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Maddie’s Protégé is coming along nicely

Make every day Earth day, Pick up one piece of trash daily!

***July Playmate of the Month is here***

 **** Here’s a real-time, LIVE fishing report. There’s been steady fishing here but all the good spots are always taken by the old timers who frown upon newcomers trying to getting to close.,

Today- Friday.. July 25, 2014–It’s partly cloudy and 60°F at the freshly filled backyard bird bath this morn.. A  sunny day with seasonal temps is in the forecast  and the weekend has mixed weather in-store.  I’ve been back for a week now after a rain filled week up north. All the rivers near where I camp were under flash flood advisory and many of the bigger lakes were filled to the brim,  Despite all that I managed smallies, trout and several very large pickerel  The pickerel smashed my chartreuse  foam popper/spider , trout  my Cardellow and the smallies whacked my Root Beer fly.  If you go to Maine to fish for smallmouths be sure to bring along several Root Beer flies.  I haven’t fished since my return and I’m not missing much as “‘Al the Guide” reports slow fishing along the ocean during the day. So much so that he’s been chasing trout in the Swift and Miller Rivers up in  Central MA this week..

I enjoy tying and fishing older fly patterns. Check out Puckerbrush .com for some old and often forgotten patterns along with a philosophy I totally agree with.  All that glitters is not gold,  but more often the old and tarnished patterns are.  I’ll be sure to tie up several Stayner Ducktails  for my next trip up north. Of course I’ll ensure I still have a few Grizzly Kings in my fly book.

Friday.. July 11, 2014==Today was warm and pleasant. . A good day make final preparations for a return trip to the Umbagog Lake/Magallaway R. area with my wife and Lola. Lola likes the pop-up camper we’ll be towing. She goes in with no problems but then doesn’t want to come out. I guess it’s the den like feeling. maybe she thinks inside is where she’ll be as the rain is forecast for much of next week up there.

Al “the Guide” reports the fishing remains good around the Narraganseet/Pt. Judithi AREA. The morning and evening tides this weekend should be good.

 

Wednesday.. July 9, 2014–> It’s clear and 68°F at the freshly filled backyard bird bath this morning . A hot and sunny day is forecast, with warm and dry conditions forecast into early next week. Speaking of hot, ” Al the Guide” reports that fishing along the Narragansett, R.I. shore has finally heated up. There’s been lots of white water and fish if you can contend with the very windy conditions. Many of the stripers are near “keeper” size and there’s a few big bluefish scattered about just to check your tackle. With early morning high tides upcoming it’s a good bet to fish Narragansett/Scarborough at first light and evening. The fishing doesn’t last for long after sunrise on bright days. On the other hand evening fishing only gets better as nightfall settles in. Small 2′-2.5″ Sand eels are the main forage at these beaches in early July. A small, sparse Rays Fly will usually work. Mix a little light brown between the yellow and olive bucktail for a better match. Don’t rule out a larger streamer like the Bondorew Bucktail or Al’s “Guide Fly.” Better yet fish’em in tandem but make sure to double-check your knots.

Ever since Maddie’s passing over two weeks ago I haven’t felt like fishing or doing much of anything, God how I miss my girl. My late June Lake Umbagog area fishing trip with my friend Dave Aguiar could have been better. We had three days of solid fishing and while the fishing was great the catching wasn’t. Seems the Smallmouth spawn was late this year and we hit the post spawn period head on. Coupled with a record 3″ overnight rainfall on the first night sure didn’t help fishing in the Androscoggin and Magallaway Rivers. We did eventually find where the smallies were hanging. Most seemed to have moved out of the colder main current and were found in the shallower coves and dead water spots where the water temp was nearly 10 degrees warmer. We saw several moose and many Bald Eagles along with my first ever black bear in the wild. Oddly enough I saw it near an area that we discovered while scouting about. The spot showed much potential and I intend to wade fish there on my next time up. I’ll make sure to keep an eye on my back cast.

 

***” Inside every good dog is a great dog”***

Today-Tuesday.. June 24, 2014–> It was clear and 55°F at the backyard bird bath this morning at sunrise. I made a pot of coffee and grabbed a cup to take out to the backyard and sip it while visiting  Maddie’s final resting place to chat with her. Tomorrow I head up north to the Umbagog Lake area for a smallmouth fishing trip with my friend Dave Aguiar. (click on pics to enlarge)

Umbagog & Maddie's in the truck

Umbagog & Maddie’s in the truck

With less than a day to go I don’t have a thing ready except some food items as the past two days have been perhaps the most tear filled and painful of my life. Some friends and family members have said the trip would do me good. It would start the healing process and not seeing the many momentos around the house for several days would be a beginning. Perhaps so for some but Maddie and I did everything together. Where I went ,she went. The very first time I went to the Umbagog Area(NH&ME) was with Maddie. Just her and I camping /fishing for three rain filled days. You can learn much about yourself and your relationship with your dog when you’re confined to a tent or the truck cab for hours on end.

Camping on the banks of the Magallaway with maddie

Camping on the banks of the Magallaway with Maddie

 

She was with my wife and  I each year we camped/fished and paddled up there, so there’s many inescapable fond memories that will come forth while I’m there.

Most will bring a smile to my face as we surely had many, many good times.

Yesterdays ago-Sunday..June 22, 2014–> It’s clear  and 55°F at the backyard bird bath this morning .  Despite the forecast for a bright and sunny day,  a dark cloud  with tearful showers will hang  over my wife and  I  today and for days  to come just as it has since Wednesday.  Yesterday after 14 ½ wonderful years, Maddie “The Wonder Dog” was put to rest.  Numerous re-occurring medical conditions and a rapid decline in her overall quality of life caused my wife and I to make this dreaded decision. This past Wednesday I called Maddie’s vet to see about putting her to sleep. Yesterday  was the earliest we could have this painful moment take place so for  the next two days we beat ourselves up by second guessing  and continuously trying to re-assure ourselves that our decision  was the right thing to do. Our emotions and deep love for our family member always seemed to rise above what we knew was best. This made the past several days some of the  longest, saddest and most painful days of our lives.  The days ahead won’t be any easier because of her deep involvement in our everyday lives. Everywhere we look we see Maddie. However now her pain is gone and at the end there was no suffering  as she now peacefully rests by the big pond in the sky surrounded by balls, bones, sticks, treats and of course CHEESE. In the days ahead my wife and I  will attempt  to not feel sorry for ourselves about her passing  and  losing her forever , but rather to look back at all the good times and great memories we made together. Believe me there are many of them. I was fortunate to have her as my fishing partner and our daily companion for so many years. I can only wish for others to be so fortunate.

In Loving Memory

Maddie "The Wonder Dog" 12/21/99 to 06/21/2014

Maddie “The Wonder Dog”
12/21/99 to 06/21/2014

 

“We’re for dogs and for everything they do for our quality of life here on earth”– Pedigree Dog Food

Amen-Ray

“Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons and daughters of the earth. We did not weave the web of life, we are merely strands in it. Whatever we do to the web we do to ourselves.” Chief Seattle

***Make every day Earth Day–Pick up one piece of trash daily ***

***June 2014 Playmate of the Month is here.*****

Today-Wednesday..June 18, 2014–> It’s partly cloudy and 65°F at the backyard bird bath this morning . After a dry, sunny ,warm weather yesterday today is forecast to be hot and humid with temps near 90°F.  I did fish a lengthy stretch of the rocky Narragansett, RI shoreline for stripers with “Al the Guide”  on Father’s Day The late morning was sunny and a light surf was running. Seemed as if neither bass nor bait last were around as we managed only one schoolie and it fell for Al’s “Guide Fly.” Fishing was much different last year at this time. On Monday I spent a few hours fishing for native Brook Trout while keeping an eye out for my lost camera. The brookies were all over my #12 Chartreuse Cooper Bug fished on top. I’m unsure if the Chartreuse color made a difference but I did spot a number of inch worms. Next Wednesday I’ll be heading up north for a few days with my friend Dave Aguiar of Westpor,t MA to fish the Umbagog Lake area on the ME/NH border for smallmouth bass. I’m somewhat familiar with the area as my wife and I usually go camping up there each year for a week or two.

Friday. June 13, 2014–> It’s rainy and 60°F at the overflowing backyard bird bath this morning . Todays forecast is for showers with warm and sunny conditions as we get into the weekend. Many trips to my local stream during the week failed to turn up my camera and tools. Maybe if I didn’t take along a fly rod while searching  I may might just find it. I’ve taken many native brookies lately using a Yellow Cooper Bug. (more on the Cooper Bug later)I’ve been fishing only on top even with nothing showing. The brookies seem really keyed in on the surface right now. While I’ve been chasing a lost camera and native trout “Al the Guide” reports taking over fifty stripers including a handful of keepers during the week from the shoreline of Greenwich Bay. He’s been fishing from shore or just off shore from his kayak and his “Guide Fly” has been the number. In years gone by the full moon in June typically turned up the largest stripers of the season. I’m planning on fishing the rocky ocean shoreline for the first time this year on Sunday(Father’s Day). For many years I’d  fish the rocks for the first time on Father’s Day with my regular fishing partner “Maddie the Wonder Dog. ”  Because Maddies’ 14 year old body can no longer handle walking far never mind the rocks,  she’ll  be with me in spirit.

Friday. June 6,2014–> It’s partly cloudy and 55°F at the overflowing backyard bird bath this morning . After yesterdays much-needed rain the forecast is for sunny and warm weather for today and thru the weekend. This should get vegetable gardens and fishing going. Reports from my two life long friends “Al the Guide’ and Joe Adamonis a.ka. “The Catcher” tell of hit or miss tidal location striper fishing. While there’s not an abundance, those caught are near keeper size and fat. While my friends chase “keeper” (28″+) stripers I’ve been trying my hand at handsome 7-10″ native Brook Trout before we lose the good water to summer weather. This week I tried a local stream for several hours on Tuesday and Wednesday. The fishing was good but on Wednesday unbeknownst to me until I returned to my truck I  had managed to drop my camera case from my belt. I didn’t realize it until I returned to my truck. There were a pair of forceps and nippers pinned to the outside of the case and inside was my water and shock proof camera. Unfortunately the camera isn’t loss or dumb proof. So today I plan to retrace my steps to the last place I used the nippers in hopes of finding it. My gut tells me that it probably came off when I jumped several boulders while crossing the stream twice. This is probably why I didn’t hear or feel it drop…oh well.

Sunday..June 01, 2014–>> It’s a sunny and pleasant  55°F at the backyard bird bath this morning. Sunny  with seasonable temps are forecast for today and tomorrow with some rain/showers coming during mid-week. Great weather to get out and enjoy the outdoors.  With sunny days and warm temps some sporadic worm hatches should occur  at tidal locations , couple this with the arrival of more more silversides  some good striper fishing should take place.

Earth Day Flies

When the Earth is sick, the animals will begin to disappear, when that happens, The Warriors of the Rainbow will come to save them. –Chief Seattle

Earth Day Flies

       Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on April 22nd. A day on which worldwide events are held to demonstrate awareness and support for environmental protection. This year I set out to retrace my steps of Earth Day 2013. Pick up several bags of trash at nearby outdoor recreational areas then head to a small, unstocked stream to fish for native Brook Trout. I planned to fish only two flies, my Lola streamer and Squirrel nymph. These two new(to me) patterns had special meaning as they were dressed using mainly materials the Earth had provided, especially my squirrel nymph. It seemed only fitting  that I should fish them for wild, native trout, stocked by Mother Nature not dumped  from a hatchery truck .

Lola Streamer & Squirrel nymph

Lola Streamer & Squirrel nymph

The Lola streamer was named after my dog Lola who provided me with a small tuft of her white hair for the streamer’s wing.Wisps of red hackle were used for the tail and throat. White yarn from my wife’s knitting supply ribbed with a strand of silver tinsel from my Christmas tree formed the streamer’s body. You might wonder, a Christmas tree in April? Early each December we get a fresh-cut Christmas tree. The decorated tree remains in my family room through New Years and into mid-January. Finally the lights, ornaments and tinsel are removed (some tinsel always remains) and the tree still in its stand is set in the backyard near my bird feeders where it provides cover for the birds. I also scatter bird seed beneath the tree for the smaller ground feeders especially before a snow storm. Around the end of April the tree is taken to my towns compost site–Christmas trees have always served me well.

Lola’s Streamer
Thread: Black
Hook: Size 6-10 Streamer hook 3- 4XL
Tail: Red hackle wisps
Wing: Bunch of Lola’s white fur or Arctic fox fur.
Body: Strand of white yarn from wife’s knitting yarn stash or an old sweater.
Ribbing; Strand of Silver Christmas Tree tinsel
Hackle: Red hackle wisps

 I expected my Lola streamer fly to work and wasn’t surprised that it did. What did surprise me was how Lola’s fur wing appeared while I fished the pattern. Lola, (Wonder Dog in Training) is a mix breed; part Great Pyrenees, Siberian Huskie and Border Collie.

Lola-"Wonder Dog in Training"

Lola-“Wonder Dog in Training

The white fur Lola gave me from under her neck is the closest thing I’ve ever seen to Arctic Fox fur. Looking at the fly after wetting it the hairs appeared very compressed and I thought more fur was needed. However looking at it while fishing the white wing seemed to explode and really puff up. The wing looked a little too full and seemed to over-power the fly. Despite this minor short coming it had great action and caught several native Brookies.

Earth Day 2014  Native

Earth Day 2014 Native

RKS(Road Kill Squirrel) Nymph
Thread: black
Hook: Std or 1XL Wet Fly Size 10/12
Tail: Gray Squirrel outer body fur(white-tipped black and brown hairs)
Body: Dubbed Gray Squirrel dark blue-gray under and outer fur mixed
Hackle: Collar of Gray Squirrel Outer Body fur
Ribbing: Fine silver wire(optional)

        My RKS nymph is tied solely of squirrel fur. Several weeks ago while walking my dogs close to home we came upon a recent road kill gray squirrel. The blood looked fresh and the body showed no visible damage so before cars ran it over to beyond recognition I brought it home to take the tail for fly tying. While carefully looking over squirrel’s body fur a new fly pattern came to mind. One using the white-tipped black and brown outer hairs for the tail and collar/hackle and the dark blue-gray under fur for the body. I quickly took the tail, skinned the body to use for my new pattern and buried the remains. I tied several squirrel nymphs, one dubbed with only the soft dark blue-gray under fur and the other dubbed with mixed outer and under fur.

Road Kill Squirrel Nymphs

Road Kill Squirrel Nymphs

My choice was the mixed fur one(on the right) because of it’s more ragged and buggier look. The finished fly tied solely of road kill squirrel fur looked great and reminded me of my gray nymph in appearance. I knew the RKS nymph would work well and it did.

These two fly patterns show how successful patterns  can be tied using materials that  are at hand. Whether it be road kill, dog/cat fur ,bird feathers  etc  Mother Earth provides a good supply of tying materials free of charge. It’s not only fun to be creative and tie with these materials but also  extremely rewarding, especially when they work.  Tie’em up!–Ray

(c) Ray Bondorew 2014

*** Help make every day Earth Day–Pick up one piece of trash daily! ***

Today-Friday..May 16,2014–> It was cloudy and 62 F at the backyard bird bath this morning . Forecast is for a breezy, overcast day with some mist and showers. Today’s plan was to go with “Al the Guide” and fish along R.I.’s south shore where he’s doing well along the Matunuck ocean front. However with surf running 5-6 ft, a stiff S 20-25 kt breeze and showers approaching we postponed our effort. Tidal pond fishing would’ve been a better choice as “The Guide ” reports many worms in several ponds but there’s not many fish after them so far.

 

Tuesday..May 13,2014–> It was partly cloudy and 52 F at the backyard bird bath this morning . Forecast is for a mostly cloudy and breezy day with temps in the upper 50s. Yesterday was sunny and warm so “Al the Guide” and i tried some mid-day tidal river striper fishing . We managed a dozen bright schoolies ranging from 13-20 ” on a Ray’s Fly, dare I say Clouser.

Bright & Fat May Schoolie

Bright & Fat May Schoolie

 

Oddly their conditioning varied according to size. The smaller and larger stripers were fat while the mid range ones were very lean.Year class or wintering-over location may have influenced this. Nonetheless  d larger they all put up a good battle  on our 5 weight rods

 

 

 

 

Thursday..May 8,2014–> It was partly cloudy and 53 F at the backyard bird bath this morning . Forecast is for temps in the upper 60s with a mix of sun and clouds for today followed by showers/rain toward the weekend. “Al the Guide” reports schoolies and anglers on the Matunuck west wall. Yesterday I fished a small un-stocked stream with a gentleman I met there on Earth Day 2013. Although the day was sunny with temps in the mid-60s, insect life was sparse and surface action non-existent. However, we did manage several natives each on my RKS nymph.

RKS Nymph Native

RKS Nymph Native

His company and the weather were enjoyable while native brookies and marsh marigolds provided the icing on a very pleasant day.

Marsh Marigolds

Marsh Marigolds

 

Tuesday..May 1, 2014–>> It’s 55 °F and rain at the overflowing backyard bird bath this morning. One inch of rain fell yesterday and there’s more to come today. The rivers and streams that were swollen for much of April will continue to run full to the bank during early May. “April showers bring May flowers” is true in a typical year but  with birds, trees and flowers several weeks behind schedule who knows what may’s timetable will be.  The peach blossoms pictured below  were taken March 26, 2012–This year the buds have just begun to show pink.

Peach Blossoms  March 26, 2012

“Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!” Chief Sitting Bull – Lakota Sioux

 

 

 

The Trueblood Otter Shrimp

        I’ve always favored furry, simple and easily tied fly patterns. Flies tied using animal fur, bird hackles and perhaps ribbed with some real wire or tinsel have always produced for me. The Trueblood Otter Shrimp is one of those simple yet productive patterns.

      Lefty Kreh once wrote an article for Field and Stream magazine where he had asked the top twelve fly rodders in the country at the time to list their favorite six dry, wet, nymph and streamer patterns. Joe brooks, A.J.Mcclane,Charles Fox, Ed Shenk, Dan Bailey, Doug Swisher and Carl Richards were among those Lefty petitioned. While there was variation in most of their choices the Truelood Otter Shrimp was the one nymph pattern that most agreed upon.

The Trueblood Otter Shrimp was created by Ted Trueblood, one time fishing editor and outdoor writer for Field & Stream magazine. His Otter Shrimp is a classic nymph pattern designed to be fished as a scud. Although primarily a successful shrimp/scud pattern, trout everywhere readily accept it even where neither scud nor shrimp are present because they perceive this fly as food. That’s the ultimate criteria for the success of any fly, what the fish think it is!

I learned of Trueblood Otter shrimp when Ted Trueblood introduced it in a  Field and Stream article he wrote in the early 1970s. He wrote that the fly had taken trout all over the U.S and Europe and summed it up saying ‘it usually caught fish.” Back then I was often blinded by fancy flies with intriguing names and wondered if something so basic could be productive. Despite my desire for something fancy, difficult to tie and surely more productive I tied several up. I quickly learned that the Otter Shrimp was a consistent producer and for over forty years have always toted several in my fly box.

Ted Trueblood’s Otter Shrimp/Nymph

Trueblood Otter Shrimp

Trueblood Otter Shrimp

Hook: Std Wet fly
Tail: Brown Partridge
Body: Otter Fur  80%& Cream seal fur  20%
Hackle/Legs: Brown Partridge
Head: Green
** I often tie this pattern using solely Beaver fur.

 

 

Around the same time period I had tied a similar pattern I saw in Fishing the Nymph by Jim Quick. The fly named the Beaver Nymph was also originated by Ted Trueblood.

Ted Trueblood’s Beaver Nymph

 Hook: Std Wet fly

truebloods beaver Nymph

Beaver Nymph-Ted Trueblood

Tail: Wood Duck wisps
Body: Beaver or Otter Fur tied full
Rib: Gold Wire(optional)
Hackle/Legs: Gray Partridge or Wood Duck wisps
Head: Brown

 

 

 

 

 

 

These patterns are similar in construction and differ in the materials used for body, tail and legs. They all catch fish and I find them interchangable in most conditions.

ted Trueblood's Otter & Beaver Nymphs

Ted Trueblood’s Otter & Beaver Nymphs

So tie a few up, fish them with confidence and remember, ” leave them on for a while, you’ll catch fish.”
Ray

April 22, 2014–>> Earth Day 2014  Worldwide celebration

 ****Make  every day Earth DayPick up one piece of trash daily ****

Fishing in April

           The month of April ushers in the Rhode Island fishing season. Fresh and saltwater fishing take off during month, bringing much of the fishing population out of hibernation. However, if  the March that left like a lion continues to hang around for a while things may be delayed  a week or two.

Activity on all fronts begins in earnest when April arrives. Around the first of the month, Turkey Vultures can be seen spiraling up the thermals in the southern part of the state. That’s right, black vultures, they do reside in our state from April to November and several reside the year around. Also arriving around April 1st are Tree Swallows. Tree Swallows are the members of the swallow family with the metallic green-blue back and white breast. They return each year to reclaim their nesting site from the previous year in preparation for mating.

Tree Swallows

Tree Swallows

These jet like friendly birds will nest in bird houses erected for them and return to it year after year. Tree swallows will readily nest in Bluebird houses. I haven’t had Tree Swallow in my backyard for several years now. However when I did, they were a joy to befriend and watch. It doesn’t take long to gain their trust. Near their bird house I would regularly toss Mallard Breast feathers or other similar curved feathers up into the air. The swallows would then swoop down and catch the feathers in mid-air and quickly take them to their bird house to line their nests. One year I  managed to get one male Tree Swallow to trust me to where he would swoop down and take feathers from the finger tips of my out stretched hand. that was a memorable experience and I’ve never been able to repeat that feat. Besides the birds other migrations  take place during the month and one in particular can hardly go unnoticed.

At sunrise on the second Saturday in April, thousands of Rhode Islanders migrate to  their favorite trout fishing hole. Just like the birds, many return to the same site year after year regardless of the weather.  It has snowed  on some openers and  on one opening day several R.I. ponds had a  healthy skim coating of ice until early afternoon. Regardless of the weather the opening day of trout season takes on a festive, holiday type air and is enjoyed by all. From those who arrive at sunrise and leave thirty minutes later after catching their limit, to those arriving  later and fishing all day, it is a special day not to be missed. For some this will be the only day in the year they go trout fishing. Early season trout fishing is best accomplished by fly rodding with sinking lines with streamers and nymphs. Dry  flies and floating lines cannot be ruled out especially if we have some exceptionally warm days and some small hatches appear so most anglers carry their entire arsenal. On Opening Day four years ago I fished Hopkins Mill Pd, in Foster, R.I. in mid-afternoon. It was a sunny day with the temperature  in the low sixties and trout were rising everywhere. The surface was littered with Mayflies from a hatch that would rival one taking place on a warm June day. The rising trout were very selective and the streamers I typically use wouldn’t draw a strike. Even the Wooly Bugger and my Gray Nymph were drawing a blank. I had only a sinking line and no dry flies with me. I  finally began taking fish regularly with a small brown stonefly nymph fished just under the surface.

On the saltwater scene striped bass will begin to enter our waters early in  the month. The first reported rod and reel bass will probably be taken at the apex of the  west wall in Jerusalem, RI  around April 1st.. Second Beach in Newport normally gets a good slug of schoolies during the first week in April . These fish won’t be big but will be fresh from the ocean and full of fight. Last year my friend  Al Tobojka, a.k.a. “Al the Guide” once again took his first striper of the year on April Fool’s Day  at the West Wall and a several more schoolies a few days later in the Narrow River in Narragansett, R.I.. This year the sea water temps have just begun to creep out of the high 30s and things may be delayed a week.  In a typical year  there is a good chance of hooking a few stripers at the Bristol Narrows or Lees and Coles Rivers in Swansea, MA around mid-month.  Toward the end of April, stripers typically move into the area around Carpenter’s Bar in Matunuck, R.I. arriving toward  the end of the third week and remain there until months end.  Silverside imitations (Ray’s fly) of approximately three inches will probably work best, although in areas where alewives are returning to spawn, a big herring imitations (Bondorew Bucktail)may be just the number.  Actually any  fly pattern you tied up during the winter will work!. Simply fish it  confidently, leave it on for a while and you’ll most certainly catch fish!  Striper fishing begins to improve as May nears with more  stripers arriving daily as the waters warm up.

While it may be warming inland throughout the month, remember that the seawater temperatures will remain in the low  forties and  directly influence the coastal areas air temperatures so dress accordingly. Spring has finally arrived after a long harsh winter so regardless of what your favorite type of fishing is, go out and enjoy it!

 

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“Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!”

Chief Sitting Bull – Lakota Sioux

“Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons and daughters of the earth. We did not weave the web of life, we are merely strands in it. Whatever we do to the web we do to ourselves.” Chief Seattle

**** Tuesday, April 22,2014–Earth Day

***Make every day Earth Day–Pick up one piece of trash daily ***

***April 2014 Playmate of the Month is here.*****

Today-Tuesday..April 29, 2014–>> It’s 42°F, raw and windy at the backyard bird bath this morning. A chilly, cloudy, and breezy  day is forecast with rain on tap for the next two days. Yesterday, “Al the Guide” and I did some scouting for early stripers at several tidal locations. We did eventually locate some and although we didn’t get any we certainly weren’t without our chances. This got me pumped up and  “The Guide”and I were going to try again today. However I’m bowing out as I really don’t want to contend with the wind and cold for a few schoolies. I’m not sure if “The Guide” will go. Last Friday I managed my first Smallmouth of the year while trout fishing. I had caught several trout earlier  and wondered why this trout was fighting much harder than the others. Finally seeing I had a  smallie answered that question. Last year I got my first smallie in the same spot two weeks earlier. Everything from birds, flowers, and water temps appear to be two to three weeks later than usual. As a result I don’t expect any early May clam worm hatches.

Wednesday..April 23, 2014–>> It’s 50 °F and showers at the backyard bird bath this morning. A recent rumble of thunder sent my dogs clinging cling to my side for comfort. A showery day today and a sunny, windy tomorrow are forecast. Yesterday, “Earth Day ” was celebrated worldwide and despite a general lack of mention by the media Earth Day events went on as planned After watching 1.5 hours of CBS morning news without a mention of Earth Day I set out to retrace my steps of Earth Day 2013. After picking up two bags of trash at nearby recreational areas I went to a small unstocked stream to fish for native Brook Trout.

Earth Day 2014 Brookie

Earth Day 2014 Brookie

Earth Day 2014  Native

Earth Day 2014 Native

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had planned to fish only two flies, my Lola streamer and Squirrel nymph. These flies had special meaning for me as they were dressed using mainly materials the Earth had provided me, especially my squirrel nymph. Seemed only fitting I should fish them for wild, native trout. (More on these flies later.)

Lola & Squirrel

Lola Streamer & Squirrel Nymph

 

 

 

Sunday..April 20,2014–>>  Here’s some special Easter Sunday flowers for you to enjoy!

Happy Easter

Happy Easter

Tuesday..April 8, 2014–>> It’s 46 °F and rain at the overflowing backyard bird bath this morning. I did try a “double secret” spot for native trout last Friday. So secret is this spot that even the trout didn’t know where it was on Friday. I tried another secret spot yesterday and finally managed two handsome brookies. The rains of last night and today should result in swollen streams and should pread out any trout recently stocked for the upcoming Opening Day. This is good news for any who go trout fishing throughout the spring and not solely on Opening day.

-Friday..April 4, 2014–>> It was 30°F at the icy backyard bird bath yesterday morning and the forecast was for a sunny day with temps nearing 60 degs. I’d been planning to try a little warm water fishing Thursday if the weather was good. It was and I loaded my canoe grabbed my gear and coffee and headed out. The target was a small pond that I try fishing once or twice each year in early spring for yellow perch. It’s been said that” it’s not an adventure until some thing goes wrong.” Upon arrival I found the narrow dirt road leading to the pond washed out leaving me to portage the canoe about 150” or so. Something I didn’t relish as now it would take three trips to get all my gear down to it.The three pairs of Canadian geese that honked their welcome and warning toward me may also have been chuckling.Once the canoe was in and loaded I wanted a few pictures of the canoe and pond.

First 2014  Outing

First 2014 Outing

The camera said” Replace Battery.” Great, now I’d have to rely upon the low quality pics from my “dumb phone” to capture the days events. While the day was sunny and pleasant I didn’t manage a single perch and my wife and I would have to go without a fish fry we were looking forward to enjoying. Never had I  been there and not caught enough for supper never mind a single one. The remainder of the pond’s residents were obliging and I managed a ” Grand slam”- Largemouth, Pickerel, Callico Bass (crappie) and Bluegill. One of the bass was great sport on my 4 wgt rod and the srappy bluegills certainly put a bend in it.

Srappy and colorful

Scrappy and colorful

4 Wgt Largemouth

4 Wgt Largemouth

 

 

 

 

There seemed to be an abundance of Bluegills. Most were hanging in 4-5′ of warer meaning the pond was still cold through out it’s mass. All-in- all  the day it was an enjoyable day and felt greatto finally get out after a long, harsh winter. Today is forecast to be cooler and maybe I’ll try for native trout from shore for about an hour.

 

 

Tuesday..April 1, 2014–>>March came in  and left like a lion but seems to  be hanging around as April begins. It’s 30°F at the icy backyard bird bath this morning. The first day of April is off to a chilly start but the forecast is for a sunny day with seasonable temps. Seasonable  temps  are forecast for the remainder of the week and later in the week might be a good time to try some perch and pickerel fishing. Last April provided me with a day I’m unlikely to forget. The numbers and size of the fish I caught  didn’t make it memorable but rather the unique experience I enjoyed. I posted about it last April and I’ve posted it below. I’m planning on returning to the same spot on the same day this year.

Tuesday.. April 23,2013–Yesterday was Earth day and I had planned to fish Beach Pond on the RI/CT border in my canoe. The strong breeze convinced me otherwise so I picked up some litter at the pond parking lot and headed for a stream I hadn’t fished in 40 years. I fished further up the stream than I had ever done and found many receptive native Brookies ranging from 7- 9″ a few pushing 10″. The day although breezy was sunny and cool which made the hike along the stream refreshing. The beauty of the day and stream was  overshadowed only  by some very pretty native trout. Trout that were special as they were kin to those who had survived both flood and drought over hundreds of years and still managed to sustain a healthy population.

Earth Day 2013 Native

Earth Day 2013 Native

The stream’s eco system is very fragile and could easily be destroyed by run-off pollution or other forms of pollution which are toxic to the environment. Stocking and allowing put and take fishing on this stretch of the river would also threaten the native trout. I found another challenge to their existence in a few small but deep pools I fished-Yellow Perch. I caught three Yellow Perch that I didn’t expect to find in this stream because much of it is shallower and the current faster than Perch prefer. I have no idea how they found their way there but needless to say those three perch are no longer a threat.

As I headed back along the stream to my truck I crossed paths with another fly fisherman. We struck up a conversation and as we talked he deftly took a native on a Elk Hair Caddis. He told of his love of Atlantic Salmon fishing on the Restigouche River in Canada and I talked of chasing Maine Smallmouths and R.I./Mass Striped Bass yet our conversation always returned to that two foot deep, twelve foot wide stream and it’s native trout. When I returned to my truck I  sat and paused for a few minutes to reflect upon the day. I found it interesting  that two fly fishermen should accidently meet along a small stream, one whose passion is Atlantic Salmon and the other Striped Bass,  yet they shared a common bond- some very special and beautiful Native Trout.–Ray

 

 

 

 

 

***Raysfly- First “One for the Book” fly pattern is now posted!***

*** Raysfly- March Playmate of the Month  is here!***

 

*** March 28-30, 2014 -New England Saltwater Fishing Show at Providence RI Civic Center***

Today-Suday..March 30, 2014 –>It’s the final day for the New England Saltwater Fishing Show at the Providence Civic Cente. Yesterday I sat at the Rhoddy Fly Rodders Booth (#1232) tying flies , answering questions, signing books etc…Much to my surprise many folks stopped by stating they sorely missed my regular daily postings. My bird bath reports helped them dress for the days activities and kept them updating on bird activity. Several had actually figured out what inspired my my bird bath reports. Here’s this morning’s report. It’s overcast, rainy and 45° F at the ice-free overflowing bird bath this morning. My self bailing rain gauge shows 1.6″ of as of last midnight . We’ve probably have 2.0″ so far. Locally, rain with temps in the low 40s are forecast for much of today and into mid-day tomorrow. Few birds have come into the yard this morning. Those that do had best go directly to the seed feeders and keep clear of several fruit trees where I stick apples from the reduced produce section of a local store on short branches to feed Robins, Mockingbirds and other berry and fruit eaters. There’s a Mockingbird who thinks he owns the trees with the apples and quickly chases away any bird that even looks at his apples.

The Apple Baron

The Apple Baron

He uses much energy and time chasing others away and needs to re-fuel frequently. While I enjoy his antics now I’ll be singing a different tune when he belts out non-stop mimicing songs on a steamy July night when I’m unable to sleep.

 

Friday..March 28, 2014 –>It’s 30° F at the icy backyard bird bath this morning. A cloudy day with occasional light rain in the afternoon and high temps in the mid-50s is forecast.. The New England Saltwater Fishing Show begins today at the Providence Civic Center. I’m planning on being at the Pawtuxet River Watershed Council Booth(#1130) today and the Rhoddy Fly Rodders Booth (#1232)tomorrow. On both days I’ll be tying flies , answering questions etc… Stop by and say hi and if you have a copy of “Stripers and Streamers” you’d like signed bring it along and i’ll gladly sign it. There will be several new copies available.–See ya there!

-Tuesday..March 25, 2014–>It’s 18° F at the ice-filled backyard bird bath this morning. A partly cloudy day with temps in the mid-30s is fore cast. Snow and wind are expected to arrive overnight and ending Wednesday morning. Seems that winter just doesn’t want to release her icy grip on us. Yesterday I took my dogs for their annual maintenence check and shots.Lola(Wonder dog in traing) went for her 75,000 mi and “Maddie the Wonder Dog” for her 250,000 mi checkup.

Maddie and Lola

Lola & Maddie

Lola is” in great shape” and Maddie is “Doing good for her age” according to Dr. Bob at Richmond Veternary Clinic.. Later in the day I tried a small local pond for whatever would hit my small Cardellow streamer. It was cold and windy with temps at the freezing mark. I don’t t know whether it was the cold or the iced over guides that drove me home after ten minutes. No hits or follows didn’t help either. Temps are forecast to moderate some after tomorrow and maybe next week might provide better fishing.

 The Cardellow

The Cardellow

 

Friday..March 21, 2014–>It’s 29° F at the icy backyard bird bath this morning. Spring officially arrived  yesterday according to the calender but as to seasonable weather it’s a toss up.   On Tuesday several of the Snow Crocuses that surfaced late last week finally blossomed.

First Snow Crocus of 2014

First Snow Crocus of 2014

They were a pleasant sight that stood out in the surrounding drab winter thrashed ground. Many friends will  soon join their ranks despite a  roller coaster ride of temps and conditions that are forecast for the weekend and following week. The fishing season will be here before you know it, so get tying!

 

Monday..March 17, 2014–>It’s 17°F at the ice-filled  backyard bird bath this morning. A cloudy day with temps in the lower 30s and another night of temps in the mid-teens are forecast. Moderating(seasonable) temps are forecast for the remainder of the week.. Looks like a good week to get(find) some fishing gear in order to be ready to try for perch, pickerel and black bass once the nearby small ponds  become ice-free. Speaking of bass, especially smallmouths checkout this fly called the Bass Chaser tied by my friend Alec Stansell  at Favoriteflies.com,  or at The Bass Pond forums. It immediately caught my eye and got me thinking of where I’d use it. March is surely a good time to tie up a few patterns for the upcoming season. If you’re  dreaming about spring time stripers and worm hatches  checkout Alec’s most recent offering, the “Muck Worm.” Keep in mind  all worms are not small cinder worms.  So put aside the synthetics and tie up one, two, or three of them.

Saturday..March 15, 2014–>It’s 32° F at the ice-free backyard bird bath this morning. The forecst is for a quick morning shower  then clearing resulting in a partly cloudy day with temps in the mid-50s. A roller coaster ride of temps and conditions are forecast for the upcoming week.Much of the snow cover in my backyard has melted and some snow crocuses have begun to peek through the garden soil to greet the sun. Despite single digits temps yesterday morning they survived and look very healthy.

I’m definitley a procrastinator. My “Fly of the Month” posts have fallen very far behind. So much so that  the term  “Fly of the Month” is most certainly a misnomer.With that in mind I will no longer post  a “Fly of the Month” but rather  “One for the Book”postings which seems more appropriate. I’ll put them up when I write about one rather feel I have a deadline. They’ll be postings about flies that I or my friends have found to be most productive, of interesting origin or a combination of the two.  Because Alaska continues to enthrall me it seems only appropriate to make my first “One for the Book” post  a popular Alaskan pattern steeped in tradition.- The Alaska Mary Ann. Check it out and let me know what you think. My next “One for the Book” is a very productive pattern I’ve fished for years-Trueblood’s Otter Shrimp.

Wednesday..March 12, 2014–>It’s 32° F at the ice-free backyard bird bath this morning. The forecst is for a cloudy day with temps in the 50s with  afternoon showers becoming a steady rain as nightfall appproches  and eventually turning snow early Thursday morning. Not the greatest forecast but it sure beats a blustery day with single digit temps.I’ve had enough of that for a while. A flock of red winged blackirds greeted me for the first time this year  at dayreak yesterday. They searched the ground below my bird feeders looking for any uneaten seed. The bright orange patches normally seen on their wings were  a dull white with a hint of orange, however that will change with each passing day.  Seems the harsh winter  has delayed their arrival as they  typically arrive  in late February. Will it also delay the stripers return at the end of the month, especially if March leaves like a lion?.

Sunday..March 9, 2014–>it’s  32° F  Fat the ice-free backyard bird bath this morning. If you didn’t spring ahead last night you’ll  fall behind by an hour and be late  for everything as Daylight Savings Time  happened while most slept. Yesterday was one of the best days weather-wise in quite some time.  A sunny day with light winds and  temps approaching   60° F  got many folk outdoors. People washing cars, walking dogs and jogging were everywhere. The harsh winter rejuvenated many to begin thinking of spring once again. The weeks forecast is for a warmer week than we’ve had in a while but it’s still only seasonable.   Ponds remain frozen and the thawing process will be slow so I’ll have to hold tight until  ice out happens. I can then fish the North shore of many small ponds  and  toss flies for perch, pickerel and black bass.   I’m planning on posting several  nymph patterns  in the next two weeks, so check in now and then to see what’s new.

Today-Monday..March 3, 2014–>It’s 22 ° F. at the ice filled backyard bird bath this morning . A mostly cloudy day and cold night are forecast. My March 1st post with a picture of Lola “Wonder Dog in training” has misled some to believe that my beloved Maddie ” The Wonder Dog” had passed on and they sent along their best wishes and condolences. Well Maddie, who is 14 going on 15 is still alive and barking. She’s currently providing Lola with the tutelage and tricks she’ll need when Maddie does indeed leave a huge void in our lives. Lola learned quickly how to get what she wants while still making me feel good and thinking I’m in control. She continues to struggle with licking ice cream from a bowl instead inhaling the entire scoop in one gulp resulting in a brain freeze. Lola is Maddie’s protégé and although Maddie has set the bar very high, Lola is well on her way to reaching, the bar and true “Wonder Dog” status. Tomorrow I’ll post some on Maddie’s current condition.

Yesterday-Sunday..March 2, 2014–> It’s 31 °F °at the ice filled backyard bird bath this morning . A cloudy day is called for with snow in the evening forecast and into Monday morning. Just what we need is more snow. Yesterday I mentioned I’d post info about what may well be the  America’s first sand eel . I learned of this pattern from my friend Alec Stansell of Favorite flies.com. while tying alongside  him last weekend at the Bears Den Fly Fishing expo. This pattern developed in the 1930s used all natural materials and was said to be very effective. I’ve always said to avoid using  synthetics and epoxies as much as possible and try to obtain the desired results by tying  with only natural materials. I It will make you a better and more creative fly tier.  Here’s the link  for that  Original?Sand Eel pattern. While you’re there check out a favorite post of mine -The Tree Stand. Perhaps you know of a place just like it, I sure do.

Saturday..March 1, 2014–> It’s a sunny 4°F at the frozen backyard bird bath this morning. The forecast is a sunny day with yet another winter storm arriving late Sunday and ending Monday. Lola the “Wonder Dog in Training” went out early to lay  in the backyard shade  on the hard pack ice and snow. She’ll lay there for  hours while anxiously awaiting  a few squirrels who visit my  backyard daily to pirate my bird feeders. She’s part Great Pyrenees, Border Collie and Huskie so the cold and snow doesn’t phase her at all, in fact, the colder the better. (Click on pic to enlarge and see Lola’s true  beauty esp. one brown and one glacier eye.)

Lola-"Wonder Dog in Training"

Lola-“Wonder Dog in Training”

On Thursday I saw my first sign of spring, a male Boat-Tailed Grackle scavenging seed from beneath my bird feeders. He was safe as Lola doesn’t chase birds only for legged animals. Yesterday a large flock of Robins arrived and invaded mine and my neighbors Holly bushes and ate every last berry.  With these signs can spring be far behind? Some of the first bait to arrive in southern New England in the spring are sand eels .  Tomorrow I’ll post info about what may have been America’s first sand eel pattern, so check it out.

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