We are one month past the shortest day of the year and in less than a month the sap lines and buckets will be working in the sugar bush. And every year it happens: I start thinking of Freestones. After the dry-as-a-bone 2016 I especially need to fish the Millers, EB and the Ware during the Spring and the Summer. Now, our tailwaters saved the day and I'll be guiding this weekend on the Swift BUT I really want that big river fix and need to fish some big (compared to tailwaters) flies. Here's what I'm working on.
QUILL GORDON WET
This great old fly has stayed true to pattern for a 100 years but now I'm changing the wing to CDC BECAUSE this insect sheds it's nymphal case on the bottom of the stream and swims to the top with its wings trailing behind it. Ditch the wood duck and go with CDC. (I also ditched the quill body)
MOBY DICK WET - Last Summer I wanted to show a friend my example of a Moby Dick Wet but realized that I didn't have any in my tackle bag. It's really a Millers River fly and kind of useless on the Swift. It's a great fly to have in late May and June while fishing the late afternoon and evening rise on the Millers. That rise will probably mean caddis are coming up and this fly, swung through the riffles, will get the job done. It's a busy fly to tie but it's a good change of pace from tailwater tiny!
ZEBRA CADDIS DRY
The bushes along the Ware and the Millers will have millions of these caddis by the 2nd week of May. I've never liked the standard elk hair imitations because the seemed to have more of a May fly imitation than a caddis. It was about 5 years ago that I posted on this fly with it's wings reinforced with SCOTT TAPE. You get a REAL tent wing profile and the tape holds up really well.
Keep tying, Fish the Swift and Farmie, maybe hit the "thin blue lines" in a month if we're lucky and pray for an early Spring.
BTW, The Farmington is still very low for this time of year. Maybe they're trying to fill the resevoirs by holding water back OR maybe they have little water to hold back. It will be an interesting Spring.