Friday, May 27, 2011

Blessed

-- Blessed by Local Brooks --
With Memorial Day approaching and many other positive events in my life over the last few months, I am moved by good fortune and truly feel blessed.

Like most fly fishers I know, we possess a healthy obsession for the sport and look to learn new techniques, locations and fly patterns that will improve our game. I got addicted to fly fishing podcasts and now listen to everyone that I can find and load onto my iPhone.

I've been listening to "Ask About Fly Fishing Internet Radio"  for almost a year now and have done very well with their contests winning Skip Morris' "The Art of Tying the Bass Fly" DVD, a one year membership to the Federation of Fly Fishers, Aaron Jaspers' "European Nymphing Techniques & Fly Tying" DVD, and my most prized win, Tom Rosenbauers' book "The Orvis Guide to Small Steam Fly Fishing".



Tom's book has put me over the edge with regard to looking for native brookies in small streams.  Fueled by excellent blogs, like Brt Trt's Small Stream Reflections, Adipose Fin, Fishing Small Streams, and excellent discussions on boards like Fly Fishing in NH, Trout Predator, FFIM and Maine Fly Fish, there are not enough hours in the day to absorb the wealth of knowledge about small stream fishing. There are so many more excellent blogs and boards on the subject that it is impossible to capture it all here, but I cannot fail to mention the first board and podcast that sucked me into the internet fly fishing world -- Fly Fishing on the Web.

Jason & Todd's witty and novice view of the fly fishing world in their FFOTW podcasts and postings made the sport much more approachable to a newbie like myself. I miss their ramblings.

Boggy Area
I digress...

Having been bitten by the quest for native fish in small streams, I've been exploring local brooks withing a 10 mile radius of my house and have found a couple of gems that hold small brookies.

Over the last month, I've hiked over 5 miles up and down this small brook 5 minutes from my house. The pool on the first image brought an 8" brookie from a Parachute Adams to hand, but he found his freedom before I could find my camera.

Meadow Flow
Another small brookie was taken on a brassie much downstream from the first location and, in one of the open meadows, the brookies were going nuts rising to an Adams, but none were hooked.

The brook goes through several old dams which are relatively open to flow but may prevent  passage of fish upstream. Above each dam, the brook takes on its own characteristics. There are several open meadow, boggy areas and an equal amount of wooded, brushy, still and riffled runs.

Fast Flow below Old Dam
The bug hatches are not prolific (yet), but midges abound and I'm sure terrestrials will work during the summer months if the water temps don't get too high. 

I was swinging some large weighted streamers in this high, dirty flow below a dam.  I did get something chasing my Conehead Muddler Minnow and then snagged and lost it on the next cast.

Goddard Caddis



I even tried some new bugs that my son wanted me to tie -- the Goddard Caddis.  Got the basic info from Skip Morris's FOAL Fly of the Week entry and added the egg sac suggestion from Barrett Christiansen's excellent video. I need to work on the shape and size (mine are too fat), but it floats great and did get some rises on this local brook.


Change is good. With the official launch of summer this coming weekend, starting a new job next week and finding some great local waters, I truly feel blessed.

You too should feel blessed as we remember those who have served and died for our freedoms this weekend. We have great freedoms and opportunities to change our lives, and the lives of those around us, in positive ways. Those freedoms come with much sacrifice and all of us need to pause and reflect on how lucky we all are.