Fishing at the Right Time of Day

“Morning on the Gravel Bar” Clint Bova 6"x8" ~ oil color study on wood panel
After J. Smith

The time of day, especially during the Spring time, is critical when entering the trout stream. The insects are likely to come off the water at different intervals and the on off switch seems like it never stops. The fickle spring hours are upon us and the best strategy is to be tactical about stepping into the stream. Look carefully on the forecast especially wind, temperature, and precipitation. Wind has a tendency to put down fish more than people think. Flotsam in the form of tree pollen, last years leaf dross, and spring algae will actually kill a fishing session when its all over the surface and in the water column. Plan carefully, look carefully at the water before you go in and be tactical about your time. I left the water the other day just as the water was blown out and covered with tree pollen. The trout took cover and stopped feeding. Knowing when to leave is as important as knowing when to get in. It seems rudimentary but I suppose wisdom is using what you know.
                                       ~Clint Joseph Bova


Dying Your Hackles~ Pearl Grey Rit Liquid Dye

So it took what felt like four decades but Rit finally shelved Pearl Grey in Liquid form. This is sweet news to the ears of most hardcore fly tyers because powder versions of grey can be very very inconsistent. Many of the greys lean towards warm to magenta and mixing grey as everyone knows is very difficult because of the variables. Now that Rit makes Pearl Grey in liquid for you can simply warm it up or cool it down using the other colors such as magenta or cyan. Most of my grey batches I add a smidge of red to warm the liquid form. I have found the liquid form is very consistent from bottle to bottle as opposed to the traditional salt crystal packs.

The above photo of the biot dun illustrates the liquid form results with a tad of red added for depth, and warmth. Hackles, tailing fibers, biot, and hen tips all dyed with the new liquid form.
The consistency is what excites me and cuts the guess work and dilution time in half. Happy dying everyone!
                    Clint Joseph Bova


The Midge Fest

Spring Buffet, Clint Bova, 5" x 5" collage

During the early spring dashing through the woods avoiding lightning and getting smashed by falling branches is a challenge in itself. Another challenge is spotting insects that the trout are zeroing in on. Being a creature of habit and optimism I grab my box of midges without even thinking. Fore and Aft patterns, A.K. Best styled midges with modified biot wings, and the old standby, parachute emergers.
The “Dark Child Box” is my pet name for flies that work best for me at this time of year. This is because the colors are cool grays that lean to near ivory black. Prospecting is out of the question for this time of year for a surface session. Go look for the fish from the banks. I don't even bother getting in the water if I do not see any surface activity. Be slow and methodical, don't feel rushed, and most of all keep your expectations in check. The spring fever is always entertaining and seeing other anglers whip the water up till it turns to butter is like sitting at the mall and people watching for me. There is always one fly fisher smoking a stogie and swearing like a drunk sailor. Think of fishing at this time of year as a nice stroll in the woods interrupted by...fishing.
Happy Spring 2016
Clint Joseph Bova

Quilled Para Midge Emerger~A Two Minute Tie

About this time of year I am fishing really shallow water around “super sippers” which I describe as large fish sucking in tremendous amounts of midges in the surface film. My go-to meat and potatoes fly has been a quilled emerger on a TMC 212Y sizes #16-22 for many years now. There are many variations of this fly. I tie it with a turkey flat post dyed medium dun. The extra protruding silhouette of the post makes it very easy to see in ultra contrasty light which is prevalent this time of year. Its a very basic pattern and can be tied quickly and floats well under many situations. You can use either black, light dun, or medium dun for the horizontal hackle collar. Note: I have recently been tying most of my midges with Veevus thread a company out of Denmark makes it. You can really bear down with this thread it is a little slick however but it makes for a tight and clean tiny fly.

Quilled Para Midge Emerger
Hook: TMC 212Y sizes #16 ~ #22
Thread: Veevus 10/0 Black
Quill: Dyed Black
Thorax: Black Beaver Belly
Post: Medium Dun Turkey Flat


Spring Wings

“Spring Wings”~ waterbourne wing collage by Clint Bova Spring 2016

The cat and mouse spring games begin with the 2016 rain storms. Although not officially spring yet the rains are persistent and illusive. I jumped in my truck this morning on a quick run down a farm access road near my house. The small black Stoneflies are coming off the water in a downpour but no visible traces of fish in the half mile stretch that I bushwhacked. After soaking myself to the bone drove back up the dirt path, darted around a racoon and her cubs, and took a quick shower. As I am drying myself the sun poked its weary head out. I jump back in my truck go down the road, rod still rigged, and get about 8 minutes of great fishing. Two rises, two fish, followed by a torrential downpour the rain immediately put the trout down. Rinse and repeat..... Cat and mouse persistence pays dividends but can be exhausting in the spring!
                       Happy Spring 2016 everyone ~ Clint Joseph Bova


The Simple Fly

Westward Winter Storm, Upper Valley Pike
small study by Clint Bova, oil on 5"x7" wood panel
In the very early spring keeping it simple is a lesson I've learned over the years when it comes to both prospecting and sight fishing. If your lucky by midday when the sun is straight above your head a fish or two may rise to a midge. The Stonefly has not even shown itself yet. The water has a deciduous odor from melting ice that has mingled with the top layer of last years muck of fall leaves. The water column has a grainy pattern running through it and the occasional tree branch tumbles by you with a small winged insect clamoring to it for dear life. I'm convinced that midges can show themselves at the worst of times at any time of the season. They are kind of like U.S. Army Rangers, they show up before all the action, and remain steadfast when the battle has already been finished. The midges in my fly box are no more than baby finger nail sized morsels that are more often than not black. Remember midges do not have tails! They have an extended abdomen and that's it. Simplify what you see and it will pay dividends with the most weary cold weather trout. If you are fishing for surface feeders you probably do not even need to bring a fly box with you to the river. Just grab a pill container and put a half dozen midges in it. The simple fly for the time of year where simpler is always better. 
                                 ~Clint Joseph Bova


The Spring Storms on The Mad River

 “Kings Creek Storm” oil on wood panel 5"x7"
by Clint Bova
Flooding and blown out conditions are a common obstacle in the spring on the Mad River. I spend a lot of time searching for fishable water and putting on my creative thinking cap. If you cannot fish pull out a sketch book or paint in hopes for a lull in the weather! Wishing all a productive, meaningful, and memorable 2016 trout season here in Ohio. The fickle weather is part of the hunt, and Mother Nature is always testing your perseverance, patience, and fortitude.
                               ~Clint Joseph Bova

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