Eating humble fly

Yesterday was the perfect reminder of the simplicity of winter.  I sprung free for an afternoon of fishing and I thought it wise to take advantage of it.  After contemplating sight-fishing for a few trout on the sand flats, I called Matt to see if he wanted to float.  At the boat launch, three trout — one a dandy — finned in less than two feet of water eating nymphs.  Perfect…if we had the sight-nymph rod.

Well…onto the river we went.  Yellow fly.  Olive.  White and Cream.  The water was crystal clear.  The sky socked-in gray.  The trout spooked skittishly from the middle of the river.  Okay, okay.  Black.

My favorite winter fly is a slinky streamer with schlappen, marabou, deer hair, and weighted eyes.  Black and brown, heavy on the black.  This is Guinness and Bass (or Harps, if that’s your thing), and it moves through the water like it can’t decide if it wants to go to the surface or the bottom.  But black.  Why?  Leeches?  I dunno.

From 3 pm – 5 pm, the trout were willing to chase, and when a winter trout is willing to chase a winter trout is willing to eat.  They were fat for December fish, and fought hard for December fish.  Back at home, I tied two replacements for the flies we’d lost (pike, tree) and hung the wet gloves over the heater.  Simple little things in the winter.  Gray days, black flies, cold, and then heat.  Tomorrow would be day one of my annual streamer camp with my friends Andy and Greg.  I had the hot fly.  Couldn’t miss.

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Matt with a beauty…

And then today happened…  A humbling float down the gray river.  Well, humbling for my fly and I.  My buddies did really well and I really didn’t.  I fished the same fly on the same line from the same boat on the same river and, well, all the magic was gone.  It’s hard to mope in the face of karmic balancing.  I mean, I had that one coming, and as a fly fisher you have to embrace that sort of thing, and embrace that “the boat” — thus adding myself to the collective — had a successful afternoon.  But that won’t keep me from hitting the vise here in a few minutes to try to that right fly for tomorrow.  One in olive in white, one with olive and yellow.  And maybe I’ll find the pity of a trout or two…

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Kim has made a small school of stained glass brown trout.  These are beautiful, roughly 15 inches long (nice trout!), and have Au Sable roots.  Call or email to order.  $150, free shipping.  


Cliff keen athletic cliff keen backpack

This Cliff Keen pack is not only a solid fishing pack, it’s a great gym bag, school pack, day hike pack…side pouches work for rod holders or water bottles.  Great pocket layout.  Even used it for deer hunting this year.  Easy to stuff in lots of extra layers.

Loon outdoors loon core fly tying tool kit

Loon Core Fly Tying Tools:  We use these tools, and we like their simplicity, value, and, most importantly, performance.  Around the home tying station, we’re always asking for “the yellow ones”.  At $60, this is a good deal on good tools to round out your fly tying bench.



Previous Fishing Reports


It really is 92 in the shade.  We’re poling riverboats, not flats skiffs, and the trout don’t like the heat any more than any of us do.   The hex is

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