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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 10/23/2018 (2350 reads)
So tell us about the Open Air Project?
Steve Sunderland and I decided one day to start a podcast about hunting, fishing, and the outdoors. The vision for The Open Air project was to share with people the stories of us and our guests, all while educating everyone in the process. We both feel that learning is a never ending journey, one that we intend to share with our audience. If we can learn, meet unique people, and make few friends along the way, we feel that we've accomplished our goals.

Coty SoultWho is your audience?

Our audience is anyone that enjoys the outdoors and nature. We'll cover topics that vary from hunting, fishing, hiking, backpacking, camping, canoeing, and really anything in between. You may tune in one day and hear about a topic that you're deeply involved with and have a true passion for learning about the intricacies of. The next episode may be something that you've always had an interest in but maybe not had the time to learn about or even experience. We also do a small segment about craft beer at the end of every show, and have had some good feedback about that.

What got you interested in starting the Open Air Project?
I love listening to podcasts, and thought it'd be cool to give it a shot. It's also a great opportunity to get together with some cool people, hear some stories, and drink a couple beers.

What has been the biggest surprise for you in taking on this effort?
The biggest surprise has to be how intricate the process was to setup. I thought we would just record some stuff, submit it to iTunes, and that would be that. That was hardly the case. I had to learn a lot about building a website, RSS feeds, producing good sound quality, hosting media files, and much more. I enjoy a challenge, so in the end it ended up being a good surprise.

What are your plans for 2018?
2018 is going to be a great year for The Open Air Project. We have some great guests lined up already for the upcoming year, and we'll also be producing some video gear reviews. One of our other goals for the year is to record as much footage as we can of all of our adventures. We have a fishing trip to Montana planned, and a hunting trip to Ohio that we hope to produce video content from.

What are your biggest outdoor interests?
My current outdoor interests include fly-fishing, hunting, camping, canoeing, hiking, and just being in the woods. In my lifetime my hobbies have varied depending on the area I've lived in but have always involved the outdoors. Some of those include, snowboarding, surfing, and whitewater canoeing.

Where are your places on your bucket list?
Man, that's a great question. I've been fortunate to be able to cross off a ton of my traveling bucket list places in the last few years, but just like anyone else I have ton more places that I'd like to go and see. I'll just list the ones that would have to do with hunting and fishing for the purposes of this article. Tops on my list would probably include New Zealand, Alaska, Colorado, and British Columbia.

How did you get started into fly fishing?
I started fly-fishing relatively late in life. I have a good friend that invited me on an annual trip to Pine Creek, and everyone there fly fished so I borrowed a rod every year and went with them. After about three years of doing this I decided to give it a real try.

Well, when I get into something I don't typically just dip my toes in. I try to learn as much as I can as fast as I can. I have a competitive side to me, and I don't necessarily mean with other people, but with myself. I want to be good at whatever I do. That's just my personality and I'll typically push myself pretty hard to be better. With fly-fishing, I feel there are three main ways to do that.

First is to do research, and that's how I found Paflyfish, and I feel that it's the best place on the internet to learn about fly-fishing.

Second, is by learning from others. A mentor can really cut the learning curve. Paflyfish helped me there also, because I was able to meet some great people that were willing to share everything that they knew. This also led me to some great friends that I shared some amazing moments with.

Last and what I feel is the most important is time on the water. It's really that simple. You can talk about fishing all you want but to really understand it you need to be there, and do it as much as you possibly can.

What are your favorite areas of Pennsylvania to hunt and fish?
My favorite places to hunt in PA are right where I live here in the Clearfield area. I can be on some of the best public hunting land in the state within 10 miles, and there's more land than someone could hunt in a lifetime. Our game commission doesn't get the credit they deserve for not only providing us with great places to hunt, but also (although some would disagree) they've made what I believe are some great decisions within the last 20 years to improve the overall health of our forests.

As for fishing, it would have to be the central part of the state. Again, I'm blessed here also, as I can be on the Little J or Spring Creek within 30-40 minutes. this has allowed me to get to to know these streams intimately, and if you combine those with Penns Creek, and Big Fishing Creek, I'm not sure there's a better area for fishing on the east coast, especially come May.

Where can people find you and the podcast?
You can find me on Paflyfish I check in there almost daily, and am more than willing to answer any PM's, but you can find the podcast in the links below. I think one of the coolest things is that if you own an Amazon Echo (Alexa) you can tell her to "play the latest episode of The Open Air Project on Tunein Radio" and it starts to play.

Website: http://theopenairproject.com
iTunes: The Open Air Project Coty Soult & Steve Sunderland
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/The-Open-Air-Project-993749137422734/
Stitcher: The Open Air Project
Tunein Radio: https://tunein.com/radio/The-Open-Air-Project-p1037344/
Twitter: The Open Air Project (@openairproject) | Twitter
Instagram: Coty Soult (@theopenairproject) • Instagram photos and videos

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Published by Andy [The_Sasquatch] on 10/09/2018 (235 reads)
The past few years, low water was an issue. Obviously, that wasn't the case this year. Unfortunately on Thursday, the day began with more rain. But we managed to get out Thursday afternoon into the evening. Jerry and I fished some streams that are normally non-existent this time of year, but even they were bordering on too high. We then headed up into the Sinnemehoning watershed-a watershed that despite going up there almost my whole life, we never fished much-and found some nice big pools and willing fish. Some of the other guys checked out some of the more common stomping grounds near the camp w/out a whole lot of success.

Paflyfish


Thursday night was epic. Chuck mentioned that they forgot salt and vinegar chips. This led to me saying "Well, we can make a run to Coudersport for chips...oh wait! It's open mic night at Olga's Cafe!"

Within a few minutes, 5 of us (Chuck, Biker, Moosehead, Dave, and myself) were loaded into my dad's truck (he stayed behind to nap/greet Rick when he arrived) on our way to Olga's

Open Mic night at Olga's is quite an event. It was standing room only! When we first got there, an older lady was reciting some hippy-bippy poetry about the earth or something. Then an old timer got up to play and sing, but for some reason did not sing into the microphone which made hearing him impossible. Another guy got up and began to play some Billy Joel (Lord have mercy), followed by an acapella singer who had some unusual song choices-though her voice made up for it. Then, back up w/ the Billy Joel guy who, much to the approval of everyone in Olga's, led us in a rousing chorus of "Take Me Home Country Roads", changing the lyrics to "Potter County, Pennsylvania, take me home, mountain roads".

The last guy to perform got up w/ his laptop, connected it, hit the background tracks, and next thing I knew he was walking up and down the bar counter singing "Luck Be a Lady"...a little too close for comfort for me and the lads. Everyone polished off their Dirty Bastard Scottish Ales, and we were back in the truck to Sheetz for the chip run.

Back to the fishing:
The bulk of the group arrived Friday throughout the day. I took a few fellows back into the Sinnemahoning watershed, and Rick caught a HOG of a brownie, 20" for sure. Amazing fish! Some of the other guys headed up Slate Run where, w/ the high water and lack of people fishing this year, they had a banner day.

Friday night was more shennanigans at the cabin, including the Christening of the new "Please Do Not Feed the Sasquatch" sign, brought by Moosehead to commemorate the 1 year anniversary of Al and Chuck's tent being attacked by the bear.

Saturday morning Brad from Potter joined us in the AM for breakfast and BSing, and the fishing was back on. At this point, the small streams were just amazing. I took a few guys up into the Hammersley, which was just beautiful this time of year. Not sure where everyone else went, but it sounds like everyone got into some fish.

Saturday night ended with our normal communal feasting, drinking, pipe smoking, and BSing. I took a picture of all the guys hanging out in camp and posted it to my family's private FB page. Deer camp has been dwindling big time over the past 5 years or so, and the family was excited to see a cabin full of fly fishermen, making use of the camp! They were even more excited when I told the family that these guys helped stack the shipment of firewood that got delivered a few days before we arrived.

I love hosting this event. I look forward to it every year, and I know my extended family is glad to know the cabin is still being used for things like this. Looking forward to next year already. Mark it down. First full weekend in October!
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 10/01/2018 (270 reads)

By Brian McGeehan at Montana Angler Fly Fishing

For myself and many other local anglers, Montana’s fall run of Brown Trout is the most anticipated event of the year. Large, lake dwelling trout begin moving into the river systems during late September and October and are accessible to fly anglers during this pre-spawn period. Productive fishing will last as long as the weather (or in some cases, regulations) allows, usually sometime in mid-November. This is far and away my favorite time to guide and fish in Montana, and having a shot at these big lake run bruisers is the main reason why. While there are a myriad of places to catch a big fall Brown Trout in Montana, the Madison River ranks at or near the top of the list. With 3 lakes along its course, Hebgen, Quake, and Ennis, the Madison offers 3 different runs within a close distance of each other, significantly more variety than you will find elsewhere. The Madison has options to both float and wade, as well as to fish streamers or nymphs. Additionally, the Madison has a fall run of Rainbow Trout as well, giving the angler more shots at large trout. While some general rules and guidelines apply, each run of fish on the Madison is different, and learning and applying these nuances is what makes this type of fishing some much fun.

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Techniques for Fall Run Fishing
No matter which section of the Madison you choose to fish, the techniques will be similar. Fishing for these migratory trout is a nymph and streamer game, as they are not inclined to feed on the surface. You will want to beef up your tackle for this kind of fishing. When fishing from a boat, I prefer a 9ft 6wt or 7wt rod, and employ a sink tip when fishing streamers. When wade fishing, I have converted to using a two handed switch rod in an 11’4” 7wt. Long popular with steelhead fisherman, these 2 handed rods are quickly catching on with trout anglers. The longer rod allows for easy roll casting and mending, as well as the ability to use longer leaders and more weight. You can also employ various sink tips to swing streamers or wet flies, which is a very popular technique for Steelhead in the Pacific Northwest. While a two handed rod is by no means a necessity for fishing the Madison, it is a fast growing segment of the fly fishing market and one that I have found very useful. A 6wt rod between 9 and 10 feet will work just fine for wade fishing.

For flies, it is hard to beat a stonefly nymph trailed by a small mayfly when fishing under an indicator. Choose dark, drab patterns that mimic a Blue Winged Olive nymph. Stoneflys are effective in a wide range of colors so don’t be afraid to experiment. Egg flies can be effective as well, especially late in the season when some fish have already moved onto the redds and there are natural eggs in the system. Soft hackle flies, such as a soft hackle Pheasant Tail or soft hackle Hare’s Ear are also good bets and can be fished on a dead drift of swing. For streamers, I like large articulated patterns if I am going to be stripping them out of the boat. If I am going to swing streamers, I’ll choose a string leech or intruder style of fly.

montana-fly-fishing-slideshow-fish-12


Regardless of the technique chosen, the key to catching these migratory trout is identifying where they will be holding in the river. Since these fish are used to living in a lake environment, the slowest, deepest runs you can find will be a good place to start. These deep, slow buckets are an ideal place to nymph fish, especially at the heads of the run where the water begins to slow and deepen. The most important thing in nymph fishing is getting your flies down in front of the fish. If you are not bumping the bottom and getting snagged up occasionally, you are not fishing deep enough. You will want to find a comfortable balance between leader length and the amount of weight you are fishing. I typically use a 10ft leader when nymphing in the fall, whereas in the summer my nymphing leaders are only about 8ft. Swinging steamers is most effective in shallower runs or at the tails of pools, where the water picks up some speed and isn’t quite so deep. Steelhead fisherman will tell you that they look for water about the same speed as your average walking pace when they are looking to swing flies. If you are going to strip streamers out of a boat, concentrate on structure along the bank as well as ledges where the water transitions from shallow to deep.

Fishing the Madison Fall Run: Yellowstone National Park
The Yellowstone Park section of the Madison is the most popular area for fishing the fall run because it gets the highest number of fish that move into the river. Both Browns and Rainbows begin to push out of Hebgen Lake in late September and will be in the river until the YNP season closes on the first Sunday in November. Yellowstone Park does not allow float fishing, so this is strictly a wade fishery. Both nymphing under an indicator and streamers are popular and effective techniques here. The fall run is about evenly split between Browns and Rainbows, with the average fish going between 16” and 20”, with a fair number up to 22”.

The Madison in Yellowstone Park is a broad, shallow river so the most challenging aspect of this fishery is locating the runs that hold fish, which sometimes can be miles apart. The most popular area, by far, is a group of deep runs located just inside the Park boundary known as the Barnes Pools. This area is reached via a dirt road that is located just inside the parks west entrance at West Yellowstone, MT. The dirt track splits before reaching the river, providing access to the upper and lower pools. Immediately upstream is another nice area, known as Cable Car Run, followed by miles of shallow, unproductive water. The river begins to deepen again towards its headwaters at Madison Junction, and you can spot productive runs from the car as the road closely parallels the river here. There are some sneaky spots here and there that hold fish, and that is the reward for the adventurous angler who takes the time to learn the fishery.

Fishing the Madison Fall Run: Between the Lakes
In local angling parlance, “Between the Lakes” refers to the short section of the Madison River between Hebgen Dam and the head of Quake Lake. Quake was formed in August of 1959 when a huge earthquake triggered a massive landslide that blocked the Madison River, killing 28 people in the process. Dead trees break the surface to this day, an eerie reminder of the power of nature. Though it’s barely two miles long, this stretch holds an extraordinary number of fish due to the fertile tailwater environment and close proximity to the lake. However, the population is greatly skewed towards Rainbow Trout, so this section sees the fewest number of fall run Browns. Though much fewer in number, this section holds the biggest Browns in the river. In the spring of 2013, a dead Brown that measured 38” and weighed 35lbs was found in the area and several fish over 30” have been caught in the last few years. While your odds of catching a fish this size are astronomically low, it is a good feeling knowing you are fishing water with such potential. Realistically, you can expect good numbers of Rainbows in the 14”-17” class, with Browns up to 22”.

madison-river-montana-34


Between the Lakes is a swift, boulder strewn run that is best suited to nymph fishing. In addition to the flies discussed above, classic tailwater patterns like a Ray Charles or Scud are worth a try in this section. While this water doesn’t look anything like the Missouri or Bighorn, the same types of fly patterns will work. The key water type to look for here is the slack water on the backsides of current obstructions such as rocks or islands. While there are a few nice deep holes, don’t get stuck on the depth of the water too much. It such a swift section of river, finding water that is the right speed becomes paramount, even though migratory fish typically gravitate towards slower, deeper water. This entire section of river is basically roadside, so it is quite easy to scope out and pick a good spot. This section of river is open year round, so it is a good option in November after Yellowstone Park closes. The run here starts a bit later than the other two sections as well.

Fishing The Madison Fall Run: Varney Bridge to Ennis Lake
If you are interested in fishing out of a drift boat, then the section of river from Varney Bridge down to the town of Ennis is where you want to be. From town down to Ennis Lake, the river is restricted to wade fishing only. Access here is tough as the river is in a bit of a willow jungle, so the preferred strategy is to use a boat to move from hole to hole, which is allowed as long as you exit the boat before you start fishing. Fish will start pushing into this section in mid-late September, and by mid-October will be dispersed throughout the river quite a ways upstream. The number of fish here is somewhere between Yellowstone Park (the most) and Between the Lakes (the least). Pressure is less here as well, given the necessity of a boat to reach much of the fishing.

When float fishing from Varney to Ennis, I prefer to strip large streamers with a sinking line. The river twists and turns through the willows here at a pretty good clip, so the rapid fire nature of streamer fishing suits it quite nicely. You can certainly nymph fish here, but even so I like to choose a small streamer as my point fly even though I will be dead drifting it under the indicator. The fast current will impart action on the fly and it makes having a perfect dead drift less important. The river braids quite extensively here, so a skilled oarsmen with local knowledge is important, as some channels contain logjams, dams, and other obstructions.

I like to nymph fish down below Ennis, as again this section is restricted to wade fishing only. This section, known locally as “The Channels”, has even more islands and side channels than the Varney to Ennis stretch. The river is typically shallow here, with the deep runs getting most of the attention. There are plenty of sneaky spots to be found. As such, it takes a long time to learn this section well. Another interesting aspect of floating The Channels is that the boat ramp you use to take out is actually on Ennis Lake, requiring you to row almost a mile across the lake. It’s wise to check a wind forecast before committing. If you want to wade fish, the best access is the Valley Garden Fishing Access Site, which is just downstream from town. It’s kind of a jungle in there, but you can hike both upstream and down.

Brian McGeehan is a Pennsylvania native and has been guiding Western rivers in Montana, Wyoming and Colorado for 20 seasons. He is a licensed Montana outfitter and owner of Montana Angler Fly Fishing based in Bozeman, MT.
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Published by Swattie [Swattie87] on 08/28/2018 (1730 reads)

By Matt Yancheff ("Swattie87"- Images Courtesy Author)

I often see a common question come up early in the learning curve for anglers looking to get into small stream, wild trout angling: How do I find good streams to fish? It can be an intimidating first hurdle to overcome, but once over it, the way is open to a very rewarding angling experience. It requires some homework, often good for a cold evening in the dead of winter with your beverage of choice. You’ll swing and miss sometimes, but the home runs you hit will be well worth the strikeouts.

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Below is the method that I’ve developed and relied on, and that has led me to many good small stream days in the woods of Pennsylvania:

1. Locate via some simple Googling, the following three lists published, and regularly updated by the PFBC: 1) Natural Reproduction List. 2) Class A Wild Trout List. 3) Wilderness Trout Streams List. They contain different information, and there is some overlap between them, but it is all useful. They all indicate the county the stream is in, so you can use that to begin to narrow things down.

2. (Optional, but not necessary. Good for a beginner with this method, but the more successful you get, you’ll find you’ll rely on these less.) Purchase a couple of PA stream guide books. Dwight Landis’ is very good, and is my personal favorite, but there’s several other good options out there as well. Again, some simple Googling will head you in the right direction if you wish to purchase these. They all run about $20-$30.

3. Review the above-mentioned lists and books and locate some streams in a given area that you think interest you. Cross reference those stream’s locations with a good mapping software. Google Maps works very well for this, and of course, is free. Are the streams on publicly owned land? If not, who owns the land? What are the potential access points? Of course, it goes without saying, always be respectful of private and posted land. Toggle between topographic and satellite views. Is the stream in a remote forested area, or is it running through folks’ back yards? How big does the stream look? How steep/rough does the terrain look? State and National Forest maps are available online for more information. Kudos as well to the Pa. Game Commission as they have recently updated and published detailed maps online of every single State Game Lands tract in PA. They’re very useful for helping confirm access and parking locations for streams on SGL.

4. After your research in Steps 1-3, pick three or four potential streams in an area and head out for a day to check them out. This way you have a couple back up plans if you get to a stream and find unforeseen access problems, or another angler already there. Or if a stream just turns out to be a dud, which happens sometimes.

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5. Once you’ve fished a few of these streams and located a couple good ones, start to think about what they have in common. Take note of what you saw on the maps, and what the stream turned out to actually look like when you got there. Was it what you expected? How big was it? What was its gradient? Did it have lots plunge pools, or was it more riffles and runs? What kind of water fished best? Then look for those similar characteristics in other areas using the lists, books, and maps. You’ll find you’ll quickly become pretty good at it. Before long, you’ll start working backwards – looking at the maps first for good potential spots based on what you’ve learned, then cross referencing with the lists and books….This is when you know you’ve figured it out.

As long as you’re willing to make a bit of a drive sometimes, do a bit of homework first, and be willing to strike out once in a while, this will work, if you try it. We are very fortunate to live in a state with the amount of small, forested wild trout water Pennsylvania has. Get out there and enjoy it!
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 08/19/2018 (31794 reads)
fall fly fishing


Fall fly fishing in the the region offers plenty of great opportunities. The cooler weather offers anglers some solitude of fly fishing while many are caught up with other fall activities. A little bit of preparation can be a rewarding opportunity for those who can make the time.

Reproduction plays an important part of the trout lifecycle during the fall months for both brook and brown trout. Brook trout, native to the US, usually begin to spawn during late September through October. Brown trout typically start spawning in October through late November. I have seen this go later too.

During the spawn coloring on the trout will intensify especially in the males. Females will often create gravel beds for the fertilized eggs called redds. It very important to be careful of these sections on streams when you see redds and not to kick them up when walking. Probably best even to leave trout overtop redds alone and give them a chance to protect the eggs.

Often the water in the fall is low and gin clear. Spotting trout on a redd is pretty easy to see as in the photo to the left. The trout will sit over top of a small group of rocks that they have knocked around and they often will have a little more cleaned up look as if someone kicked up the spot. Take a little time before marching into the stream to check on the conditions. Good advice for any day.fall fly fishing

As the trout begin to change so does the entomology or insect life in the stream. Activity will be different from region to region, stream size, earlier summer water temperatures, and geology. The fall provides a more limited selection of insects and often anglers enjoy bringing a more modest selection of flies and imitations. Some of the more popular collections include: Slate Drakes, BWO, Caddis, midges and terrestrials. Typical nymphs and streamers are very successful smart choice as well.

I like Dave Weavers suggestions for even looking for rainbows behind the redds feeding on eggs. Some small simple egg patterns can produce some pretty good results for these rainbows. The most common color for natural trout eggs are cream, pale orange and pink.

The full and fast spring streams can take a new characteristic once September arrives. Low clear water can create a challenge for some anglers, but stealth and patience can provide many rewards.

With summer holder over trout and newly stocked trout in many streams there should be ample opportunity for solitude and fish in autumn. Check out the PaFlyFish forums and stream reports to learn more about what is happening in your area.






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