My wife gave me a great Christmas present this year and let me sneak away from Dad duties and fish for a little bit on Christmas Eve.
I hit up a stream that I always wanted to try that I have seen while hunting. I scouted it a little bit while rifle hunting. I tied up some brookie streamers the night before. All this streamer is, is a size 10 Firehole competition hook, with some red lead eyes, a piece of white coyote fur for the belly, a piece of darker (orange/brown) coyote for the back. I then wrap over my thread with some dubbing. I pull the underfur out of fur, then use that underfur to dub. Super simple streamer, that takes maybe a minute or two to tie.
I like to use streamers on natives as they cant seem to get the hook as far in their mouth. Pretty much every fish is hooked right up front in the top of their mouth.
I only had about an hour and a half to work with so I jetted down about 300 yards or so to then fish up. The stream is tiny, and the cover was pretty thick on most of the stream with hemlocks covering it.
I hit a small pool on what looked to be the back side of an old foot bridge. I caught my first brookie on the trip there.
I saw a few little pools down stream and decided to walk about 80 yards down, before I started to fish back up again. My next brookie was probably the coolest I have ever seen. He was almost black. Not sure why he was so dark. The hole he was living in was a lot more open but that's not to say he didn't move into that hole. My thought was he resided under a rock ledge and maybe it was a way for him to camouflage, possibly the leaf litter in the stream made the water more tannic. I really don't know for sure, but it was definetly and awesome fish.
As I worked upstream the cover became a lot me dense. Was pretty much crawling up stream to try to be stealthy. But even on my best ninja like approach, I would still see some brookies ripping up stream, spooked.
I believe I ended up landing 7, and missing quite a few more. I think the ones I missed mainly just were nipping the tail. A few I would attempt to set the hook, and hit a branch, or have them on then when lifting them to me, would hit a branch and they would fall off the barbless hook.
None the less it was a great trip. I loved seeing all of the variations of color on the same stream. The one brookie, had almost a pink colored belly. Not sure if it was from spawning or what. These small streams are nice, as I literally only had my fly rod, a small glass container for my flies, and some flouro carbon. No waders needed, as you can just walk along the bank, and not have to risk hurting any spawning beds.
I think I may explore this stream a little more this year, and venture further down stream to see if it widens at all. I think I may get a 6' or 6'6" 2 weight rod, and pick up a redington zero for it. I think I may make my brookie set up just have 20# mono on it for the fly line, and then put a barrel swivel on the end, and put some 4# flouro. Most of the streams I fish for these guys, you cant cast more than 7-8' at a time anyway. Roll casting is impossible so you are almost flipping your fly in anyway. Still up in the air on it, but may go that route.
Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. Some like Christmas Cookies, I like Christmas Brookies.
I like to use streamers for native brookies. I use a larger gap barbless hook. IMO they cant get the hook that far in their mouth so 99% of my hook sets are right in the top of their mouth. As with most of my brookie streamers these coyote streamers are super quick and easy to tie. I like to use natural materials when fishing for natives.
This one is tied on a Firehole Outdoors 633 size 10. I use small lead eyes with the pupil. I take a snip of white coyote fur from a coyote mask for the belly, and a snip of the brown/darker orange, fur for the back. When I take the fur for the belly and back, I pull out the under fur. This will give you a bit more movement, and a lot lighter fly. then I take the brown, underfur, and use it to dub over my thread. Really just a 4 step fly.
1) tie on your lead eyes to make the fly ride hook point up
2) tie in the belly of the fly using white coyote fur, found on the outsides of a coyote mask (remove under fur before tying)
3) tie in the brown/dark orange fur found in the center of the mask between ears (remove under fur before tying)
4) take the underfur from the brown/ dark orange fur and dub over your thread
5) whip fininsh.
For me the beauty of the fish, and the scenic destinations you have to search to find them, far outweigh the "inches or pounds" of fish you catch. Ive caught enough big fish to last me a while. Id rather catch that dark brookie than a 20+" stocked trout any day.
Hey Turkey Mike - Very cool fotos & beautiful fish..Is there anything prettier than a wild brookie ? It never ceases to amaze me how those little critters survive..
When I was a kid I fished for them in some of the little streams in Warren Co. & Potter Co. I would keep a couple 7-8 inchers to eat. I remember examining their stomach to see what they had been eating and rarely did I find anything other than hemlock needles, tiny pcs. of gravel and occasionally a bit of twig or leaf..
Here's some good info on those little "gems" : (end of pg.4 beginning on pg. 5 - interesting)
You must've learned all about Potter County Brookies from none other than Beans himself, who grew up in those streams and showed Abe Lincoln how to best fish them wayyy before you came around! lol What a legend he must be up there!
Do good and disappear........
I stayed up all night to prove to myself I don't snore.