Sunday, July 29, 2012

Mercer's GlassTail Yellow Sally

Here's a link to a 2009 post of mine about the Mike Mercer Yellow Sally imitation I mentioned in the prior post, that is tied with glass beads.  This is a good alternative for the stimulator pattern when you need to go smaller than size #14.  

Mercer's GlassTail Yellow Sally

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tying The Yellow Sally Stimulator

A few summers ago I was fishing the streams of Northern California - the Upper Sac, McCloud and Pit - and purchased a few local flies from one of the Redding fly shops.  One of the patterns was a Yellow Sally imitation designed by Mike Mercer, using small beads for the abdomen, a synthetic wing and yellow hackle.  The beads were bright yellow, with the last bead being orange to imitate the egg sac of the female.  The fly worked great, but soon I lost the two I had. 

That evening, not having any beads to tie Mercer's pattern, I tied up a yellow stimulator and eliminated the tail and instead dubbed a bright orange fur ball for the egg sac.  The next day, I fished the fly, and it too, worked great.  Since then, I have used this fly with success both out west, and on Eastern streams during the summer months. The stoneflies drop their eggs in fast water and riffles on the edges of slower deep pockets and eddies, and that is where this fly excels. 

The pattern itself has some interesting history, too, as to who actually came up with the pattern.  Check it out here, on the Orvis News blog - Orvis News Yellow Sally.   

Tie some up and fish them with confidence during the day or evening.  Thanks again to Tim Flagler for the great video production.

Sharpen your hooks, and check the water temperature before wetting a line - if it's over 68 degrees F, let the fish be.  

Friday, July 20, 2012


I'm off to chase stripers and blues until further notice ........ I'll post some results from the wild blue yonder if I get the time and the necessary WiFi the meantime, is it an alligator or a log? 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Couple of Trico Patterns

The Trico hatches this year have been good, and although there are only a few places you can safely fish them in New Jersey, there are quite a few creeks in PA that are cool enough to fish this hatch.  I won't spot burn, but if you do some homework, there is some very good early AM trout fishing in the region to fish rising to these diminutive flies. 

Here are a couple of patterns I've posted here before that seem to always take fish.  Add to these the simple Trico pattern in the video I posted a few days ago, and you should be all set for this hatch.  Tie them small, sizes #20-26, and be prepared to go smaller if you are getting refusals.  This is one of those hatches that having the right size imitation on the end of your tippet can make the difference between catching and just fishing. 

This simple pattern is Al's Trico.  A reverse tie pattern that works exceptionally well. (Click on photos to enlarge)

This one is your standard zelon wing Trico.  You can substitute whatever material you prefer for the wing - poly, antron, snowshoe rabbit foot, etc. 

And if all else fails, or when the hatch wanes, tie on an ant.  Trout love ants!  And this one sort of looks like a Trico from below 

Get up early, and see for yourself.          

Friday, July 13, 2012

Typical July in New Jersey......Sort Of

Yellow Sally Brown - J.B. McCollum photo

Just about every July we experience warm water temperatures in our rivers and streams, and most years we also have low water conditions. The bottom line being, we don't do much fishing for trout in July in the Garden State. This year, the situation seems to be unusually severe, mostly due to the lack of rain.  Needless to day, I haven't fished much the last few weeks in my neck the woods.
Fortunately, there are the Lehigh Valley limestone creeks, the upper Delaware River tailwaters in upstate New York, and the Farmington River, another tailwater in Connecticut.  I plan on being on the Farmington fairly regularly in the coming weeks/months to get my fix.  In fact, I just started a 12 month project about 30 minutes away, so naturally I'll have to fish it as much as possible after work during the week.  What else can one do when a great tailwater is nearby and you're away from home? 

The warm temps have not stopped the bugs from hatching though.  In the mornings there have been good hatches of Tricos, as reported last week.  As the weeks pass, the Tricos generally get smaller - they are down to sizes #24-26, and the wild trout in the creek down the street have been on them.  In the evenings, the porch lights have been attracting good numbers of little amber and olive Stoneflies, Little Yellow Quills #20-22, Isonychias #10-12,  small Rusty Spinners #18-22, Spotted Caddis (Hydropsyche sp.), micro caddis, and a cream drake or two some nights.  I also saw one of the huge Litobrancha's the other evening, about a #6-8 mayfly, that is truly a wonder of nature.  At least we know the fish have plenty of food available.

That's it for now.  I'm on the Acela heading  home and figured I'd post something since it's been a few days.  Mr. Brook Trout (Small Stream Reflections), I see you have been fishing the Farmington lately, we may have to meet up there in the next few weeks so we can do corresponding posts on our blogs.     

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Trout Shall Inherit the Earth - Steelhead spawning in the Elwha

The gray ghosts of the Elwha are back: wild steelhead, already spotted beyond the free-flowing stretch of river that used to be Elwha Dam, for the first time in a century.

stlhd tag_2 small.jpg

Read all about it here: Steelhead spawning in the Elwha | Field Notes | The Seattle Times

Nature is awesome and inspiring, we just need to give back what we take, and she does the rest.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Tricos Everywhere, Fishing Nowhere

The tricos have been hatching well lately on New Jersey rivers and streams.   The problem though, is that unless you managed to get on the water when the temps were cooler last week, you are out of luck.  I went down to the South Branch early this morning, and where expected, I saw clouds of tricos dancing in the air above the riffles.  Below, trout rose calmly to the falling spinners, gently sipping them in without a care in the world.  It was as though the trout knew no one would be casting imitations of their food to them today.  The water was 72 degrees, far too warm, even at that early hour to safely hook and land trout.  I checked a few spots on the river, and all of them had the living clouds of dancing tricos in the air above the riffles with the noses of trout poking through the water surface below as they fed on the falling spinners.

Tim Flagler pulls it all together here as he shows us how to tie Eric Stroup's simple trico pattern, then ends with some great footage of a hatch and trout sipping the little buggers with abandon.

We may have to head out to PA to hit one of the limestone streams today.  Even then, our expectations will be tempered, as the water temps there may be too high as well.  If not, we'll fish and report back to you, otherwise we may have to partake in a local brew or two and call it a day.

On another note, some coward decided to post a comment after one of my entries the other day, using someone else's web name.  Why anyone would do that is beyond me, except perhaps that they wanted to say something that they know they shouldn't say, and the only way they would do that is to hide behind someone elses identity. 

I have never censored the comments here, and don't intend to start now. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and perspective.  Those who follow my blog know that if they have something to say they can say it, or they send me an email, and I always answer them with respect, even if they disagree with me.  Fly fishing is an ever-evolving process that requires an open mind and flexability.  If you have something to say, go ahead, just do it with the respect that you wish to be treated with in return.  Understand that hostile, or passive-aggressive comments will be ignored - if you want to crash and burn, you can do that on your own.

Finally, I truly appreciate and thank all of you that read my writings.  If you have a comment or a question, please add it to the mix.