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KeystonerJanuary 18th, 2011, 6:19 pm
Eugene, OR - formerly Eastern PA

Posts: 145
Two of the nicer fsih I've caught lately, that I actually had a mind to photograph.
"Out into the cool of the evening, strolls the Pretender. He knows that all his hopes and dreams, begin and end there." -JB
OldredbarnJanuary 18th, 2011, 7:39 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
Nice fish Matt! That brace of trout helped me to forget for a moment that I'm freezing my ass off and reminded me that every day from now on gets me closer to Opening Day and hopefully a couple like them for myself! :)

Spence

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
KeystonerJanuary 19th, 2011, 5:55 pm
Eugene, OR - formerly Eastern PA

Posts: 145
Thanks Spence. I've actually come to prefer fall and winter angling. It's not that I relish numb fingers, but rather that there is so much open water to be had. I'm actually kind of dreading Opening Day, as I know I'm in for a rude awakening when I show up to find that the crowds have again returned...
"Out into the cool of the evening, strolls the Pretender. He knows that all his hopes and dreams, begin and end there." -JB
TunaJanuary 21st, 2011, 10:13 am
Altoona, PA

Posts: 16
Very nice fish. i agrfee with you on the Winter fishing opportunites, as well. I love being able to go out all day and only see fish, trees, and birds, and water too. Solitude is great, plus things seem to be so much more peaceful in the winter, especially if theres snow on the ground.
Reel men play with their flies.
KeystonerJanuary 30th, 2011, 4:53 am
Eugene, OR - formerly Eastern PA

Posts: 145
Absolutley. In fact, just the other day I was fishing the little lehigh. It was getting late and the light was fading. I was nymphing a certain pool, intent on pulling out "just one more" before I couldn't see my line anymore. Well, at some point I looked up, and here, no more than 6 feet from me was a Great Blue Heron, presumably fishing as well. Personally I think these birds are awesome and this is the closest one has ever gotten to me. We remained like that until it got too dark and I left. The Heron didn't even flee when I stirred to leave, although I did leave as quietly and slowly as I could. Totally made my session. This is just one experience you can't have on crowded water.

Oh, and thanks for the kudos. I appreciate it!

"Out into the cool of the evening, strolls the Pretender. He knows that all his hopes and dreams, begin and end there." -JB
Shawnny3January 30th, 2011, 9:56 am
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Nice fish, Keystoner, and nice story about the heron. Some of my most memorable times on the stream have been times when I've encountered other wildlife either closer than usual or doing things I'd never seen before. Good stuff. Thanks for sharing.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
PaulRobertsJanuary 31st, 2011, 8:39 am
Colorado

Posts: 1776
Nice! I like heron's too. They tend to be very shy unless they are acclimated to humans, and that's not very common.

As to the fish in the pics: they look like post-spawn browns, which IME get a stunning turquoise blue pigment on them. Not sure why but it's consistent and I assumed it is an indicator of their being to recuperate. They feed heavy, if the opportunity is there, at that time. Energy coming back and ravenous.

Also...the top fish looks to be streambred and the bottom one a hatchery fish -as per the dorsal fins. Top is a male and bottom most likely a female, as per snout length, and lower jaw shape.
KeystonerFebruary 1st, 2011, 3:36 am
Eugene, OR - formerly Eastern PA

Posts: 145
Paul, I always wondered how people could say they "caught a buck." That is, I wondered how they could tell male from female. That said, having read your post I can't see much difference between the dorsal fins or the snouts on these particular two. Perhaps this is my untrained eye. However, I had suspected the top to be "wild" simply due to it being a darker brown. There are definatley streambred browns on this stretch, as I have pulled in fingerlings before that fit in the palm of my hand. Not the most epic of fights, but exciting in the implications, nonetheless. Thanks for weighing in, always a pleasure!!
"Out into the cool of the evening, strolls the Pretender. He knows that all his hopes and dreams, begin and end there." -JB
OldredbarnFebruary 1st, 2011, 11:49 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
OK...I like Herons too. So does anyone have any idea what might be a good Heron substitute??? I don't mean for dinner...:) I mean for tying purposes...

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Shawnny3February 1st, 2011, 6:32 pm
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Blue-eared pheasant is a pretty standard sub for heron. There are other more expensive ones as well.

I learned that down in Texas you're allowed to hunt sandhill cranes. I don't know that they'd make a very good heron sub, but I'd love to try to use their feathers for something. I'm still waiting for my brother to get me one. I only mention it in case he's forgotten.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
TNEALFebruary 1st, 2011, 7:00 pm
GRAYLING. MICHIGAN

Posts: 275
HERONS ARE A LOT LESS SHY HERE IN NORTHERN MICHIGAN THAN THEY ONCE WERE... OF COURSE THERE ARE A LOT MORE PEOPLE HERE NOW..

SPENCE, HAVE YOU TRIED CALIFORNIA CONDOR AS A HERON SUBSTITUTE?
OldredbarnFebruary 2nd, 2011, 7:22 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
Tim,

You trying to get me locked up or something??? :)

Did your old fishing buddy Jerry tell you I took him out to dinner last Saturday night after the tying show down this way? If I could only get you two together and we wrote everything down you two have floating around in your heads about old Au Sable flies we would have a best seller...!

He told me to ask you something but I can't remember what it was and it was probably something for a private message anyway. :) The Molson's and being 57 now have taken their toll on the old memory box...Speaking of boxes, I was going to tease him a bit about his display he uses at shows...Have you seen it? He has framed "Life Cycle" drawings that were done by the "Fly Girls" (very nice by-the-way)...In the stonefly one for a natural nymph he has a dragonfly nymph not a stonefly...I'm going to have to remember to grab him a couple of those Pteronarcy dorsata shucks I see stuck to everything down in "Stonefly Alley" down between Lower TU & Wakeley...

He had some interesting comments re the no-kill regs on the Mainstream. We had another friend, a retired biology teacher from Ohio dining with us, and I thought for a moment there was going to be a fist fight...:) You missed the fun man! I'm just teasing about the fist fight...It was an interesting discussion to me and they were very civil about it...Jerry was drinking iced tea and that may have helped...:)

Jerry was lamenting about the changes at the Fly Factory/Old Au Sable re no more canoes...Seems he misses the bikini clad cuties he loved to watch from his back porch!

Anyway!

Speaking on topic for a moment...Shawn...I have visited local fields here where I have seen Sand Hill Cranes and have used the larger feather fibers from their primary/secondary feathers...I have just picked them up from the field, but still not too sure if this is legal or not. Thanks for the tip...I am trying to duplicate a fly tied by Philip Bailey...He has tied a couple flies that are tributes to Oliver Kite and I think Shawn you would like them...They are a bit in the "fancy fly" direction...He wraps the body of the fly with purple thread and wraps a rib of heron fibers letting some of the thread body show through...Sharp! Mr Bailey had suggested I look in to trying some gray goose...? I really should just be concentrating on "fishing flies" since spring is closing in fast...(being a little optomistic here since your groundhog friend from PA said today that spring has sprung).

I actually saw a turkey vulture on the side of the road this past summer. He had been hit by a vehicle and it was all I could do to not stop and do a little plucking...We here in Michigan are fond of a fly tied by the late Ernie Borchers called the Borcher's Drake/or Special...The original recipe called for condor quills for the body of the fly, hence the joke Mr. Neal was sending my way...That was a little inside thing...We use dark turkey tail fibers as a substitute now...I was thinking, when I saw the dead vulture, that maybe the vulture and the condor may be a close match...

Thanks for the help guys...As for Mr. Neal, and his smart remarks, not much you can do with a boy that grew up in Au Sable country :)...

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
OldredbarnFebruary 2nd, 2011, 8:38 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
P.S.

I know I've mentioned this here somewhere before but I'm going to do it again...I worry from time-to-time that we have a great many folks in or sport who are, in my humble opinion, the "real deal" with knowledge from real time spent on a stream who labor a bit in anonymity. I fear that so much of the history of or sport is at risk of being lost...Local lore, though it may not make you a better fisherman, adds so much more to the ambience of fishing a historical stream like my Au Sable.

You have heard me go on before about my fishing with ghosts in front of old fishing lodges and clubs where some of the icons of fly fishing perfected their craft. Ernie, Swisher/Richards, George Griffith, Henry Ford & Edison etc...The list from the Au Sable is a very long one...It was the classroom.

I just want to tip my cap a bit in public to Tim Neal, whom we are lucky to have nosing around the edges of this site, and his friend Jerry Regan, both tiers from the Grayling Michigan area and the "keepers-of-the-flame" for the old Au Sable fly patterns.

Besides the flies my friend Bill supplied me with, when I started out, I hassled many a trout on the Au Sable with the flies created by Tim Neal and Jerry...These flies helped me through until I got to the point where I could craft fishable flies of my own. Their flies, once I started tying myself, became models for my attempts at duplication...I learned a great deal by ripping these guys off...:)

There were a few gas stations and grocery stores in and around the Grayling/Lovell's area where there would be these wonderful wooden cases with sliding glass tops...Inside, in all these compartments, would be some of the nicest flies around. Local flies...They were tied by Tim Neal...

Now this is weird...For decades I always asked around about this tier Tim Neal and folks would tell me where I could find him etc...Once up there though the pull of the river was too strong and my visiting time too short to ever hunt him down. Then one day, in a Trico thread of all things, there he was on this site!

In those old boxes of his were Robert's Yellow Drake (you could use this fly from as small as you can tie it up to the Hex), there was the Harris Special (a wonderful fly for covering the little olive & yellow stones) this was one of my first ever flies I tied myself. His Blue Winged Olives were a must in every size he had in his display...If you waited too long here they were sold out...The guides up there have a saying, "When in doubt, tie on a Borcher's!" and with this bad boy you could cover the dark flies and in its parachute form just about any spinner you may run in to up there. He had Yellow Sally's, Madsen Skunks, Houghton Lake Specials, Trico's, and that seldom heard of Michigan fly, the Adams...:) It was a candy store for anglers.

When I first started out I was reading "Matching the Hatch" and ordering Catskill type flies from mail order houses back east. Once my friend Bill heard what I was doing he went through the roof and told me to stop..."When we get up there you can buy some local flies! Flies that will work up on the Au Sable." One day we were standing in Caid's in Lovell's and it was my first peek in to Tim's display and my friend Bill turned to me and said, "This guy ties a very nice fly! You better buy a few here to fill out your boxes." He walked me through all the local names for these flies and when to use them.

On my first ever trip up we left Detroit at 3:00am...Half way up Bill turned to me and told me to grab a fly box from one of the pockets on his vest...It was jammed full of flies. "Those are for you and should pretty much cover what we could run in to up there this week." I was starring inside with my mouth a jar smiling ear-to-ear when he said, "But you have to get your own box!" :)

My early class room was the Au Sable and the teachers there helped me skip over Fly Fishing 101 and saved me some of the frustrations that someone starting out might encounter. I was very lucky! And I'm very, very, thankful!

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
TNEALFebruary 2nd, 2011, 10:49 am
GRAYLING. MICHIGAN

Posts: 275
In all seriousness, I recently ordered some juncle cock from John McClain (feathersmc.com) and he included some kori bustard feathers; feathers which I was unfamiliar with. I think they would make a good substitute for condor/heron....
PaulRobertsFebruary 2nd, 2011, 11:33 am
Colorado

Posts: 1776
Keystoner,

The leading edge of the dorsal on the lower fish is badly warped -or at least it sure looks that way. Not all hatchery fish are so obvious.

As to color, dark colored fish were usually in the shade. Sunlight brings out lighter background and enhanced colors and markings. Water color affects it too. Body color is controlled in large part through the eyes. Blind fish lose this ability and are usually uniformly dark.
Shawnny3February 2nd, 2011, 1:34 pm
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
I'd like to see Bailey's flies. Got any pics, Spence?

Nice to meet you, Mr. Neal. I appreciated the Condor comment - nice. The Kori may work nicely on fishing flies, but I wouldn't waste it on them - it's too valuable. John has entered into a mutually beneficial relationship with a zoo or aviary that has Koris. He gets the feathers for free in exchange for flies tied with the feathers that the bird-keepers subsequently auction off to raise money for caring for the birds. It is exactly the sort of thing that flytiers should be doing, partnering with zoos and aviaries to both make exotic feathers affordable and protect the precious birds that produce them. If flytiers had been as judicious in the past, many exotics that are either illegal to possess or exorbitantly expensive would likely be relatively cheap and accessible to tiers today.

You are not allowed to sell Kori feathers sent to you from John (that would precisely defeat the purpose of the program), but they are worth a LOT of money. Among many others, I have a center tail, probably two feet long, he sent me that would easily tie up to 8/0 - that feather alone would sell for several hundred dollars.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
OldredbarnFebruary 2nd, 2011, 7:32 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
http://www.danica.com/flytier/

Shawn...Follow the above link and Mr. Bailey is the featured tier there...Enjoy! Our favorite softhackle TroutNut, Mr. Mark Libertone, is featured on that site as well.

Being a vego and a birder I appreciate your views mister re other alternatives for us tier's to obtain feathers...With a little creativity its hard telling just what we could pull off. I had a hook up in the past for free peacock from shed feathers from a friends birds.

I want to make sure that you understand that Tim's comment about the condor was a wink in my direction and not a real suggestion. It was a nod to a wonderful old time Au Sable tier Ernie Borchers and his killer fly...If I were in a one fly tournament and was limited to a dry fly, it would probably be what I'd be tossing.

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Shawnny3February 2nd, 2011, 7:38 pm
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
I can't speak for others, Spence, but I knew Tim was joking. I was being totally sincere when I complimented him on the comment - wish I'd thought of it first.

Very pretty flies by Mr. Bailey. I couldn't find Mark's flies - too many names to wade through, and I've seen many of his flies on here, anyway. Hans needs to use alphabetical order or something.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
OldredbarnFebruary 2nd, 2011, 7:50 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
There should be a slot on Hansi's page for a Mr Shawn Davis. Don't you think? I'm Dutch on my dad's side...Maybe I could put in a word.

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
TNEALFebruary 3rd, 2011, 10:19 am
GRAYLING. MICHIGAN

Posts: 275
Re the fly for a one fly tournament; you may find this interesting:

Charlie (Chuck to his wife, Julia) Kroll, Fred Bear's son-in-law, told me that the Borcher's Special was the single best dry fly he'd ever used. That's quite a compliment from a man who, according to him, has not fished all the world's trout streams, but has fished the best of them. Charlie passed away a few years ago, but is remembered as an amazing outdoorsman, proficient with the bow and perhaps more so with the fly rod. If you can find a copy of his old book, Squaretail, you'll see photos of steelhead sized brookies taken on the fly.
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