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Pennsylvania Fly Fishing Blog
Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 10/05/2015 (251 reads)
Every year the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) raise and stock over 3,000,000 trout across the state. With over a dozen state run hatcheries across Pennsylvania, hatchery managers oversee the process fertilizing, hatching and rearing of trout before they are stocked into hundreds of lakes and streams.

James Wetherill is the manager at the Huntsdale Hatchery and takes us through the process of raising rainbow trout from spawning to fingerlings.

The Huntsdale Hatchery has a visitors center with visitor hours daily, 8 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
195 Lebo Road
Carlisle, PA 17015
Phone: (717) 486-3419

Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 09/20/2015 (12074 reads)
fall fly fishing

Fall fly fishing in the the region offers plenty of great opportunities. The cooler weather offers anglers some solitude of fly fishing while many are caught up with other fall activities. A little bit of preparation can be a rewarding opportunity for those who can make the time.

Reproduction plays an important part of the trout lifecycle during the fall months for both brook and brown trout. Brook trout, native to the US, usually begin to spawn during late September through October. Brown trout typically start spawning in October through late November. I have seen this go later too.

During the spawn coloring on the trout will intensify especially in the males. Females will often create gravel beds for the fertilized eggs called redds. It very important to be careful of these sections on streams when you see redds and not to kick them up when walking. Probably best even to leave trout overtop redds alone and give them a chance to protect the eggs.

fall fly fishingOften the water in the fall is low and gin clear. Spotting trout on a redd is pretty easy to see as in the photo to the left. The trout will sit over top of a small group of rocks that they have knocked around and they often will have a little more cleaned up look as if someone kicked up the spot. Take a little time before marching into the stream to check on the conditions. Good advice for any day.

As the trout begin to change so does the entomology or insect life in the stream. Activity will be different from region to region, stream size, earlier summer water temperatures, and geology. The fall provides a more limited selection of insects and often anglers enjoy bringing a more modest selection of flies and imitations. Some of the more popular collections include: Slate Drakes, BWO, Caddis, midges and terrestrials. Typical nymphs and streamers are very successful smart choice as well.

I like Dave Weavers suggestions for even looking for rainbows behind the redds feeding on eggs. Some small simple egg patterns can produce some pretty good results for these rainbows. The most common color for natural trout eggs are cream, pale orange and pink.

The full and fast spring streams can take a new characteristic once September arrives. Low clear water can create a challenge for some anglers, but stealth and patience can provide many rewards.

With summer holder over trout and newly stocked trout in many streams there should be ample opportunity for solitude and fish in autumn. Check out the PaFlyFish forums and stream reports to learn more about what is happening in your area.

Published by David Weaver [Fishidiot] on 09/01/2015 (1057 reads)
In a recent stream report I indicated using a "stonecat" fly. For many PA FFers, this is an unusual pattern and not typically associated with trout fishing. Local river folks who fish bait for smallies, however, are very familiar with this critter.

The term "stonecat" is actually a misnomer and refers to a madtom found in western PA. The fish we have in the Susky/Potomac watershed is actually the marginated madtom. However, local folks have always called marginated madtoms "stonecats." Afishinado will tell you that locals in his home stomping grounds around Wilkes Barre call 'em "catties." They're a popular live bait.


Marginated madtoms are a shy, mysterious, largely nocturnal little catfish and many river anglers have never seen one. Bait fishermen often get them by seining weedy riffle areas at night or carefully feeling for them under rocks with their hands. Bass eat 'em like candy and, in my opinion, really key on the image of a stonecat. I love 'em, and stonecat flies are go-to patterns for summer bass for me, especially in clear water.

The fly I was using is one of a series of flies I've designed utilizing paint and craft felt. Like many of my personal patterns, it is realistic and detailed.

A much easier stonecat pattern would be tan or light brown sculpin wool for the head, a tan fur or chenille body, and a long tail of tan marabou. Tie a dumbbell weight Clouser style under the head so the fly swims hook upward and trim the head flat. Rubber band whiskers add a nice touch. The key, however, is to keep the fly very slender and very long.

Marginated madtoms are usually 2-5" in length and have a paddle like tail with a black edge; body is usually pinkish yellow on the ventral, light brown on the flanks, and olive over the back. You want a fly that swims with lots of motion and gets deep. I tie medium and very heavy versions.

The image above is an illustration I did of marginated madtoms based on a group of specimens I caught in central PA. Note the slender body, rounded tail that blends into the body like an eel, yellow fins, and square head with short whiskers.

You can follow the comments in the forum here on Stonecats.
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 08/20/2015 (4814 reads)
Streams Map USA A new stream mapping app has been just released by Gogal Publishing designed to help outdoor enthusiasts better enjoy our regional waterways. Streams Map USA for iPhone and iPad are apps that provide a complete set of regional maps to locate, evaluate conditions, navigate and manage thousands of different streams.

The first release of the Northeast Region covers all of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and the rest of New England. I had chance to use Streams Map USA and kick it around with a few places that I like to fly fish.

I found the screen easy to view, due to a new idea that Gogal Publishing is using in varying stream colors, instead of just the singular blue line that we always get on every map. A clever idea to help differentiate the main stream and its tributaries I liked the multiple choices of base maps, which included: Road, Satellite, Hybrid, USGS Topo, and OpenStreetMap.

I was quickly able to search for some known streams. The app is very detailed with results based on state or county level. When searching for Muddy Creek, I soon learned there were over a half dozen Muddy Creeks and branches located in Pennsylvania. Who knew?

Personal waypoint locations can be created, named and stored. The use of my iPhone’s built-in GPS identified my current location and provided an indication of miles to either the waypoints or streams. For example, this also can be used to mark the location of your car before heading out for long day fishing on the water or a canoe trip.

Streams Map USA Too often I am in an area where there is either no or poor cell coverage. What I liked best was the “browse and store” functionality for offline use. This enables use and GPS navigation - even with no cell service.

For turn-by-turn navigation, it was as simple as selecting one of my waypoints and tapping Go. The Streams Map USA flipped me over into the Apple Maps, then let me select my current location and started my route to Muddy Creek.

In addition, the Streams Map USA incorporates the USGS Water Information System for water levels and gages. I simply tapped on an USGS Station and tapped the info icon to discover the current conditions for that site displayed within the app.

Both the Northeast and West Coast Editions of Stream Map USA are now available on the AppStore for the introductory price of $8.99. A third edition is also well under way, which will cover the eastern coastal states from Maryland to Florida. This edition should be available in mid-October 2015. Gogal Publishing is hoping to have the entire US completed by mid-2016 and Android apps out shortly.
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 08/04/2015 (2114 reads)
Big Trout Program
The PFBC will be implementing a new stocked trout program in 2016. We believe that this program will provide exciting new angling opportunities to anglers across Pennsylvania.
In this program, approximately 10 percent of the larger 2- to 3-year-old-trout in the PFBC hatchery system that are stocked each year will be allocated to eight waters currently managed under Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only regulations. These fish, which will measure from 14” to more than 20” in length, will be stocked at a rate of up to 250 trout per mile, which is comparable to the numbers of fish of this size in Pennsylvania’s best wild trout waters. By contrast, the current stocking rate for 2- to 3-year-old-trout statewide in the catchable trout program is about 5-10 per mile.

The eight streams will be distributed broadly across the state so that at least one water is located within a reasonable distance of all of Pennsylvania’s anglers.

Currently this program is unnamed, and we are seeking the public’s help in naming the program. There are a number of names that have been considered by staff, but you may have other better ideas. We ask that you either vote for one of the names below, or write in a name that you would like to propose.

PFBC staff will review all of the proposals and a name will be selected prior to the next Commission meeting on September 28 and 29, 2015. Both the program name and the names of the selected waters will be released at the September meeting. We look forward to hearing from you.

Please select one of the program names below or write in another name that you would recommend. The voting/nomination process will close on September 4, 2015.

Names include:
Premium Stocked Trout Program
Trophy Stocked Trout Program
Lunker Stocked Trout Program
Blue Ribbon Stocked Trout Program

You can vote here.

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