Trout Slayer – Fly Fishing with Chef Joseph Lenn & a Recipe for Sunburst Trout with Cruze Farm Buttermilk Consommé

Hesse Creek has both native and stocked trout.  Joseph sat on the steps of the fishing cottage and searched through his fly cases looking for the fly that best matched the bugs that were naturally falling on the water and feeding the trout.  He passed on the Adams Parachute, the most popular dry fly in the world, and the Wooly Bugger, one of my personal favorites.  He ran his fingers across the many Caddis, Nymphs, and Coachmen that he had tied himself.  Case after case of flies, each was a small work of art and each with a story to be told.  It was as if I were walking a gallery with an artist telling me of his work.

Each case of hand tied flies has a story

As he was sorting through his collection of flies, he shared with me how this one case was very special.  It was his father’s fly case that he first discovered as a teenager.  Now, the case was filled with his handmade creations, but you could tell, it was the case itself that was important to him.  Joseph is very sentimental and deeply cares about tradition and his family.  His flies were merely the canvas that allowed him to tell his story.

Even these very small flies were hand tied by Joseph Lenn

Digging deep in his bag of fly cases, he pulled out another case and laughed.  “This one’s pretty interesting,” he said.  He opened it and it was filled with white flies with silver streamers.  Having something of a background in trout flies I was really curious as to what a white fly would catch, as none of the flies looked anything like a natural bug or insect.  “My wife,” he said.  “I took her trout fishing and when we were rigging our gear I offered her one of these flies.  In the case, alongside the feathered and furred streamers, was a diamond ring that I had placed there.”  You see, Joseph hand tied each of these flies for this occasion.  Needless to say, she said, “yes.”  Kathryn and Joseph fish together often.  As a matter of fact, I would go so far as to say that if Kathryn didn’t fish, they wouldn’t be married.  The life of a chef demands long hours and travel and for Joseph, fishing is what he does when he is not at work.

Joseph Lenn used these flies to “tie the knot”

Joseph and I fished and took pictures for several hours.  We made our way down and back up the river.  We waded along the rocky bottom and cast our flies between and under the overhanging limbs that framed the shoreline.  I was looking for shadows, rocks, branches, and deep pools with swirling water as these are likely hiding places for trout.  Joseph, who has fished this stretch of river hundreds of times, was focused on his fly and its presentation.  His concentration was not to be broken.  His casts precise.  His retrieval deliberate.

Finding the right fly to “match the hatch”

Hesse Creek

Lenn is very focused

A routine morning of trout fishing netted Joseph many nice trout ranging in size from 16 to 20 inches.  For Joseph, the weather, temperature, water level, all the things that most fisherman would use as excuses for not catching fish, are nothing more than the conditions to be met. His expectations are high. Today was not a failure but also not up to his expectations.

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