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…
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 MyFlies.com (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 MyFlies.com.
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.
This trip, this day, we were all smiles.