Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Sunday, January 27, 2013

This January And The Grouse And Orange

What a difference a year makes. Last January we had days in the 60's. This January we are in a deep freeze. My January started off with The flu that lingered for a week and a half. I did get to spend a week in Florida with it's 80 degree days which were perfect. And now back to the arctic where I've been hunkered down restocking my fly inventory. Today, the 27th, was my first fishing trip of 2013. It was 2 degrees at 7am and not much more at 10am when I quit. Two small 'bows were all that I got from the Swift. February will be better.

The Grouse and Orange - An ancient soft hackle fly that gets a modern makeover. Ditch the silk or floss for the body and go with orange kevlar. This glass thread gives a waxy shin to the body that the traditional materials don't.

Size 10 to 14 hooks (you can go smaller if you like)
Kevlar body
rusty brown natural dubbing for the thorax
Grouse, chicken hen or any soft material for the hackle

Many times we have a grouse cape that has been picked clean of the popular size hackles and all we have left is an abundance of hackles that are to large to wind on the fly. Here's how to use these feathers.

Pluck a large feather from the cape. Strip of the fibers from one side of the feather and position them on top of the hook, concave side on top, and enough fibers extending in front of the hook eye to equal about 1/3 of the hook shank. Do this before you wrap the body. (don't use too many fibers, keep it sparse) Then wrap your thread loosely around the hook and fibers allowing the fibers to encircle the hook. Now wrap the body and thorax (covering the butt ends of the fibers)and tie back the hackle fibers.

With practice your flies will all have that "wrapped hackle" look and you will be using all those feathers.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Didymo - The Simple Facts

Didymo - The Great Pest that will take over our trout streams. Yes, we have all heard of it and we have heard, from what we would like to consider reliable sources, a number of remedies that will help rid us of this plague. The fact is that the conventional wisdom is totally wrong on this subject. Let's investigate this.

This algae is found in fresh, cold water. Didymo cannot survive is salt water. To rid your wading boots and waders of any possible didymo residue all you have to do it soak those parts in a heavy salt water solution. That's it. After a day on a river just do this: get a large plastic container and fill it with a 1 part salt to 4 part water solution (one lb salt to 4-5 gallons water). Put your stuff into the container, have a beer and a sandwich and then take your stuff out. The didymo is dead. No need to dry your stuff for 48 hours and no need to freeze your stuff.

DON'T spray your wading equipment!! Spraying your equipment is only good for non absorbent surfaces like boat hulls and such. Wading gear has to be SOAKED!!!! It bothers me that an organization (TU) would recommend on their site that their "spraying station" for waders and boots would work even when they posted information from the State of Connecticut that contradicted that advice!!!

I switched from wading boots to boot waders three years ago because boot waders are MUCH easier to clean AND much easier to take on and off. I soak my wading gear after every trip. No problems there. It's easy. One big container with a lid in the cellar or on the deck solves all on the problems.

Salt water will fix this problem. If didymo finds it's way into that beautiful picture that I posted......


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Time To Tie The Hot Spot!!

I've had lots of requests for this fly which is one of my standards for the Swift. It is unbelievably easy to tie and works best in sizes 18 through 24. Here it is:

Hook - dry fly 18 to 24

Body - The first section is tied with brown or olive dubbing. The middle band is made of white or pale yellow dubbing. The final section is a repeat of the first section. Note: the middle section is the smallest section, nothing more than a band of contrasting color. Another note: This is a SLIM fly. I've seen some that were way too fat. Avoid that mistake.

I use synthetic fine dubbing for all of it. Natural dubbing gets too ragged after a few fish and reduces its effectiveness. It also makes the fly fat.

I saw on an other website (TU) a knockoff of this fly. It had wire ribbing and what appeared to be a lacquered body with a day glow band in the middle. It looked like it should be a component on a circuit board. TOO much stuff. Keep it simple.

It seems (my feeling) that the Hot Spot works best as it gets smaller. It has worked from the Bubbler Arm through the Pipe. It works all year.

Good Luck!!


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Some Thoughts About The EB

One begins, on these long Winter days, to think of places that mean a lot to us. Places that have etched a memory of Spring days and Summer evenings into our mid Winter brains, where the trout are willing and the surroundings where these trout are found are just too beautiful to describe in mere words. The East Branch of the Westfield is one of these places. In fact it may be at the top of the list of those who love this river.

Beauty and Solitude. - The EB has it all. Beauty - I guided a fellow here who was a Massachusetts native but had spent the better part of twenty years in and fishing Colorado. He was back on vacation and wanted to try the EB. After two hours he said "I feel like I'm in Colorado!! This looks like Colorado and I'm in the Baystate" We caught trout on that early Autumn day but it was the surroundings that blew him away. Solitude - We fished alone that day although I knew that there were others there. We didn't see them! That's the EB.

This is a GREAT Spring and early Summer river and if we have a normal/wetter than normal Summer the fishing lasts and lasts. It's a great river for exploring endless pocket water and has plenty of smooth runs and pools for terrific dry fly fishing.

There are MILES to fish on this river which can intimidate someone new to this river. It took me two years to say that I actually KNEW this river. I would find some great stretches and then find some more. Like any river there are stretches that are less productive than others. Putting the time in (I live close by)is required and having someone who knows the river works even better.

So let me think of the EB, of late May days working pockets and runs and of June evenings with rising 'bows and browns. It will make this Winter a bit more bearable.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Time To Tie Flies (And Fish The Swift) The Swift Serendipity

This is the time of year when we tie flies, mountains of flies!!! For those of us that live within two hours of the Swift we can tie those flies and not have to wait until April to get them wet. I finished 2012 working a Swift Serendipity below the Pipe. It works anywhere that you have riffles or choppy water.

Here's the recipe:

scud hook - size 14 through 20
Body - red kevlar for the body. I like the waxy shine of kevlar. Keep it slim.
Wing - a tag of white turkey flat
head - dark red or reddish brown dubbing.

That's it!! A very simple fly that loves fast water