The Rats Nest

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hooking It Up With A Couple Of Other Guides.....

Dan Locked On In A Familiar Heavily Fished Spot.....
This past year has been one of my better years for meeting new really cool people who are about as touched with the sickness of fly-fishing as myself.  I met a slew of great people at the International Fly tying Symposium back in November, and about a week later I was lucky enough to float the Deerfield River in Western Massachusetts with Dan and Tom Harrison of Harrison Anglers.  From the outset, we hit it off and became friends, fishing and laughing all day long.

Guiding my fair share, even  for a guy who does this as a secondary job, I can totally appreciate it when I get a day to fish myself these days.  Lately, this is something that just hasn't happened since  I fished with these guys back on December 1.  Ya that's right, Rich Strolis hasn't fished since DECEMBER 1, 2010!!!  Holy s@%t batman!  Longest fishing less streak EVER!   Well, I need not explain, being a dad, tying flies for others, doing presentations and most of all, spending time with my wife Megan who also works full time, I would think most would understand, but let me lose track, back to Dan and Tom.   These two guys guide full time, and they stack up the guide trips pretty good which is a testament to the kind of guides and people they both are.  So, when the opportunity presented itself for them to have a day off, I offered up a day on my home water, as I was certain they would appreciate it.
Tom With A Higher Water Cookie Cutter For The Day....
Tom With Another Cookie Cutter Stinky Chaser..
Yours Truly, Cashing In Too...
The water was up, which we both learned in short order is how we like it, so I said lets ride.  The boys brought the goats and the raft and we hit the water pretty hard.  I'd love to say we fished dries all day, (well not really) but it was all down and dirty.  The stinky pinkie (as Tom would call it) and shimmer stones in brown and golden color were the ticket today, and put a good number of fish in the net.  All the likely slower seams produced or stuck fish.  Right out the gates Dan got snapped off in a nice seam and I figured the day would be pretty good.  As we made our way into some of the better water, Tom boated a medium sized Rainbow and I lost a really nice Brown that looked to be right around or slightly larger than the magic 20 inch mark.  As the day rolled on, we all got a nice fish or two, with the majority of the fish in the 17-19 inch range.  Not a bad day for an overcast chilly day in March.  We all joked a bit, and said how we wished the river was flowing at this height more often.  Sorry if I offended some of you dry fly only fisherman out there, but I gotta tell you, high water can sometimes be the best thing that ever happened to you, don't be scared.   No worries, things will be back to more wade able flows, hopefully not for too long though....

Dan With A Brown Shimmer Stone Gluttonous Butter Ball...
Like all examples of Brotherly Love, some friendly competition rang true throughout the day, but Tom was seemingly pulling ahead till Dan stuck a nice fatty brown that was right around 19 inches give or take.  All in all it was a pretty good day, oh and did I mention the flow was right around 1,300 cfs?   Not bad, but believe it or not the general consensus was even a little more water in the drink wouldn't have been a bad thing.  Look to see some more of these guys in the not so distant future as we plan on doing this again, whether down here, the Deerfield or elsewhere.  For more on trips on the Deerfield, check out their website at

By the way, GAME ON!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Amongst The Clippings.......

A Handful Of This Winters Spooled Casualties....
I write this entry counting the days till my guide season officially kicks into high gear.  It's been the busiest winter to date, and I think next winter I'm gonna have to scale things back a bit.  I shouldn't feel drained this early in the year, I mean s*%t, I haven't even really begun guiding yet.  I guess the countless nights up after work tying and tweaking presentations did it's toll.  My Day's typically went like this; Get home from work at Midnight, tie till 2:30 - 3:00 AM, up at 6:30 with the girls.  Chase them around till about 12-1, hit the gym, go to work for 2:30 and then do it all over again.   I guess you could say my motto of "Sleep When You're Dead" rang true this winter.

Well at last, I can finally start to dig out of my winter funk, clean up the gear, pack up all those flies that managed to make their way into my boxes and not others, and get down to business stomping the banks of my home waters with clients of new and old.  This should be a pretty good season from what I can see right now.  A pair of reservoirs full of water should make for a very productive summer, hopefully I can sneak a few hours in here and there to satiate my fishing Jone's, but if not, no worries, I can always live vicariously through my clients.   If you haven't already noticed Ive been a bit of a cave dweller these days, coming out to put a snippet or two up on the site once every other week.  Aside from filling fly orders (glad that s*@t's over), Ive been busily in man town (my basement and tying area) devising new patterns to try out this season.  Sorry to say the videos will be less frequent, but to hold true to my intentions, I will still only put up patterns of my own that have been run through the paces on the water and proven themselves to be effective imitations.  What I may start doing is plugging in some videos of other notable patterns, just to keep you all coming back.  Ive had some requests in the past few months, maybe it's time to start answering some of them.

A Mess, But Getting Cleaner....
With another season comes the anticipation for more comfortable weather, good flows, blizzard hatches and hungry fish.  Pretty soon things will be cranking, can't say I can wait, I mean really,  this winter was flat out nothing short of a swift kick in the coin purse, well unless of course you were a snowboarder.  I can honestly say, this winter really put a damper on my ability to get out and fish, it seemed like every time I had a free day we either got spanked with snow or the river was a giant slushy machine as the air temps were in single digits.    Time to make up for lost time, are you ready?   I know I am.   River reports, Farmington fish porn, new flies, and other related nonsense to follow, stay tuned, sorry for the expletives, well not really, can you blame me, the past few months have made me cagey.   I feel bad for any fish this season that crosses my path, It ain't gonna be pretty.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Something Everyone Who Fishes The Farmington Should Attend

 TMA Expansion           Hearing
         Wed., March 16th
    6:30pm.  DEP Hdqtrs
     79 Elm St. Hartford.
This is the last chance for the public to comment on the proposed changes to the regulations governing the Farmington River.  Below is a summary of the changes:

            - Extends the Trout Management Area (TMA) to the bridge abutments of Whittemore Pool.

            - Makes the Trophy Trout areas from the Goodwin Dam to the Whittemore abutments, and from the Rt. 219 bridge to the Rt. 177 bridge in Unionville, Seasonal TMA.  There would be a 2 fish, 12" limit from opening day until August 31st, then from Sept. 1st until opening day it would be catch-and-release only for that entire stretch of river.  The river would be open to fishing year round.

            - Eliminates the regulation requiring barbless hooks in the upper TMA.

The FRAA strongly supports the first two parts of the regulation changes, but feels that the elimination of the barbless hook requirements in the TMA would be a step backwards.  The new regulations require that the fish be released “without avoidable injury” and the loss of the barbless hook provision makes this much less likely.  If you would like to support the TMA changes but speak out against the loss of barbless hooks, then sign and mail the letter to the address at the top of the paper, no later than March 30th.

If you are unable to attend, cut and past this letter and attach your signature to show your support.  

To: Bill Foreman
       DEP Inland Fisheries Division
       79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106-5127
       Fax#: 860-424-4070

            Dear Mr. Foreman, I am writing this letter to show my support for the proposed changes in the Farmington River Trout Management Area.  The expansion of the Trout Management Area to the bridge abutments at the tail out of the Whittemore pool, and the changes to the other areas of the river down to the Route 177 Bridge in Unionville are well thought out, and long over due. 

            However, there is one change in the proposed regulations which I DO NOT support.  All three sections of the new proposals relating to the Farmington River require that the fish be released “without avoidable injury”.  And yet the regulations requiring the use of barbless hooks has been eliminated from the proposal.  Barbless hooks allow for reduced handling and a faster release of the fish, thus reducing unwanted injury.  To eliminate this requirement makes no sense.  Barbless hooks in the Trout Management Area have been required since its inception, and to remove this provision at this time would be counter productive to releasing the fish without avoidable injury.  Please consider reinstating the barbless hook requirement in the TMA, and if you wish to standardize the regulations, make barbless hooks required for the entire section of the river in the proposal.  Thank you for your consideration in this matter.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Something To Check Out

The guys at the Compleat Angler are putting together a pretty cool show to get you geared up for the upcoming season. For more info on the event, check out the particulars at

From Scott, apparently It's not fly only but leans heavily that way. There is going to be a bunch of local saltwater tiers there as well. Any tickets purchased will is also be good for a 1 time 20% discount on in stock merchandise at
the shop 3/26-3/27 (excluding rods, reels, Simms)

If you've got a bad case of cabin fever and are looking to get out of the house, get out there and support the cause, looks to be a great time.

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Classified Caddis Hits The Press

Well, it took a while but my sophomore writing effort is now live in the current issue of Eastern Flyfishing Magazine. My Classified Caddis pattern is now mainstream for all you fly junkies out there. I'm happy to see this one go to print, it's a very simple and effective fly pattern that has been working for the last three seasons.

What is even cooler to me is the launch of the article coincided with a good friends tying piece on it's sister publication, Northwestern Flyfishing. When you get a chance check out Mike Schmidts Meal Ticket, it's a great fly by a very talented tier. You can see more of Mikes flies at
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