Saturday, June 9, 2012

You ain't gonna find 'em!

Read her mind! Because I bet this is what she is thinking!

"Do I need to tell you again? Ok, listen to me now.

 #1 - I am not a swimmer.

#2 - Your box of flies is gone so get over it. I don't care how low the flow rate is, you ain't gonna find 'em so stop making me swim while you look for 'em.

3 - I am wet and want to go home."

Never did find the box of flies but I still have my fishin' buddy. She has forgiven me after falling asleep on the side of the river in a puddle of sunshine.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Yesterday morning, before I left for work, I told Rob that if I wasn't home when he got home then it was becuase I was fishing. Then I added, "I am not sure if I will be fishing or if I will come home to do some weeding in the garden."

That made him laugh as he said, "Weeding? Really? Are you out of your mind?! A perfectly good afternoon to fish and you are going to pull weeds? Tomorrow it is supposed to rain like hell - go fishing, the weeds will wait" Then he gives me one of his looks - the one with one upturned eyebrow and a squint in the other eye. "Well, you should pack your fishing stuff anyway before you leave, just incase you decide to go fishing instead of weeding. You can leave right from school and be on the river and fish until dark."

So off to school I went; pondering the WEEDS VS. FISH comment.

First period Chemistry at 7:30 AM rolls around - who thought teaching chem at that hour in the morning was a good thing? But hey, I am having fun with them because it makes the time go faster.

Two hours go by.

Three hours go by.

And still I am considering the WEEDS VS. FISH question.

I tell ya, it was a real gut wrenching decision. I love my gardens and flowers and I do love weeding just because it is another way to relax. But still... WEEDS Vs. FISH???

When school ended and I finally headed out to my car I closed my eyes and tilted my head to the sun. I stood there for a moment feeling the warmth of the sun on my face; which felt so good after being inside all day. I was also grateful that I had heeded Rob's suggestion and packed my fishing gear because I had made my decision about


And the winner was......FISH!

What a suprise, right?!

So up to the river I went and boy, what a good choice it was.

I was swinging flies for a couple of hours watching the rain clouds rolling in as well as a group of ravens riding the breeze that was picking up. The water was very cold but the fishing was excellent and it wasn't too long before one rainbow turned into three, then four,  then I landed a nice brown. After a quiet spell and a couple of changed wet flies another couple of bows took my offering and then it really got good. I landed a 12" brookie with the most beautiful colors that I stopped and thanked God that he made that fish - yes sir, He must have been having a good day when He made brookies.That was the prettiest brookie I have ever seen and it was also the biggest one I ever landed. Best yet, he never left the water and once the hook was out he flicked his tail and away he went.

I almost stopped then but thought, "One more cast..."

A couple more bows capped the evening before I finally decided to head back through the woods and to the car. Weeds? Yup, they're still there and looking pretty good with all the rain that is falling. That brookie though, man, that was the best.

Danger on the Farmington - from April 2009

As the title suggests, there was something completely dangerous and out of control on the Farmington this afternoon.

Reports are not specific and the identity of the angler remains unknown.

The following is an account of the events as described by two witnesses.

At approximately 1pm this afternoon there were reports of a suspicious angler near the Ovation pool, or someone trying their best to impersonate an angler.

The individual was brandishing a 10' 5 wt. rod at unknown individual(s). It was believed that fish were the intended target but the casts were never in the same spot and included some crazy ass tree hook-ups as well as complete tom-foolery. The combination of these movements seemed too random to be targeting trout or anything else of an aquatic nature. The fact that the angler just laughed at these beginner mistakes certainly didn't help matters either.

After deciding it was too dangerous to continue watching from what they believed was the safety of the shore, two geese jumped into the water and floated beyond the hazard and down to the town hall. Once at the town hall they promptly waddled up to the police station to file this report, which included the following details, "You guys just gotta do somethin'! I tell ya, that lady is crazy. She was talkin' to herself or someone invisible by the name of Mabel."

Said the officer, "Mabel? Who's Mabel?"

Said the gander, "I don't know. Like I told yous guys, she was yammerin' on about Mabel and not working right and no muscle memory. Crazy shit, I tell ya! The missus and I decided we needed to flee for our safety and just as the missus was floating by ZAP she got tagged in the tail feathers with this hook. Look at my wife's butt!! It's awful!"

At this point, Lucy Goosie entered the station and what a pitiful sight she was. Not only did she have a perfectly tied #10 hares ear nymph with a tungsten bead head attached to her tail feathers there was 6” of 5x tippet attached to it.

True, I was down at Ovation this afternoon enjoying the blue skies, warmer temps and the start of a Hendrickson hatch. I was trying out my early Mother’s Day gift, which coincidentally happens to be a new TFO, 10’ 5 wt. rod. I was attempting to use a double rig nymph system using some flies that I tied up this winter which included some #10 hares ear nymphs for my anchors as well as hendrickson nymphs for droppers.

It has been over a year since I fished the Farmington and I am a bit rusty which is why I needed to get out and practice today. To the best of my knowledge there weren’t any geese present and although I cannot speak to the nature of the events described above I am missing a #10 brown hares ear nymph with a tungsten bead head along with some tippet.

A Complete and Utter Failure - from June 2009

As some of you know, the best made plans sometimes don't always work out that way. Take that big ol' brown trout across the other side of the spring creek, sipping away at BWO's and flipping ya the fin. You know he's thinking, "Go ahead. Make my day." So you try all sorts of casting angles including a newly learned steeple cast and nadda. Zilch. Zip. No fish. He's too wild and spooky and you just don't have your A game on. You finally pack it in for a day telling yourself "Next time".

Some trips are like that, too. You spend months waiting for the spring trip with the guys from the club. You start planning on making your own flies to take along. Work d-r-a-g-s on and on and on. A month before the trip you start checking the weather channel on the computer to see what the future holds. You remember that two years ago the weather was very warm, the waters were very low and the fishing was tough. Maybe this year will be better.

You keep checking the computer with the regularity of a Swiss watch just to see what the conditions are like at your destination. Soon checking the weather morphs into checking the water conditions and flow rate. You can't pinpoint exactly when that happens, it just does.

It's now two weeks until trip time and the bags are out, equipment all checked and a mental check list is in progress of formation. The weather seems to be holding out and dang! the fishing reports are all outstanding!! Fishing is great!! Great wading!! Water temps are perfect!! Yee-haw!!!!!

But then, like the spring creek brown trout, the weather gods say, "Go ahead. Make my day."

Rain creeps into the forecast along with unseasonably cool weather that makes you change your warm weather fishing gear for the stuff you normally wear in the fall and winter. Well, maybe not that bad. I did leave my handwarmers home!

You start to put off checking the river conditions and fishing reports because, well, no news is good news and hey, maybe they haven't updated their websites...yet.

Undaunted the day arrives and you head out, ready for a relaxing weekend of fishing and fun because you are sooo sure that the rivers have not been impacted by the rain. Yeah, right.

As my fishin' buddy and I finally reached our destination we saw that the Willowemoc just outside of Roscoe, N.Y., was

Fast and

Chocolate milk in color.

And as one of the guys described it, "No distinguishing features at all. Just fast, muddy and roiling water at all the usual fishing spots."

Fun is!!??

Well, not for nothing but the fishin' was tough that weekend. The fishing report and conditions for our first night there were pretty much summed up by Ken, owner of The Baxter House as, "Take your life into your hands. I would not recommend going out at all. Wait until tomorrow."

Actually, he did not wax poetic like that. What he said was, "You are pretty much ****ed."

Saturday wasn't all that great although the sun finally did come out and yes, the water level did seem to drop as well as clear up. (Or maybe it was wishful thinking. You know, most anglers can be desperate enough to make even the worst of conditions seem fishable!)

But in the words of one master fly tyer, it was not a "Complete and utter failure."

Mater fly tyer Ralph Graves has been tying for 50 years and the tricks he knows go beyond description. Ralph was at the Baxter House fly shop that weekend demonstrating his fly tying techniques. Ralph is very methodical and thorough and when something wasn't just right he would say, "Well, that's a complete and utter failure." I would end up thinking it was looking pretty good which is probably why he is the master fly tyer and I'm not.

Ralph has a keen sense of humor as well as timing that made everyone laugh throughout the evening. He demonstrated the art of tying extended bodies for green drakes and coffin flies which looked ridiculously easy.

He also tied up some Black Ghosts, a March Brown nymph and then demonstrated how to tie up a parachute by whip finishing on the post instead of the head of the fly, bypassing the tangled mess of thread and hackle that so often happens at that point.

There was also his neat trick of using flex cement on a hen hackle feather which he shaped into a different example of an extended body. However, it was his tent wing caddis that stole the show that weekend. That fly looked as if it was ready to head out the door and into the light of the streetlamp. I can only wish to tye a fly half as good as that.

So what to do, what to do.

Friday and Saturday were shot so my fishin' buddy and I decided on a float trip on Sunday. I really love float trips. I usually refer to them as Cleopatra's barge. Hey, what gal wouldn't like getting rowed down the river for fish!! We figured that if the river wading was too tough we would have someone row us down the rivers looking for fish. Seemed like a perfectly good choice since we had seen Ken come in late Fri. and Sat. with customers who were besides themselves with the big fish they landed.
They even had pictures to prove it and the green drake hatch was on.

It sounded too good to be true.

And that is exactly what happened. We started out on what was looking like a pretty good day to be on the river only to have the wind god march right up that river and proceed to blow our lines all over kingdom come!! It was tough. All afternoon we were battling the wind and gusts that sometimes took Todd's fly up into the air like a kite. And yes, just so you know there were some pretty interesting tangles (note the plural there) of my line with Todd's. (Not Todd's line with mine, mind you. My casting was, to put it politely, a bit erratic as Cleopatra was definately not on her A game!!) But Rich, our guide, was quite patient as someone had to work out those artistic wind knots!

And the hatch? Even with the wind it was pretty impressive. The green and brown drakes as well as sulfurs were all over the water, the boat and us. I never realized a fly could get big enough that when it hit you on your head you could actually hear it. It was truly an amazing sight to see the drakes come up to the surface, crawl out of their shuck and attempt to unfurl those wings without tipping over. Many were not successful.

Todd did manage to land a very, very nice brown trout at the start of the trip and he also landed a second one, just a nice, at the end of the trip. I was lucky to land one by blind casting (more like blind luck), but I kept telling myself, it was not a complete and utter failure because good times were had by all and what the heck, there is always next year.