Monday, December 20, 2010

CT Trout Stocking Program

Waiting for spring in eastern CT...the 2009 trout stock lists are good reading. Wondering if those smaller streams and brooks are stocked? The list doesn't change much from year to year and lists the species and distribution. Enjoy!

Good winter read: Fishing the Film by Gary Borger, concentrating on emergers on the surface and just under....check it out

Monday, November 15, 2010

East Branch Delaware River

September on the East Branch.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Know Your Rights...Wading and River Access

Not long ago, while fishing an Eastern CT trout stream, a fishing partner of mine, while standing midstream, was confronted by an adjacent landowner and told, "this is private property." This was despite a DEM posted sign stating that the public were entitled to access within 10' of the river bank. The landowner arrived streamside in an ATV of some type and wore a holster with a visible sidearm. The fisherman explained that he was within his legal right, below the high water mark, and not on private property. When the landowner asked to see his fishing license, my friend asked if he was a DEM or law enforcement official and did not produce his license. The verbal exchange ended and the landowner continued to sit streamside in his vehicle while my friend continued to fish for an hour or more. A phone call to DEM and to the resident state trooper the next day resulted in a visit to the landowner, with a caution not to harass anglers in this particular section of the river. The landowner on several other occassions continues to "visit" his property streamside when anglers are present, however without verbal exchange.

Wading fishermen should not be intimitated by such encounters and should know their legal rights: This link is an excellent discussion on the subject.

While no one advocates confrontation, knowing your rights will lessen the intimidation factor that many of us have likely encountered as we search and wade our streams and rivers.
Drag Free!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Eastern CT and the Farmington River

The heat and low flow has ended fishing on the Natchaug and all other streams in Eastern CT.(northeast area at least). While you may find a few deeper cooler spots on the Moosup River, fishing is not advisable until the water cools and the levels come up. The Natchaug fished very well into the 3rd week of June as sulphurs, ants and black caddis were the go-to patterns.

The trout are struggling for oxygen and have been seen podding up in cooler flows on both rivers. Not a good time for Eastern CT opportunities. The only game in town becomes the Farmington. Despite the heavy pressure, the upper TMA and above on the West Branch of the Farmington may be the best lower New England has to offer. Patience, choosing some of the less pressured areas, and being willing to make frequent fly changes will lead to success. Oh, and you better be on 7x at this time as the water is crystal clear, a bit low, but perfect and the trout are very picky!

We managed some fine fish on the Farmington just recently, as the above video will show. With the water clarity excellent, I witnessed at least 5 fish throughout the day, rise to my pattern, open its mouth and at the last second, nudge it and reject. In another case an 18" brown who showed in a small riffle, absolutely crashed a winter/summer caddis size 16 without hesitation.

You just never know! You'll be tested at this time of the year but the rewards are unbeatable!

An aside; ran into an angler who proceeded to tell us how he "slammed" them all day upriver as he was entering Greenwoods with no rising fish and a falling rain in the early evening. First question, why leave "upriver?' The fishing on the Farmington is challenging and technical at this time of year for the dry fly guy. If you're going to nymph with an indicator, so be it. But you will NOT "slam 'em" on top. I'm personally tired of the war stories and bragging boards throughout the fly fishing community. You'll not see brag numbers posted here. I'd rather tell it like it is and keep it real ... Drag Free!

Monday, June 7, 2010

New Blog from Blue Ribbon Flies, West Yellowstone, MT

Be sure to check out the new link to Craig Mathew's blog. Craig is the owner and operator of Blue Ribbon Flies in West Yellowstone, Montana,a first class shop and one of the best you'll ever visit when you're out west!

I had the opportunity to spend some time chatting with Craig last year at the shop on a trip to Montana and Idaho and he is truly a fine gentleman who spends time with everybody and is present with his wife Jackie at the shop year round. His patterns and creations are tied by himself and his staff and are superb imitations no matter where you fish, east or west. He updates the conditions around the Yellowstone area weekly; get on the email list for his weekly reports! Drag free! New Eastern CT reports coming shortly.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Natchaug River 5/26/2010

The river exploded last night on black caddis! Of course it was around 8:15 and that left little in the way of daylight. I fished a black on top with a small shuck with success, including a nice holdover brown, since the fish were keyed on the emergers. Earlier some success on small sulphur yellow spinners which were on the water in decent numbers. Lots of fish in this river...get out and do some exploring. I see VERY few fly fishermen in the areas I frequently fish. I expect the next few week to be prime!

Drag free!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Natchaug River Update!

Finally we have some rising fish in good numbers on the Natchaug. The water level is low but just right and the fish are rising to sulphur emergers in late afternoon and early evening. Just recently I observed them switch over to caddis emergers at dark, as the tan and black caddis appeared.

It is not uncommon to watch the beautiful sulphur duns float unmolested down the feeding lanes as the fish take emergers with a rolling subtle rise. We did manage a few on usuals,parachutes and traditional sulphur drys, but a yellow soft hackle or sulphur emerger fished in the film or just under the surface was a better choice. As the caddis appeared, the rises became more splashy as the fast moving emergers came to the surface.

Low clear and slow moving calls for 6x or lower. I have gone to 7x when confronted with refusals and if your knots are good, tippet fresh, you'll have no problem.

Also spent some time on the Moosup and Quinebaug with few rising fish to report on the Moosup as yet. We did find risers on the Quinebaug with limited success. Let me know your observations if you regularly fish the rivers of eastern CT! Drag free!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Natchaug River, CT early season update!

The Natchaug River in eastern CT is a "home" river of sorts in that I fish it more often than any other during the spring and fall months. Lower and warmer water in the July/August timeframe pretty much restricts fishing during those months. Plenty of access, Trout Management Area, and the 2nd most heavily stocked river in CT makes this gem a fly fishing standout in Eastern CT. April 23rd saw quills, small spinners, likely BWO or mahogany, and large spinners falling at dark after a brief late afternoon shower. Fish were taking the spinner at dusk, and earlier in the afternoon, the dark quill body imitations. A few caddis showed but not in the proliferation that is common a bit later in the month. Lots of midge present as well. The Natchaug holds some very nice fish. some holdovers from the autumn stocking and some from previous seasons that manage to survive the low warm water summers.

Fish were sporadically rising to the above imitations; not as active as this river will become once the caddis and then sulphurs begin their appearance. One brown who took a spinner came to hand with a snell and swivel hanging out of its mouth...which may have accounted for its unusual rise form prior to taking the spinner. I cut the snell as close as possible; trying to remove the deeply imbedded hook would have killed the fish no doubt. Shame! Even though this fish was compromised by this situation it nonetheless took the spinner; we all need food when we need it! Took several more very nice rainbows BUT this is not about reciting war stories, or personal brags, or numbers...plenty of that on any number of forums devoted to fly fishing. That subject's for another time!

I won't be too specific here on locations as the entire stretch along CT 198 in Eastford/Chaplin CT provides ample access. Email me at for more specifics or any questions. The Natchaug remains one of my very favorite trout streams for reasons beyond the ample fly fishing opportunites; beautiful water, scenery, wildlife and away from the crowd in the state park/picnic area, SOLITUDE!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Pre-Opener report...Moosup River, CT

Moosup River in Central Village (Plainfield) CT is a TMA, catch and release and thus open year round. The past few days, post flood waters, has shown lots of early stoneflies and hungry newly stocked fish. Not many looking up as yet, but did manage to take a brown on top with a stimulator. This is a lovely stretch of river, directly behind the Quinebaug Trout hatchery, with easy parking and access via the yellow trail. The Moosup empties into the Quinebaug, downstream of the hatchery. Deep runs, pools and riffles amidst wooded forest area provides good cover and cool water. Stocking reports show that some 2200 trout are stocked in the TMA, with 7000 throughout the Moosup system. There are holdovers; I had a solid 18 incher on hook for several minutes in fast current and couldn't get him to hand to see if he was a holdover or not...oh well!
This river originates in RI, and receives little fishing pressure with stocking by RIDEM not seemingly spread out although there are some very nice stretches of river on the RI side.
For now, stonefly nymphs fished deep will produce all the fun you would want! Terrific looking dry fly water and in a few weeks with the emergence of early-season mayflies, the on-top action will materialize! Hopefully by then the pale,dreary looking browns and rainbows will have colored up a bit! There are some BIG fish in this TMA; Fished the Mooosup, or any other Eastern CT rivers? Let me know your thoughts! I will not be overly specific with locations in these public posts, but hope to provide some level of interest for those who haven't fished some of the less well-known streams and rivers of Eastern Ct and RI. Drag free!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Blackstone River RI at flood stage 3/31/2010

The Blackstone River is a put and take trout fishery between May and late June, and again in the autumn. It is generously stocked with large (12+") browns and rainbows and is easily waded during normal conditions in the Ashton section of Cumberland and Lincoln, RI. The river features a solid black caddis hatch, occassional BWO and sulphurs and provides some relief for fly fisherman from the heavily pressured Wood River in southern RI. The following video was taken during the recent flood conditions in RI. Normally this section of the river is easily waded to thigh high depth! It will take a week or more for the Blackstone to return to normal depth. The deck of Ashton Mill shown in the video is usually 8-10 feet above the water level.

Friday, March 26, 2010

NCAA FINAL FOUR!...Random thoughts

Rivers blown out...cold weather...can't fish, so my next favorite pastime is college hoops, especially as we near the ultimate championship in sports, the NCAA National Men's Basketball Championship! Six games, all on neutral courts, win 'em all or go home! Six games against the best in College hoops..what a great tournament so far.  I saw in person at the 1st and 2nd rounds in Providence, the ultimate Cinderella, St. Mary's dismantle Richmond and Villanova. They will bust my bracket if they beat Baylor, but I'm rooting for 'em!  How can you not like the big guy OMARRRR!  See him here. Or the Aussie in the back court who can shoot lights out! Omar Samhan is a big time low post player with Kevin McHale moves...enjoy him!

Tennessee is as big,deep, and talented as any team remaining and could get to Indy. Love Turner and O. State and this is a permier matchup.

K-State's road looks easier if they can recover from a punishing win against Xavier...the worst called game I've seen, despite the number of fouls and DQ's. Curtis Kelly is a player!  Ask UCONN's Jim Calhoun about him...he let him walk after one year of no-playing time; that program's a mess, but that's another story. I can't see Butler advancing.

Kentucky?  30 points in 2nd half?  Deep, big and all of that, but experience?? We'll see. The Mountaineers manage to get by in games they seem out of it and they just might knock off Calipari and his guys here.

America's most beloved team Duke! (ahem) I don't see Purdue moving on...MK gets his guys peaked here as usual.

I have Baylor in my FF but will be rooting big time for the guys from Moraga, CA. How can you not for a College with 2500 undergrads? A COLLEGE...the only one still standing!

Finally...shook hands with College basketball's best color guy, Bill Raftery between Tennessee and Ohio game in Providence 2nd round.  Small talk about Tenn's chances etc.  What a guy, stops to chat with everyone, a smile for everyone. He and Verne Lundquist (one of sports greatest calls "YES SIRRRR", remember the event?) who I chatted with after Texas/Uconn game at Gampel are paired for the Midwest.  IMO, they're the best in the college hoops and listen for the usual Raftery classics..expect MAJOR ONIONS at some point!!  or the standard:  "Verne Lundquist, Ohio State goes............"you know the rest!   Best to all in your brackets!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Searching for the Holy Grail...again!

Decided to try some new fly boxes in an effort to consolidate and reorganize.  Somehow that never works and like most all of us, I end up with a gazillion boxes of all shapes, sizes and material bouncing around my kit bag!  The Flambeau "Blue Ribbon" twin boxes are the choice of the moment! 

The vertical friction foam technology is unique and the boxes are waterproof, a welcome feature after having dunked most every other fly box I've owned!  It specs at 160 flies...we'll see! I'm impressed with the construction, see thru lids and a nice tight latch.
For smaller stuff the Crystal Creek series sports a magnetic side and the same friction foam as above with a watertight gasket.


So good. Maybe this IS the year for finally making sense of what patterns to carry... in what... and when! Two twins and a mag box do fit nicely in one compartment of the FP Guidepack below. 

Monday, February 22, 2010


Seems like the weekend events were all about speed!  Downhill skiing, bobsleds, speed skating, luge riders; even the "GO DADDY" girl Danica is all about FAST!  I had a chance to slow it down a bit, stopping by the annual fly fishing small scale show hosted by the Bear's Den a fine fly shop in Taunton, MA.  I cast the remarkable Sage ZXL 3 weight in an 8'6" configuration with the new RIO LT series line.  The ZXL S.L.O.W.S it down a bit from the 3 XP's which I own and weighs in at just over 2 ounces.  What a nice, smooth rod!  If you haven't had the opportunity to lay some line out with this beauty, don't hesitate!  The new RIO LT Trout series is a perfect fit, loads nicely especially at shorter distances and punched into a stiff wind on the backcast when lengthening out.  Pricey rod for sure BUT the folks at Flycatcher will build one up to your spec at considerably less $$$ than a factory rod.  Anyone have any experience with the custom offerings from Flycatcher??

Staying with the fast/slow theme for a bit, Great Bay Rods is offering a fine selection of fiberglass rods, handcrafted in the US, and SLOW action of course!  I wasn't able to cast a sample, but they look well crafted in a "blast from the past" effort to bring back fiberglass.

The Nautilus reels, featherweight models, US made, were most impressive at a reasonable price point.  The drag system and overall design appears to be a winner.  LOTS of new imported reels on display and none really impressed as much as this line!

Beulah Rods, a new company displaying switch, spey, and blue water rods was present.  An import of course and NO rods equipped with reels to demo.  It amazes me how an upstart new rod company can show up with an impressive display and "uhhhh we didn't bring any reels, so ya really can't sample our rods" approach to marketing.  All in all, a nice afternoon with fly fishing companions all eager for the weather to turn!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

ON The Fly with hand tied leaders.

Tying up some tapered trout leaders using Umpqua material...9' for 5x allows a 5 or 6x tippet to be added.  I prefer hand tied leaders on weed/algae free waters, blood knotted to a 2 ' section of hard mono butt section.  This butt is nail knotted to the fly line.  NO loop to loop!  There are many formulas for different types of leaders found on-line.  I use a desktop tool for fast and smooth blood knots, available from Cabela's.

I like to use flouro for tippet material, Varivas if I can find it, or recently I've used Frog Hair.  I'm always amazed observing fly fisherman using NO tippet or a much too short leader when dry fly fishing. I like a long tippet especially in tricky current situations as found on the Farmington.  A butt section transitions the leader and fly line my opinion much better than loop to loop.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Have an I-Phone?  Do you fly fish?  You NEED this app!

RiverGuide for Kayakers  (link opens iTunes), by developer Wayne Daley, is equally as useful for fly fisherman by  providing real-time streamflow information throughout the U.S. The app has a very logical layout — the first screen you see breaks the country into seven regions. Tapping on the appropriate region shows a list of states, and then tapping on the state displays an alphabetized list of rivers or river segments. For each river, RiverGuide for Kayakers displays the time and date that the streamflow information was recorded, the cubic feet per second (cfs) that the river is running, and a wave icon signifying high, medium or low relative water level.

I have been in contact with Wayne and he is quick to add new rivers and updates on any river with a USGS gauge. He recently added a daily and weekly stream chart.

At $1.99, RiverGuide for Kayakers is an absolute bargain for fishermen who can use the up-to-date info before heading to the river or stream.    And be sure to keep your iPhone (and your VADO video cam) dry while you’re out there on the river with an  AquaPac.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

ON THE FLY...Sunglasses

Saw a twitter on preference in sunglasses for on the water...I have owned several pair of Maui Jim's over the years. Unfortunately 2 pair reside in on around the Blackstone River in RI!
My opinion only, these are simply the best sunglasses you can buy for visibility in the water column, durability, and service. I've returned a few pair over the years for adjustments without a problem. I prefer the stronger solid frame models as above. The lighweight frames on some models just don't hold up to repeated on/off, hanging on a safety strap etc. Coupled with clip on, flip up magnifiers, its all good!

They are also available from on-line merchants with a liberal exchange policy...I tried the built in magnifier model and was dissapointed with the results, prompty returned for full refund to Zappos. I prefer the neutral grey lens for overall on the water visibility...give 'em a try, you won't be dissapointed.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Looking for a small video camera to capture your on-stream action? Look no further...I've owned the VADO for over a year now and the quality, ease of use, and simplicity is beyond compare. Typically I lock it in an Aquapack, drop it in my vest or pack and away we go! You can shoot a video and post it to YouTube effortlessly with the built in software. This is a great camera...take a look!

Madison and Firehole, July 2009

Drops nicely into my Fishpond Guide pack...switched from a vest last year...won't be changing back soon!

Monday, February 8, 2010


Interesting news from CT DEP on the Farmington River...

24% of the brown trout are wild stream bred fish.

25% of the trout are over 15".

The larger stocked fish are "survivor browns" in excess of 15".

All of the rainbows are from yearly stockings as the rainbows do not "hold over"...DEP has no answer on this.

DEP estimates for each 16' of river, an angler can be fishing over a trout in excess of 15".

Be sure to get latest river conditions at

The latest fly fishing read???? Interesting to say the least!!

Fly fishing field notes from RI and CT coming soon!!