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Pennsylvania Fly Fishing Blog
Published by David Weaver [Fishidiot] on 03/22/2015 (247 reads)
Oldgeorge1

Part of the lore of fly fishing in Pennsylvania, and the Cumberland Valley in particular, revolves around stories of big fish, usually giant brown trout. Of course this comes as no surprise to fishermen, nevertheless stories of great fish, caught and got away, serve to set the stage for what might happen every time we visit Letort or some other famous stream. Among these famous fish stories, perhaps the best known is the story of “Old George” as recounted by famed Cumberland Valley fly fisher and fly tying innovator Ed Shenk (think “Letort Cricket” and other patterns). “Old George” was the name Ed gave to a very large trout he pursued for over a year in the upper Letort in the early 1960s. The fish dwarfed other browns in the same pool that were themselves over twenty inches. Ed carefully observed this particular fish and patterned its daily comings and goings (not surprisingly, Old George came out in the evening and returned to cover early in the morning) and described the great fish as being very light colored. He saw, hooked, and lost the fish multiple times. Finally, he caught the brown on a streamer fly in 1964. Old George taped just over 27 inches and weighed eight pounds. In a final twist in the story, Ed ShenkOld George turned out to be a female. The story of Old George went on to become part of the lore of Pennsylvania fly fishing. Ed recounts the full story of Old George in the final chapter of his book Fly Rod Trouting.

On occasion, I’ll paint portraits of specific fish caught by anglers and using an old faded color photo and Ed’s description of the fish, it was my pleasure to paint a life sized image of Old George. This painting was presented recently as a gift to Ed at the 2015 Limestoner banquet held by Cumberland Valley Trout Unlimited. Ed was the guest of honor at this year’s banquet. It was a privilege to see Ed Shenk reconnect with Old George after the passing of half a century.


Photograph by Bill Strockbine

Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 03/18/2015 (370 reads)
Great video sharing some of the aquatic insects available to trout during the early season in Pennsylvania and the Northeast region. A bonus for you new getting started and expanding your fly tying with some samples of the aquatic insects.

Early Season Sampler March 2015 by Tightline Productions



Big fan of all of videos by Tightline Productions and thanks to billfrech for finding this on. Follow along with the post in the forum.


Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 03/16/2015 (216 reads)
PFBC Rule Making Changes to Delayed Harvest Streams - Action Today
This past January the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) proposed significant rulemaking changes to the current Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only (DHALO) waters. The changes provide conditions for anglers to use bait and moved harvest period up to three weeks. More details

The full rule making proposal PDF.

In a recent poll on Paflyfish, 89% of anglers do not approve of these changes.

The PA Council of Trout Unlimited’s Position Statement offers similar sentiment on the issue:
"We believe that the old saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” is applicable to what the Commission is proposing here. DHALO areas are most assuredly utilized by more than 2.2% of the licensed trout anglers in Pennsylvania, and therefore that same small percentage of our stocked trout waters needs to be preserved in their present form for those anglers who savor the opportunity to use lures or flies in an environment that sets them apart from bait fisherman.

While we strongly believe in encouraging more youth to become engaged in the sport of fishing, we don’t see this proposal as a means to engage our youth in learning about sound conservation measures in general, and more specifically about trout and the environment in which they live."

The proposed rulemaking changes remove angling opportunities for some the most passionate and dedicated citizens who enjoy the sport in the Commonwealth. Over 50 streams are in the DHALO program and include: West Valley Creek, Oil Creek, Neshannock Creek, Black Moshannon Creek, First Fork Sinnemahoning Creek, Pine Creek, Quittapahilla Creek, Laurel Hill Creek and Tulpehocken Creek.

If these changes are passed, fundamentally the PFBC will be removing the DHALO projects as we know them today. Your voice is very important! Please let the PFBC know you are opposed to the changes with a written letter or comment online here.

Be clear in commenting that you are opposed to the rulemaking changes with the Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only waters.

The official comment period is from March 14, 2015 - May 13, 2014. Contact them today.

After you contact the PFBC share your comments in the forum here.

Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 03/16/2015 (2481 reads)
The Pennsylvania Board of Fish and Boat (PFBC) Commissioners proposed major changes to the existing delayed-harvest-artificial-lures-only (DHALO) stream sections when they met on January 21-22. Anglers who enjoy the special regulation waters will find trout harvested earlier and be sharing these streams with some who will be able to fish live bait year round if these changes go through January 1, 2016.

First Fork Sinnemahoning CreekThe current regulations for DHALO waters provide year-round trout fishing opportunities using only flies and artificial lures such as spinners. No bait is allowed. Anglers may harvest fish between June 15 and Labor Day with a limit of three fish a day greater than 9". Less than 96 miles of water and 55 streams make up the DHALO regulations that include stream sections on West Valley Creek, Oil Creek, Neshannock Creek, Black Moshannon Creek, First Fork Sinnemahoning Creek, Pine Creek, Quittapahilla Creek, Laurel Hill Creek and Tulpehocken Creek.

The newly proposed rule changes by board members take the special regulation program in a very different direction. Changes for the DHALO move up the start of the delayed harvest period three weeks to the Saturday before Memorial Day. The daily limit would be set to three fish greater than 7". Bait fishing would be permitted during the new harvest period for all anglers. Finally, anglers 16 and younger would be able to fish with bait year-round.

The PFBC hopes to provide more opportunities for anglers and enhance the fishing experience with these changes. “By expanding the harvest period and allowing the use of bait, we can increase angler success while improving the use of the trout before they are lost to natural mortality in the warmer summer months,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway.

Pennsylvania contains over 85,000 miles of streams and rivers. The PFBC and cooperative nurseries stock over 4,100,000 trout in approximately 735 streams and numerous lakes across the state. The DHALO projects are made up of 55 streams that on average cover about 1.6 miles of water. All DHALO streams are subsections of approved trout waters open to public fishing and stocked for all anglers in the Commonwealth.

Back in 2004 then Commissioner President Samuel M. Concilla of Erie County shared his views at a board meeting about the DHALO regulations as they are established today, "I think Delayed Harvest is one of the best programs developed by the commission. It offers a lot of angling opportunities."

Over ten years later many anglers still agree and are not in favor of the proposed changes. "The new proposal is not the right approach and I don't see how harvesting more fish sooner will make fishing a better experience on these streams" shared Ron Kolman of Indiana County, Pennsylvania.

Many of the DHALO streams contain hold-over trout during the summer and are available for another fishing opportunity by anglers in the fall. This is important to anglers with most fall stockings having been eliminated. Anglers fishing in DHALO streams with flies and artificial lures are able to catch and release a trout multiple times. Early harvesting and bait fishing clean out a project much more quickly.

"Bait fishing mortality is greater than the use of artificial lures. Even in the Delayed Harvest period, anglers with bait will likely be killing trout through their intent to catch and release further reducing the angling opportunities for those willing to abide by the original regulation," offers Maurice Chioda of York County.

In addition, Trout Unlimited worked hard with the PFBC to establish and encourage landowners to provide access for anglers to these special project waters based on the current regulations. Will these landowners still provide the same access if the regulations are changed?

Memorial Day weekend is considered by many anglers as the top weekend for fly fishing and continues for several weeks afterwards. Pennsylvania offers some of the most premier fly fishing destinations on the east coast, which includes many of these special regulation streams. Tourists travel to the state to enjoy these unique (fly fishing) waters through the late spring and summer. With limited budgets, will tourist still want to come to streams already harvested or go to other more appealing destinations in the west or north?

Thoughts and comments can be shared in the Paflyfish forum. Directing comments to state officials is even more important.

The proposed changes will be published as a notice of proposed rulemaking in the PA Bulletin for a 60-day public comment period. If adopted on a final rulemaking, the amendments would take effect on January 1, 2016.

Interested persons are encouraged to submit written comments, objections or suggestions about the proposed rulemaking to the PFBC Executive Director John Arway, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, P.O. Box 67000, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000.

Anglers are encouraged to contact their Pennsylvania State Representatives. Written letters are best and Representatives can be found at the Pennsylvania House of Representatives website.


Update 3/16/2015
The comment period is now officially open for the proposed Amendments to Chapter 65.6, Title 58, Part II. The official comment period is from March 14, 2015 - May 14, 2014. I am very much opposed to this proposal, so is the Pennsylvania TU and 89% of the members on this site. Please let the PFBC know you are opposed to the changes with a letter or online here.


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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 03/02/2015 (835 reads)
While at the Fly Fishing Show in Somerset I met up with site member Kevin "Fisherboy3" Craig when he was over at Ben Turpin's booth. After catching up a little Kevin and Ben, they shared with me a recent endeavor that Ben started helping anglers learn how to improve their fly tying skills.



Ben is an accomplished guide and rod builder covering much of New Jersey, Central and Eastern Pennsylvania. He shares a lot of experience and knowledge bringing this fly tying website together.

The Whip Finish Industries website provides an opportunity for fly fishing anglers to learn through his step by step videos on how to tie some of the most important flies for the region. The videos on the site cover dozens of different types caddis, sculpins, nymphs, stone flies, scuds, midges, mayflies and other patterns.

There are plenty of free lessons and tips demonstrated by Ben for anyone to check out and get started. Ben provides a members only section with some more of the advanced flies for only $10.00 a month. Every month new patterns are added.

What really sets the site apart for many is the option to get the correct supplies like hooks and materials that are used in the video directly from the site. So whatever pattern Ben is tying in the video you can get those identical products. Also available is all the tying tools to get you started.

If you have been thinking about starting into fly tying or just looking to advance you skills check, out the Whip Finish Industries website or YouTube Channel.




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