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Pennsylvania Fly Fishing Blog
Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 04/03/2018 (6829 reads)
One of the first signs of spring is the emergence of the little black stonefly in many streams in the East. A variety of stoneflies (Order Plecoptera) in different sizes and colors follow suit throughout the season. Stoneflies are often overlooked by many Eastern anglers as mayflies and caddis are much more prolific. They rarely show up in any great numbers and their timing is not very predictable. Still, it is an important insect to understand for both nymphing and dry fly fishing.

StoneflyIn the Western states stoneflies are held in high esteem as anglers anxiously anticipate them for their large numbers and size (Video). Generally, stoneflies are the largest of all insects that live in the water.

Like many insects, stoneflies have a successful lifecycle that dates back over 250 million years to the Permian Period and not much about them have changed.

Stoneflies have the characteristic six legs of insects, but four wings that are folded flat on top of the abdomen. Coloration is black, brown, yellow and tan. Despite 200 million years of evolution they are considered awkward fliers.

Some general lifecycle traits of all species start with the females depositing hundreds of tiny eggs over a stream that quickly find their way to the bottom among the rocks. Nymphs then grown and molt 12-36 time before leaving the water. Some species can require up to three years before they mature into adults. As nymphs they can be found under rocks feeding on algae, mosses and even other aquatic invertebrates.

While Mayflies and caddis flies emerge out of the water, most stoneflies hatch from the shore line. Each species varies, but stoneflies will swim to the banks and crawl out of the water onto rocks or plants to molt into winged adult insects. Stoneflies are regarded as more nocturnal and you will more likely see the molted shucks and not see the actual emergence. Another difference between Mayflies and Stoneflies is that many species will have mouths and can feed during the weeks they live as adults before finally mating and dying.

Seeing active stoneflies and shucks is a good sign to start fishing with a stonefly nymph or a stimulator dry fly.

To learn and discuss more about mayflies on the site head over to the Hatch and Entomology Forum. Beginners can follow along and learn more in the Beginners Forum.

A great online site to follow and get deep into the latin is Troutnut and his Aquatic Insects of our Trout Streams. A must read!! BugGuide has more details as well.





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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 03/10/2018 (11563 reads)
Streamers and Wooley Buggers
One of the great things about Paflyfish is the tremendous knowledge and sharing that is done especially in the forums. Tom "afishinado" Ciannilli, like many, regularly contributes to answering questions in the Beginners Forums. As the early trout season is about to get started he offered some great advice on A Dozen Top Flies. A very subjective topic, but for anglers just getting started, Tom's picks are are spot on.

Tom's selection is broken into six sinking flies for subsurface fishing and six surface dry flies. For some flies a range of sizes are important to have your fly box. The selection and success of fly and size will always depend on stream and conditions. I would suggest having more than about three of each of these to get started. Nothing worse than having a successful day with a fly and then not to have a backup if you loose it.

For any fly fishing angler starting to fill out their fly boxes these 12 types of flies will get you started on most any water for several months. You can join along with further questions in Tom's thread here in the forum.

A Dozen Top Flies by Tom "afishinado" Ciannilli
(notice I didn't say the dozen top flies...but if I had to select 12 flies, these would be in my box)

Sinking Subsurface Flies:

Wooly Bugger – Size 8 in dark olive w/ a black tail is my go-to. Having some black or white ones and a few a little smaller or bigger would be ideal. Fish anytime / anywhere – drift and/or strip.
Hares Ear Nymph – size 10 – 16 w/ and w/o beads. Natural is my favorite, but a few in olive or black would round it out. Fish anytime / anywhere – dead drift
Pheasant Tail Nymph – Size 12 – 16 w/ and w/o beads. Fish anytime / anywhere – dead drift
Green Weenie – Size 12. Fish anytime / anywhere – dead drift
San Juan Worm – Size 12. Fish anytime / anywhere – dead drift
Soft Hackle – Size 12 – 16. Pheasant tail, Partridge and Orange, Partridge and yellow, peacock to name a few popular ones. Dead drift, swing, hang or strip. All will catch fish.


Floating flies:

Blue Wing Olive (BWO)– Size 14 – 18 (early and late season mayfly hatches)
Adams – Size 10 – 18 (for dark mayflies)
Sulphur – Size 10 – 18 (mid-season light-colored mayfly hatches)
Beetle and/or Ant – Size 14 – 18 (Spring - late summer)
Griffiths Gnat - Size 18 - 22 ( For midges - very small insects - all year round)
Elk Hair Caddis – Size 10 – 18 in Tan, Black and Green for caddis hatches and/or stonefly hatches all season.

Note:
Mayflies have an upright wing and look like sailboats on the water.
Caddis have wings shaped like a tent over their body.
Stoneflies have wings that fold flat over their bodies.






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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 02/28/2018 (8495 reads)
Fly fishing anglers can pursue many types of freshwater fish in the region including bass, carp and sunfish. Undoubtedly, fly fishing for trout is by far the most popular. Millions of brook trout, brown trout and rainbow trout are stocked in the Northeast every year. Aside from state and local club stocking efforts, all three species can be found naturally reproducing with varying degrees of success as well.

Trout flourish in waters that sustain fertile, cooler conditions year-round. Pollution has had an obvious negative impact on the success of wild trout populations. Many streams with high acidity or low levels of pH in mining regions have had a difficult time sustaining trout populations. Brook trout especially are the most tolerant of these conditions however their presence was greatly diminished during the twentieth century by deforestation and subsequent warmer water temperatures. Pollution spills that wiped out the insect life have been equally as devastating to trout populations. With improved conservation efforts and time, wild trout are making a strong comeback.

Better water conditions provide improved fertility in a stream so that young trout can feed on plankton, small crustaceans and insects. Mature trout will eat insects, fish, salamanders, crustaceans and even small mammals. Fly fishing for trout requires a keen knowledge of habitat, trout food and the fish. There are differences on how to fly fish for wild vs stocked trout.

Let's take a look at some of the general characteristics you’ll find with the three most common trout found in the northeast region for fly fishing.


Brook Trout - Salvelinus fontinalis
Brook Trout photo by 3wt7X

Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis)
Brook Trout are the only stream trout native to the region. Generally brook trout are found from northern Georgia along the Appalachian Mountains and then north into Maine. They are also found in the Great Lakes–Saint Lawrence system over to Hudson Bay region. During the 19th century brook trout were first introduced throughout the western US. They are the official state fish for New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Michigan, New Hampshire, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.

A typical wild brook trout can be 6"-18" inches dependent on habitat, nutrition and age. They are typically the smaller of the three commonly found trout. Brook trout spawn during the fall starting in late September thru November. Of the annual stocking in Pennsylvania by the PFBC less than 20% of the annual stocked trout are brookies. Fly fishing for wild brook trout in small mountainous streams is it’s own pursuit by many.

Habitat: Brook trout generally live in small to moderate-sized streams, lakes, and ponds. They thrive in cool temps (34-72 degrees), clean and well-oxygenated water conditions.

Identification: body coloring is generally dark brown-green, the upper body and top have a wavy or a marbling pattern called vermiculation that extends onto the dorsal fin, the sides and belly shade is lighter, body is marked with light colored or yellow spots with smaller red spots surrounded by a blue halo and white leading edge on pelvic and anal fins.


Brown Trout - Salmo trutta
Brown Trout photo by 3wt7X

Brown Trout (Salmo trutta)
Brown trout are not a native species to the United States and they were introduced from Europe during the 19th century. They have become very successful across the country in many streams and lakes. Wild brown trout are typically larger than the native brook trout and are commonly found 12"-18". Larger brown trout can be found up to 30 inches and some can live well past 15 years. In Pennsylvania, about 1/3 of all streams stocking by the PFBC is with brown trout.

Habitat: Brown trout can be found in a wider range of water conditions. They prefer water temps from 50-60 degrees but can sustain themselves into the lower 70's. They are typically a little less tolerant of low pH conditions as compared to native brook trout.

Identification: body color is surprisingly not brown in color with black and often red spots on the sides, the lower belly section is yellowish, the tail fin typically has no spots.


Rainbow Trout - Oncorhynchus mykiss
Rainbow Trout photo by 3wt7X

Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)
Rainbow Trout are native to the Pacific coast of California to Alaska. Pennsylvania and other east coast states introduced rainbows during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The average size range for rainbow trout is 10"-14" inches, with some individuals reach 20+ inches. Opposite of brown and brook trout, wild rainbow trout spawn in the spring time. There are only a few naturally reproducing populations of rainbow trout on the east coast, but the species does very well in hatcheries and is the predominate species used in stream stocking. In Pennsylvania over 50% of the stocked trout are rainbows.

Habitat: Rainbows, much like brown trout, are a little less tolerant of low ph conditions. It is even suggested they can tolerate temps up to 75 degrees.

Identification: dark-greenish to silver back, red-pink stripe along lateral line, blackish spots on sides, head, dorsal fin and tail

Beginners can follow along and learn more in the Beginners Forum.

Additional Online Resources
http://www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/fishfacts/
http://www.fish.state.pa.us/pafish/fishhtms/chap15trout.htm
http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7016.html
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Published by Dave Weaver [Dave_W] on 01/28/2018 (807 reads)
You are invited to attend and participate in the 2018 PAFF Eastern PA Fly Tying Jamboree, to be held on Saturday, February 17, from 10 AM to 5 PM.

This event is being hosted by Michael Lohman GenCon and Rich Mooney, Mooney4. Either of us will answer any questions regarding the event.

This event will be held at the Lehigh Gap Nature Center, in Slatington, PA. Directions can be found here: http://lgnc.org/

Everyone is invited to attend and watch the demonstrations, get tips from the the tyers, and have a great time. We particularly encourage beginner tyers to attend, and we'll have beginner instruction set up at a table. Details to follow.

_CDK2868


As always, we need to recruit a team of volunteer tyers of all skill levels to participate and we ask that you register your willingness to give a demonstration by signing up in this thread. Each tyer will be given 15-20 minutes to tie and explain their chosen demo fly. Tyers will tie one at a time, proceeding around the room. Please choose a pattern that fits in to one of the following categories, and list it in your signup post. Duplicates are OK, but try to pick a pattern that hasn't already been chosen.

Categories:

- Catskill style dries
- parachute style dries
- comparadun and hairwing style dries
- emergers
- imitative nymphs
- attractor nymphs
- terrestrials
- wet flies
- streamers
- "other" flies

Tying on a large hook (e.g. #12) makes it much easier for the audience to see what you are doing. It really helps if you practice your "demo" beforehand, especially to keep within the time limit. Having all materials laid out beforehand is also good. We should be able to fit about 30 tyers into the rotation. If we have extra time, that time will be used for Q & A sessions following each demo. We request that the tyers explain techniques as they go, rather than just tying the fly, and explaining afterwards. This can easily make a 5 minute tie into a 15 minute tie, so be prepared.

Things to bring:

All Tools and materials to tie your chosen demo fly. A tying lamp and any extension cords you need - there's an ample number of outlets on the walls behind the tying tables.

Bring any food or drinks you'd like to, but save room for dinner! We'll provide spring water on ice.

It's a good idea to get there and set up your tying gear before 10AM. We'll have access to the hall at the LGNC at 9AM, so please be ready to start tying at 10AM.

We'll also be holding a raffle at 5 PM of donated tying materials and flyfishing gear. Any donations to this raffle are welcome, and 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the Lehigh Gap Nature Center, as a "thank you" for allowing us to use their beautiful facility for this event.

We'll be heading over to Riverwalck's Saloon after the event for drinks and dinner. Directions to Riverwalck's Saloon can be found here:

http://riverwalcksaloon.com/

Let the hostess know you are with Paflyfish, and she'll take you to our tables.

Looking forward to a fun and educational day, meeting new PAFF members, and seeing old friends and fishing buddies!

Please sign up in the forum and ask any questions here.
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 01/21/2018 (8187 reads)
by Guest: George Daniel

There are no absolutes in fly fishing and that’s why I refer to this approach as a theory. While this “theory” produces good results, there will be times you will have to adjust your way of thinking as there are no absolutes in fly fishing. What I’m referring to is trying to get inside the mind of a wintertime feeding trout. Think about it, wintertime is a period when these cold blooded critter’s feeding habits slow down as water temperatures drop. In many river systems, trout begin to drop back into the slower moving bodies of water in an effort to expend less energy. Although their metabolisms may slow down, feeding is still on their mind and the wintertime can be the right time for the angler to venture out to the river. Often the most popular sections are void of anglers and I’ve had several days where the action would rival a May sulphur hatch. A wintertime feeding trout may not always mirror its springtime foraging behavior, but trout still need to eat and a larger presentation may be the ticket. Sometimes all trout need is a little encouragement so I often call upon larger patterns to create that desire.

winter troutBy larger, I’m referring to nymph patterns as large as #4 and small as a #10. Yes that big-even on spring and limestone streams. Think about this, trout feel sluggish and less motivated to continuously chase small food items down during these cold winter months. Instead, it seems logical that trout would be willing to spend less energy chasing down larger food items. Move less and obtain more calories! Large stonefly, caddis, egg and worm patterns are my usual wintertime suspects. Nymphing is normally my first choice as I can slowly present the flies. Streamer tactics also work well but only when trout are feeling up to the chase. The idea is to present a pattern that can fulfill a trout’s hunger with only one energy surge. In many ways, this relates to human wintertime eating behaviors.

During the warmer months I find myself constantly snacking throughout the day-mostly due to my high level of physical activity (Fishing, playing with my kids, my daily workout regiment and so on). However, I snack far less during the colder winter months as I expend less physical energy (less daylight=less playtime). This theory also plays out well for me when targeting trout during extreme cold weather conditions. Trout may indeed feed less during the winter but I believe they become more opportunistic foragers. Many of the live bait fishers I stay in contact with have their greatest results fishing larger baits (sculpins, night crawlers, and live crayfish) in the slower moving waters during the winter months.

The moral of the story is you still need to be dynamic-change when necessary but don’t be afraid to present larger than average patterns during the wintertime. I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the results.


George DanielsGeorge Daniel has served as assistant manager at TCO Fly Shop, in State College, PA. He travels the country conducting fly-fishing clinics for various groups and organizations. George has been associated with Fly Fishing Team USA. Some of his accomplishments include being a two time national fly fishing champion, won The Fly Fishing Masters, and ranked as high as fifth in the World along with other competitive achievements. George is author of two books about nymph and streamer fishing. He lives near Lamar, Pennsylvania. If you want to keep up with George in the Internet you can follow him on his Facebook page here.









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