Saturday, December 18, 2010

Flies as Art

Tying flies is a skill used to make fly fishing more enjoyable and productive. Flies are, after all, meant to serve a function: catch fish. Of course, after tying thousands of flies I have realized I rarely fish with flies I don't find attractive. Could it be that trout and fishermen have the same appreciation for well tied and pretty flies? Or maybe I can only properly present and fish with flies that are pleasing to my eye. Each fly represents years of design and technique based on form and function. I'm not sure if it's art, but I do like the thought of my flies as tiny masterpieces meant to be trashed by hungry fish, snagged in branches, and flung through the air.
After posting photos of some of my Salmon flies, I was very exited to receive a comment from a talented artist, Peter Strid, with a link to his rendering of my Ausable Salmon Bomb. Check out his website Strid Art; he creates beautiful art often using fish, flies, and fly fishing for inspiration.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Salmon Flies

Well other then a few slow days on the catch and release area on the West Branch of the Ausable River I have switched gears. I have been tying salmon flies to fish the Lake Champlain tributaries. Take a look.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

8' 6'' 5 weight

Here is a photo of a 8' 6'' 5 weight I have just finished. I built it on a Batson Rainshadow 7+ I love these blanks. The guides are titanium and the real seat is box alder. It is weighted perfectly for a light reel my Hardy Angel 3/4 weight even balances it nicely.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fall Fishing

I have been having a lot of luck on the Ausable and Saranac rivers the water is clear, the temp is in the low 50s and the level is perfect. I have seen a few October Caddis but have mainly been fishing nymphs and streamers. The fish have been aggressive attacking big zonkers and bunnies often before the streamer has a chance to sink more then a few inches.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

October so far

The Ausable has been way to high for most fishermen this past week. I have managed to take a few clients to some local spots with some luck. Mostly with streamers and heavy nymphs. I also have been able to get out on my own a few times here are a few pictures of a nice brown I caught on a size 6 Zonker.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My new 9 foot 5 weight

I finished a new rod a few weeks ago and have fished with it almost every time I have been fishing since and even let a few clients try it as well. I used a Batson 9 foot 5 weight Rx7+ Blank. It is a medium fast action rod with plenty of backbone. I love its overall feel. My next project is going to be the Rx7+ blank in the 8 and a half foot 4 weight. I cant wait.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Great fishing

The cooler temperatures over the past few days have provided some excellent fishing on the Ausable. I am going to head to the Ausable River Two Fly shop to pick up a new net tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Big or Small

Fishing tiny dry flies (sizes 20-28) can be a real challenge; when the only trout you see on the river are selectively feeding on tiny tricos it is silly to toss anything even barely visible from 20 feet away, right? Wrong! Trout feed on beetles, grass hoppers, crickets, damsel flies, stone flies, and whatever else happens to land in their feeding lane. Big flies catch fish even during the hottest days of the summer, especially in pocket water, along undercut banks, and beneath overhanging trees and bushes. It doesn't surprise me to hook into an aggressive trout even in white water so turbulent that it is nearly impossible to get more then a ten foot drift. I am more likely to fool a fish if I am fishing for trout that have to strike quickly to fill their stomachs. I understand the appeal of fishing an early morning trico hatch on a glass-smooth stretch of river using the most delicate flies, tippet, and presentation to fool trout that seem to be studying the slowly passing flies waiting for the perfect one to strike; however, I find that moving from pocket to pocket, covering a lot of water, and using a relatively big dry fly is the method I use most often with the most success.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Last night I fished one of my favorite spots on the river. I managed to catch a few small trout subsurface on caddis nymphs and one on a stonefly dry. As the sun was going down, the dry fly action picked up; light cahills, tan caddis, blue winged olives, and the sulphurs were all on the river, but none in great numbers. I switched to a size 14 sulphur parachute and caught my biggest fish of the night (about 16 inches). As my eyes tired and it got darker out, I switched to a larger cahill parachute emerger, size 12 (I tied it with an extra large parachute). I fooled a few more fish and walked home. Oh yeah one more thing next time your out on the river bring bug dope.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Recent activity

On the river last night there were tan caddis, some march browns a few coffin flies and some stone flies. It rained hard today and the air temp was cooler then it has been lately. The river is in good shape. I have been fishing mainly pocket water using large dries (stimulators or bombers) if I notice the trout rise to the fly but refuse at the last moment I tie on a smaller more accurate imitation. I also caught a few nice trout just before dark last night on a coffin fly spinner. I am anxious to see the hatch activity on the river now that we have gotten a good blast of rain.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Early Morning

I went out fishing on the West Branch of the Ausable early this morning with Tom, the owner of the Ausable River Two Fly Shop (a new shop in Wilmington). We fished from about 5am until almost 11am. It rained lightly for most of the time we were on the river. There were a lot of tan caddis, some yellow sallies, and a few green drakes on the river. All the trout I caught were on a size 10 stimulator, except for one brown on a size 16 olive bead head caddis; I had it tied on as a dropper. The river was low and we could really use the rain. The water temp is in the mid 60's. If you are going to be in the Adirondacks, you should really check out the new fly shop in Wilmington and buy some local patterns, some of which are tied by yours truly.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Golden Stonefly

If any of you have been on the river lately you may have noticed the small golden stoneflies are out. It seems early to me but we have been having unusually warm weather. Here is an imitation of the dry golden stonefly I created. I don't have a fancy name for it yet maybe I'll call it the Yellow Johnny.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Before the Gulf oil leak

This is a picture of my brother Tom with a couple of fish just days before the the Gulf Coast oil disaster he heard about the leak on his drive back up north. Notice the name of the boat.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Fish On

Well, I haven't written in the past couple of weeks; I will try to keep up with the blog now that trout season is in full force. I have had a few thirty-fish days, mostly on either caddis bead heads or prince nymphs, since I last wrote. I have been fishing the Saranac and the West branch of the Ausable. On my last trip to the Saranac I was so badly bitten by black flies that I felt like I had been punched in the face, but the fishing was great. I caught my first big fish of the season on Thursday; it was an awesome brown trout. Of course, I have no picture (I dropped my camera into the river last year), so I am not even going to tell you all how big it was. Let's just say I have caught my share of 24 inch browns on the river and this fish was bigger and she was heavy. It was the biggest fish I have caught on the Ausable. I had no one to witness the fish, except my puppy, Gus; he wasn't even mildly impressed. He is new to fishing and probably thinks all trout are that big. My last dog, Charlie, who passed away last July, would have been really exited. Today the water temp was 54 degrees. I fished one of my favorite stretches of pocket water and in one hole I caught a beautiful Brookie, a Rainbow, and an 18 inch Brown. I usually don't see many fishermen on this stretch of water, but today I ran into two separate groups using spinning gear. I stopped to talk to a gentleman from one group who said he had caught a few small brook trout. The river was busy with fishermen; I will probably be looking for less crowded water on the weekends from now on. Luckily, there are still plenty of spots where I can avoid the crowds.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I was on the West Branch on Friday and the water temp was 44 degrees in the catch and release area. The fishing was slow. Yesterday afternoon I took a trip over to the Saranac river with my brother; let's just say we went to a very popular spot for both fly fishermen and worm guys. The water's temp was 50 degrees and there were a ton of caddis on the water. I nymphed for awhile, until I noticed a lone trout rising to caddis on the far bank. I didn't want to miss my opportunity to catch my first fish of the season on a dry fly, so I waded the chest-deep water to the far side of the river. I first tried a caddis emerger. The trout refused the fly, so I switched to a size 14 rusty (orange) haystack. The trout nailed it, but I jumped the gun, setting the hook too fast and sending my fly into the tree branches about 20 feet above my head. Taking a deep breath, I broke my fly off along with most of my tippet and proceeded to tie new tippet and another size 14 haystack to my line. I waited a couple of minutes until the trout started to rise again. I made a decent roll cast, placing my fly about 20 feet upriver from the feeding trout. The fly floated downstream; it was a perfect dead drift. Sure enough, the trout took the fly. I waited a split second and gently set the hook. I had the fish on; it fought slowly. It wasn't a monster fish, but it was a real beauty: a 16 inch brown. Not a bad fish for my first of the season on a dry fly.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I was lucky enough to spend most of Monday on the river (the Ausable). I fished for the first couple of hours, spending a lot of time just looking at the wonderful scenery. The weather was perfect; Caddis were in the air and so were a few Blue-winged Olives, but no trout were rising (the water is still cold). I was using a double nymph rig without any luck. I fished about a half mile of pocket water, not spending much time in one spot. After having a snack I gave up on my nymph rig and switched to a size 8 Zonker with a split shot about a foot and a half above the streamer. I slowly drifted it down the feeding lanes behind and in front of boulders and slowly retrieved it across the current down river. I managed to lure a large trout out from under an overhanging boulder. I didn't notice it taking the fly until I started my retrieve. The weight of the fish bent my rod easily; it rolled, showing off its wide body, and then my line went limp. I lost him. As I pulled my line in, checking the fly, I heard a strange noise like a creature from a different dimension. Sure enough, it was my cell phone. I had to end my fishing for the day just as I started to do something right. It wasn't a great day of fishing. But as I look out my window at the snow falling, I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to stand in the river in the sun and lose a big brown trout.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Some pictures of a Split Winged Parachute

DATE: 4/19/2010 6:52:00 PM

Here are some pictures of a Split Winged Parachute. This one is tied with cream dubbing and white wings but I also tie Blue Winged Olives and almost every other color combination.

Cold and Wet

DATE: 4/18/2010 10:20:00 PM

It's been a cold and rainy couple of days. The Ausable River is running high and the fishing has been very slow. I bundled up and headed out around 2 pm yesterday; a light rain was falling and I knew the river was up, because I could hear it from my house. The view of the snowflakes falling on Whiteface was more than a little discouraging, but I trudged down the steep bank to the river anyway. Before I left, I told my girlfriend I would be back around 6 . . . but after only a couple of casts I knew I had greatly overestimated my determination. I drifted my fly through every pocket and run, even though I had made up my mind that it would be a miracle if I caught anything other than a bad cold. I firmly believe that there is more to fishing than catching fish; I often tell myself and others, "Well it's just nice to be out here." Standing in the river as the rain started to fall harder, I realized this wasn't one of those days. Looking over the river one more time, I decided it was time to go inside and sit by the fire. Foul weather isn't a complete bummer, it gives me a chance to tie flies. I tied a dozen split-winged parachute flies that I really enjoy. It's a pattern that I first saw in John Gierach's book, Trout Flies. It is a very petty fly and the feather parachute post is more delicate then the typical calf tail or turkey T base posts I usually use. For those of you who haven't seen this fly, I will post a picture soon.

Another Great Day

DATE: 4/15/2010 8:01:00 PM

I just walked back from the West Branch of the Ausable River to my house it is about 4 pm. I have something to do this evening or I would still be out enjoying the wonderful day. It is supposed to rain tonight. I hope not, the water level is perfect. I did have a little luck this afternoon I caught one nice brown trout about 16 inches long. I was using a dropper rig, a size 10 bead head prince nymph with a size 16 bead head caddis nymph tied to the bend on about 26 inches of 5x tippet. The trout took the bead head caddis. I use this set up a lot and more often then not I hook the fish with the smaller fly. I will be out fishing for most of the day tomorrow. I am going to check out a few different areas on the Ausable. Check back soon for more updates.

Spring Fly Fishing in the Adirondacks

DATE: 4/14/2010 6:56:00 PM

I decided to start this blog late last night, hoping I could create a place to help fly fishermen keep up to date with my neck of the woods. I assume most people don't care what I ate for dinner or what Gus, my new puppy, chewed up last night. My neck of the woods is the West Branch of the Ausable River and the surrounding area. Spring is here and the water level has come down. After a chilly night in the 20's, it is shaping up to be a very nice day with highs in the 60's. The fishing is slow because of the low water temp, but I have been successful nymphing in the pocket water. The trick is to almost bump the trout on its head with your fly, so fish pockets and holes where you know there are fish. Easier said then done, I agree, but on the West branch of the Ausable If it looks like there should be a trout hiding behind that rock, then there probably is. As the fishing season progresses I hope to take the time to write little updates as often as possible. Please feel free to share your comments, fish stories, and other related stories. Try not to criticize my less than perfect use of the English language; my English major girlfriend has been working on it for a few years now (believe it our not I am getting better) and what does that have to do with fly fishing anyway.

Welcome to Ruff Waters Fly Fishing

DATE: 4/13/2010 4:27:45 AM

Welcome to my blog. Please check back soon for new entries.