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Thanksgiving outing

Joined:
2007/6/19 21:49
From Lancaster County
Posts: 754
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For the past eight years or so, I've managed to make it out to fish on Thanksgiving Day. I guess it has become a bit of a tradition, made possible by our decision to no longer travel during the Thanksgiving holiday. Spending a few too many hours going nowhere between New Stanton and Breezewood on the Turnpike will eventually lead one to that conclusion.

This year, I was looking forward my outing, but the forecast was calling for snow the day before, so I started to temper my expectations as the week went along. Wednesday, the snow started falling around 9AM and continued to fall for the next eleven hours. While the ground is still relatively warm, we still ended up with four or more inches, but by evening, the outside sounds were filled with constant dripping. Overnight temps were supposed to dip below freezing too, and I did not have the luxury of waiting until afternoon to fish, since Thanksgiving meal was scheduled for 1PM.

So I told my wife that I would enjoy my day anyway, just thankful that I have the ability to be out walking around in the snow. Since I've never really had stellar outings on Thanksgiving Day, and since the conditions were far from ideal (snow melt, air temperatures below freezing, water levels low, and I added crystal-clear when I arrived Thursday morning), I really wasn't expecting much.



I only managed to fish the stream I was at one other time this year, in mid-January. It must have been a temporary thaw from our Arctic blast, or I was starting to go stir-crazy and needed to get out then. As I was walking in, I noticed quite a bit more blowdown of trees and I remembered the ice storm we had. I've seen the effects of the storm on a number of streams, but had yet to venture out on this particular stream to see how it fared. A number of new deep holes had formed where woody debris created new scour patterns and a number of rock ledge holes had filled in. Hopefully, the new holes will provide protection and cover for the fish for a few years, before the woody debris is blown out in a flood event.



Anyway, things got off to a slow start, as expected. I did not even see a fish for the first forty-five minutes. But then my fortunes changed. There's a spot where a large boulder sits in the middle of the stream. Usually the stream flows equally around each side of the boulder before tumbling into a nice plunge pool at its base. But some of the winter's blowdown had effectively dammed the right side, redirecting all the flow to the left. A plucky little brown darted out from the base of the left side flow and as I lifted him out of the water, he long distance released into the plunge pool below. At the head of the boulder, I landed the first official catch of the day.



The action continued fairly consistently all morning. Each potential hole had a trout or two in it, and it never pays to overlook the pocket water, riffles and unlikely looking water in between. Some of the larger fish came from areas that I wouldn't have selected, but they are the fish, not me.



There are lots of larger boulders, which provide nice holding areas for fish. A young family watched me toy with and finally hook and land a nice little brown from this hole. He lives under the large rock on the left side.





There are big spot fish in this stream and small spot fish in this stream. Here is one of the small spotters.



And a medium spotter.



And a large spotter. With a big tail.





A half-and-half spotter (red/black).



This guy will hopefully be able to take advantage of some of the new woody debris holes, for cover. He apparently had a bout with a heron recently.









Of course, by this time in the morning, I was only about half way through the section I wanted to fish. And I was down to about half an hour to fish, so I started pool hopping. I know I passed a lot of fish by, but the last few fish I caught were special.

A log had fallen across the stream at this spot a number of years ago. The flow had originally been to the right side, but had flipped to the left side sometime in the past year.





I cast first to the right side. There still was a tiny bit of flow through the pool and at least one brown had decided to make it his home. A small black mass charged out from after the log; I thought the fish would be under the rock in the pool.



I released him and he swam back to his abode. I flipped over to the pool on the left side of the stream, where the main flow was. I missed a smaller fish on the first cast, but prospected the pool a few more times. I never figured out where this fish was holding, but it doesn't get much more buttery than this!



Still had some faint parr marks.



And that was pretty much it. I think I caught one more, but I made the decision to try and honor Thanksgiving Dinner start time and managed to make it there just fashionably late, at 1:15PM.

Turned out to be my best Thanksgiving Day outing ever, despite snow (and melt), freezing temperatures, and low, clear conditions. It was a wonderful day to be out, although I was dodging snowballs part of the day, as it warmed and the trees released their coverings. One of the more interesting things I encountered was hearing voices on the hike in. In a few seconds, I came upon two Amish guys sitting underneath a big rock, taking swigs from a Thermos. We nodded polite hellos and I went on my way. I didn't catch anything bigger than 12", but I love the variety in spots, patterns, and coloration of these freestone wild browns.

Posted on: 2014/11/28 20:03


Re: Thanksgiving outing

Joined:
2012/1/16 18:57
From North East PA
Posts: 307
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Salmonoid,

Great post and pics!

Thanks for sharing.

Posted on: 2014/11/28 20:23
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"Hey, Wait, that rock is moving" - Pat D, Newbie Jam, 3/16/13


Re: Thanksgiving outing

Joined:
2012/6/25 8:27
From Lancaster County
Posts: 379
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Great post! Thanks for sharing!

Posted on: 2014/11/28 20:51
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http://raftmanspath.com

"The rattler escaping the cold house,
the fluttering unknown gods that I nearly see
from the left corner of my blind eye, struggling
to stay alive in a world that grinds them underfoot" - Jim Harrison


Re: Thanksgiving outing

Joined:
2013/4/23 19:39
Posts: 245
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Awesome post. Beautiful fish, great pictures, and the details are very good.

Posted on: 2014/11/28 21:11


Re: Thanksgiving outing

Joined:
2014/8/2 20:20
From Mechanicsburg
Posts: 428
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Looks like a beautiful outing. Thank you for sharing. What were you tossing btw?

Posted on: 2014/11/28 21:36


Re: Thanksgiving outing

Joined:
2010/5/28 0:25
Posts: 334
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All I can say is: Wow! What a beautiful array of different colored browns. Pm me if you would like me to guard your spot for you. I know some Pennsylvania German.

Posted on: 2014/11/28 21:59
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Re: Thanksgiving outing

Joined:
2007/6/19 21:49
From Lancaster County
Posts: 754
Offline
Micro buggers and mini jigs. I read sandfly's post about them last year (he has a few more on here over the years about them as well). The micro buggers were your standard fair, so nothing out of the ordinary there, but I believe the jigging action of the micro jigs is what put the numbers for the day through the roof.


Quote:

SteveG wrote:
Looks like a beautiful outing. Thank you for sharing. What were you tossing btw?

Posted on: 2014/11/28 22:22


Re: Thanksgiving outing

Joined:
2006/11/2 8:50
Posts: 1429
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Did you see any redds or spawning activity?

Posted on: 2014/11/28 22:30


Re: Thanksgiving outing

Joined:
2011/11/27 21:57
From Grosse Pointe Farms, MI
Posts: 108
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Great story and great pictures. Thanks for sharing

Posted on: 2014/11/29 6:59


Re: Thanksgiving outing

Joined:
2012/3/14 6:23
From Lancaster
Posts: 486
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Very nice! As always, I thoroughly enjoyed your write up and the great photos. We do have a whole lot to be thankful for.

Posted on: 2014/11/29 8:03


Re: Thanksgiving outing

Joined:
2012/10/24 19:22
From Landenberg, PA
Posts: 389
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Great tails on all of those browns.

Interesting to see the debate about the action of the jig flyes on that link - folks forget that chronomid and other larvae flutter when the swim...so they make sense to me !

Posted on: 2014/11/29 8:31
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Re: Thanksgiving outing

Joined:
2013/1/15 12:02
From Pipersville Pa.
Posts: 504
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Outstanding post. What an awesome day. Really great fish and pics..

Thanks for sharing this.

GenCon

Posted on: 2014/11/29 8:39
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Re: Thanksgiving outing

Joined:
2010/2/15 19:09
From Ohio
Posts: 86
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Looks like a great trip. I love to see these kinds of posts! Keeps me going between trips. Thanks for sharing.

Posted on: 2014/11/30 9:52


Re: Thanksgiving outing

Joined:
2006/11/10 8:32
Posts: 599
Offline
There should not be much of a debate about the micro-jigs. Just consider how popular "Trout Magnets" have become for the spinning crowd. They are nothing more than a micro shad dart with a split-tail grub body attached. Also, take a look at "ice flies" for ice fishing. They are probably the original micro-jig. Glad that Salmonid was willing to reveal his success with these jigs, as this should make believers out of us (if there was a need to do so).

Posted on: 2014/11/30 11:53


Re: Thanksgiving outing

Joined:
2006/12/10 19:49
Posts: 163
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Salmonoid - I look forward to reading your posts about your fishing outings. You are a gifted writer and I hope you keep posting on PAFF for a long time. Great write up !

Posted on: 2014/11/30 12:47



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