Winter Surface Flies “The Harlequin Midge”


During the winter months surface activity is sparse at best. Typically if the weather takes a turn for the best and warms up to 50 degrees or higher trout will start surface feeding on midges. Usually by midday the feeding starts and may last only a few hours. During these glimmers of activity I'm usually running outside and looking towards the sky like an angst-ridden teenager. The fly I usually leave the house with is a little black midge that I call the “Harlequin Midge”. This is a pattern I developed that seem to move fish that are in stasis mode and that have zeroed in on those little black midges we see so often throughout the winter months. Why the name “Harlequin Midge”? Well it takes a bit more animation and drama to get fish to move during the winter months. The extended body and and dyed pheasant tail legs seem to be a deadly combination. I tye this fly fairly sparse and use 14/0 Veevus thread to lighten the load. Sparse is always better for dry flies during the winter, this is because midges are pretty much the only thing on the surface menu.

Hook: TMC 2488 sizes 18-24
Thread: Veevus black 14/0
Body: Micro Chenille tip burned with cigarette lighter
Legs: Knotted black Pheasant tail
Wing: TMC Aero Dry Wing in gray or white
Hackle: 3-4 turns of light dun

For sporadic surface activity trout seem to really like this combination during the late fall and into the winter months for me.
                                ~Clint Joseph Bova


Veevus Threads

Veevus thread has the texture, suppleness, strength, and various diameters to really make me a convert.

I have been tying with Veevus for many years now and its now my choice over all other threads. Admittedly when I first used it I was not use to the sheen, uniformity, and slightly slippery surface but I quickly adjusted my techniques and I was extremely happy with this line of threads. If you tie smallish trout flies like I do a 14/0 thread is very very beneficial especially with low bulk sparse flies for weary fish. I have not used anything else since its introduction to the US market because of its superior strength and varying diameters. Now they have extended their color ways to make the line far more extensive.
                                ~Clint Joseph Bova


The Spring Storms on The Mad River

 “Kings Creek Storm” painting by Clint Bova Urbana Ohio
spring 2014 Oil (plein air) on hardwood panel "6x8"
Flooding and blown out conditions are a common obstacle this spring in the Mad River Valley. I spent a lot of time searching for fishable water and putting on my creative thinking cap. Wishing all a productive, meaningful, and memorable 2015 trout season here in Ohio. The fickle weather is part of the hunt, and Mother Nature is always testing your perseverance.

“Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.                      
                   ~Henry David Thoreau


A Cold Day For The Record

A record cold day on The Mad River. A photo I took of a section of the river down the road from my house in bone chilling temperatures. Including the wind chill it was -24 degrees today (February 19th 2015). Spring fishing is nothing more than a very distant dream. I think tying another box of flies is in order for today to soften the blow.
         Happy 2015~ Clint Joseph Bova


The “Fore & Aft Quill” ~My Simple Midge Pattern

Over 15 years ago I started tying a lot of quill patterns from white Chinese Rooster hackles, stripped, bleached, and dyed. I began dying all of my own quills to get the exact colors I wanted, the suppliers color palettes just looked wrong to me and were prone to cracking because they were over bleached. Quills prove to be a great asset with midge patterns, they are buoyant and when wrapped correctly they provide beautiful segmentation.
 When I was in my mid-thirties I developed a midge pattern that is similar to “The Renegade” after spending a few months in the Cascades in Oregon. The Renegade was too loud and “fancy” for many of the spring creeks that I typically fish on. For Rainbows and Cuts it was a great general pattern but I needed something that could be used in very slow and shallow water where weary Browns could be hopefully fooled. After a few seasons of great success in the North East with what appeared to be a quilled fore and aft fly I settled on a simple and extremely effective pattern. I called it a “Fore and Aft Quill Midge” it was my favorite fly in my arsenal.

 I turned on a bunch of anglers and guides to this fly up in Ontario many years ago on The Grand River after an evening hatch of Drakes and Hendricksons. The evening hatch proved to be masking what the fish were actually eating, or not! Essentially this fly can give the impression of a midge cluster, a midge, and even a shucking nymph or emerger of a mayfly. A fly with a lot of tricks up its sleeve no doubt. That evening two guides saw me catching fish after fish North of Fergus. I showed them the pattern and one of them said “what kind of yank pattern is that!” (Scottish Folks) after chuckling I handed them a few of them and their clients were happier and more giving for it.
Anyway the pattern is carried in my vest throughout the season and always proves itself as a mid-summer, fall, and winter pattern and are extremely simple to tie.

Hook: TMC 513 sizes 16-24
Thread: Veevus 14/0 green or gray
Hackles: light dun on aft, ginger fore 
(this orientation has always perplexed me but proven dividends)
Body: Light gray, black, or green quill
Trailing Shuck: Duck flank dyed or undyed or barred CDL

I go through these little guys like Tic Tacks throughout the fishing season.
~Clint Joseph Bova


Bamboo Rods & Seasonal Care

 “Upper Valley” by Clint Bova Oil on Panel 10" x 14" 
plein air Mad River, Ohio

For many September 26 marks the official end of the fishing season. I typically stop my trout fishing by mid-November and go through my ritual of cleaning all of my equipment, most importantly my rods.

I pull my rods out one by one and wipe them down with a warm soapy mixture of water and Dove Soap. Wipe the rod dry and make sure the guides are clean. You can use a little bit of mineral spirits on a Q-Tip to get any additional residue off of the guides. Make sure you clean both the female and male parts of the ferrule. Again you can use a small amount of denatured alcohol or mineral spirits to clean them out using a Q-Tip. Many hang their rods in their given bags up in a cool dry closet, this is a good ritual. I just keep them in their given cases, take the cap off, and place them upright in my rod racks. I typically am very diligent about keeping a journal so I record the amount of use I put on any one particular rod, its kind of like keeping track of your mileage on your car. I do this primarily because I track and rotate my tips from one season to the next rather than throughout any one particular season. This allows me to keep track easier and its one less tip to clean in an entire quiver at the end of a season. A journal is also a great way to keep track of what rod needs some extra TLC, cleaning, or repairs. I recently received a rod from a past client that needed some refinishing work after a decade of hard use. He sent the rod back to me in the spring because he simply forgot about the task from the previous fall. He wanted to get his rod back for the Hendrickson Hatch in PA about a week later, needless to say he was able to use the rod at the tail end of the hatch. Its a lot easier to send the rod in the fall for a winter “face lift” if needed. Again a journal can prove to be helpful in many ways from season to season.
        ~Clint Joseph Bova


Fall Gifts 2014

“I have never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.”
Henry David Thoreau,

Hope everyone has a relaxing and memorable fishing experience this Fall 2014, so far it has been outstanding! ~Clint  Joseph Bova