Thursday, July 31, 2008

Darwin Atkin Ties a Fly After a Five-Year Dry Spell

Darwin Atkin has a list of fly tying accomplishments that stands very tall. He is an award-winning fly tyer, teacher and one of the best people to ever grace our sport. I could list all of his accomplishments, but the list would be way too long for a blog entry. Google him and see for yourself.

About 5 years ago Darwin suffered a stroke and has not been able to flies since then. On July 25, while attending the FFF Conclave in Whitefish, Montana, he tyed two flies. The first he was unwilling to show to anyone. The second, a royal trude, was sold at the FFF Auction. Yours truly made the purchase.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Federation of Fly Fishers 43rd Annual Conclave

The Federation of Fly Fishers' 43rd Annual Conclave is officially underway in Whitefish, Montana. After a couple of days of meetings the demonstration tying, the show and seminars are underway. This year I come to the Conclave as a representative of the Northeast Council and as a member of the Board of Governors of the Fly Tying Group. More info to come about the mission and work of the FFF Fly Tying Group.

At the FFF Award Banquet I had the good fortune to sit with Don Bishop, one of the founders of, and his wife Barbara. Don and his wife were great company. For those not familiar with Ask About Fly Fishing, please take a look at it. The shows are very interesting. Since I never am in the right place at the correct time to tune into the shows, I have them automatically down loaded to my ipod via itunes.

Bob Jacklin was awarded the Lapis and Henry Hoffman was given the Buz Busik Award. Congratulations tho Bob and Henry.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The One That Got Away

Can't stop going to the secret fishing hole on the Swan River. Went out last evening with my sister-in-law, Linda. She fishes with a very old children's-sized rod and spinning reel, but with a fly on the end. I, of course, had my trusty 5-weight. Quickly hitched up another super secret salmon slayer and went for the depths of a nice pool. Bam! The second pass through the pool got me hooked up with an enormous rainbow. It was a valiant fight with the behemoth revealing himself. I am sure this one was about 20 inches long. A big hog. Then in the next instant the tippet broke and my fish went south with my fly. D'oh!

Later I hooked up with another small fish, but he did not stay on the hook. D'oh! More nibbles, but nothing else for the night. D'oh! I'll be back.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Rainbows On The Swan River

What a day of fishing. Dragged a giant 'bow out of a deep pool. This sounds easy, but it took two hours to find a trout willing to snack on a fly. After trying a Snickwah, which is a foam hopper, a Czech Nymph, a peeping caddis and a yellow sally, I decided to hitch up a giant "super secret salmon slayer." This fly is a big mess of white marabou with a lot of tungsten and lead. My friend Jerry was very hot on this fly when we went up to Maine a few weeks ago. I though I would throw caution to the wind and try it. Dredging that fly through a deep pool quickly yielded a 12 inch rainbow. After inhaling the huge fly he gave a strong fight. He was a beauty, all colors and quite a beast, fat from eating caddis and stoneflies in the river. My nephew, Paul, was there to watch, but sorry folks, the camera was back at the cabin. Oh, and the locals would have my head if I revealed exactly where this pool is on the Swan River. Later it was dirt biking in the Swan Mountains behind the cabin.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Roaming The Wilds of Montana

I am free, roaming every corner of Montana in search of fish. After flying into Billings, I headed West on the interstate. Dan Bailey Fly Shop was the first stop. Dan Bailey is a really top notch shop with staff that are dedicated and know what they are talking about. This is a must for anyone in the area.

The next stop on this 400-mile wild ride (speed limits seem to be a mere suggestion in Montana) was the Little Blackfoot River. To get there take I 90 to US 12. The road follows along the river. At about mile 8 there is a fishing access site. Here there are choice fishing opportunities. The river is beautiful, clear and holds some nice little browns that were eager to snatch up caddis and Czech Nymphs. There are other places to turn off a little further up the road towards Route 141.

Continuing to my destination in the Swan Valley I rocked to some Dylan, enjoyed the endless miles of farmland and Mountains and made one more stop at Monture Creek. The State of Montana has done a nice job of restoring the banks of this pretty creek. The water was gin-clear. The sky was an endless dome of blue peppered with a few wispy white clouds. One can see why Montana is Big Sky Country. Alas, the time of day was not good for fishing the wide open creek, but as I drove to the Swan Valley I had dreams of cuts, bows and browns tugging on the end of my line. Maybe next trip.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Hex is On

It is that time of year up here in Michigan. Hexegenia Limbata or the giant Michigan mayfly has arrived from the depths of the Great Lakes (at least where I am). Giant they are. Check out these photos.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

My Excellent Adventures In Rangely, Maine

Well, the time has come that I begin my career as a blogger. I have been putting this off for quite some time. Here we go!

During the last week of June I made a great trip up to Western Maine to fish in the Rangely area. This involved exploring the hundreds of miles of logging roads. I spent the week with a friend who has a motor home parked at a campground. This was "camping" in high style, complete with steaks on the grill and a flush toilet! My friends Jerry and Peggy Brenner really know about comfort.

The week featured two trips to Upper Dam. During the first we were in search of Carrie Steven's house and a plaque commemorating her illustrious tying career. We found neither, but I did find the cleanest port'o potty in the world. We watched someone on the Dam catch a land locked salmon. The second trip was for fishing. The fish were not interested in any of the multitude of flies we offered...Czech Nymphs (which I swear by) to Super Secret Salmon Slayers (which Jerry swears by). The wind up there is fierce. Casting is an adventure. The water was racing through the Dam, but I cannot recall the flow rate. When you go to the Upper Dam, make sure you go when the second gate is open (until June 30) as it is a heck of an uphill walk between gates 2 and 3.

We visited several fishing spots, but none were more productive than the Kennebago River under the Route 16 bridge. Right off the road with a minimal walk (as opposed to the skin-slicing bushwhacking we did to reach other less productive spots) is a lovely stretch of river that we hit in the evening. The tan and black Czech Nymph, now known as the Kennebego Czech Nymph was a killer. 8 land lockeds were on tap that day. The largest tail-walker came in at 14 inches, legal to keep, but I let him go. The fish in the river were absolutely beautiful or as we said, "beautimus."

The second trip to the Kennebago (I called it the Mulligatawny River all week) saw a few more salmon and some chubs. Of note, Jerry is the chub champ of the year. I swear that man attracts chubs like I have never seen. Even when there are plenty of wild brookies to catch, he gets chubs.

Speaking of the wild brookies, Jerry dragged up a half dozen up at the Camp Ten bridge on the Magalloway River one day and three came to my fly as well. Another day we were skunked. Those wild brookies were like little jewels to behold and they are so earnest in their fight.

We explored many other fish hide outs along the way and had some great laughs as well. Moose were all over the place and it was very cool to see a hawk swoop in front of us with a snake hanging in its talons.