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Brand new FFer near Harrisburg... Discouraged!

Joined:
2011/5/6 17:55
From Harrisburg
Posts: 464
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Hey all, I just wanted to say that I've looked over a few topics in this forum and it seems like a pretty nice, tight-knit group. Wonderful to see!


I am a 26 year old water nut, and I have always enjoyed fishing (even if I have not always been good at it). I never learned to fish for trout, but I did have bass and bluegill growing up.

Anyhow, I recently decided to take the plunge and try fly fishing. I took a 2 day class at Dusty Wissmath's Fly School and got most of the basics down. My casting is still pretty raw, but I can get the flies to go near where I intend.


Long-story-short, I have spent hundreds of dollars recently to try and become successful at this hobby. I do not have a full-time job, so money has been a tough issue, but I have spent a fair share to try and get situated. I got waders, a vest, the usual fixings (zinger, hemostats, etc.), a 9 foot rod, and a handful of flies.



Since I do not have anyone else in my close family who fishes, I have had to learn all of this stuff on my own. That includes not only what materials I need, but how to use them and where to actually find fish! After doing as much research as I could, I tried to fish Stony Creek last week. It was difficult to find any comfortable room there with public access (I don't know my way around), so I went to Clark's Creek instead.

The area was so beautiful! I took lots of pictures.. but did not catch any fish. I traveled to the fly-fishing-only zone to try and hone my craft alone. I used a variety of dry flies to try and coax some action (I still don't know how to tell one fly from the next, beyond perhaps a sulfur or terrestrial), but no dice. I tried tying a copper john to the dry fly, but still no luck. Fish were eating something around me (very small flies, I could not tell what kind).

The next day I tried for 6 hours at different locations to try my luck. The water was gin clear, but I could not get anything. I tried both Adams and Sulfur flies, and even visible fish paid no attention. I did end up getting two bites at a black ant I used, but none were hooked, and neither fish bit again.




So here I am after weeks of reading, tying, buying, and fishing, and still not even a 5 inch trout to show for it.
I wish I had someone who could tell me exactly what is going wrong, or at the very least what I should be doing correctly! I can't find any reliable stream reports that are up to date on local streams, so I have no idea what flies to use or when to use them. Does anyone here have any practical advice for me?

Posted on: 2011/5/7 13:44


Re: Brand new FFer near Harrisburg... Discouraged!

Joined:
2011/5/6 17:55
From Harrisburg
Posts: 464
Offline
Oh, and to add insult to injury- Yesterday I learned that those cheap white fly holders that come with the vest aren't to be trusted. I purchased some 30 dollars worth of flies from Gander Mountain (and they were very poor quality at 2 bucks a pop, to boot), and by the end of the day there were maybe 4 or 5 flies still hanging on of the 14 I bought.


On that note, what flies should I still purchase?


Posted on: 2011/5/7 13:47


Re: Brand new FFer near Harrisburg... Discouraged!

Joined:
2009/10/15 13:45
From Eastern PA
Posts: 10293
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Quote:

Gorosaurus wrote:
Hey all, I just wanted to say that I've looked over a few topics in this forum and it seems like a pretty nice, tight-knit group. Wonderful to see!


Welcome to the forum.

Instead of looking over a few topics I would suggest really setting down and plowing through the posts in the beginners forum, as you will find that these exact frustrations and questions have been answered time and time again, even on the first couple pages of the beginners forum. Gfen has a great post on "what flies" buried in here somewhere. You'll find that presentation, stealth and approach are likely your problems versus fly selection.

I am sure some local guys will step up and offer to fish with ya. They usually do. That's the best way to learn. That and time on the water.

If you have specific questions feel free to blast away.

Posted on: 2011/5/7 14:29


Re: Brand new FFer near Harrisburg... Discouraged!

Joined:
2010/9/1 13:55
From State College PA
Posts: 497
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visit a local shop and let them know were you will be fishing. They can hook you up.

Hang in there and if possible find someone to take you out.

Posted on: 2011/5/7 15:04


Re: Brand new FFer near Harrisburg... Discouraged!

Joined:
2010/5/13 23:48
From Altoona
Posts: 331
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I felt exactly the way that you did one year ago (and kinda still do sometimes!)

When i first started out, I had no idea what flies to use, and when I got to a stream, I just meaninglessly changed flies and flailed around hoping to catch something. It took me a couple weeks, but I finally caught my first noteworthy (above 8 inches) trout on a fly.

I think what you need to do is keep fishing the same stream that is known to hold trout until you can catch something. Work each spot that you believe to hold trout, and remember the spots that you do catch trout on. That way, you can hone your skills once you've fished the stream enough. I always have trouble catching fish on new streams.

For flies, my suggestion is to find a hatch chart or search around this site for bugs, and buy a few on www.theflystop.com. They're cheap and they work.

Keep at it! There will always be frustrations with fishing, but once you get to know what you're doing, it gets less and less frustrating!

Posted on: 2011/5/7 16:28


Re: Brand new FFer near Harrisburg... Discouraged!

Joined:
2008/6/8 19:45
From Pittsburgh
Posts: 1476
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Hey Goro. Don't get discouraged. I think that when I first started out (not that long ago) I was so concerned about casting mechanics and fly selection that I didn't realize my biggest deficiency was reading and learning water.

Learning to read water was, for me, the aspect that changed my approach the most. once you find fish, then you can catch them, and then your confidence grows. once you get some confidence its a whole different ballgame.

casting will come with practice, either on the lawn or on the stream. fortunately for me trout don't give out style points.

most of all, be patient and enjoy the learning process.

Posted on: 2011/5/7 16:57


Re: Brand new FFer near Harrisburg... Discouraged!

Joined:
2011/2/16 16:33
From Pittsburgh
Posts: 81
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Goro,

I pretty much had to teach myself to fly fish as well. A lot of the information I had came from books and the internet and it took a good bit before I could catch a trout.

The only thing I can think to add to the advice you have been given would be don't be afraid to talk to people on the stream either (obviously not while they are fishing). Some of best information I have ever gotten was advice from people fishing the same stream under the same conditions I am. If you get lucky you will run into some one in the parking area or on the bank that will point you in the right direction.

Hang in there, the more frustrating it gets the sweeter it will be when it all comes together.

John

Posted on: 2011/5/7 19:57
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John

"No man ever steps into the same river twice" -Heraclitus


Re: Brand new FFer near Harrisburg... Discouraged!

Joined:
2009/8/19 15:45
From Greensburg, Pa
Posts: 70
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I am in the same boat as you. I did not have someone to show me when I grew up. All I can say is just keep it up. Sometime we will pick it up.

Posted on: 2011/5/7 22:23
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Re: Brand new FFer near Harrisburg... Discouraged!

Joined:
2011/3/6 0:34
From Dauphin
Posts: 648
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I live in Dauphin and fish the fly fish only all the time. I have a couple of good friends who fish with me. I wouldnt even remotely say I was an expert but I do pretty good. Im also 25 so around the same age. If you would like to meet up sometime let me know I'm always stream side. If you go to the parking lot across from the gun range and walk down I'd say about a hundred yards it's like an adult kid section you should have luck there. Whenever I feel down, I just go there and catch a few.

Posted on: 2011/5/7 23:56
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Re: Brand new FFer near Harrisburg... Discouraged!

Joined:
2011/5/6 17:55
From Harrisburg
Posts: 464
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Thank you all very much for the advice! It makes me feel much easier knowing that most of the people replying here have been in nearly the exact same boat.

I can't tell if I need more work with reading the water, but I think I do pretty good at locating believable hiding spots. Juggling depth and obstacles, though, needs work. Haha, I'm of the rookie mindset that if a branch is snagging my flies, I will climb up the tree, break it down, and usually find another 5 or so flies others have lost.

Today I hit the Quitty in Lebanon, as I heard that there were lots of good fish there the last few days. I arrived at about 6pm and fished until dark. I might have gotten one bite, but the day was again a wash. I started out with a wooly bugger into the crest and below the small dam. When that didn't work, I moved on to an ant pattern. Finally I used a brown caddis and dry fly combo, but still no action. I used a variation of these as I moved up the river, but I suppose I couldn't find what they wanted. I did notice that there was no major hatch to aim for, and what bugs were flying had begun to fly by the time I arrived.

Tomorrow I hope to try my luck at Middletown Reservoir and see if recently stocked AND nonmoving water will help me get my first crack in.


Thank you all for the advice! I know you are very right in saying that I should stick with a stream and learn it well. I intend to do that with Clark's Creek these next few weeks (and hopefully the sulphur hatch will help, if there is one there).


IdratherbePhishing - Thank you for the specific advice! I'm not sure where the gun range is (that whole place sounds like one at times!), but a spot like that would really brighten a damp day. Maybe we could meet up later this summer for a few casts if I don't bump into you anyhow.

Kierkan - It's amazing, I was in a bit of a foul mood after being skunked the third time in a row, but each time I come home and start reading more and more on the Internet and feel re-energized about the entire thing. I can't wait to go out again! I own Trout streams of PA by Dwight Landis. Any others that would help?

Gochs - I hope it doesn't take me weeks as well, but if you could endure it, I suppose I might as well. I bought a pretty big load of flies today which broke the bank, but from what I read each one of these patterns should come in handy eventually: http://www.discountflies.com/mm5/merc ... de=DF&Product_Code=C-TEAS



The only local fly shops I know of are located in Carlisle along the Yellow Breeches. I suppose I should make my way over there sometime. Bass Pro Shops is much closer, but the staff don't give me the impression that they can help much.


Posted on: 2011/5/8 4:34


Re: Brand new FFer near Harrisburg... Discouraged!

Joined:
2010/9/1 13:55
From State College PA
Posts: 497
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Goro,
Turkey is spot on. If I had more time to write a lengthy reply yesterday I would have wrote the same thing. There is far too much emphasis on casting IMO. It's great that a recent beginner penned that advice. It's also great the beginners are chiming in with words of encouragement. It really helps. I wish when I was learning 28 years ago I had these types of resources.

People get so hung up casting and fly selection they ignore the more important items. Sure, you have to get the fly to the right location, but putting it in a tea cup from 30 yards means nothing if fish aren't there or you cant effectively manage the drift.
The most important parts of FF is before the cast and after the line hits the water.

Posted on: 2011/5/8 8:36


Re: Brand new FFer near Harrisburg... Discouraged!

Joined:
2011/2/16 16:33
From Pittsburgh
Posts: 81
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Quote:


Kierkan - It's amazing, I was in a bit of a foul mood after being skunked the third time in a row, but each time I come home and start reading more and more on the Internet and feel re-energized about the entire thing. I can't wait to go out again! I own Trout streams of PA by Dwight Landis. Any others that would help?

The only local fly shops I know of are located in Carlisle along the Yellow Breeches. I suppose I should make my way over there sometime. Bass Pro Shops is much closer, but the staff don't give me the impression that they can help much.



Goro,

The first book I ever read on fly fishing was "The Orvis Fly Fishing Guide" by Tom Rosenbauer. It is full of very basic ideas and concepts and was a great help to get me going. I've heard the L.L. Bean book is good as well but have never read it. "The Pocket guide to Pennsylvania Hatches" by Meck and Weamer is a good one also. Another one that helped me was "Trout Stream-Fishing Strategies".
This book was part of a group that came from a North American Fishing Club and I got at a yard sale. It has a lot of non fly fishing stuff in it but the sections on how to drift and read water are quite good. This is by no meas the end all be all guide of books, they are just the ones that come to mind as having helped me get started.

I would definitely try to visit those fly shops. If they are anything the like my local one the information you can get is invaluable (plus I'm a support your local fly shop guy).

Also (geeze, I'm long winded this morning) when you get to a good spot don't be afraid to sit there for a few minutes and just watch the water. You can learn a lot about what is happening in and on the water if you just take a few minutes to look at the water instead of just immediately throwing flies.

For the record I will not tell you how long I went without a catch (I don't want to discourage you even more) but 3 days isn't to bad.

John

P.S. Check your Inbox

Posted on: 2011/5/8 10:44


Re: Brand new FFer near Harrisburg... Discouraged!

Joined:
2006/9/10 20:44
From Room 109
Posts: 3140
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Are you seeing fish? Are you using a decent pair of sunglasses? Try slowing down your approach. Find a piece of water that looks good to you and relax. Sit on the bank for a few min and observe. Spot the fish before you start fishing. It takes a little practice but will improve your game 10 fold. I have been fishing my local DHALO quite a bit this year and I see guys everytime I go out that just walk right into the crick and start fishing. The thing is that the just walked in over a bunch of fish.

Trying slowing everything down a bit.

Posted on: 2011/5/8 13:44
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Re: Brand new FFer near Harrisburg... Discouraged!

Joined:
2007/4/8 20:43
From SEPA
Posts: 11425
Online
Quote:

jdaddy wrote:
Gfen has a great post on "what flies" buried in here somewhere.


Its not a sticky, but I've found it posted enough I just made blog so I could poop it out on demand.



Posted on: 2011/5/8 14:35
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April 8, 2007 - December 4, 2011.
And why not?


Re: Brand new FFer near Harrisburg... Discouraged!

Joined:
2011/3/6 0:34
From Dauphin
Posts: 648
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Well if your ever see a purple saturn along clarks thats me. I'll mostly likely ahve a red phillies hat on. Don't be afraid to join in. I agree with its not so much about the casting. Continue to read on here there is alot of super smart anglers on here. This place has stepped my game up tremendously. And if you have questions do not hesitate to ask.

Posted on: 2011/5/8 15:06
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Kick in the door wave-in the 44!!



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