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Northeastern PA: What time of year is fly fishing "over" ?

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2010/3/29 10:39
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Newbie question here...

I've been looking at hatch charts in NEPA and it looks all the hatches start in April and end in September. Can you actually catch fish from October to May? It seems like a long time for them to go without food.

If so, what sort of flies should you use? Thanks!

Posted on: 2010/8/14 7:12


Re: Northeastern PA: What time of year is fly fishing "over" ?
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Quote:

Philosofish wrote:
Newbie question here...

I've been looking at hatch charts in NEPA and it looks all the hatches start in April and end in September. Can you actually catch fish from October to May? It seems like a long time for them to go without food.

If so, what sort of flies should you use? Thanks!



Philosofish,

No need to worry, you can catch fish (I assume you are talking trout) anytime of year. In the fall, there are not a lot of hatching insects. Usually there will be some caddis on the water, maybe some terrestrials, possibly BWOs or ISOs.

Remember there are always nymphs (immature insects) in the water as well as minnows, crayfish, etc. Some stoneflies take more than a year to mature, so they are always present and are a little larger in size than many other immature insects.

Use that lack of hatches to your advantage. Since there's no or few hatches the fish generally will hit anything that looks (and acts - presentation!) like food. Generic type flies like Hares Ears, Pheasant tails, Prince Nymphs, etc. usually take fish. If the weather hasn't been too cold with several hard frosts, ants and beetles will still be present. Also you can never go wrong with fishing a wooly bugger.

I find many beginners stress a lot about what fly to use, and if they only had the "right" fly, they would catch fish. If you want to stress, than stress about your presentation and not the fly pattern. A good presentation, such as getting a drag-free drift with a dry fly or nymph is the most important. If you fly looks AND acts like food, the trout will hit.

Good luck!

Posted on: 2010/8/14 7:52


Re: Northeastern PA: What time of year is fly fishing "over" ?
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What Afishinado said.
You can trout fish year round in PA - just be aware of seasons and bag limits as they do change on certain streams throughout the year. Most insect hatches, which produce the "classic" fly fishing scenarios of rising trout, ARE mainly confined to the months you mention. Nevertheless, there are trout that rise to some surface insects all year. And, not all bugs that trout sip from the surface actually "hatch" from the stream. Many of the rising trout you see in summer and fall are eating bugs that don't originate in the stream but fall in accidentally. These are known as "terrestrials" and include predictable bugs like ants, grasshoppers, bees, beetles, etc.
Most trout feeding occurs underwater and sub surface methods, such as nymph fishing or streamer fishing typically catch more fish outside of the prime hatch months. This is esp true during the winter months.

Posted on: 2010/8/14 9:14


Re: Northeastern PA: What time of year is fly fishing "over" ?

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The spring fed "limestone" streams have moderate water temps, so they are not as hot in the summer, and not as cold in the winter.

Also, brook trout will feed in colder water than brown trout.

You can sometimes catch fish when there is no visible hatch.

Some of the places I catch the most fish are infertile/acidic streams with brook trout (these may have tea-colored tannic water because they drain swampy land). Even when there is no visible hatch the fish will hit dry flies (for ex., caddis) ... maybe because there is no hatch and they are hungry.

In other streams, brown trout will hit ants and caddis when there is no visible hatch.

If there is no hatch and you are fishing dry flies, you have to do more to spot trout, or guess where they will be, since there aren't rising fish to cast to. The Orvis book "Prospecting for Trout" covers this subject very well.

I agree with the comments above - if you focus on...

finding streams with a lot of fish,

getting there at a good time (water temps below say 65 in the summer, and above 50 in the winter, also not too much sun for brown trout),

figuring out where fish may be in the stream,

and delivering the fly, dry or wet, you can catch fish across the seasons.

Posted on: 2010/8/14 9:59


Re: Northeastern PA: What time of year is fly fishing "over" ?

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Check PFBC site for regs on the water you intend to fish. A lot of water is closed March 1 to 8 a.m. on the opening day of the trout season.

Posted on: 2010/8/14 12:54


Re: Northeastern PA: What time of year is fly fishing "over" ?
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Here is a video I just ran into. Some good advice (IMO) about fly selection vs. presentation.


Posted on: 2010/8/15 9:00


Re: Northeastern PA: What time of year is fly fishing "over" ?

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Thanks guys. Good advice. You're right that I do stress a lot about the right fly. I took a class on fly fishing before I started getting into this hobby and the instructor had a ton of flies and was explaining what they resembled and when and where to use them. It was information overload. I think it got stuck in my mind that fly selection is crucial.

I'll try to focus more on my presentation. Although I'd still like to make sure I'm at least somewhat picking the right fly.

Posted on: 2010/8/15 10:06


Re: Northeastern PA: What time of year is fly fishing "over" ?

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Philosofish.............It's not over ever till you want it to be over , like the others said there are always aquatic insects in the water and the trout have to eat in order to survive , check the regs for particular streams but most special reg streams are open year round , just a suggestion , try making it a goal to catch a trout in every month of the year , keep a record , as the years go by try catching one every day of the year (not in the same year but fill in the blanks as you go so to speak) , i haven't got there yet but i'm getting there.

Posted on: 2010/8/15 10:15


Re: Northeastern PA: What time of year is fly fishing "over" ?

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afish, I am gonna steal that link and put it in the fly selection thread. Good stuff.

Posted on: 2010/8/15 17:26


Re: Northeastern PA: What time of year is fly fishing "over" ?

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They dont fight as well in colder weather, but I have been able to catch some of my very best trout in the colder months.
They are a little less wary and you will have the water to yourself 9 out of 10 times no matter where you fish.
The spawn is coming up and if you see fish paired up over a gravel bed, its recommended to skip them for future years of fishing.

Posted on: 2010/8/15 19:03
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Re: Northeastern PA: What time of year is fly fishing "over" ?

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they will rise to midges all fall and winter long as long asd there is open water to fish !

Posted on: 2010/8/16 19:10


Re: Northeastern PA: What time of year is fly fishing "over" ?

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Simple... it's only over when the temps rise above 70 degrees or the water ices over

Posted on: 2010/8/17 15:43


Re: Northeastern PA: What time of year is fly fishing "over" ?
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Bam suggests a good way of looking at trout fishing: When water temperatures reach 70 degrees or higher it's best not to fish as these temps are very warm for trout and it is generally believed that they may die if released at such temps.
Even when there is ice on some parts of the creek, trout can still be caught although this is very tough and I rarely bother to fish when water temps are that cold. Usually the best trout fishing is in water temps of about 45-65 degrees F.

Posted on: 2010/8/17 19:05


Re: Northeastern PA: What time of year is fly fishing "over" ?

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Well there are stone flies that hatch over the winter on the more fertile streams, also BWO's, and fall caddis. The year of the parade Is was up there fishing, if you remember it snowed the night they suspended the World Series game, there was snow on the ground in the stream valley. I caught 3 fish and it was Oct 31. I've done beter than that other times during mid-fall, but I figure the snow threw things off. My guess is you can catch trout in NEPA all winter, but it might not be safe to even get on the stream.

Posted on: 2010/9/14 21:16
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