Pennsylvania Fly Fishing Blog
Published by Dave Kile [dkile
] on 12/14/2014 (245 reads)
Winter fly fishing can a be a very rewarding time to get out on the water. The most important thing to an enjoyable day of winter fly fishing is dressing for the weather. After decades of winter activities like hiking, hunting and fishing you would think I would know better, but one of my worst days fly fishing was because I forgot my wool socks. Not so smart with my cotton socks. So let's take a look at the best approach wintering up for a day of fly fishing.
You've heard it before, but I'll say it again. Layers, layers, and more layers. The most important thing are the correct layers.
Alright Captain Obvious we know cotton socks don't work, so the best bet is a two layer approach with your feet. I first put on a thin polyester wicking sock. Overtop of the polyester sock I use a classic ragg merino wool sock. Bigger can be better, but make sure you can still get into your boots comfortably. If your socks are too thick and your feet are too tight in the boot this will not help keep you warm. What you are trying to accomplish is wicking away the perspiration from your feet with the polyester sock to the wool sock.
Legs and lower body
Again layers are the way to go. Keeping your legs and lower body warm while in the water is a non- negotiable. A few years ago I ended up getting a pair of Simms Guide Mid Pants. These pants are made of fleece and provide greater insulation than cotton. I would imagine you can get a decent pair of tapered fleece pants online that will do the trick. I like the tapered pants as they bunch up less at your ankles when you get into your boots. Often I'll wear a pair of light polyester long pants overtop of the fleece pants. A few ways to approach this but I'd avoid the cotton sweat pants.
I generally have a three layer approach to the upper body. I use synthetic polyester base layer for wicking. I like the Under Armour mock longsleves. Offers a good base from the arms to the neck. The middle layers are your main insulators and going to keep you warm. A couple layers of fleece or wool always work for me. I found a great fleece shirt at Walmart for $10 a couple of years ago and is my goto whenever I head outside. A good down vest can work too, but you don't want too much bulk. The number of layers and type is really up to you and the temperatures you expect to encounter.
Finally for your upper body is a good outer shell. The key is something that will keep the wind from getting to you. With the layers you have already put on, a big winter coat is not best step here. A winter windstopper shell that is water repentant is the answer. This is the place I would invest my money. I have an older Simms windstopper jacket that works great and think I spent $200 at the time. With layering this jacket works from October thru April for me. Today I would look at the Simms Bulkley Jacket ($300) or Cabela's Guidewear WindStopper Jacket (on sale for $110, but not water repentant). Specific fly fishing wading jackets are usually cut short in length and make it easier fitting into your waders. Once you are dressed and have your waders on you want warmth, but also upper body mobility too.
The other stuff
Fingerless gloves or mittens are a must. Plenty of good options made of wool, fleece and polyester. Leave the ski gloves for the slopes. Last but not least is a wool hat.
You really should try all this gear on before you go to the stream. Adding a few more layers may cause some difficulties getting onto your fly fishing boots and waders. The holidays don't help either. No sense having all the right gear if you can't fit into your waders. I enjoy my fly fishing backpack this time of year with layers I am taking off or adding on. Finally, even if you don't think you'll need it, bring an extra layer to leave in the car.
Published by Dave Kile [dkile
] on 12/08/2014 (372 reads)
For those adventurous anglers with a penchant for photography our sponsors at Montana Angler are offering a unique opportunity to join photographer Patrick Clayton at their partner lodges in either Argentina or Chile in April for the upcoming 2015 South American fishing season. Patrick is better known as the “Fish Eye Guy” and his dramatic images of wild trout and salmon in their natural environment has captured the imagination of fly fisherman and conservation groups alike.
Patrick’s work has been featured by Patagonia, Field and Stream, The Drake, Orvis, The Flyfish Journal, and Catch Magazine, among many others. His work has also been used extensively by conservation groups across the country including national and local Trout Unlimited chapters, The Nature Conservancy, National Wildlife Federation,American Rivers, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Trout Magazine, California Trout, Western Environmental Law Center, and Western Rivers Conservancy. His photography was also featured in the movie “The Breach“, an exploration of the decline of salmon in the Northwest.
Patrick will be basing out of two Orvis endorsed lodges in Patagonia during the month of April, the Carrileufu River Lodge in Argentina and Magic Waters Patagonia in Chile. He will be at Magic Waters in Chile the weeks of April 4th and 11th and at Carrileufu River Lodge the weeks of April 18th and 25th . Guests can join for as short as one week or as long as two weeks - combining both countries can also be arranged by Montana Angler.
Patagonia is famous for its aquarium clear rivers and will provide the perfect backdrop for Patrick’s work. Guests on the trip will have the opportunity to see how the Fish Eye Guy captures these magical images with remote underwater cameras. Patrick will also be photographing the general landscape as well as images of fishing in action. Guests that join will receive many of Patrick’s images including photos of their own fishing in action! Patrick will also offer tips and instruction for those that want to take their own photography to the next level.
Carrileufu River Lodge
The Carrileufu River Lodge is located on the boundary of the spectacular Los Alceras National Park in Argentina. The rivers in this area are some of the most beautiful in the world. Many of the rivers drain expansive lakes the filter out the sediments which produces incredible water clarity. The Rivadavia is considered by many to be the most beautiful trout river on the planet and is just 30 minutes from the lodge in the National Park. Guests will enjoy a variety of fly fishing experiences including float trips on legendary rivers, wading spring creeks and large lakes with massive trout. There is also an option to extend the trip with a wilderness 3 day float camping trip.
Magic Waters Patagonia Lodge
If you are looking for the ultimate fishing variety in one of the world’s most beautiful but yet lightly fished regions then look no further than the Magic Waters Patagonia Lodge in Chile. The fishing out of Magic Waters is truly spectacular – plan on fishing a different water on each day of the trip – mostly with huge dry flies! The waters include large gin clear rivers, small spring creeks, wilderness streams and dramatic glacial lakes. This smaller lodge provides a wonderful gateway into the rich Patagonian culture of Southern Chile.
Please contact Brian McGeehan if you are interested in joining this unique experience with Patrick or if you have any questions about the trip. Montana Angler offers domestic fly fishing trips in Montana and Yellowstone National Park as well as international trips to Argentina, Chile and the Bahamas.
Patrick Clayton's work can also be viewed at his website and facebook pages:
Published by Dave Kile [dkile
] on 12/01/2014 (506 reads)
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.
Join the conversation about this in the forum here
Published by Dave Kile [dkile
] on 11/18/2014 (749 reads)
Who would of guessed pink would be the favorite color for the new Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s (PFBC) 2015 fishing license button?
There were almost 5,000 votes cast online this fall, and by a significant number decided that pink was the new favorite color. I guess if the NFL can sport some pink shoes an angler show off a pink button. It turns out teal and green were in the hunt.
“Once again this year, our anglers have voted and told us what color they would like to have for the 2015 button,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. “With nearly 35 percent of the votes, pink was the favorite among the seven available colors.”
Buttons go on sale December 1 and are available for $5 each. They can be purchased through the PFBC's online store (The Outdoor Shop), PFBC regional offices, and through the network of license issuing agents.
More details can be found at the PFBC website.
Published by Dave Kile [dkile
] on 11/05/2014 (1358 reads)
I know I post a lot of Hank's Youtube video's, but compared to talking about wind knots they are pretty funny. So here is the trailer to Hanks' new film, "Hank Patterson's Reel Montana Adventure" and some info on how you could be the talk of your town by hosting a screening of your own.
Gonna have to look into hosting a screening for the Paflyfish Jam!
Snap It! -Hank