It is the last morning of summer, and thirty-two degrees here in Crooked Eddy. The frost has me taking my time, sleeping in a bit (for me), and lingering over my early morning activities before heading out for my last summer morning fishing. There’s no need to be on the river by eight o’clock, as the chill will cling to the mist in the river valleys, as everything waits for the full spectrum of the sun to entice the web of life to action.
Autumn has made her presence known for more than a week, and my furnace has run three nights in a row. My tying room is comfortable this morning, though my old flannel shirt still feels good. There are no flies to be tied this morning, as I crafted enough of furs and feathers over the course of the extended weekend. Three dozen dries wait for my friend’s arrival, and there are a few more to top off some of my boxes as well.
I experimented a bit with some of the died javelina hair my good friend John has kindly provided. The strong, tapered hair makes excellent quill bodies. In the bag of dyed material there is red and a deep, dark purple, and I have tried both for an Isonychia parachute. I am anxious to see if the trout like them. The iso’s are a rather unique mayfly when it comes to defining color. Tradition calls for a “claret” colored fur, between a maroon and mahogany, but the mayfly hatches with an olive tone then begins changing toward that so called claret hue. I have plucked duns from the surface to find a range of colors between those extremes, some with overtones and undertones that run further from either mark.
Currently I tie Isonychia patterns with four different dubbing mixes. My primary blend uses my precious dwindling supply of claret dyed beaver, provided by my late friend Dennis Skarka. As Dennis suggested, I mix a bit of natural beaver with the dyed fur to cut the intensity of the color and offer hints of tan and gray that sometimes find their way into the palette of the naturals. My Halo Isonychia has been featured on this blog, created with a thin veil of olive silk dubbing over wine colored thread to imitate the changing colors of the fly. Al Caucci’s Spectrumized dubbing blend for the isonychia has been a proven winner, and recently I found Hemingway’s Beaver Dubbing Plus. The Red Wine color has yielded some effective iso patterns in my early experiments. So many flies, all selected to appeal to the changing whims of the trout!
The spring hatch of Isonychia eluded me this year. I simply never encountered them on the water, despite almost daily fishing, so I am hopeful I will engage a good hatch during these last glorious weeks of autumn dry fly fishing!
The eight foot Granger will get the nod today. With the lowest flows of the season it will be a mainstay for the foreseeable future, it’s crisp western action providing a long reach and delicate delivery with a four weight line. Thank you Dennis! The new tips are prefect. I cleaned and dressed the line on the Bougle` over the weekend, and will freshen the leader momentarily. Expectations are that the little Flick olives will get the call this morning, so 6X tippets are necessary.
The afternoon will offer some exploration, in the hope I will have the chance to try the new Isonychia Quills, and find some untouched water to share with Mike later in the week. The Granger will deliver those size twelve dries just as perfectly as the twenty-two’s.
Ah well, time to rebuild that leader, then breakfast and a hot shower to ease the daily aches and pains: dues paid for a life outdoors.