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North Central PA - What flies, tips and tricks?

Joined:
2010/1/10 16:42
From Midlothian, VA
Posts: 15
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Greetings! I grew-up living and fishing for native brook trout in North Central PA in Elk County, in a little town called Benezette. It's just Southwest of St. Mary's. After a career in the military, I now live and work in Virginia, but I'm fortunate to have a cabin in Benezette, Cabin Creek Lodge. I fish in a stream called Trout Run. It's not stocked and contains primarily brooks with few browns. The stream gets little to no 'heat'. Until now, I've been a spin reel fisherman. After some wishful statements, my wife got me a very nice Orvis rod and reel for Christmas. She also got me a fairly comprehensive 'how-to' book from Orvis and a fly tying kit with book.

After all of the reading, I now have 'barely' all the basics down and I plan on hitting the stream April 18th.

I've just tied my first fly (included in the kit), a Wooly Bugger. It looks great and it's Olive in color. I even placed a bead of cement on the head for durability.

My question is this; what flys will really WORK in this stream? The books tells you to observe the aquatic entomology and make decisions, but unfortunately, I'm not in the area and want to be ready for the spring season before I make the trip. I have a few flies that mimic mayfly and dradonfly nymphs. Is there any dry flies that will work at this time of year? What is the best size? Should I use a strike indicator (it will probably help me avoid a ton of snags)? Does anyone have experience in this area?

Any and all help will be GREATLY appreciated.

Posted on: 2010/1/10 17:18


Re: North Central PA - What flies, tips and tricks?

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2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
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Welcome to fly fishing! You've found a sport that can be anything you want it to be. If you want to really commit to it and become a great fishermen, the sky is the limit. But if you just want to go out now and again, thats ok too!

Your baitfishing background will help. You already know the basics such as where the fish lay and so forth.

Dry flies sometimes do work at this time of the year, but not always. When the water's cold you're probably better off going underneath. By May, they'll hit the dries more consistently, which are easier to fish.

I can't say I've fished Trout Run, but I am semi-familiar with the area (my wife grew up in Clearfield). I have my doubts that the fish in your stream are all that picky, based on the streams location.

For starting, do some practice casting in the backyard. Its far from the real thing but it may help you get the basics down. Throw a frisbee or something down at various distances and try to hit it. Generally small streams are more difficult for beginning casters. If you get a chance, hit a bigger stream where you can wade out so that you don't have to worry about your backcast getting in trees. Even down your way, maybe a smallmouth river or something will fit the bill.

A Wooly Bugger is a great pattern even for an expert, but especially good for a beginner. There's no wrong way to fish it. Try dead drifting, swinging, retrieving, etc. Helps that its an easy tie too because you're likely to lose a lot of flies early in the learning process.

My best piece of advice is don't limit yourself to one stream. Your cabin is in the middle of some excellent wild trout country, there are many, many good streams in the neighborhood.

Posted on: 2010/1/10 18:06


Re: North Central PA - What flies, tips and tricks?

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2006/9/10 21:53
From Greensburg, PA
Posts: 13614
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You could probably fish with nothing but buggers and caddis in that area an not really miss much. Peeking caddis in winter and Elk hair in the warmer months...buggers in tan, olive and black. There will be other hatches but why learn it all at once.

Posted on: 2010/1/10 18:25


Re: North Central PA - What flies, tips and tricks?

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2008/3/20 22:15
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You can never go wrong with a simple pheasant tail pattern for brookies. If you are comfortable fishing streamers such as wooly buggers go fish them. I fish small-mouth as well as trout on wooly buggers. Just because you have a fly rod doesn't mean you can't fish pan fish and bass. It was the best way for me to just learn casting before the stinky little brookies hid and spooked at everything I put before them the first year. Take your time because this sport is timeless. Enjoy!

Posted on: 2010/1/10 18:34


Re: North Central PA - What flies, tips and tricks?

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2006/11/2 8:50
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The trout are not going to be very selective in that stream.

Parachute Adams is a great dry fly for fishing brookie streams.

When the water is really cold early in the season, they may not come up for dries. So you'll want to use the streamers and nymphs.

Clouser Minnows are good on streams like that when the water is high and cold.

And tie some beadhead nymphs. Just a copper or gold bead and shaggy hare's ear dubbing is a very good fly.

When things warm up a little, you'll do very well with the Parachute Adams dries.

Don't forget Green Weenies.

And don't forget

Posted on: 2010/1/10 19:01


Re: North Central PA - What flies, tips and tricks?

Joined:
2010/1/10 16:42
From Midlothian, VA
Posts: 15
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pcray1231,
Thanks! I WILL be sticking with the fly-fishing. Heck, the wife spent soo much money for the rod and reel, I can't affort NOT to!

I actually fish this particular stream up in a 4 mile stretch to where it eventually forms from 2 major feeder streams. I then follow one or the other feeder stream up to as far as 10 miles. Last year I spent a long weekend on the stream, camping along it at night. The small feeders are just too small, maybe 1-3 feet wide, but I know they have small brookies in them. There are plenty of other streams within driving distance, but they just aren't as convenient as going out the back door!
Any idea on popular sizes?
Since I live in VA and the fishing's year-round, I was thinking about walking to the local reservoir and practicing. Try my luck on bass and bluegill. There's a dock within walking distance with plenty of open room for me to 'flail'. It's been in the 20's here lately, so I'm going to wait until it warms-up some.

Posted on: 2010/1/10 19:33


Re: North Central PA - What flies, tips and tricks?

Joined:
2010/1/10 16:42
From Midlothian, VA
Posts: 15
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Thanks, wet. I actually have a few small pheasant tail patterns that looked interesting. I can't WAIT to test them out!

Posted on: 2010/1/10 19:36


Re: North Central PA - What flies, tips and tricks?

Joined:
2010/1/10 16:42
From Midlothian, VA
Posts: 15
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troutbert,
Now you have me excited! I had to look-up the Parachute Adams. The folks at Orvis actually sold my wife 4 of them in different sizes that I have...they look a lot like this: Parachute Adams

Thanks!

Posted on: 2010/1/10 19:39


Re: North Central PA - What flies, tips and tricks?
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Joined:
2006/9/9 17:32
From Gettysburg
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snider,
Welcome to PAFF and welcome to fly fishing (FFing) - you'll pick up our acronyms.

Anyway, you've come to the right place for info and comraderie. Good advice from the previous posters. They really know this game. Your plan to try for bass and sunnies on the local pond or lake is an excellent idea (if it's not frozen this week). Too many new FFers associate FFing purely for trout and miss out on a lot of fun local warm water fishing. Your Wooly Buggers are great bass flies and bluegills love a pheasant tail or dry fly. Again, welcome and best of luck.

Posted on: 2010/1/10 22:10


Re: North Central PA - What flies, tips and tricks?

Joined:
2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
Posts: 12918
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snider,

The parachute Adams is perhaps my favorite brookie pattern as well. It's just a standard mayfly that fits the brookie criteria:

1. It must float well.
2. It must be visible to you (thats what the white post is for).

In other words, when it comes to dry flies on these type of streams, the pattern doesn't so much matter to the fish, so the favorites are what are simply easy to fish. Other dry fly patterns that fit the criteria are humpies, royal wulffs, and stimulators. On any of them, make sure to use some floatant. In tight streams you can't afford to do much backcasting to dry a fly, so you need some help. On heavily hackled flies like these, I prefer the Gink brand paste.

Another tip, pinch down the barbs on your flies. Yes, it helps the fish survive and makes them easier and quicker to take off the hook. But there's a better reason to go barbless; your flies last much longer. Trying to get a barbed fly out of a mouth often tears up the thread, and a fly only lasts a few fish before it begins to unravel. When its barbless and easier to remove, you get twice the life or better out of each fly.

Size doesn't matter either, for dries I often use a 10 or 12 in order to keep the really little guys from being hooked (they can't get it in their mouths). If I want to just catch a lot of fish and don't care about size of my catch, I'll use a 14 or 16. For the wooly buggers, you're gonna be bigger than that but it should still be pretty small as streamers go. I've heard that brookies are not canibalistic, but green has always seemed to be my best color for streamers and buggers in brookie streams, and if there are any browns they like it too.

When actually fishing, the one big difference compared to bait is the water you cover. With bait, because you have to use split shot, most bait guys kind of stick to the bigger holes, skipping a lot of good water in between. With flies, fish all of the water. Some of the best trout are in the smallest little runs. Plus the dry fly really helps when you have submerged cover, you can go right over top. Those wild brookies will swim far for a fly, and they hit hard for their size.

Fish upstream. The hardest part is in not spooking them, so do your best to keep your distance. The standard model is to stand in the riffle below and cast into the pool above, using the stream corridor as a path for your backcast. Thats in a perfect world, and rarely are things perfect for casting. Usually, you have to get a little creative and use various casts, and approach each pool like it was a golf hole.

If you're looking for helpful videos or anything, Joe Humphries has a video out called "A casting approach to dry fly tactics in tight brush." It is mostly instructional and was a great help to me.

Posted on: 2010/1/11 8:46


Re: North Central PA - What flies, tips and tricks?

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2006/11/2 8:50
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snider,

When you're up that way, you might want to stop in at Jim's Sport Center in Clearfield and talk to Terry Malloy. He's a serious mountain stream fisherman and he could fix you up with an assortment of good flies, tackle suggestions etc.

He knows a lot of brookie streams too. Whether he'll tell you about them or not, I'm not sure.

Posted on: 2010/1/11 10:33


Re: North Central PA - What flies, tips and tricks?

Joined:
2010/1/10 16:42
From Midlothian, VA
Posts: 15
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pcray1231,
Thanks again! Very good info...I've been reading comments on the different types of 'strike indicators' or 'floating devices' to use and I appreciate your input and I WILL be looking for the Gink brand paste. Do I place this paste on the leader...in a location that will allow my fly to obtain the proper depth?

Pinching the barbs sounds like a good idea, but with previous spinning reel experience (and hitting only the bigger holes, HAH!), I'm accustomed to catching only a few for many hours of effort, just enough to eat at a meal. I'm also concerned about losing that wild trout that I've worked so hard to entice. I tell you what, if I somehow magically catch my limit in a few hours, I will definitely consider your advice. It makes perfect sense and extending the life of the flies is definitely a good thing (that's if I limit the number of overhead and rock snags).

I am accustomed to 'sneaking' up on them, but with the upstream method, how vulnerable will the fish be to the 'rock clanking' at my wader feet (despite my best slow sneak approach efforts)? Which is the lesser of two evils?

I'm looking forward to covering every good inch of the stream...previous bait fishing has limited me (trying to avoid certain snags with spinners and drifting bait).

Thanks again!

Posted on: 2010/1/11 20:42


Re: North Central PA - What flies, tips and tricks?

Joined:
2009/4/1 21:52
From Johnstown, PA
Posts: 4458
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sniderrj.............while you are up in that area , check out the elk herd around Benzette , i have friends in the area and they talk about the elk all the time. Might be a cool side trip , welcome to the most rewarding past time in the world , fly fishing and tying will give you enjoyment the rest of your life.

Posted on: 2010/1/12 7:15


Re: North Central PA - What flies, tips and tricks?

Joined:
2009/5/29 6:40
From harlansburg
Posts: 4369
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cabin creek lodge, trout run, we'll all meet ya there! LOL
welcome to the forum, great info, great bunch of folks.
you have some mighty good brookie fishing in VA also, along with stellar smallmouth fishing

Posted on: 2010/1/12 7:30


Re: North Central PA - What flies, tips and tricks?

Joined:
2009/5/29 6:40
From harlansburg
Posts: 4369
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BTW, lodge looks great, good rates also, do you own it, or just renting it for a weekend? I've been looking for something like that for a long weekend. thanks for the link!

Posted on: 2010/1/12 7:35



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