Published by Tom C. [afishinado] on 02/17/2017 (487 reads)
Many times the rising fish you see in the winter are taking midges. I’ve done well in the winter fishing midges on warmer afternoons. It’s great covering rising fish fish in the winter since I become tired of dredging the bottom, doing the chuck-and-chance-it to unseen fish. I could never stand watching fish rise in front of me without giving them a try.
Midges are not hard to tie. I use a small sized emerger hook which is a wide gape 2x short curved hook. For dries, just add a thread body and a few fibers for wings or a wisp of dubbing for pupa:
Hook: Emerger hook size 20-28
Body: Thread (black, cream, brown, white, olive) to match naturals. I always try to catch a few insects with my net before I select a fly. If I can't capture a natural, I'll usually try black first.
Wing: 8-12 CDC fibers, or Z-lon, or Antron yarn.
I like to use 6/0 or 8/0 thread for the body depending on the brand of thread and the size of the fly. The body should remain thin like the natural.
Start the thread on the shank behind the eye and wrap it back to the bend. Spin the bobbin to wind the thread tightly by spinning and wrap the thread back to just behind the eye. The tightly wound thread gives a segmented appearance and makes it easier to wrap. On a size smaller fly hook, one pass back and forth is enough to build the body. On larger flies several passes may be needed.
I tie off the heavier thread with finer 12/0 thread to finish the fly. Cut 8-12 CDC fibers (Z-lon or Antron yarn also work) and tie in on top of the hook shank and trim the wing fibers slightly shorter than the body and whip finish. That’s it!...a thread body with some wisps of CDC or yarn for the wing. On larger sized midges I sometimes use a little dubbing the same color as the body to finish off the head.
Don’t make the wings too heavy – sparse fibers look more natural to suggest wings, and adds just enough buoyancy to float the fly in the film like the naturals.
For midge pupa, do the same thread body as above, except instead of wings dub in a small wisp of light colored dubbing fur near the head of the fly or trim a small clump of CDC at the head. Fishing Midges
With a size 28 fly, I may go down to a 7X tippet, not so much because of visibility of the tippet by the fish, more for getting a good drift. Heavier tippet tends to drag such a small fly around in the water.
Use a fairly long and soft tippet and try to cast some s-curves and slack in your line and tippet to avoid drag. Also, be sure not to cast your leader over the fish. Try to reach mend or curve cast it so the fish see the fly and not your line. Getting a drag-free drift is the key to fooling the fish.
I grease my line down to 1’ or so of the fly and watch the tippet for strikes. If I have problems seeing the tippet, I put a pinch of strike putty on the tippet knot for visibility. When you line moves a little on the take, just tighten up and the battle is on.
After covering a few fish and believing I have gotten some good drifts over them, I will often change over to a pupa pattern that rides in the film. At times they are feeding on pupae.
The hardest part of fishing is often trying not to spook the fish. Careful casting and wading (if you must get into the water) is most important. When fishing to rising fish, I often ease into a casting position and wait until the fish resume rising. Just slow down and try to stay low, and take as few false casts as possible.
In the winter fish are often found rising in the long, slow pools. If there's a deeper bank with rising fish I'll often cross over in the shallow riff below the pool and slowly wade across to deeper bank. Casting from the shallow side will often expose you to the trout, and laying all your line out over the entire width of stream to reach the opposite bank often causes issues trying to get a good drift, especially when trying to dead-drift tiny flies.
After crossing over and most times putting all the rising fish down, I sit along the bank next to a tree or any cover I can find. I proceed to pull out my Wawa shortie and Wawa chocolate milk and began to feast. By the time I am finished, the fish resume rising and I began to target one fish at time. Don’t worry, it’s not just a Philly thing, for those in western and central PA, the strategy works, but not quite as well with Sheetz MTO hoagies and drinks.
Tying and fishing midges is not really that hard. I look forward to it every winter when I tire of nymphing.
Give it a try and good luck. Follow in the forum here.
As a fishing guide in Yellowstone National Park, I am often asked questions like, “Where can I fish close to West Yellowstone in August?” or “What rivers near Gardiner fish well in early June?”. I pick these examples because, frankly, you would be very disappointed with the answer to each one. While Yellowstone Park is justly famous for its trout fishing, it is a very seasonal affair. You can find good fishing in the park every day of the fishing season, but no single river drainage fishes well for the duration of the season. Given that Yellowstone encompasses 2.2 million acres and sees over 3 million visitors per year, you can find yourself facing significant travel time to productive fishing if you do not plan your stay accordingly.
The two factors that drive fishing in Yellowstone are snowmelt, which is true all over the West, and the effect of thermal heating and thermal runoff, a situation unique to the park. Streams that are heavily influenced by snowmelt will not be low and clear enough to fish until sometime in July. On the other hand, streams that drain thermal areas will be too warm for fishing during mid-summer. Understanding this dynamic will help you to make sure that you are in the right place at the right time during your Yellowstone fishing trip.
Early Season: Late May thru Late June Without a doubt, the Madison drainage is the place to be during Yellowstone’s early season. When the season opens over Memorial Day weekend, the Firehole River will be fishing well, and it is often the only river in the park that is fishable. Both the Gibbon and the Madison River will begin to fish well within about a week of the opener. Good mayfly hatches are a common occurrence in June, allowing anglers to toss dry flies while many rivers around the West are choked with runoff. Around the middle of June, several lakes in the Gibbon drainage like Grebe Lake and Cascade Lake will become accessible and the bite will be hot. The Firehole also offers several tributaries that hold fish, such as Nez Perce Creek, that can provide some variety to a trip.
The town of West Yellowstone, MT is the hub of early season fishing activity. From West Yellowstone, you can be on the Madison within 10 minutes and the Gibbon and Firehole within 20. If you wish to stay inside of the park, camping at Madison Junction puts you right in the middle of the action. Old Faithful is a good choice as well, as the Firehole River is just minutes away.
Transition Time: Late June thru July 4 The last week in June marks the transition from spring to summer fishing in the park. The waters of the Madison drainage are becoming too warm for good fishing, especially in the afternoons. This can be a tricky time, as the Lamar drainage is not quite ready yet. Fortunately, the Gardner River provides a good option during this time frame. The river will just be dropping into shape and the Salmonflies and Golden Stones will be starting to hatch. Trout Lake, which opens to fishing on June 15th, is a good option during this time frame as well. If it has been a lean snow year, it is possible that the Yellowstone River may be fishable as well. You shouldn’t count on this, but be prepared if the opportunity presents itself.
The town of Gardiner, MT makes a good base during this transitional period. You can be on the Gardner River in a matter of minutes and Trout Lake, in the Lamar drainage, is a manageable day trip. The Yellowstone flows right thru town, and you are close to good access if it is in fact clear enough to fish.
Mid Summer: July 4 thru August The entire northern portion of Yellowstone Park will fish well in this time frame, giving the angler plenty of options. The Gardner and Yellowstone will fish well early on in July, with Slough Creek, Soda Butte Creek, and the Lamar River gradually becoming fishable in that order. The Lamar is usually fishable by mid-July, but won’t be ready until the end of July after a winter of above normal snow. This is the time of year to fish terrestrials, and hopper fishing is something that serious anglers look forward to all year. During August, the above rivers are still fishing well, but fishing pressure can be high. This is a great time to get out the hiking boots and check out some of Yellowstone’s small creeks and backcountry waters.
The best mid-summer bases are out of Gardiner, MT and Cooke City, MT. Cooke City is very convenient to access Soda Butte, Lamar, and Slough. Gardiner provides easy access to the Gardner and the Yellowstone, while the Lamar Valley is a manageable day trip.
Early Fall: September September is an interesting month, as it can be warm and sunny or snowing, sometimes both in the same day. This is another time of transition in Yellowstone Park. During early September, the Lamar Valley streams are still fishing, though the fish are quite spooky as they have been fished hard all summer. By mid-month, the waters of the Madison drainage will have cooled enough to fish well again. Both the Yellowstone and Gardner River should fish well all month.
If you are visiting in early September, Gardiner, MT is probably the best base. The Yellowstone and Gardner will fish consistently, and you can make the day trip to the Lamar Valley if it is fishing well. Towards the end of the month, West Yellowstone would make a good base as well. The Firehole will be fishing well and some early migrants will be showing up in the Madison from Hebgen Lake. While this run peaks in October, a few fish will be present later in September. Late Fall: October thru early November Just as it was at the start of the season, the Madison drainage is the place to be for the last month, up until the season ends on the first Sunday in November. Large trout push out of Hebgen Lake on their spawning run, giving anglers the shot at the biggest fish of the year. These fish are available in the Madison River as well as the lower reaches of both the Gibbon and Firehole. Target these fish, which average between 16” and 20”, with large nymphs and streamers.
On the Firehole River above Firehole Falls, hatches of Blue Winged Olives draw fish to the surface all the way to seasons end. The Firehole provides a great change of pace to chasing the big migrants during the fall. As in June, West Yellowstone, MT and the surrounding area is the place to be in October.
[Montana Angler is a sponsor of Paflyfish and was asked by me to contribute this article. I think it is important for anglers on this site to hear about all kinds of fly fishing opportunities and Brian McGeehan was gracious to share some of his adventures and images from their travels this fall. Please contact Brian if you are interested in joining him on one of these great trips. Montana Angler offers domestic fly fishing trips in Montana and Yellowstone National Park as well as international trips to Argentina, Chile and the Bahamas. - Thanks Dave Kile]
Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 01/30/2017 (1230 reads)
HARRISBURG, Pa. (Jan. 24) – Anglers will have additional opportunities to catch 14”-20” trophy trout this season after the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) announced today at its quarterly business meeting that it is adding six new waters to the popular Keystone Select Stocked Trout Program.
“The Keystone Select Program has proven to be a big hit with our customers,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. “It added an element of excitement to trout fishing and has helped establish the waters as destination fisheries, drawing anglers from all over and providing economic boosts to the local communities. Adding these new waters will make 2017 an even better fishing season.”
The six new waters include: Berks County, Tulpehocken Creek, Section 7 (1.84 miles) Cambria County, Chest Creek, Section 3 (1.80 miles) Fulton County, Big Cove Creek, Section 3 (0.93 miles) Luzerne County, Harveys Creek, Section 4 (1.70 miles) McKean County, Kinzua Creek, Section 4 (2.29 miles) Venango County, Oil Creek, Section 7 (1.55 miles)
The original eight waters include: Chester County, Middle Branch White Clay Creek, Section 3 (1.67 miles) Dauphin County, Wiconisco Creek, Section 3 (0.74 miles) Lackawanna/Wyoming Counties, South Branch Tunkhannock Creek, Section 4 (0.99 miles) Lawrence County, Neshannock Creek, Section 3 (2.67 miles) Lycoming County, Loyalsock Creek, Section 5 (1.49 miles) Potter County, First Fork Sinnemahoning Creek, Section 4 (1.67 miles) Somerset County, Laurel Hill Creek, Section 3 (2.33 miles) Westmoreland County, Loyalhanna Creek, Section 3 (1.67 miles) Under the program, approximately 4,500 large trout will be distributed among the 14 waters. The trout will be stocked at a rate of 175 to 225 per mile, which is comparable to the numbers of similarly sized fish in Pennsylvania’s best wild trout waters.
The waters are regulated under Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only (DHALO) regulations, which provides the opportunity to catch these fish multiple times. Under DHALO regulations, waters are open to fishing year-round, but anglers can harvest trout only between June 15 and Labor Day and the trout have to be a minimum of nine inches. For the rest of the year, these waters are managed on a catch-and-release-only basis and the creel limit is zero. Tackle is limited to artificial lures and flies.
The large trout will be stocked during the preseason and in-season spring stocking periods to coincide with the period of peak angler use. Both of these stockings will include a number of these larger fish. The PFBC website or FishBoatPA app should be consulted for the actual stocking dates.
In other related PFBC agenda news: • Approved the purchase of an easement of approximately 250 linear feet along Elk Creek in Fairview Township, Erie County, for $3,750. The easement area is located off of Luther Road across the stream from Folly’s End Campground. • Added 99 waters to the list of wild trout streams, revised the section limits of seven waters, and removed one water. The list can be found on the PFBC website. • Added 26 stream sections to the list of Class A wild trout streams. The list can be found on the PFBC website. • Approved a proposal to continue stocking Section 4 of Bald Eagle Creek in Centre County, which is classified as a Class A wild trout stream. The 5.72-mile section begins in the Borough of Milesburg and extends to the inlet of Foster Joseph Sayers Lake and is extremely popular during the traditional spring stocked trout season. It also receives a significant volume of cold water from Spring Creek and therefore supports a robust wild Brown Trout population and year-round fishing opportunities for wild Brown Trout and stocked fingerlings and adult stocked Rainbow Trout. • Approved a grant of up to $115,000 to the Doc Fritchey Chapter of Trout Unlimited for a habitat restoration project on Snitz Creek, Lebanon County. The stream suffers from bank erosion and heavy sedimentation with limited instream habitat for fish. The project will include stabilizing streambanks to reduce erosion, installing instream habitat structures to provide cover and resting areas for trout, removing invasive plant species, and installing fencing and a cattle crossing to control livestock movement in the stream.
Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 01/23/2017 (1314 reads)
Friday, May 19th is the start of our annual gathering for the Paflyfish Spring Jamboree Weekend. This is our annual meet-up for members of the site to get together to fly fish, tie flies, camp and share a few stories. We have a lot of fun fishing over some of Pennsylvania's finest streams including the Little J, Penns Creek, Spring Creek, Fishing Creek and plenty more in the region.
The pavilion at Seven Mountains Campground is rented by Paflyfish and is used as a meeting point during the weekend. Plenty of impromptu conversations, fly tying and meet-ups take place at the pavilion. The idea of the weekend is to provide a setting for a casual weekend of fly fishing in a great region of Pennsylvania . As with every year we will be meeting up in the evenings at the pavilion to catch up on the days fishing trips. Friday and Saturday mornings we meet for coffee and plan the day. Often plenty of opportunities for some fly tying and casting lessons being shared.
Video provided by Skybay
This year we are going to make the weekend at little more informal. At this time we are not going going to be planning any special speakers or activities. There is always plenty of impromptu fly tying, casting lessons and support on where to fish. So if you are unsure about the area, do not worry there are plenty of members from the site that can help get you started. Many anglers from the site come up early or stay later after the weekend. Follow the latest details in the forum here.
Friday – May 19th - Sunday, May 21, 2017 • 7:00 am Coffee at the pavilion Saturday and Sunday mornings • 9:00 pm Gathering after the day of fishing Friday and Saturday evening (BYOB)
Please contact Sevens Mountain Campground directly if you would like to stay there that weekend. They have a limited number of cabins and campsites. I encourage you to make your reservations now.
Sevens Mountain Campground 101 Seven Mountains Campground Rd. Spring Mills, PA 16875 (814) 364-1910 (888) 468-2556 Call between 8:30-4:30 M-F
Published by Maurice Chioda [Maurice] on 01/12/2017 (1388 reads)
Through the generosity of one of our Sponsors, Ed Wooton from Harman's Luxury Cabins offered a free weekend getaway to a lucky winner in a raffle. I was the lucky winner and have to say I am glad I entered.
The first order of business was to find some folks to join me and with the short notice it turned out that Slay12345 and my brother in law mblatt, were able to oblige. So on Friday we scrambled to gather our gear and began the journey to WVA.
We traveled in low 20 degree temps on Friday but a warm snap was upon us and by morning it was above freezing with freezing rain coating every surface outside. We arrived to the fireplace running and a comfy temperature inside.
I tied some flies in in the cabins lower floor sitting area in front of the warm fire and flat screen TV showing the Penguin game while Mick stabbed olives in a glass full of vodka I think. Josh showed up late and we met and shared stories of our fishing addictions over a few cocktails.
In the morning on Saturday, Josh, Mick and I enjoyed some hot coffee in our beautiful home for the weekend as we talked ourselves into braving the freezing rain only to stand in 35 degree water after busting out ice. Knowing the air temp was going to increase all day to a high of 55 was on our minds though so we soldiered through the dressing and trip over the icy hill to the river. We found a long riffle, run, pool sequence based on a little research over the past few hours and it proved to have plenty of room for three guys to flyfish. The North Fork of the South Branch of Potomac is a fairly large river that had flows in the 220CFS range for the weekend we were there. It also is rather filthy with fish...Rainbow Trout to be exact.
A short time after breaking free and drifting a few giant ice sheets so we could wade ( a skill we developed in Erie for Steelhead) we quickly got into fish. Rainbows, largely in the 15"-20" range and heavy. I started by swinging a dumbell eye rabbit strip streamer that I had tied the night before. It took a few casts but After a few short strikes I realized I had to slow it down and soon began hooking up, landing about half those that bit while I just hung the streamer in the current and twitched it. Josh was downstream up over his waist in ice water and was hooking up as well using egg patterns. I switched over to dredging eggs and beadheads at that point because of the low landing rate with the streamer. Mick was rewarded with a huge bow for his first fish, immediately after complaining about not getting bit.
The water was c-c-c-cold! Frozen feet and fingers was a price we paid for the frequent hook ups with heavy rainbows. Just looking at Josh made me even colder I think. I don't know how he did it. I guess from the power from his digital camera being out all the time warmed him up. LOL. Every time I looked down there he had a bent rod or was looking in his net. Mick was doing well above me too.
During the day we saw the sun poke through a few times and the ice covered trees rained down on the water providing some interesting views between fish. We hadn't seen the landscape when we arrived the evening before and the morning was very foggy. While the fog lifted the gray fuzzy filter from our view, it revealed sheer rocky cliffs, green moss covered hillsides and Lichen It was beautiful!
Some of our fish were pretty chunky, maybe a few over 20" by a hair, some over 4 lbs I think. It reminded me of steelhead fishing. Especially the need to get out of the crik and walk because I had Block Foot. Around noon we all started walking around the banks warming our feet and apparently chilling our legs as was explained to me by Josh later that day. You see when your feet are freezing and you are standing still, then begin to walk and get the blood moving, that cold blood begins working its way up your legs and makes them cold. Learn something new everyday.
I went back to the cabin for a bite to eat and to try to get the "rest of my blood" to be the same temperature. Josh and Mick followed shortly after and we compared notes and went back out for the last couple hours of daylight. By now the air had warm gusts and there was a more optimistic feeling about climbing down that slippery hill to the stream.
We went to another long pool section and basically repeated the pattern we had in the am. After it got too dark to fish we celebrated our successful day with a toast and went down the road for a bite to eat. We ate at a small "greasy spoon" down the road. (It was my recommendation by the way) I like to experience local examples of Americana even though the food may not meet your expectations. Sometimes you hit a home run, sometimes you foul one off. I'd call this place a bloop single down the line. But the waitress was nice which is probably what got us to first base.
Anyway, we finished the evening with a few libations and a recount of the days events over an Eric Clapton concert featuring Derek Trucks on the boob tube while Josh tied SJ worms. We also discussed fishing the next morning but woke to a steady rain and it seemed prudent to just hit the road after checking out and meeting our host Ed Wooton. Great guy, shared a great deal of information for our return trips, which will likely happen for sure.
So a Big Thumbs UP for Harman's and their accommodations, the fishing and beauty of the area. We learned there are plenty of other sections to fish on the NFSB Potomac too so that was encouraging. The drive home out of that valley in the daylight was impressive as well.
Trip comments in the forum here. Pictures by Josh Slaymaker.