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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 01/21/2018 (6979 reads)
by Guest: George Daniel

There are no absolutes in fly fishing and that’s why I refer to this approach as a theory. While this “theory” produces good results, there will be times you will have to adjust your way of thinking as there are no absolutes in fly fishing. What I’m referring to is trying to get inside the mind of a wintertime feeding trout. Think about it, wintertime is a period when these cold blooded critter’s feeding habits slow down as water temperatures drop. In many river systems, trout begin to drop back into the slower moving bodies of water in an effort to expend less energy. Although their metabolisms may slow down, feeding is still on their mind and the wintertime can be the right time for the angler to venture out to the river. Often the most popular sections are void of anglers and I’ve had several days where the action would rival a May sulphur hatch. A wintertime feeding trout may not always mirror its springtime foraging behavior, but trout still need to eat and a larger presentation may be the ticket. Sometimes all trout need is a little encouragement so I often call upon larger patterns to create that desire.

winter troutBy larger, I’m referring to nymph patterns as large as #4 and small as a #10. Yes that big-even on spring and limestone streams. Think about this, trout feel sluggish and less motivated to continuously chase small food items down during these cold winter months. Instead, it seems logical that trout would be willing to spend less energy chasing down larger food items. Move less and obtain more calories! Large stonefly, caddis, egg and worm patterns are my usual wintertime suspects. Nymphing is normally my first choice as I can slowly present the flies. Streamer tactics also work well but only when trout are feeling up to the chase. The idea is to present a pattern that can fulfill a trout’s hunger with only one energy surge. In many ways, this relates to human wintertime eating behaviors.

During the warmer months I find myself constantly snacking throughout the day-mostly due to my high level of physical activity (Fishing, playing with my kids, my daily workout regiment and so on). However, I snack far less during the colder winter months as I expend less physical energy (less daylight=less playtime). This theory also plays out well for me when targeting trout during extreme cold weather conditions. Trout may indeed feed less during the winter but I believe they become more opportunistic foragers. Many of the live bait fishers I stay in contact with have their greatest results fishing larger baits (sculpins, night crawlers, and live crayfish) in the slower moving waters during the winter months.

The moral of the story is you still need to be dynamic-change when necessary but don’t be afraid to present larger than average patterns during the wintertime. I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the results.


George DanielsGeorge Daniel is assistant manager at TCO Fly Shop, in State College, PA. He travels the country conducting fly-fishing clinics for various groups and organizations. George is a former member and current Head Coach of Fly Fishing Team USA. Some of his accomplishments include being a two time national fly fishing champion, won The Fly Fishing Masters, and ranked as high as fifth in the World along with other competitive achievements. George is currently working on his first book with Stackpole Book and will be available January 2012. The title of the book will be “Dynamic Nymphing.” He lives near Lamar, Pennsylvania. If you want to keep up with George in the Internet you can follow him on his Facebook page here.






Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 01/01/2018 (695 reads)
So tell us about the Open Air Project?
Steve Sunderland and I decided one day to start a podcast about hunting, fishing, and the outdoors. The vision for The Open Air project was to share with people the stories of us and our guests, all while educating everyone in the process. We both feel that learning is a never ending journey, one that we intend to share with our audience. If we can learn, meet unique people, and make few friends along the way, we feel that we've accomplished our goals.

Coty SoultWho is your audience?

Our audience is anyone that enjoys the outdoors and nature. We'll cover topics that vary from hunting, fishing, hiking, backpacking, camping, canoeing, and really anything in between. You may tune in one day and hear about a topic that you're deeply involved with and have a true passion for learning about the intricacies of. The next episode may be something that you've always had an interest in but maybe not had the time to learn about or even experience. We also do a small segment about craft beer at the end of every show, and have had some good feedback about that.

What got you interested in starting the Open Air Project?
I love listening to podcasts, and thought it'd be cool to give it a shot. It's also a great opportunity to get together with some cool people, hear some stories, and drink a couple beers.

What has been the biggest surprise for you in taking on this effort?
The biggest surprise has to be how intricate the process was to setup. I thought we would just record some stuff, submit it to iTunes, and that would be that. That was hardly the case. I had to learn a lot about building a website, RSS feeds, producing good sound quality, hosting media files, and much more. I enjoy a challenge, so in the end it ended up being a good surprise.

What are your plans for 2018?
2018 is going to be a great year for The Open Air Project. We have some great guests lined up already for the upcoming year, and we'll also be producing some video gear reviews. One of our other goals for the year is to record as much footage as we can of all of our adventures. We have a fishing trip to Montana planned, and a hunting trip to Ohio that we hope to produce video content from.

What are your biggest outdoor interests?
My current outdoor interests include fly-fishing, hunting, camping, canoeing, hiking, and just being in the woods. In my lifetime my hobbies have varied depending on the area I've lived in but have always involved the outdoors. Some of those include, snowboarding, surfing, and whitewater canoeing.

Where are your places on your bucket list?
Man, that's a great question. I've been fortunate to be able to cross off a ton of my traveling bucket list places in the last few years, but just like anyone else I have ton more places that I'd like to go and see. I'll just list the ones that would have to do with hunting and fishing for the purposes of this article. Tops on my list would probably include New Zealand, Alaska, Colorado, and British Columbia.

How did you get started into fly fishing?
I started fly-fishing relatively late in life. I have a good friend that invited me on an annual trip to Pine Creek, and everyone there fly fished so I borrowed a rod every year and went with them. After about three years of doing this I decided to give it a real try.

Well, when I get into something I don't typically just dip my toes in. I try to learn as much as I can as fast as I can. I have a competitive side to me, and I don't necessarily mean with other people, but with myself. I want to be good at whatever I do. That's just my personality and I'll typically push myself pretty hard to be better. With fly-fishing, I feel there are three main ways to do that.

First is to do research, and that's how I found Paflyfish, and I feel that it's the best place on the internet to learn about fly-fishing.

Second, is by learning from others. A mentor can really cut the learning curve. Paflyfish helped me there also, because I was able to meet some great people that were willing to share everything that they knew. This also led me to some great friends that I shared some amazing moments with.

Last and what I feel is the most important is time on the water. It's really that simple. You can talk about fishing all you want but to really understand it you need to be there, and do it as much as you possibly can.

What are your favorite areas of Pennsylvania to hunt and fish?
My favorite places to hunt in PA are right where I live here in the Clearfield area. I can be on some of the best public hunting land in the state within 10 miles, and there's more land than someone could hunt in a lifetime. Our game commission doesn't get the credit they deserve for not only providing us with great places to hunt, but also (although some would disagree) they've made what I believe are some great decisions within the last 20 years to improve the overall health of our forests.

As for fishing, it would have to be the central part of the state. Again, I'm blessed here also, as I can be on the Little J or Spring Creek within 30-40 minutes. this has allowed me to get to to know these streams intimately, and if you combine those with Penns Creek, and Big Fishing Creek, I'm not sure there's a better area for fishing on the east coast, especially come May.

Where can people find you and the podcast?
You can find me on Paflyfish I check in there almost daily, and am more than willing to answer any PM's, but you can find the podcast in the links below. I think one of the coolest things is that if you own an Amazon Echo (Alexa) you can tell her to "play the latest episode of The Open Air Project on Tunein Radio" and it starts to play.

Website: http://theopenairproject.com
iTunes: The Open Air Project Coty Soult & Steve Sunderland
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/The-Open-Air-Project-993749137422734/
Stitcher: The Open Air Project
Tunein Radio: https://tunein.com/radio/The-Open-Air-Project-p1037344/
Twitter: The Open Air Project (@openairproject) | Twitter
Instagram: Coty Soult (@theopenairproject) • Instagram photos and videos

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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 12/25/2017 (24099 reads)
Fly Fishing Getting started


Paflyfish is a popular spot for fly fishing anglers in the region for many good reasons. There are all sorts of great conversations and information shared in the forums on a host of different topics. We are very fortunate to have so many folks not only provide information online in the forums, but help out beginners at clinics and instructional jamborees. Also there are some darn smart anglers on the site coming from all walks of life. The site is filled with thousands of great post and threads that offer any angler any opportunity to expand their fly fishing opportunities. This section will be a dynamic page for beginners to find an index of information to get started with fly fishing. As relevant blog posts and threads are collected they will be added for quick and easy topics.

Take the Journey

Types of Trout

Trout Food
Trout Food Overview
The Mayfly Stages of Life 101
Mayfly Sex Identification 102
The Caddisflies
Stoneflies
Green Drakes: May Madness
Meet the Hendricksons

Gear
What Fly Rod and Fly Reel to get?
A Dozen Top Flies
Knots and the DBK
Trip Packing

Seasonal Information
Getting Ready For Fall Fly Fishing
Conquer the Cold: The theory of bigger being sometimes better
Getting out for some fall fly fishing
Try Some Winter Fly Fishing
How to Dress for Winter Fly Fishing

Forums
Beginners Forum
Fly Fishing Locations
Fly Tying
Stream Reports

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission
PFBC Map Gallery
PFBC Comments and Feedback
Buy a PA Fishing License

Additional Online Information
Fly Fishing Hatch Chart
USGS Real-Time Streamflow Data & Mobile
Troutnut.com
Report a spill
  Send article

Published by Maurice Chioda [Maurice] on 11/30/2017 (1577 reads)
Fly fishing during the winter can be an enjoyable endeavor if you put some effort into finding where the wily trout feed during the cold water temperatures. An important “hatch” in winter is that of the early black and brown stoneflies.

Stoneflies both little and large are the canary in the coal mine for water quality. They are one of the first species to disappear on impaired streams. They thrive as nymphs in highly oxygenated fast moving waters like rapids or heavy riffles and often where the thick moss grows on the rocks. I presume this helps them keep their footing while foraging on the bottom in the fast water. This is where I always find them and where I look for them to be effective when fishing larger freestone streams.

"Little Winter Stones" Illustration by Dave Weaver
"Little Winter Stones" Illustration by Dave Weaver


Limestone spring creeks are slow moving with low gradient and few if any riffles over their short length. This is why you don’t see them in great numbers there. Larger freestone streams are more likely to get too warm in summer and are not great fall or winter trout streams, unless they receive a fall stocking or have a limestone spring influence (i.e. Penns Creek).

So where you find little black stonefly "hatches" to be prolific you likely are not fishing because they are mainly stocked trout streams. And few are stocked in fall or winter after the summer "trout drought."

Their onstream behavior is an egg laying, more than a mating ritual or traditional hatch. That's why they are seen as solitary, usually downstream and across courses where the fly daps the water or skitters. If you observe their behavior and how the fish take them it’s pretty easy to mimmick but it is not a typical mayfly behavior to be sure. But it is similar to caddis fly egg laying.

This hatch is more like fishing a streamer or a wetfly that doesn't sink. I really enjoy this hatch and fish it with a #16 black bodied Henryville special with a Z-lon wing. Sometimes I trail a black bodied soft hackle on a dead drift while waiting for the initial reaction strike and then I slowly lift and drop the rod tip as the fly swings across the slower waters where the stoneflies lay their eggs. Most of the strikes come on the swing to be sure.

If you see half a dozen at a time in the air and hitting the water at a time during a still, sunny period of the day, you've hit it right.

There are several stonefly species that hatch in the winter/early spring. The tiny winter black / snowflies, aka needle flies that are smaller and hatch in the middle of winter are a good example. You can often see them crawling on the banks in the snow.

Usually a little later in the winter to early spring, the early brown and black stoneflies hatch. They are a little larger.

I have had little success fishing the tiny winter blacks vs the early brown and black (nymph or dry). The main reason, in my opinion, is the lower water temps in mid winter vs. late winter when the days are longer and temps warmer. But to be sure, often the best results come on sunny, snowy days with temps above 45 degrees, regardless of the water temp.

So find a big freestone stream with a fall/winter stocking of brown trout (more likely to rise) and on a warm sunny day in the winter/late winter, January through March. Swing ‘em if ya got ‘em.

Published by Tom C. [afishinado] on 11/26/2017 (1503 reads)
There are quite a few beginners on the board so I thought I would post a little on how I approach a day on the stream. I would be very interested to read about how others on the board approach a day of FLy Fishing.

_DSF0909


The success or failure of a day on the stream (although no day on the stream is really a failure…unless you drown I guess) is often determined before you even leave home. I check flows and temps on the USGS; conditions can differ in certain areas and streams. For example, if the water is high or low, perhaps a more stable stream like a limestoner would be a better choice. I also check the weather and find out the temperature high and low, cloud cover or sun, and rainfall info. I include all this info to make my decision on where to fish.

In addition, If I’m planning to fish an ATW, I will check of the PFBC site for stocking info. Actually, I’m not really a white truck chaser, quite the opposite. I try to avoid freshly stocked fish because I hate the crowds they attract, and I really don’t like fishing for freshly stocked fish, but that’s just me. Some may even use the Internet to find some hotspots (believe it or not!). IMO, posting a good report about a certain stream does attract anglers, especially in the short term. Again, I often do the opposite, if the word is out on hot fishing on a certain stream, I’ll often try to guess where the least amount of pressure is, and choose accordingly. Hatch info on the Internet is useful though. Even if the reports are from a different stream, I can “interpolate” and guess what’s hatching on some streams I know.

Once I pick where I want to fish, if it’s not an all-day trip, my next decision is when to fish; morning, afternoon or evening? As a general rule, in the winter the warmest time of day (afternoon) is usually the best, and in the summer the coolest (early am or pm) is usually best. Also I think about the hatches, for example with Hendrickson’s, I want to be on the stream mid-morning to early afternoon, but if sulphurs are hatching, I would plan a late-afternoon/evening trip, etc.

Okay you make your decision on the stream to fish based on flow, temp, weather, hatches, etc. and you’re there. Now what? I usually cruise around the stream in my truck a bit to check out the different parking areas and sections to evaluate stream conditions, fishing pressure, rising fish, etc., and I pick a spot based on what I’ve found.

_CDK1236


It’s best to go to the stream bank before you rig up and decide what would be best to start with. Of course, if there’s rising fish, I would try to determine what insect is hatching and how/where the fish are taking it. Ideally I would capture an insect first. If I can’t capture one, I’ll at least try to ID the type of insect (mayfly, caddisfly, stonefly, midge) and estimate the size and color. Often I will tie on a dry with an emerger, pupa or unweighted nymph on a dropper to see what they are taking. I will continue to try to capture an insect with my little insect net while I’m fishing. I will change flies and presentations until I hit it right.

In non-hatch situations you must “prospect” to find the fish. Some FFers start with streamers first to find fish. It is a good way to locate fish, but since it’s my least favorite type of fishing, I will nymph first in non-hatch situations. I usually will try two or three nymphs or a nymph(s) and a wet. I most often will tie on a weighted generic nymph like a Hares Ear or a Phesant Tail nymph along with a nymph that matches what should be hatching in the stream. I will usually stick with the generic pattern and change off the other fly or flies until I find the fly combo that works.

Also, it is important to fish in different types of water to try to hone in on where the fish are, or at least where the feeding fish are located. I will probe the riffs, runs, tails and heads of pools, deep pools. I use all types of nymphing methods depending on the water: euro, high-sticking, indies, etc. If I begin to catch fish in a certain water-type, I try to seek out similar spots and concentrate on them. If fish begin rising, I will go to my hatch-matching mode as described earlier.

If nothing is happening after fishing through all types of water with nymphs, I may switch over the streamer tactics or wet flies to cover a lot of water and find fish. As mentioned earlier, it’s a great way to locate fish. Also, there are times where dries work well even when nothing is rising. A dry dropper can be a deadly combo especially in low flows. In addition, small brook trout streams are one of the few places where I will start the day (and usually end the day) using dries to prospect.

Sometimes fish are feeding, but not on the surface. Signs of this are fish flashing or seeing a fish holding and feeding in mid depth areas. In this case I will try wet flies or emergers and drift, swing or retrieve it to get some strikes.

_CDK9712-Edit


In a nutshell, try fishing all types of water, at all depths (including on top) with different types of flies and presentations until you begin catching fish. Just remember there are no magic flies or techniques, and often many will work.

Not long ago I fished the Breeches. As usual, there were quite a few anglers on the stream. I worked my way downstream and caught fish regularly using a nymph rig. A guy working behind me was catching fish stripping a bugger, and the guy below me was catching fish on midges. Some days a lot of things work, while other days, nothing seems to work. I keep trying different stuff in different spots until I either catch fish, it’s too dark to see, or my wife calls to find out where the heck I’m at!




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