For wet flies, a short leader on the order of seven feet will do nicely. Few, if any, wet-fly patterns are small enough to require overly delicate tippets, and given the savage nature of the strikes a short, heavier leader is highly advantageous". Thomas Ames Jr. in Hatch Guide For New England Streams
A short American history of CDC - CDC feathers have been used in Europe for a 100 years (except for the staid old Brits) but CDC didn't really knock on our door until the early 1980's. And with it came the usual well meaning hyperbole (nice way of saying bullshit) about its effectiveness.
1. The feather has natural preen oil infused which is why it floats so well
Answer - There is NO oil in these feather, preen oil or not. Dump any oil on this feather and it SINKS!. It's floating ability is due to the STRUCTURE of the feather. Each barb of this feather has dozens, maybe hundreds of other barbs that grab the surface tension to keep it on the surface. It is amazing that this preen oil thing lasted for over 20 years and I still have folks claiming that it's the reason that it floats.
2. These feathers come from ducks and geese which the trout know are harmless to them and that's why they are so effective.
Answer - This takes the first prize for moon-bat logic. 100 years ago trout and salmon flies were tied with heron feathers and kingfisher feathers and god knows what other fish eating birds that had good feathers. Following this train of logic I wonder why my nymphs, tied with raw, untreated mink, were so effective when the trout should of been beaching themselves to get away from my humble offering. Thankfully that train of logic derailed long ago!
I was going through my supply of CDC feathers a few weeks ago and realized that I spend a lot of money on these feathers and I go through a LOT of them. They are the most expensive (legal) fly tying material that I have running easily into the hundreds of $$ per pound. I love them because they float so well and I have resisted the recent fad of using them on subsurface patterns because I'll need them for surface patterns. Now, I will tie in "feather fluff" (plumes of wispy material found on grouse, hen and God knows what else at the base of those feathers) to get another kind of "breathing" material that I want. I've covered that: you don't need CDC on a subsurface fly to get life like results. The question is: Can I get LOTS of CDC without going to the prepackaged stuff that equals the cost of cocaine? (editors note- sorry to offend anyone with a drug reference. CDC and cocaine costs way too much!)
Well, I decided to tie up some good old Hornbergs for this early season and pulled out my bag of mallard breast feathers which were once a major staple of any fly tyer (that barred feather is perfect). Most fly tiers under forty probably don't have them and wouldn't know what to do with them if they even had them outside of wing cases if that's even done anymore.
Lightening stuck when I pulled out a mallard breast feather from that bag of hundreds of feathers. THE BASE OF THE FEATHER,UNLIKE GROUSE AND HEN FEATHERS, WAS ALL CDC STRUCTURE which is made to float!! (a magnifying glass proved that and double clicking the above feather photo proves that). I cut some off, placed them across the hook, tied them down, secured them with a little dubbing, pulled them UP and then cut them to shape. Perfect! Instead of picking through a tiny bag for the right feather I had an almost a pillow size bag of very useful mallard and all the CDC that I used to toss away.
The "feather base CDC" works great for posts or full wings and will do well subsurface which, given all of the other flowing, absorbent materials out there, would be a waste!
The Rivers - as of 10:30 am
Millers - 1390 CFS
Bears Den - 438 cfs
EB - 2000 CFS
Ware - 321 CFS
Swift - 56 cfs
Mill River in Northampton - 908 cfs
The Ware and the Swift are fishable. The EB will be down to 400 by Wednesday. It was very fishable this weekend with a flow of approximately 400 but no fish to speak of.
Things will get better!!!!!
P.S. Check the comments section for lost items.