Month: January 2017

Win…Win…Win…Win… For a Little Boy and his Daddy.

Boy, I have to say that I’ve had a pretty good run of good weather on my days off so far this year. And, each time out I’ve caught fish. Since my kids were off from school today due to it being MLK Day, I coaxed my son into getting out in the afternoon. First I had to battle it out with him in a nerf gun war in our basement this morning until it warmed up some…it’s tough to be a daddy some times ! By  2pm, I was ready to scramble to the stream with Jacob in tow. For some reason he didn’t want to go at first but I knew once he was there, the curiosity of a 7 year old would take over and he’d be fine.


I was happy that his waders still fit and that he was willing to flog the water with a fly rod today rather than his spinning rods.


Like I said, I was counting on the curiosity of a boy to come through once we were actually on the water.


…And… bugs, because little boys love bugs ! By habit I take a sample of every stream I fish even if I’ve been on it before. Jacob loves bugs !I mistakenly one time forgot to clarify that we do not collect bees, wasps, or hornets ! One summer he found out quickly as to why we don’t bother with them !

This stream does not have a huge or heavy population of mayfly species but it is heavy with caddis. Today, we observed several species of caddis larva as well as midge larva and a few immature mayflies.


Since I knew we were on a stretch of stream that holds a bunch of brookies, I figured that a classic wet fly like the Silver Doctor would be a good fly for him to swing and hold downstream. I was a little worried that the size of the stream and casting room would be a problem but, I also thought that since the water was cold  that if  he was able to get to cast downstream and have the patience to hold it there long enough,  a brookie would eventually lose all control and hit the fly- brookies just love silver and gold tinseled bodied flies.


But…no dice. They were not willing participants for him in that area. I’m guessing that we were too close and he was casting too often. Oh well, I know that they are still there and there is always another day.

So, we moved down stream to deeper pocketwater sections and switched to a small Wood Special Variant. This one has a red body. I believe that the original pattern called for an orange body. Also, I don’t have jungle cock eyes on it either because I ran out of them.


Boom…the one and only brookie for this session. Fantastic ! I just wanted him to get one and remain positive and enthusiastic about fishing. After 2 hours, we headed out to meet mommy and his sister for dinner at one of his favorite restaurants- Friendly’s.

So, for this kid, today, it was win…win…win…win all around. He had a day off from school, a  nerf war with daddy, fishing with daddy, and ice cream !


And for me, it was a win…win…win…win, too. He was a happy boy all day, I got out on the stream with my son even though I didn’t fish per se,  no rods were broken in the process, and a fish was caught !



I love brookies. I think they are the most regal of all fish. Their beauty is unmatched in the natural world in my mind. I love where they live and how tough they must be to survive. I love that they’ll take many different types of flies. Most of all, I love how they still readily take traditional wet flies that were popular between the 1830’s  to the 1950’s and beyond. Some of those traditional wet flies were made famous by these little creatures and because of that fact are eternally inseparable.


Paramachene Belle


This is not a  traditionally tied Paramachene Belle. My wing is a bit long and made of goose and not duck.  I have more wraps of tinsel than should be on a traditional fly ( 5 is the gold std ) but, it still resembles the original and  was just as effective.  My goose wings were not married as well as if I used duck and were more flimsy, too. That being said, I will still fish a poorly constructed fly because presentation matters most !




I love the spunk that they have no matter how small they are and will take a fly almost too big for their mouths. This one wacked a #10 Grizzly King in 20 degree weather, today.



I love that even though it is winter, brookies are usually active and will take flies on the bottom, come up through the water column to take wets, or even rise to a dry fly if conditions are right. Most of all, I love how they equally match if not surpass the beauty of a snow covered stream in January.

Does Size Matter ? I Think Not !


I ventured out today to hit a brook that was highly recommended by a friend of mine who is a small stream aficionado and a champion of them. Since he knows that I’m a small stream nut, too , he gave me this brook’s name. I try and not divulge too much information or show very descriptive pictures to protect these fragile environments and their priceless jewels that reside in them.

I arrived around 10 am and by 10:30 am, I was into my first fish…woohoo… it was going to be a great day !

20170104_110308I try and only show pictures of fish but sometimes that conveys exactly where you have been, too. This small brown loved a small Silver Doctor wet fly. I love to fish the ” old ” flies on small brooks. Something about it conjures up an era that seems to be missed by so many fly fishers today, especially of my generation and younger. I guess I just like fishing the ” old school ” way.


Since it was so mild today, the brookies were willing to go to the surface, too. They seemed to like a small Royal Wulff, another favorite of mine.


The color and beauty of eastern brook trout is unmatched by anything in nature and it demands their  utmost protection. They are true survivors but need our help protecting them with conscientious land and water use and development, water quality assessments, and other conservation measures. 20170104_112523

Fishing small streams isn’t  just about fishing for small native browns and brookies, its about enjoying peace and solitude where not everything is measured by size. This tree is small compared to the surrounding ones but it stands out.


Fishing small streams you get to hear the hushed babbling of a runoff tributary into the main stem of the brook. Everything about a small stream is contrary to urban settings and larger river systems that civilization has built itself around. I, too, am a champion of these places !


A Beautiful Start to 2017

My family and I were blessed to have 2016 a healthy and prosperous one, except for the guiding, but a good portion of that was beyond my control. However, I can not say that for many patients of mine and their family’s that I’ve come across last year- including some old friends. That being said, I wish them all the best for the coming year and for so many of them that had died, may they have eternal peace with our Lord.

Since emergency medicine is my primary career, I see far too many unnecessary, unfortunate, and senseless tragedies. I don’t whine or complain about them and in all honesty, my family only knows about a minute fraction of what I see and experience.

So, fishing has been and will always remain a great way to relax, distress, and contemplate. And, being outdoors I’m  keenly aware of how graceful God really is, and how thankful I am for His guidance and protection, and for my family that wholly embraces my fishing endeavors.

I have been following several blogs of guys in Connecticut that are small stream nuts like myself. Last year I became friends with Mark Wittman of Fishing Small Streams. He has a great blog as well as Alan of Small Stream Reflections. They, with a few other guys, get together each New Year’s Day to fish and celebrate the New Year. I was graciously offered to join but couldn’t since my kids were still on school break and my wife had to work last night. I sure wish I could have joined them but I couldn’t sneak away for that amount of time. But, I did get a chance to get out and fish my club stream for a little over an hour.

I arrived shortly after noon and the air temp was already 43 degrees. I quickly took a water temp and found it to be 44 degrees. Spring fed brooks are almost always in a comfortable zone for trout no matter what season.


Some other evidence that this brook is largely spring fed is the presence of duckweed  and other vegetation that thrives in cold spring-fed water and remains green in the winter.


It felt like everything was coming together to be a beautiful day- it was ! Although I didn’t get to fish long, I didn’t have to because a few quick brookies were all that I needed to see.


In the winter I try not to do a lot of wading or if I do, it’s not deep so that I say as warm as possible for the longest time. I chose to hug the banks and work wets downstream , holding them in productive seams as long as I could. The rewards are in the picture. You can never go wrong with a Royal Coachman wet ! I’ve caught more trout in small streams on this fly than any other. Joe Humphreys who is a good friend of mine is never without one as well and he’s the absolute best in small streams !


I usually like to fish upstream but that is not always the best course of action, particularly when you want to work a fly slowly over one particular spot. Wet flies down stream is the best method for this run because your flies will hang and hold tight along the bank which shelters and holds fish, and is the deepest part, too.

I’m using my custom 7.5 foot 6 weight ADG Titanium rod. It offers the extra length to hold line over currents and it is extremely sensitive to feel ” takes ” from the fish before you even see the line move or water swirl. The heavier weight line lets me load the rod and cast distance without hardily even moving the rod !


Our club uses a hatchery from Pennsylvania so these brookies have a PA look to them. Anything under 12 inches is a stream born native.

With a few fish caught and released ( a couple did not want to cooperate with the camera ), I decided that I was rewarded enough for the day and headed home with a big smile on my face reveling in the fact that 2017 was starting out in a fantastic way !