The threat of freezing rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of the members of the Thames Valley Chapter of TU. We had a great crowd for “The Little Things,” and some intriguing post-presentation discussions. This is a group that is passionate about fly fishing. A thousand apologies for forgetting your name, but I’ll balance that with a thousand thank yous to the gentleman who gave me the Nat Sherman Metropolitan Selection Explorer. I’ll be enjoying that on a future Farmington River outing.
On to Marlborough! Hard to believe that The Fly Fishing Show is already here.
“Wet Flies 101,” at the Fly Fishing Show, Marlborough, MA, Friday, January 20, 1pm, Catch Room. We’re in the big room for this one, so come out and support your friendly local fly fishing writer guy! For more information, visit the Fly Fishing Show website.
“Wet Flies 101,” at the Fly Fishing Show, Marlborough, MA, Saturday, January 21, 10am, Destination Theater, Room A. Smaller room, same energy and information. I may be tying after the presentation and will let you know if that’s the case. For more information, visit the Fly Fishing Show website.
It was a bit of a random Saturday at the AOA show, but we managed to get through it in fine shape. Let me explain. Due to hockey coaching conflict, I couldn’t get to Danbury until 1:30pm. While I had every intention of tying, by the time I arrived, Tyer’s Row was a crowded house. Rather than squeeze in for a few minutes (I was going to be presenting at 3pm and had to set up), I made the command decision to head to Conference Room 1. John Shaner was wrapping up his excellent Soft Hackles presentation, and I caught the last few minutes of that. So if you were wondering, “Where’s Steve?” now you know. I set up, and had some good conversations with the early arrivers for “Wet Flies 101.”
So: thanks to everyone who came to see me. Thanks to the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum for allowing me to present, and for accommodating my crazy schedule. And thanks to everyone who hung around and asked so many terrific questions.
No more presentations until 2017. In the meantime, I really need to go fishing.
There’s that guy again…
The Arts of the Angler is a terrific regional show hosted by my friends at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum. It’s a weekend affair, and it happens this year on November 5th & 6th at the Ethan Allan Inn in Danbury, CT.
This year, I’ll be tying and presenting “Wet Flies 101” on Saturday afternoon, November 5th at 3pm in Room 1. I have a hectic morning, so I’ll be tying as soon as I am able, but it won’t be until 1pm or later. My Sunday is still up in the air — I may be tying on Sunday, too. I’ll update you with that information if it happens. Come out and support the museum, and of course please stop by and say hello.
Here’s the current presentation schedule (I am not responsible for changes):
10:00am-11:00 Dave Van Burgel Basics of Bamboo Rodmaking
1:00pm-2:00 John Shaner Soft Hackles
3:00pm-4:00 Steve Culton Wet Flies 101
10:00am-11:00 Peggy Brenner Tying Successful Traditional Streamers
1:00pm-2:00 Joan Wulff The Art of Fly Casting
3:00pm-4:00 Tony Ritter The Upper Delaware River: Flyfishing, History and Politics
10:30am-11:30 Kathy Scott Writing about The Letters to Everett Garrison
12:30pm-1:30 Terry Shultz Fishing in the Indian Ocean, Indonesia and Oman
10:30am-11:30 Joan Wulff The Art of Fly Casting
12:30pm-1:30 Nick Rubicco Montauk on the Fly
The river continues to be kind to those who are inclined to swing wet flies. I had Paul out for a full day yesterday to learn the ancient and traditional subsurface method. We fished three spots and found fish willing to jump on in all of them. They took the top dropper (old reliable Squirrel and Ginger), the middle dropper (Dark Hendrickson, even though we saw no such hatch), and the point fly (BHSHPT…what else?).
How gratifying to see so much action in some truly tough conditions: river up a hundred cfs or so (350cfs in the permanent TMA), slightly stained, cold at 47 degrees. The weather was downright chilly, overcast, and it rained or misted or drizzled on us for much of the day. Very little in the way of observed hatch activity: a few stray BWOs (16-18) and some micro midges. We did see swallows feasting on some unIDed flies a hundred feet overhead in the morning. Late afternoon found a mystery hatch below the permanent TMA that had a dozen trout slashing heartily at the flies.
Well done, Paul! You’re on your way.
It’s tricky trying to figure out the hook set of a tight-line presentation, especially when you’re fairly new to the game. Paul did a great job of locating that precious equilibrium — are you still there? — as this chunky brown can confirm.
Avram wanted to learn the black arts of wet fly fishing, so our session was dedicated to the three fly wet team. Okay, there were some issues with wind and tangles. But — and it’s a good but — there were lots of hookups (at least a dozen). There were fish caught on all three flies (Squirrel and Ginger, Dark Hendrickson, BHSHPT, all Avram’s ties — how cool is that?). And there was the satisfaction of learning something new (and doing well at it). Like Tuesday, the hatches were meh, but we basked in our glorious solitude, and were thankful for all the fish that decided to jump on.
I haven’t hooked a tiger trout in some time. But Avram has.
He got into some bigger fish too, like this snub-nosed rainbow.
There he goes again. Avram took them on the mended swing, the dangle, and short-line deep.
Some lovely spring color against drab earth tones.
You know of the HH: Hendrickson Hype.
Yes, Hendricksons have been spotted on the lower river. No, the hatch has not yet begun in earnest. Of course, as a currentseams reader, you have a measured response to the HH. You know that nature is always on time no matter when she shows up. And that the hatch will happen when it happens, and not a moment before, no matter how much one wishes it were so.
I can tell you it didn’t happen today. I visited four locations on the lower river from Canton to Unionville, and there wasn’t a single subvaria to be found. On the other hand, there were plenty of caddis — the Rodney Dangerfield of early spring hatches — and though there were no risers, the trout were ready and willing to jump on a swung wet fly. On my second cast of the spring with a team of three wets, whack! A fine, fat rainbow on the top dropper, a Squirrel and Ginger. How glorious to feel that tug as the flies dangled in the current below me.
Warm but uncomfortably windy today. I nymphed for about an hour, but had no takers. The bite dropped off after all those seed thingys blew into the water. 420cfs and clear.
Soon, my friends in fly fishing. Soon.
My top dropper today — heck, it’s usually my top dropper from April through August. Size 12 on a 2x short scud hook.
Yesterday, I went fishing. Sunny, middle of July, and windy. The perfect day for a grasshopper to get blown off its perch and into the water.
I fished some fast water — a mix of riffles and pockets that ranged from shin high to waist deep — with a team of three wets. The top dropper was a just-about-too-small-for-a-hopper-and-way-too-big-for-a-caddis fly I call The Monstrosity. Size 8-10 streamer hook, body of yellow or insect green rabbit fur, gold wire rib, palmered with webby brown hackle. Deer hair wing lashed at the junction of thorax and abdomen, same deer hair strands tied over the thorax, then a caddis-like head. Simple. Impressionistic. By mending the line I was able to keep that fly on or just below the surface.
The trout loved it.
Back you go, Tubby. Thanks for playing. Look at that sky. Ain’t summer grand?
I whipped through the run in 45 minutes. No hatch, no active surface feeders, but the fish picked that fly out to the exclusion of all others (Drowned Ant and SHBHPT). None of the trout I brought to hand were under fifteen inches. And I regret to report that I lost a pig of a brown just as I was coaxing him into the net.
Hoppers. Wet or dry, ’tis the season.
Not the fly I was fishing — this is a Hopper Hammerdown, which is a little bigger than The Monstrosity and doesn’t have the soft hackle palmered along the whole body. But you get the idea and the energy of the design.