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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 04/20/2015 (5315 reads)
A mayfly hatch is the grand finale in the year long seasonal play that returns annually for trout and anglers.

MayFly StagesThis show begins the previous season with mature female mayflies, called spinners, laying their eggs on the surface of the water(video). The eggs shortly hatch into small larvae and quickly change into nymphs.

The nymph phase of the mayfly is the longest and will last just about one year. Different species of mayflies can be found in different parts of a stream. Some prefer the faster water and rocks, while others are only found at the end of pools in deep mud. During this time a nymph will grow and molt regularly. Molting is when the mayfly breaks out of it's old skin and a larger one is exposed underneath to protect it during the next growth cycle. During the final molting these leftover soft shells are referred to as shucks.

The emergence stage out of the water can be a quick and dangerous time for these transitional nymphs. Trout can find and aggressively feed on these insects that normally may be hiding or burrowing at the bottom of a stream. Once ready to leave the water the hatch begins. The emerger swims to the surface film molts their skins and expose there wings.

Green Drake Spinner aka Coffin FlyThe cloudy, grayish wings they emerge with give them there name: dun. The duns sit on top of the water and prepare its wings for flight. On top of the film of a stream they ready their wings for flight. This can take seconds or minutes depending how fast the mayfly can take flight. During this phase, mayflies often can been seen in great numbers sailing down the stream with trout striking on an easy food source. Once the dun escapes the water, it will head for the trees for several days.

While maturation occurs during this stage a dun may molt several more times until it becomes a spinner (Green Drake spinner aka Coffin Fly pictured left). As spinners they have no mouths to feed, male and female mayflies will seek each other out only to mate. The females will quickly lay her eggs back at the water starting the cycle over again.

The cycle ends when the dead and dying mayflies drop to the stream. The spent wing spinner is the one final opportunity for tout to feed on the last stage of this great yearlong production provided by the mayfly.

To learn and discuss more about mayflies on the site head over to the Hatch and Entomology Forum. Beginners can follow along and learn more in the Beginners Forum.

A great online site to follow and get deep into the latin is Troutnut and his Aquatic Insects of our Trout Streams. A must read!!







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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 04/13/2015 (3753 reads)
There are thousands of streams across the region where wild trout naturally reproduce as a result of ideal water conditions and the availability of food. With countless years of evolution behind them, trout have successfully learned to eat a wide variety of food sources. Even then for the trout, everything from geology to pollution influences what kind of trout food prevails in each stream. Stocked trout are no exception to this and within days when they are placed into streams instincts quickly kick in for them to key in on naturally occurring trout food.

These different types of trout foods may not only be specific to a stream, but seasonal as well. Trout are limited to what is presented to them much like many animals in the wild. Typically spring and summer offer a great abundance of food choices. Winter may only provide limited food supplies. Trout adapt to the cold water by naturally reducing their metabolisms.

Familiarity with the different food sources is one of the fundamentals of successful fly fishing. Let's have an overview of these trout foods.

March Brown Mayfly
March Brown - Maccaffertium vicarium

Aquatic Insects - mayflies (Ephemeroptera), caddisflies (Trichoptera), midges (Diptera), and stoneflies (Plecoptera)
For many, fly fishing is centered around the life cycle of aquatic insects as much as it is the trout's themselves. Many anglers unwittingly become pretty good entomologist in pursuit of fly fishing. These insects are a significant part of any trouts diet throughout the year. For most aquatic insects they live almost 98% of their lives in the water. Trout will feed on these bugs during all times of the insects life cycle. Most notably trout will key in on active or passing nymphs in the water. For a brief period at the end these insect's life they hatch from the water to mate, lay eggs and die.

For many fly fishing anglers, mayflies are the belle of the ball and can be found hatching in significant numbers from April thru July. They are found during all times of the year, but just more sporadically. Under the correct conditions, a few streams even have small occasional hatches of blue-winged olives (BWO) in the dead of winter.

Midges, stoneflies and caddisflies are very common in streams and have similar life cycles. Specific behavior with all these insects can vary greatly beyond the living, molting, emerging, mating and dying cycle. Certain types of caddis live under rocks with little wooden stick homes protecting them, while some mayflies burrow deep in the muddy ends of pools rarely being seen until they emerge. There is a lot of diversity and behavior between these insects that should be understood.

Fish - small trout, minnows and sculpins
A wide variety of small fish can be considered part of a trout's diet. There are many types of smaller fish including young trout, darters, minnows and sculpins that are trout favorites. Habitat and water conditions influence which type of small fish patterns are the most successful.

Terrestrials- ants, beetles, grasshoppers and caterpillars
These are all those bugs that don't live in the water, but can be found by late spring thru the fall landing in the water as trout food. About any insect that can fall off the banks or out of a tree can find itself in trouble with actively feeding trout. I have seen trout gorge themselves on caterpillars falling out of trees in June, but also quietly picking off ants by the edge of a stream in September. Out west grasshoppers are all the action during late July and August.

crayfish
crayfish

Crustaceans (Crustacea)- crayfish , freshwater shrimp and scuds
While crayfish are very common, scuds and shrimp are more often found in nutrient rich streams with abundant plant life in limestone fed waters. Scuds and shrimp need this type of habitat to survive. In limestone streams trout can be seen nosing into the weed beds feeding on these scuds. Crayfish can thrive pretty well in streams with just rocks and modest bottom structure.

Mammals - mice and other small rodents.
Trout can be pretty aggressive predators. On some streams, larger trout can key in on a mouse swimming across a stream that they can easily prey on. Anglers will typically try this approach in the evening since rodents are generally nocturnal creatures.

Fish eggs
Trout and other fish deposit eggs during their spawning seasons. Trout will commonly follow up behind these spawning fish and take advantage of this opportunity to get an easy meal. Sucker fish spawn in late winter and very early spring. Rainbow trout spawn in the spring, with brook and brown trout spawning in the fall.

Beginners can follow along and learn more in the Beginners Forum.



Online Resources
FlyFisherman - What trout eat

Other Suggested Books
Handbook Of Hatches: Introductory Guide to the Foods Trout Eat & the Most Effective Flies to Match Them by Dave Hughes

Trout and Their Food: A Compact Guide for Fly Fishers by Dave Whitlock







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Published by Maurice Chioda [Maurice] on 04/07/2015 (483 reads)
Centerpins Permitted on C&R FFO Areas?

Resized ImageThis past January the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) Commissioners were asked to expand opportunities for anglers across the state. A New Rule Making Proposal #264 just hit the PF&BC page.

It is named the Simplification and Consolidation of Regulations.

Many of the 9 major item categories involve mundane Summary Book Changes to language, semantics on baitfish, size, lake regulations, elimination of the WBTEP program, etc. But one change in particular may be of interest to followers of this page.

#8
In § 65.14, {C&R FFO Areas} the Commission proposes that the reference to single hooks be removed to clarify that multiple hooks are permitted. The Commission also proposes that the reference to “flyline with a maximum of 18 feet in leader material or monofilament line attached” be removed to eliminate a gray area regarding center-pinning techniques, which is becoming a popular technique to fish nymphs and utilizes a much longer leader.
To eliminate confusion and having to name or describe all prohibited lures and substances, the Commission further proposes deleting the list of prohibited items in favor of naming the permitted lures and substances only.

View the whole proposal Here.

What are your thoughts on letting Centerpinning into FFO areas? This regulation change would suggests that Centerpin fishing is fly fishing. Fly fishing it the act of delivering the terminal fly using the weight of the line and leader to carry it. Centerpinning uses the weight of terminal tackle to fling the bait upstream.

The PF&BC have literally rewritten the definition of fly fishing with this one. We feel this is an unnecessary change to the Fly Fishing Only regulation and diminishes the integrity of fly fishing as a form of fishing. We clearly need to let our voices be heard. We have been encouraged to comment on this proposal so send a comment today. Please let the PFBC know you are opposed to the changes with a written letter or comment online.

...While increasing the length of the leader material to allow for Euro-nymphing is a reasonable change, eliminating Flyline from fly fishing areas is clearly a mistake and must be kept in the regulation to maintain the integrity of fly fishing.

Comment period is April 4 - May 4. Comment Here.

Letters: PFBC Executive Director John Arway, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, P.O. Box 67000, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000.
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Published by Maurice Chioda [Maurice] on 03/30/2015 (4896 reads)
flyfishing knots

While sharing some time on the water the other day with Dave Kile (dkile) I experienced what seems to happen often during a decent hatch with some wind, you guessed it, a wind knot! Or as Lefty Kreh calls them, bad casting knots. Everyone gets them now and then especially when combining a breeze, long leaders and fine tippets. Or for the chuck and duck crowd, of which I am often a member, weight and multiple flies. So as Dave stands upstream pondering my delay to cast to a rising fish, he asks, what’s the problem Einstein? I said I have a wind knot, and it reminded me of a tip I learned many years ago.

Back in the 80’s we were on a bus trip to the Breeches from the ‘burg and there was a video on the tube for those not taking the time to sleep. Being full of interest in sponging any and all info I could at the time, one tip in the video stuck with me. Terminal knot tying efficiency. Think about it, every time we tie on a new piece of tippet, a new fly, etc., we are out of the game. It stands to reason that the faster you can tie on a fly (improved clinch knot in my case) or a new piece of tippet (double surgeons knot), the quicker you can begin flogging the water again.

The video stressed the need to get your knots down to 15 seconds each. Practice, practice, practice until you can meet that goal. This will put your fly change or tippet adjustments into under one minute if you include the spooling off tippet, picking out a new and returning the old flies. If you find yourself taking 5-10 minutes each to accomplish that task, you could likely be wasting an hour or more tying frustrating knots. Practicing on stream is KNOT efficient! (pun intended)Now it’s not a race, and I don’t suggest it to be. But it is practical to be as efficient as possible when enjoying your streamside time. Plus, when a hatch is on, the fish and bugs don’t wait until you re-tie, it goes on as scheduled, often it seems to go faster as the trouts plop, plop, plop all around you.

So do yourself a favor by following these few tips;
• Get your knots down to 15 seconds or so.
• Accept the fact your eyes are going bad and get some readers if seeing the eye is getting harder every year.
• Keep your tippet handy, I keep mine outside near my left hip where I can reach it easily.
• Keep your flys handy with few boxes so searching is not too long.
• Know your limitations and adapt.

Resized ImageThat last one may seem out of place for a seasoned fly fisher but this efficiency exercise also applies to damage control. That's right, when you booger up your line with a collapsed cast, loose loop or wind knot, bring your line in gently and assess the damage immediately. It can be tempting to just begin pulling and tugging but try to resist. Take a few seconds and loosely pull on some of the loops to see what you are dealing with. Look for loops that exit the knot and pull them back through. Often its only one or two loops that cause the whole mess. If it looks too complicated to unravel it probably is. Clip off the fly, this often makes it a much easier task because you can slip the tippet through the knot. Remember it only takes you 15 seconds to tie it back on. Just be sure when you clip it off you put it somewhere you remember like a fly patch, or other handy outside vest place. Don’t keep it in your hands or put it in your mouth. Trust me, this never ends well…soon you are chasing it down stream with your net or trying to get it out of your lip.

Lastly, If it's a total mess clip it ALL off and start over, in one minute or so you will be casting again.

Now I consider myself a pretty good untangler…in fact, my slogan is “Fly fishing is the art of tangling and untangling lines of different diameters while trying to enjoy yourself”. But it doesn’t have to be yours.






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Published by Maurice Chioda [Maurice] on 03/27/2015 (721 reads)
wildbrown


The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is currently seeking Comments for the consideration of a proposal to add 45 streams to the list of streams with Natural Reproduction of Trout. These streams were surveyed and found to have at least two year classes of wild trout. Should the proposal be adopted the additions would be added to the PA Bulletin and subsequently receive protection from encroachment by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) through permit restrictions during the fall spawning period.
The comment period ends Monday March 30, 2015. So don't delay.
Please take a few minutes to share a comment by clicking the link.
To view the entire PDF proposal click the link here.
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Published by David Weaver [Fishidiot] on 03/22/2015 (986 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
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 03/18/2015 (949 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.

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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 03/16/2015 (561 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.
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 03/16/2015 (2783 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 through May 13, 2015. 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 (974 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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