Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Night Fly

Here is a quick little fly I tied up. Same style as the Sunburst Spey but this time I used purple. I think it will fish

Milwaukee River Cleanup, get out and do something

Being some of the primary users and beneficiaries of this wonderful resource, we must become the primary stewards as well. It is our responsibility and obligation to give back to the waters we fish.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

DNR really does exist in Milwaukee

Last night a friend of mine spotted the DNR conducting shock counts in the Milwaukee River. He sent me this photo taken by his cell phone. I wish I could have been there to see it. He told me they were netting quite a few fish as he watched them for almost twenty minutes.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Fog

Had one of the most beautiful mornings on the Milwaukee this weekend. The fog stuck around well into the morning, keeping things quiet and warm. The stillness of the fog, and limited visibility really made it feel like it was just us out there. Sometimes you get to forget your are in a city when fishing the Milwaukee River.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Royal Coachman

Adam beat me to the punch and posted his Friday night tie before I could. Great minds think alike....right?
Anyways, my fly is a bit of an easier tie than Adam's and probably took me half as long. Nevertheless, I love the Royal Coachman and the many forms it takes. Here's an example of how a few beers can change one's interpretation of a traditional fly, as I put a "spey" twist on this with some long Pheasant Rump Hackles, and a hairwing to top it off. Cheers!

Friday Night Dee

Got some time to tie this guy up this evening.  It doesn't have a name and was really just a freestyle.  The head got a little crowded and really pissed me off quite a bit but oh well it ended up dressing out somewhat decent.  Nothing is more troublesome than spending a good deal of time on the back of the fly only to get to the head and run out of room.  Turkey dee wings also make me angry and I really need to practice them more and I also need to source some better turkey (Karsten get to work!)

Anyways,  enjoy.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

More Hairwings

Here are a few more hairwings. Some are a little less traditional and use krystal flash for winging material.

Steelhead Stinger Orange


Purple Sundowner

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Steelhead Hairwings

I decided I cant let Adam have all the fun with steelhead patterns. With the warm weather we have been having I decided to tie some "summer-esque" hairwings. Too bad I used white as a back drop. It really washed out the white tips I love so much in squirrel tail wings as well as the almost clear/white arctic fox wings.

Dec Hogan Summer Bug variation brat style pink arctic fox over white arctic fox wing

 Cummings Steelhead Fly

Unnamed Spey style hairwing (I made this one up)

Dec Hogan's Summer Bug (arctic fox wing)

Monday, March 19, 2012

March Steelhead

The weather this past week has been unusual to say the least. We usually don't associate cloudless sunny days in the mid 70's with Steelheading. But it is March and the fish are in, busy making reds and spawning. Sunday morning Adam, Anthony and I hit the river ( I was running late as usual) and fished until the evening. Swinging flies all day long, only stopping for lunch, we only managed to hook into one. Sadly, we ended the day with no fish to hand. We all fished different styles, colors, and depths of the water column. In the photo of our rigs you see Airflo Scandi, Delta, and Skagit lines. Classic flies, bunny leeches, tubes, and other bright colored creatures failed to produce.
We bumped into David from ChicagoTroutBum and friend Niall, who also turned up skunked.

Water conditions were just about prime. The stain was good, but turbid, with the water still a little high and dirty. Runoff is more prevalent to the north, where standing water is still found along the riverbanks. 
Adam and I both commented to each other about the fact that last week it was fishing in snow storms and freezing temps, and now this week water temps are already climbing into the upper 40's. 

Rain is in the forecast, as well as some cooler temps. (still unseasonably warm) The rain should bring in more fish, and the run should be working into it's prime. Dropback fish will be hungry, looking to pack in calories as they work their way back to the big pond. High water and warm conditions in spring are a great time to try out larger presentations to entice competitive males and those  hungry dropback hens. I know you will surly find me on the water, trying to beat the skunks out of my waders. Getting Skunked sucks.
Catch em if you can!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Click Pawl Reels

Despite the great weather we are having, flows have been un-fishable since the weekend. I was feeling a little bored tonight and decided to take a family portrait of a few click pawl reels.

Starting with the biggest, this narrow drum C. Farlow & Co. "Ambassador" is my daily driver. It is lined with an Airflo Compact Skagit right now for big winter flies swung low and slow. Made in London England it measures about 4.125" in diameter, sports a unique lever activated drag, which simply applies more pressure to the pawl spring. Oh and the dual click pawl absolutely screams.

 Speaking of reels made in England, This one is from Cortland. It's lined with Cortland's Peach 444 DT  6F.
This reel is most likely going to be matched with a fiberglass rod I am in the process of restoring/rebuilding. (pics to come)

On to the good Ol' USA. This fine specimen is a true Blue Collar reel. Don't let the Horrocks Ibbotson name fool you. This "Sportcraft No.100" is a great little reel. Complete with catgut backing, this one is going to be matched up with either a future fiberglass build. Or if it can hold enough line, it will work wonders with my bamboo bass rod I am restoring as well. (Photos to come)


As long as I am talking about reels made in the USA here is the oldest one in my collection. It is a Skakespeare "Featherweight". This reel means a lot to me as it was given to me by my father. It is all brass nickle plated construction and measures in at just over 2" in diameter.
In the 1920's there were three single-action trout reels available, The Winner, The Featherweight, and the Kazoo. All of these were Shakespeare's simplfied versions of earlier Meisselbach reels.
 It's truly a wonder this reel is still in such great condition, being over 90 years old and stamped from such soft metal. I wonder what type of fish it has seen and what type of anglers have fished it.

 Last but certainly not least is the Ross Reels "Colorado 0". The "0" was produced from 1997 to 2004 and I have this one lined with a Scientific Anglers DT 2F.  Certainly not a vintage reel, but staying true to tradition, no frills here, just a single pawl and gear.

  Still one of my favorite reels, a true testament to American Quality.

Thanks Chicago Trout Bum!

Just wanted to nod our heads to our friend David from
Thank you for the kind words, and the referral.
David and I met on the water, and I always seem to bump into someone who knows him, or fishes with him. If you ever have the opportunity to wet a line with Dave, do it. He spends a lot of time on the water, and is always willing to share a fly or two, as well as some knowledge, with anyone who is willing to ask.
I have frequented his blog for a couple of years now, and have enjoyed watching it grow. There are always good stories, and great fish. Along with a crack team of contributors.
Keep up the good work over there! Thanks again.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Wild Weather

I was able to get a few hours out on the river last weekend and boy the weather turned less than desirable.  The temps had been warm, then there was the snowstorm, then the sun came out, then it got dark, then there was another snowstorm and there was no fish and even better no other people.

We had the river to ourselves yet again and with a high flow the river was looking different and was a nice change.
 The run that will test anyones nerve who dares to fish it.

This is probably my favorite walk on the local river.  The anticipation heading in can sometimes be uncontrollable and the feelings of defeat heading out can be heartbreaking.  Regardless, in an urban fishery like ours this trail helps us forget where we are.

Pics of the new reel

Finally got around to taking some decent photos of my new Ebay score.  This is the Tweed Reel by Forrest & Son of Kelso.  This reel is a 4 1/4" Wide drum with a mechanical drag inside that actually works.  The foot was in pretty sad condition so I re-shaped it because this will be a fishing reel and will serve me very well.  

When the stars align

A late start to the day and little aspirations of actually catching any fish.  As of late it has been the season of the browns.  Each hookup having the characteristic "sit and shake" and the "aw' shit,  it's just another brown" feeling.

Hopefully it will soon be steel and the reels will sing.

Regardless,  I couldn't be more thankful that these fish chose my fly and that on such a beautiful day I had the river entirely to myself.

A very tired fly.

Some recent ties...

So far only one of these flies has kicked some serious ass for me giving 3 grabs in 1 hour.  What's great is that the season has not really even begun.
Green Butt Silver Hilton
 Lady Caroline Variation
 The Akroyd
 Goose Wing (The Wildcat)
 Another Caroline variation
And another Caroline variation 
Blue Charm