Thursday, November 13, 2014

Random thoughts...

Season's ended for all practical purposes…low water conditions made for locally tough conditions throughout the summer months, and even now.  The Catskill streams remained in great shape with just the right amount of rainfall.  Definitely worth a trip with 5 top-flight streams to choose from!

Bulletin Boards/forums:  Used to be some good, timely info on these offerings but due to paranoid administrators who treat any decent info as "spot burning," they're dying a slow death…unfortunate.

CTDEEP:  Continues to shine with weekly reports, stocking info, and continuation of the Atlantic Salmon stocking program for the Shetucket.  Some reports that fish have been caught on the Shetucket, levels are ok, but a recent trip resulted in the dam releasing water within an hour of arrival.  Be sure to call the dam hotline if you go...see our earlier post on the Shetucket info.

Youth:  Still seeing very few young folks on the water.  We continue our casting and fly fishing info programs, encouraging young people to join the ranks!  AND we have a few Ross youth fly fishing outfits available...perfect for Christmas...going for $229 on Amazon and elsewhere, take a look!  Click at left for our offer

Birthday or Special Occasion for the young angler?

During the “off season,” we set out to find the ideal outfit for young flyfishers since many of the folks at our casting lessons asked for suggestions.  We wanted to find a complete package, high quality, LIFETIME WARRANTY and at a very attractive price point. We have a few outfits remaining.

We are offering the Ross Journey Youth Fly Fishing Outfit through this SPECIAL OFFER to our fly fishing friends.  This is an ideal package for son, daughter, grandson or granddaughter by Ross, a Scientific Angler/3M company, now owned by Orvis, designed with younger folks in mind.  The 4 piece 7’6” rod with high quality reel, spooled with a 4 weight fly line and leader, padded carrying case and DVD geared to kids is an outstanding value.  Everett has examined the entire outfit in detail; it casts wonderfully and is balanced just right for the younger angler.  Women will also appreciate the smaller cork grip and the 7’6” length; and maybe the best part...break a tip, crush a ferrule or guide, NO PROBLEM...Ross offers a LIFETIME WARRANTY on all rod/reel components!
  AVAILABLE IN LIMITED QUANTITY NOW with a free casting lesson* and 3 special hand tied flies…Everett’s “go-to” patterns! 

Click on left to purchase
*within eastern CT/RI

UCONN basketball:  The season's upon us and last year's national champions are ready!

A few links of interest:

TU Youth Offer

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Salmon on the Shetucket…Fall Fly Fishing Fun!

                                  Two nice examples of Atlantic Salmon on the Shetucket River

Based on a recent email from CT State Senator Cathy Osten, whose district includes the Shetucket River, it would appear that the Atlantic Salmon brood stock stocking program will see NO changes for 2014!  This is great news, since this is a fun fly fishing locale in late fall as we try to outwit these strong fighters!  Jay's fish above, from 2 years ago was a sight to behold!!  I happened to be down river and hustled to snap this photo at battle's end.

A recent scouting trip to the Shetucket showed very low water conditions, since the dam is not releasing.  We need rain before end of October to be sure the stocking goes forward.

We're pre booking interests in day trips to fish for the Atlantics…let us know your interest and we'll work on some dates.

Here's the Senator's response to us..

Forwarded below is the response I received from DEEP about the Atlantic Salmon stock in the Shetucket.



From: Mcauliffe, Elizabeth
Sent: Friday, September 05, 2014 9:35 AM
To: Senator Osten
Cc: LaFrance, Robert
Subject: Atlantic Salmon Stocking in the Shetucket River

Senator Osten -

The fisheries staff tell me there may be rumors floating around, but there is no basis in fact in such rumors.

As in the past, we will equitably allocate the stocking of brood stock salmon  between the Shetucket and Naugatuck rivers, with a  lesser percentage going to eastern and western lakes (again equitably distributed).

Thank you for your inquiry,

DRAG FREE everyone!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Another Catskill Odyssey…A Million-to-One Chance!

Sometimes, there's more to this fly fishing thing than throwing size 20 BWO's to rising fish!

TEAM7xers, Bob, Everett and Tom arrived to rain in the Catskills 7/23, limiting our Wednesday opportunities.  Heading to the West Branch Delaware on Thursday, Bob left his vest behind at the Pasture Pool, Stilesville, for those who are familiar with the area.  We left for the Gamelands, down river when we discovered it missing.  Racing back (try that on the access road!) to the scene, the vest was gone.  Now a Simms vest with Abel pliers, loaded with Bob's (an expert fly tier) flies , boxes and other usual gear would set up a fly fisher for life!

After much lamenting, as we came into cell range next AM, Bob's phone chirped a message.  "I found your vest, call xxx"  Sure enough, Steve a WB local from nearby PA had it and arranged to meet us at "Barking Dog" another named WB pool.  Met with Tony from CT and Malcolm from NJ his fishing partners and learned that all 3 were at the Gamelands the prior evening; Bob's vest 10 feet away in their vehicle while we're racing back to locate it!

Steve and Bob

Now the tale reaches the "You can't make this up" category:  Friday evening, again at the Gamelands, Everett sits on the bank, looks down at the water's edge and sees a bobbing fly box full of nymphs with a phone number inside.  He calls it when in cell range and leaves a message, receiving a return call Saturday morning.  Chatting with the caller about the return, Everett learns his name is "Malcolm" and he's from NJ…YEP, same fly fisherman we met the day before with Steve and the found vest…in a completely different location miles from the Pasture Pool!  Go figure...

Now, acres and acres of water, woods, roads, trails, paths…what are the chances??

Malcolm's fly box

Moral:  If you begin to lose faith in the goodness of people and mankind in general, find a fly fisher.  Every fly fisher I know would have gone to all ends to find the rightful owner of lost gear…Steve you're a good man and we can't wait to join in your invitation to fish with you on our next trip up.
Malcolm, you'll have your fly box back shortly and Tony…we'll see you on the Farmington!

PS:  Not all licenses, like Bob's RI license, contain a contact phone number.  Tuck away a laminated phone contact or other somewhere in your pack, vest, etc.

Friday, June 20, 2014

A Banner Day!

Our guest, Mike F. from Seymour, CT, and Charlie Brown Campground, recently retired and celebrating his birthday joined us on the Natchaug, Saturday, June 14…and what a day!  Having recently taken up fly fishing again after a few false starts over the years, Mike hooked and landed 10 trout on a caddis pattern in clear, low water with a "triple," brookie, brown and rainbow.  Great job Mike!  His comments:  "I learned a lot and thanks so much guys."  We worked on casting earlier and drag free drifts on the water. We set up Mike's outfit after cutting off loops, with a nail-knotted 2' or so butt section to blood-knotted leader to tippet, ending up with 12+ feet of leader, a necessity in the low clear flows now.  You know by now we prefer this set-up and NO loop-to-loop.  We feel the line/leader turns over much more efficiently with this set up.  The butt section must be stiff mono in the 25 lb. test range and Maxima is a good choice.

Levels are dropping fast on the freestones and possibilities still exist for the Salmon River further into central CT.  A good rain will extend the fishing but be mindful of water temps and over stressing the trout.  We'll try and have a Farmington River report soon as conditions should be perfect!


Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Catskill Odyssey...

TEAM7x set out for the Catskills on May 16 for 3 days on the East and West branches of the Delaware, the Beaverkill and Willowemoc.  Since it was raining and more in the forecast, we stopped by the Farmington and Housatonic Rivers on the way; both being unfishable.

Our rental was literally right on the Beaverkill at Cooks Falls.  Three inches of rain fell in 6 hours and all systems were raging.  Saturday morning we packed it after visiting with Dennis at Catskill Flies,  since there would likely be no fishing for several days.  Catskill Flies is a must-stop if you're in the area in Roscoe, NY.  Great fly shop and Dennis always has a story! Checking all the flows between NY and RI, we found none fishable on Saturday, but one…the Wood River in RI!  A 500 mile trip to the Wood which would normally be 35 minutes!  Levels were high but fishable and we managed a few fish on emergers with little real surface action.

The Wood did provide a few surprises; a few Gray Drake duns, the "mysterious" mayfly as Thomas Ames writes in his "Hatch Guide to New England Streams," a must for all fly fishermen.  We've seen hordes of these spinners at dusk on the Natchaug, but they don't fall until who knows when at night. The Siphlonurus is indeed mysterious!  We also ID'd a few golden stoneflies, another large and beautiful insect.

The Gray Drake

Sunday the Natchaug was fishable; barely.  Earlier in the week our guest, Matt, new to the area,  hooked a few under similar circumstances.  We did introduce him to several sections of the river and he'll be back! We found few rising trout despite caddis and BWO's emerging.  Once again emergers took some fish with Monday being mostly the same.  The insects are there, the trout not eager to rise with rapid changes in flows and levels.

The best laid plans…and so it goes!
DRAG FREE everybody!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Be the Trout…Eat MAYFLIES!

Mayflies indeed! It's what we wait for in early Spring.  After capturing a few emerging duns on the Natchaug on Sunday the 27th, Team7x member Bob and I concluded that the Quill Gordons have emerged!  It was overcast, water temp. 52, air temp a bit lower with off and on showers.  Mid afternoon the quills started to show sporadically but the trout showed little interest.  A few degrees warmer and we likely would have some rising fish.  We had to work to find the occasional rise on this day.

Thanks to Chris at Nickerson Family Campground, we had a GREAT turnout for our free casting clinic; women, men and young folks totaled about 15 people and we had 'em throwing loops, some tight, some not so…!  All in all a great time in sketchy weather. Thanks again to Bob for his help with the program and of course my partner in crime, Everett!

This week promises unsettled weather, but it shouldn't be long until the Natchaug and other area rivers break loose. We have guests scheduled at the end this week, so hopefully conditions will settle.   Indicators, weighted flies and all that jazz will catch fish cuz they're certainly there, BUT you know by now, that's not our style.  We'll wait for those trout to rise and then GAME ON!

DRAG FREE everybody.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

CT Opening Day Trout Season, April 19, 2014

IF the weather holds we should have a fine opening day on the Natchaug and all Connecticut rivers.

Continuing our opening day tradition, we will be hosting our no-charge fly casting clinic at Charlie Brown Campground, Eastford CT, Rt. 198 on the Natchaug River on Saturday from 1-3 pm after the morning mob scene!

You're welcome to join us; we'll have plenty of rods, reels fully equipped for your use, OR bring your gear by and we'll check your butt section, nail, blood, and surgeon's knots and whatever else…(Even loop-to-loop connections!)  Look for our signs at the campground entrance.

OPENING DAY TIP:  Get away from the worm throwers…walk, explore, walk some more!  There are great locations on most all our trout streams that most folks never bother with.  Stay close to roads, bridges, easy access points and you'll be sure to find yourself shoulder to shoulder with the opening day one-day wonders!

Stoneflies and early season quills have been showing recently on the Moosup and Willimantic rivers without much surface interest from the trout.  This will change with steadier water levels and temps.

The CT DEP hasn't updated it's site recently, but we assume the first round of stocking has been completed.  Our larger rivers, Natchaug included, should hold some nice fall holdovers as well.

We're booking "Evenings on the Natchaug" now.  Care to join us?  We'll work out a convenient day/date and time for some dry fly action!

We'll continue to update the blog as news warrants…in the meantime our  PRIVATE mail list continues to grow with special updates and current info…sign up, we'll keep you in the loop!


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Fly of the Month

Here's Everett's fly of the month…a CDC Blue Wing Olive.  He ties it with the following materials:

Hook  size 16 (or smaller) dry

Thread  70 denier olive
Tail  Fitch fibers or dun microfibetts
Wing  2 dun cdc feathers
Body  Olive dubbing

We'll feature Everett's patterns throughout the season.  The water in the year 'round open streams is still high and ice still present.  CTDEP has released it's trout stocking report for 2013 here.  This is a great resource for scouting out those trout streams and rivers in Connecticut!  No update yet on stocking reports for the rivers and streams.  Due to water levels and conditions it will likely be a late stocking this year.  We would expect stoneflies to be out when the temp hits the 50's, especially on the Moosup River, open all year.

Our traditional opening day fly casting lessons are set for Charlie Brown Campground, Rt. 198 in Eastford, CT.  We'll be there after the worm burners quit on April 19th from 1 to 3 pm.  If you're in the area stop by and say hello.  Parking is always available across from the rest rooms just inside the campground past the office on the left.  Once again we're happy to partner with Pam, Steve and Chris at Charlie Brown in offering our no-charge casting clinics.

TIP:  Clean those lines! Lines still on your reels from last year?  Try running line and leaders thru a dryer sheet to straighten the coiled memory and remove the built up dirt…works great!  Check your tippet material while your at it; if its been in your vest or pack forever, now's the time to change. Don't need a break-off to start the season!

Let's hope conditions improve quickly…we're getting close!

Stay in touch and 

Friday, January 31, 2014

W.S. Franke, Rodmaker

In sorting through some old paperwork in these cold long days of pre-spring, I came across an invoice for a custom fly rod, built and purchased in 1990.

I met Bill Franke at a Worcester, MA fly fishing show and was instantly impressed with his custom rods, but more importantly with Bill himself.  Turns out Bill was not only a builder of fly rods, but an engineer and designer of custom reel seats and the PFOOT, a patented replacement foot for the classic Pfluger reels of the past.  Read about Bill here.

To my specs, Bill built a 9' 2 piece 3 weight on a beautiful Powell green blank, western grip and a birds-eye maple with nickel-silver seat.  The rod is medium action and a relaxing change from the fast action Sage's I usually take to the water.

With a little silver polish, this beautifully crafted rod is ready for the Spring.  I pair it with a classic Orvis CFO III or the Fly Fishing Benefactor's  Deschutes I, a great little reel at a super price point.

I look forward to fishing this piece of personal history this year, in the relaxed manner it was intended for, and I will remember Bill Franke in the same way; a quiet gentleman, a craftsman, and a fly fisherman who will be missed by all who came to be in his presence.  Thank you for the memories, Bill.