Magalloway River Brook Trout Trio…

Last weekend, on May 21st and 22nd, my brother, Larry, and my niece, Emily, and me took a weekend camping and fishing trip to a campground on Aziscohos Lake in the Rangeley Region of Maine. We camped at Black Brook Cove Campground near the dam at the downstream end of Aziscohos Lake. Among the places we fished was the Magalloway River between the dam and the village of Wilson’s Falls. The flow was 1000 cfs – quite high – when we arrived. Flows are always relative considering the size of the normal river channel. In the section below the dam, this was ripping white-water through the boulder-strewn channel. It was lowered to 800 cfs on Saturday May 21st. Still high, and I doubt it could be crossed safely, but it was significantly better for fishing.

We went into a section of water above Wilson’s Falls on Saturday evening. After we all tried tandem nymph rigs with no results, I decided to fall back on a preferred technique that is at times more reliable, more of a favorite method to me, and certainly more fun than nymphing under most circumstances. And I also find that in new water, streamer fishing seems to be a better way to search the water, and more water can be covered and effectively fished compared to nymphing. I re-rigged with a sink-tip line and a tandem set up; a #6 black bead-head Woolly Bugger on the dropper with a #8 – 3 xl RSP (Red Squirrel Silver Picket Pin – see why we named the fly by its initials!) on a 3x tippet point. In less than five minutes I hooked and landed the trout in the photo. Emily was properly inspired and immediately changed her floating line nymph rig to a ‘bugger with an RSP’ on the point, and she took her beautiful brook trout on her first cast with the new set up.

About a half hour later, Larry hooked up, but lost his fish, most likely another big brookie because of the bend he had in his rod, and the fish never surfaced but just kept deep as big brook trout usually do.

Sunday morning we returned and after about 45 minutes, my brother caught his big trout. So the three of us, took these three brook trout all on the same fly, the RSP. The RSP is a variation of the famous Picket Pin. Luckily we had cameras…

RSP – Red Squirrel Silver Picket Pin Streamer


Red Squirrel Silver Picket Pin

Thread: Brown Danville 6/0 Flymaster or equivalent.

Tail: Brown hackle fibers

Ribbing: Oval silver tinsel.

Body: Silver tinsel.

Hackle: Brown hackle barbs, which I usually tie as a throat for increased durability, rather than the traditional palmer as on the original Picket Pin.

Wing: Red squirrel tail, stacked, tied rather sparse. Fox squirrel can also be used.

Head: Peacock herl wrapped almost to eye of hook.

For those of you who are not fly tiers, the RSP can be ordered from me on my page of (See links to the right).

The RSP was created by me back in the early 1990’s and has been a staple on my pond and river tandem fishing streamer, wet, and bugger rigs pretty much ever since. I usually fish both flies on 3x tippets, but sometimes I use 5# Maxima on the dropper. It’s less pound-test than the 3x DaiRiki I use, but the knots often hold better. It is a really good fishing fly. The pattern is small, just over an inch long, and I think it probably imitates a tiny minnow or baby smelt – a primary food of lake-run trout, tougue, and salmon. I think the RSP works so well because it has a slim profile, silvery body, dark back, all imitative features of smelt or minnow patterns. Usually we fish it slower but sometimes short-fast jerks or rod-tip twitching are effective. I am always employing a variety of tactics to change-up my streamer / wet fly fishing.

Orders for the RSP may be placed at

I hope you enjoy these pictures. Yes, indeed, we had a great trip! I also took the largest landlocked salmon I have ever taken on a dry fly, on the Upper Magalloway below the #10 bridge where it flows into Lake Aziscohos.

All three trout were netted, kept in the water except for the few seconds of these photos, and released.

Don Bastian with 17-1/2″ native Maine brook trout, girth: 10-1/2″

Larry Bastian with 17″ native Maine brook trout, girth: 10″

This trip, this day, we were all smiles.

16 comments on “Magalloway River Brook Trout Trio…

  1. DAVE LOMASNEY says:

    HEY DON,..The smiles on yours and Larry’s face says it all! I’m glad to see you guys and gal got into them!
    I love the color of those fins, the fin on yours Don looks very red! That stretch of river is as red as that brookies fin in the fall (late Sept.) Those brookies look like the were eatin good. I would say that they were lookin at the RSP as a dace or smelt. I bet they fought good in that fast water. Lookin forward to eyein’ the hot fly!!


  2. Thanks Dave…
    I am on my brother’s computer…and no one here can figure out how to compress photos, so I posted these full size. On this screen, a wide screen, I see only one-half the photo…so I am wondering how to improve the pics…thanks for the comment!
    Actually, added later, a friend told me how to use a function to reduce photo size, so I compressed them into smaller sizes.

  3. DAVE LOMASNEY says:

    WOW!!!..Emilys brookie is a MONSTER!!…look at that smile on her face!…that’s what DREAMS are made of!
    A fish of a life time.Thats the spot were I lost my Monsters a couple of years ago, about 75 yds up river in a seam and he ran me almost down to the Pool…but I lost him behind a rock with 6x tippet….


  4. That brook trout Emily has is the biggest she has ever caught in her life! It was quite thrilling to see her play it. When I finally got my first look at it, I yelled out, “It’s bigger than mine!” I was guessing 20″ and was just about right. I netted it for her, and I got the fish on the first pass…she took all these photos with her camera.

  5. Sharon says:

    It’s all about the “next” generation of anglers… her face says it all!

    Times to remember…times to cherish!

  6. […] about, probably Ray, said it. But, we didn’t listen. Rob sent me this report.  This guy, Don Bastian was there when we were.  If we’d only listened to […]

  7. Mike Norwood says:

    Hey, Don…how come Emily’s is so much bigger than yours? LOL!
    Love all the smiles…great post.

  8. Jeff says:

    Love the RSP! Have you ever tied it with barbell or chain link eyes? I tied one with barbell eyes and a red throat…haven’t fished it yet..Hoping to get to Maine in September. Do you usually rig the RSP above or below the bugger?

    • Jeff:

      The RSP is just about always a point fly…think that was indicated in the original post. Never tid it with barbell or chain eyes — do you know, though, that would make the fly ride upside down? Not that it wouldn’t still work, might be a good variation…but I believe it’s effectiveness is the dark top, silver flash belly that makes trout think it’s a small minnow or baby smelt. Thanks for your interest, and comment…I’d be interested to hear your success if you DO try it with “eyes.”

  9. George M. says:

    Hello Don,
    Those are magnificent trout. I like to fish streamers and bucktails also but need to improve my ability to cover deeper water than what I can with my floating line especially when I attempt to fish rivers and ponds. I read in this article you used a sink-tip line.Is that your favorite line and/or best to get the flies deeper and if so how long is your leader on it?
    Thanks, George

    • Thank you George!
      To answer your question – I almost always use a sink-tip line when fishing streamers in all but the very shallowest water. The leader is longer than what most might use, usually 7 – 7-1/2 feet to the dropper and another two feet or so to the point fly, which in this case was the RSP. I have more than 30 years experience fishing streamers & bucktails with the sink-tip, it’s just the best line for most situations, rivers or ponds, unless in cases where you have fish breaking the surface for drifting smelt, or schools of minnows…but even there the sink tip can work, just start your retrieve as soon as the fly hits the water. Thanks for your comment & question.

  10. Neil says:

    Hey Don Neil here, Joe Corderio’s friend.
    Enjoyed your presentation last week about Maine and thanks for the fly patterns on the buggers. The RSP is a great looking fly. What hook do you tie it on? Hope to meet you again and maybe get together with Joe and do some Maine fishing. I have a friend that has a place up in Rangeley that we may be able to stay at if the timing is right.

    • Don Bastian says:

      Hi Neil!
      Thanks for the comment on my blog! Glad you can be part of this trail of “interesting information and other fly tying endeavors” as the sub-header says. 😉 Glad you like the RSP. I usually tie it on a 3x or 4x long streamer hook; there’s room for flexibility there. I usually fish it in a #8 & #10.
      I’m glad you enjoyed my presentation at the New England Fly Tyers Annual Banquet. It was nice to meet you and to see Joe again as well…it was very nice of you both to come to the event.
      Fishing in Maine – with you & Joe, sure anytime it can be arranged and fits our schedules…I’d like that very much!
      Thanks for your comment!
      Have a good season!

  11. Paul Gaston says:

    Hi Don Enjoyed your article and great pictures. Tied some RSP and did well on them in the Kennebago on them. Fishing wets I almost always use a blood knot dropper and three foot point. Your comment on Maxima knot strength is right on. The blood knots never fail. Why does Maxima not make tapered 3x and 4x tapered leaders without the limp tip. Nothing like it for turning over heavy flies in the wind. Paul

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