Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A Salter Fly

I had most of my success during my recent salter brook trout fishing trips using one fly. It's basically a small wooly bugger variant, but it uses a smaller hook than a typical wooly bugger and dubbing in place of chenille.

Hook: Size 14 Streamer
Bead: 1/8"
Thread: Any Color (color is seen only in collar)
Tail: Marabou (Any Color) and Krystal Flash
Body: Hare's Ear Dubbing
Hackle: Grizzly

Salter Fly Tying

Start out by building up thread behind the bead to hold it in place. 

Salter Fly Tying

Tie in marabou in a color of your choosing to form a tail roughly 1 shank in length. Leave the excess marabou alone for now.

Salter Fly Tying

Wrap forward over the marabou up to the bead to form a thickened body, then cut off the remainder of the marabou feather. 

Salter Fly Tying

Return the thread to the tail and tie in a few strands of Krystal flash.

Salter Fly Tying

Tie in a grizzly hackle feather.

Salter Fly Tying

Dub the body with hare's ear. You don't need much - the body is already thick from the marabou. 

Salter Fly Tying

Palmer the hackle forward and tie in behind the bead. Remove the excess hackle.

Salter Fly Tying

Build up a small collar of thread behind the bead, whip-finish, and you're done.  I add a little bit of head cement, but that's optional. 

Salter Fly Tying

Sunday, January 17, 2016

More Salters, and a Big Surprise

Massachusetts Sea Run Salter Brook Trout

On Friday I went back down to the Cape for some Salter fishing. I'm back in MN now, so I decided to try to fish where my odds would be highest before I left. It was between Salter streams and the Swift, but I think I made the right choice.

Spring-fed waters allow green plants to grow year round
I caught 4 brookies out from under the brush in this bend pool
I started out around 8 AM, when it was about 25 F. The fish were not as aggressive as last weekend, so a slower retrieve was key. Once I figured that out, I consistently found fish in deeper water. I got more than one fish from several pools, so I think the fish may be podding up for winter in the deeper pools.

After catching quite a few brookies, I found myself at the pool below. It looked like nice water, but nothing special.

I let my fly drift by the woody debris in the water, when I saw a sudden flash. I pulled up, and saw an enormous fish on the other end of the line. I thought it was the salter of a lifetime, but as I got it closer I saw a flash of pink. Fortunately, the stream was small enough that there was no room for the fish to run, so I was able to land the rainbow quickly, even on my 2 weight.

This stream isn't stocked, but the pond at its source, 2 miles upstream, is. So even though it's a stocker, it's pretty cool to see it where I caught it. Also it's by far the biggest fish I've ever caught out of a stream this small.

Massachusetts Sea Run Salter Brook Trout

After the rainbow I caught a few more brookies, then moved on to another stream. I knew the tide would be rising when I arrived, so I decided to check out the mouth of the stream at the bay. I've never caught a fish there, but I know the fish are there at least some of the time, so I decided it was worth a shot. I didn't catch anything this time either, so I moved upstream to more familiar waters. The tide was high, but I managed to get one nice fish out of the murky waters. After that I called it a day, leaving in time to beat rush hour traffic home.
Massachusetts Sea Run Salter Brook Trout
Largest of the day - caught in the estuary at high tide

Thursday, January 14, 2016

A Salter Weekend: Day 3

Sunday's forecast called for very warm temperatures, but with high winds and heavy rain. I couldn't convince anyone to come fish with me, but I decided to try for a few fish by myself before I headed home.

I ended up catching three brookies, but it wasn't long before my jacket was completely soaked through. At that point I decided to head home.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Salter Video from the Weekend

My friend Geoff made this edit from video we shot on his GoPro this past weekend. I think it came out great!

Fullscreen 720p is recommended for optimal viewing.

Winter Salters from Geoffrey Klane on Vimeo.

A Salter Weekend: Day 2

On the second day of my salter weekend I woke up early, then left my home base (my grandmother's house) with Geoff to hit the streams. The weather called for highs in the mid 40s and cloudy skies - perfect conditions for salter fishing. Salters are usually pretty spooky, so the overcast sky really helped.

We arrived at the first stream just as the tide was receding. We found the estuary with more water than usual and slightly stained, which added further protection against spooking fish. We started out swinging streamers in the first pool we came to, one where I've caught many of my best salters. Geoff fished first, getting several bites before finally hooking up with a nice, fat salter. I decided to try the pool next. On the first few casts I got nothing, but then I felt a solid tug on my line as stripped my size 14 streamer. I pulled up on the rod and so a bright, wide flash. The fish fought like a pull, trying to pull to the bottom of the deep pool. Luckily, my 2-weight performed perfectly, allowing me to quickly guide the fish into Geoff's waiting net.

This was possibly the biggest salter I've ever caught, up there with this fish. After a couple pictures and a GoPro release shot, it was back into the pool for this fish.

We moved from the estuary and caught several more nice, albeit smaller, brookies around the weeds growing in the water farther upstream.

Soon after we left to meet my friend Aaron at another stream. Here we fished in a flat, but deep, section near the estuary. Though the water appeared featureless, we found brookies consistently throughout the stretch. We practiced "Pack Fishing", with one person fishing until they got a hookup, then moving downstream 15-20 feet for the next person to fish. We each caught several fish with this technique, before deciding to call it a day and head back to home base to warm up by the fire.

Monday, January 11, 2016

A Salter Weekend: Day 1

I spent the past weekend fishing for salter brook trout in Southeastern MA. From Friday to Sunday I fished the Quashnet River, Mashpee River, and Red Brook several times each. Luckily, the weather was mild, which in addition to the relatively warm springs feeding these streams, lead to great fishing conditions.

Fat for its size

On Friday I started out at the Mashpee River.  Here I started fishing in a relatively open area of the estuary. I caught several fish along the underwater weeds in the stream. This was very different from a typical pocket water trout stream - the water's surface was almost completely flat, so instead of using the currents to read the water, you had to look for structure. I was fishing small streamers downstream, so I could see the fish flash just before they hit my fly.

Later in the afternoon I moved on to the Quashnet River. Here I fished much farther upstream from the ocean. The Quashnet was similar in size to Red Brook, but with a much more wadeable gravel bottom. There was tight overhead vegetation, but there was enough room to drift a streamer downstream and then hang it in the current - my preferred technique for winter brook trout.

Largest of the day

I caught several more fish here, including the biggest of the day. After catching a few I called it a day and began to plan for the nest day's fishing.

To be continued...

Monday, January 4, 2016

A New Stream

A Wild Brook Trout Stream on Mt. Wachusett Massachusetts Fly Fishing

Back in mid-December I took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather to explore a stream flowing off the flanks of Mt. Wachusett. Normally I wouldn't try a stream like this during winter, as the high-elevation source means it will have relatively cold water. But thanks to the warm weather, I figured I had a shot at some fish.

A Wild Brook Trout Stream on Mt. Wachusett

The stream was flowing well, which was perfect for my favorite cold weather technique, fishing streamers downstream. Once the road was out of sight, it felt like I was in the middle of nowhere. Both banks of the stream are densely forested with hemlock and mountain laurel, but the stream is wide enough to permit some overhead casting.

It wasn't long before I found fish. I pulled in a nice brookie from a slow pool under a log.

I had several more strikes as I moved downstream, but they all got off. There's still several miles of stream I haven't yet explored, so I'm excited to see how the rest fishes come spring.

Massachusetts Fly Fishing

Sunday, January 3, 2016

A Late Report on an Early Christmas Present

Back on Christmas Eve I received a great gift - the weather. The forecast called for highs in the 60s, and knowing that frigid temperatures could return any day, I realized I had to take advantage and fish. So, I met up with my friend Aaron and we set out on a tour of trout streams in Western MA.

We started off at the Swift, where Aaron landed a brookie before we decided to move on - the Swift will fish well all winter, but it could be a while before the small streams are fishing well again.

Our next destination sat deep in a hemlock-forested ravine. I've had good luck fishing for brookies in the upper reaches of this stream, but I wanted to explore the lower sections in search of the wild browns rumored to live there. This part of the stream is a bit larger than most of the streams I fish, so I knew there was potential for some nice fish.

As we descended into the ravine, a temperature change was apparent - while it was at least 60 at the top, it must have been 10 degrees cooler at the bottom where the cold air had settled. We started off slow, but soon I hooked into a nice wild brown under a submerged log.

Not long after I found another, slightly larger brown at the tail of a pool.

Eventually we came to a large, flat pool that just had to hold a fish. As I had already caught a couple fish, I told Aaron to give it a shot. At first, there was nothing, but after about 10 casts we saw a bright flash behind his wooly bugger as he swung it through the tail of the pool. On the next cast we saw a large splash, but no bite. Finally, on the third cast, Aaron managed to hook up. From the looks of the fish in the water, it was in the 10-12" range, but unfortunately it got off towards the end of the fight.

After that let down, we decided to explore some beaver ponds on a nearby stream, but had no luck. Although the fish were few, we were satisfied with another beautiful day in western MA.