All content © Robert Williamson

All content © Robert Williamson

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Autumn Trout

 With a feeling of early winter in the air, there is a need to get out on good fall days. Unsettled weather and other obligations just seemed to be getting in the way. We decided that on Friday September 30, 2016 we would make a trip even if the weather was just a little unsettled. We ate an early breakfast and then drove to a beautiful little river in Idaho. On the drive we kept our eyes on the larger cumulus clouds, some which had that dark grayness on the bottom. If they accumulated and bunched up against the mountains, we knew there was a chance of isolated thunderstorms right over us. As we neared the town where we would buy our licenses, the clouds had moved on and more blue sky was appearing.

After securing our licenses, we drove through the foothills toward the canyon. The road through the foothills was dotted with older homes and a few newer ones. The small community would be a nice place to live--quiet, with little traffic. We guessed that most of the residents were farmers and ranchers. Some of the homes might be summer homes owned by those who want a semi-secluded get-a-way--a place where they could come to relax and maybe do some hunting and fishing. Some homes might have been inherited by children or grandchildren of the original residents.

 It wasn't long before we were on the dirt road that paralleled the river. We glanced at the water with excitement. It looked so inviting. We found a turnout and hurriedly put on our waders and then rigged up our rods. As we walked down river looking for a good place to enter the water, we commented on how it seemed so perfect. The only other thing that would add to our already giddy demeanor would be for the trout to cooperate. We found a small clearing and walked through fall leaves and dry grasses. Upon entering the water I could sense through my waders that it was cold; just the kind of water that cutthroat trout like to live in. It was so clear. The bottom rocks matched the autumn leaves. My favorite color is yellow. I see it in the autumn aspen leaves and in the water-covered rocks of the creeks, streams, and rivers I fish. I also see it in the trout I catch. Just a tinge in cutthroat trout but more pronounced in the cutthroat that hide in shaded water and dark undercut banks. It is also pronounced on the sides and bellies of stream bred brown trout; rich and buttery during the Fall.

We started the day with hopper patterns. These were tied with tan heat shrink air-filled bodies, light elk hair wings, tan foam heads and brown rubber legs. We always add just a little floatant in the wing to keep them buoyant. After a few trout we seldom redress the wing and let the fly sit down in the surface a little.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


Brown stoneflies
Two brown and one gray stonefly adults
Top and bottom view Silhouette Airbugs
Brown trout

The Silhouette Series of Airbugs is a "new" way to use  O2 Body Material. I have been tying large dry flies with O2 for the past 18 years. The tying technique creates two air-filled chambers that form the body of the fly and creates a nice silhouette. The air-filled body along with the elk hair wing and foam head makes for a great floating fly.

If you want to imitate some of the large stonefly adults such as the salmonfly and golden stone this is a great material and tying style to do it. By using orange, brown, black, and gold colored O2 a tier can create some great looks to imitate the stoneflies.

This technique and material also lends itself to the creation of beautiful cicada, hopper, and beetle patterns. Hoppers are best tied in the tan and pale yellow color, cicada with black or orange, and beetles with black, green, or even purple. With a little crystal flash or similar material mixed in with the wing the cicada pattern looks and works great. The body, foam head, and leg colors can be changed to create several fun patterns.

Last year I used the hopper for most of my late summer and fall dry fly fishing and had a blast. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Under Construction

I'm going to start selling the material for the air-filled flies I have created and eventually the flies themselves. The site is still in the works, but thought I'd give a sneak peek.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Friday, September 26, 2014


I love  Fly fishing in late summer and early fall. I love fly fishing on small creeks with fun-sized trout. I love the quietness of the afternoon on these creeks when no one is around. When you can sense the season's end. When the breeze causes the high grass to dance. When grasshoppers jump out in front of you with each step, some of them landing in the water, and though you can't see the trout eat them, you can hear it. 
 It is the season when trout are eager to eat. The brown trout, in particular, is looking to fatten up and gain energy for the spawning season. It is the time that one writer penned: We sneak, we search, we seldom go to church, we tell monstrous lies with wide unblinking eyes. It's my time to fish with a hopper pattern until the snow flies.
In most cases, I'm not a big fan of Beaver dams, but on some of the smaller waters, smaller beaver dams are not bad, as they create a little deeper holding water. Sneaking around these waters one has to be careful on the approach. Too hard of a step and vibrations are sent that the trout can feel with their lateral lines. I often find my self casting from several feet back and landing just my leader and fly over the edge of the high grass. As with the natural hoppers, I sometimes can't see my fly so I have to listen for the rise. It's like magic.
These are nice  trout for this water. I enjoy catching them and releasing them. When all the conditions are right, they are aggressive and take the fly recklessly. They are wild fighters and can bend a 3-weight rod giving he angler the feeling of a much larger fish.
On this day, I was able to catch two browns which would fall under the category of decent. These were powerful and heavy fish for this water and made me second guess my decision to not carry a net. I was lucky to land them on small gear.
Soon all of the grasses will be brown and bending down in preparation for snow. I hope to get one more trip to this area before then. Maybe when the temperature warrants a jacket--when the sun sits lower in the south--when the hunter's attention turns to big game.  Then I can let this creek rest. I will dream again of hot, late summer afternoons and early autumn days. I too will rest.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Searching for Bonneville Cutthroat

I posted some pictures of some Bonneville Cutts I caught on a headwater. You can check it out on my other blog:

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Perfect Water

Close-up of typical Ogden brown trout.

Gene with an Ogden River brown trout.
Gene called on Thursday and said that he rode his bike over to the Ogden River to check out the conditions. He said it was perfect water. Perfect water, at least for Gene and me, is water that is clear, cold, and low enough to get in and wade. He said he was ready to go fly fishing when I was ready.

I knew I had Friday off, but didn't let Gene know. I wasn't sure I could find the time--wasn't sure what Friday would bring. I woke up Friday morning and went for an early morning run. I came back and called Gene during my cool down.

"Hey, what do you have planned or the day?" I asked.
"I have a funeral at six tonight, but other than that nothing," he said.
"Let's go hit the Ogden."
"What time?"
"I was thinking sometime this afternoon. Maybe around one."
"That works."
"Okay, then I'll swing by and pick you up at one."
"Okay, buddy, see you then.."

Plans set. I showered. I had time to tie up a few flies and tied up some Blue-winged Olives and some small beetles. I hadn't tied a fly for about eight months. My eyesight is slowly going. I need readers to see the small stuff, and get the feeling that some type of magnifier is in my future. I knew the Olives I tied were bigger than what would be hatching, but I just wasn't in the mood to mess with too small of hooks. The beetles were tied to represent the Box Elder bug that I have seen around and that usually hatch out in the spring in good numbers. They are not an aquatic bug, but I figured if they were found in the trees and brush, they end up in the water enough that fish would see them.

Back in our twenties and thirties, Gene and I fished a couple times a week if not more. A couple evenings after work and all day on Saturdays. I will admit we were half-crazed. In the evenings we could easily catch fifteen to twenty trout each--sometimes more. On Saturday adventures, we would fish all day and approach 100 fish days on a regular basis. We occasionally ventured around to other water, but for the most part the Ogden River was our quick fix.

As we drove out on Friday, we talked about the things I just mentioned. We reminisced how our lives have changed, how the world has changed. Gene had gotten into cycling and I had taken on more responsibility with my church. Gene has retired and I will have to work until I drop dead. We talked about getting old; about parents getting sick; about aches, pains, poor eyesight, and about trying to stay in shape sow e could still do the things we enjoy.

Gene confessed that he had not been fly fishing since 2006. Wow! I thought. That's eight years! Cycling had taken over as his focus in those years. I confessed that I didn't fish as much as I used to, that I try to get out once a week, or once every couple of weeks, that I have become a fair weather fisherman and only go out when the weather is good, that I focus my fishing in the Fall when the fish will take hoppers--when I can fish something I can see. We concluded that life is definitely different for us now.

When we arrived to the river, we moaned and groaned as we put on our waders.

"Kind of hard to bend over and put the boots on," I said. Gene agreed.

"Can't see to tie on my fly," Gene said. I agreed.

We eventually made it to the water, waded out and began to cast. Casting is like riding a bike. Even if you haven't done it for a while, the memory reflex and mind allow for it to come back quickly. Gene joked about remembering how to cast, but he was soon in rhythm.

I noticed a trout rise in a small pocket and tried to get it to take the beetle. Nothing. I asked Gene to come and try with the smaller mayfly pattern he had tied on. I showed him the spot and he made a cast. "A little to the right and in the seam," I coached. Next cast and the trout took Gene's fly. The little brown jumped and danced. Gene brought it to his hands and smiled. "Man, that feels good," he said. I can't remember how many times we had spotted fish and then guided each other into catching them over the years, but this was just like old times.

We fished for a couple of hours. The catching was slow, but the fishing was great. It was good to be out. It was good to see Gene with a fly rod in his hands after an eight year drought.

"Stoneflies will hatch in the next couple of weeks," I quipped. Gene said he would keep an eye out and let me know if he sees them before I do. "If the water stays good, we need to hit that hatch! Gene proclaimed.
"That can be our next outing," I replied.

As we took our waders off and put away our gear we talked of fifty fish days, how the day was slow, how we would catch more the next time. But we also talked about how good it was to be out; to be on "our" river; how we had fished every inch of it from the mouth of the canyon to the dam in the past 25 years. We talked about how nice the day was. We both agreed that the water was perfect.