Tight lines, be safe, and be well.

The stark beauty of a small stream in winter. Please respect the brook and its residents. We all thank you.

Notes from a small stream

Forget the calendar or the current warm spell — we are already in summer mode. That means low water, very spooky fish, and, I suspect, a large number of residents unwilling to show themselves. The water is still at mid-spring temperatures.

The canopy is full in, and does an exceptional job of keeping things cool.

Pricked close to ten fish, with none landed. All my risers were found in deeper and/or faster water, with an emphasis on “faster.”

Observed three nursery pools — shallow and slow — that held numerous young-of-year brookies. Looks like a strong Class of 2015 if they avoid the birds and survive the summer extremes.

The diversity of bug life never ceases to amaze me: midges, from tiny to size 12; golden stones (about a 16); caddis (size 18); and a few unIDed mayflies (about a 10).

Found a new brook on the way home and lost a pig (for a small stream) on my first cast. He was so twitterpated that he leapt twice after he spit the hook. I’ll see you again, pal, since I know where you live.

Let them be. Ugh. After the mild winter, it’s going to be a disaster season for poison ivy.



See if you can find Señor Frog. (It’s not that hard.)





An hour on a small stream

April is always a good time to visit a small stream. You can see how Mother Nature wrecked certain pools and improved others over the winter. And of course, you knock on some doors to see if anyone’s home.

Water was on the low side of medium, cool, and distilled spirits clear. Hatches: big Blue Quills, some smaller BWOs, and a few stray caddis and midges. I saw three fish rising to feed, which is rare for these conditions (mid-day, low water). I didn’t even try to catch them.

I have decided that one hour in the woods on a sunny spring day is an absolute good for the soul.

I cannot think of a jauntier, I-don’t-give-a-damn plant name than skunk cabbage. 



Pricked four, landed one. Two were small, and one got off when the leader tangled on a submerged branch. This handsome specimen sat still long enough for a portrait.




Small stream report 6/3/15: Alive and well and living in Connecticut

The original plan was to throw streamers in the murky waters of the Farmington. But the river wasn’t high or dirty enough for my liking. Still, needs must fish. What better option than the outgoing tide on a small stream? None, as it turns out.

Conditions were perfect: 68 degree air temperature, water at a medium-high level after the rains and running clear and cool (58 degrees). Oh, the bugs! Yes, indeed. There were the usual suspects, like caddis and midges and mosquitoes. But how about size 16 sulphurs? Size 14-16 golden stones? Heck, let’s throw in some mongo golden stones (size 4-6?) into the mix — I’ve never seen those on this stream. And some egg-laden mahogany dun spinners, size 16.

The brook fished very well. I pricked dozens of fish, many of them in pools where I haven’t caught anything in years. Mostly brookies, but three wild browns in the mix. All on the upstream dry (elk hair caddis and Stimulators).

After the draconian winter of 2014-2015, how comforting it is to have nature reaffirm that she will always find a way.

Intriguing markings on this hen.

Brookie 6-2015

Another hen, this one of the Salmo trutta persuasion. Best hit of the day. She all but slaughtered the fly. You’ll have to bear with me on the substandard photography. I lost my good camera, and my backup had issues today. I hope to have the situation rectified in a few weeks.

Brown 6-2015