Register now on PaFlyFish.com! Login
HOME FORUM BLOG PHOTOS LINKS


Blog
Category Last published item
PaFlyFish.com  PaFlyFish.com
The Sulphurs are here!
Fly Fishing  Fly Fishing
Green Drakes: May Madness
Edit category Product Review Product Review
Hardy Zephrus Ultralite Fly Rod Review
How To Clean Your Fly Line
Where to Fly Fish in Montana? A DIY Trip Guide - ...
Interviews  Interviews
Interviews
Interview with Justin Pittman of Precision Fly ...
Conservation  Conservation
Macroinvertebrate Survey Through the Seasons
Fly Tying  Fly Tying
Tying and Fishing Midges
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission  Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission
Pennsylvania Statewide Trout Fishing Opens Early ...

1234...45>
Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 06/04/2020 (25389 reads)

By Brian McGeehan

As a Montana fly fishing outfitter – the majority of my time from November through April is spent helping our guests plan trips for the following season. Montana is a very large target with a huge variety of fisheries so it can be a daunting challenge to folks visiting for the first time. When Dave Kile asked me to put together a guide for planning a trip our way I decided to break it into two parts do to the breadth and diversity of what Montana has to offer and what different people want out of their trip.

One of the aspects of trip planning in the Big Sky state is that we have such a huge variety of different rivers, streams, still waters and spring creeks. Each type of fishery has different peak seasons, different character and different tactics that are best used. This post will focus on anglers that want to do the majority of their fishing unguided. Montana is arguably the best state in the west for planning a DIY trip for several reasons. Thanks to the stream access law, anglers in Montana have access to private land along streams and rivers. This means that as long as an angler gets to the river corridor from a bridge or other public access point you can fish on private property without trespassing. Secondly, we have a lot of public land in Montana and surrounding areas like Yellowstone Park so finding water to access legally is pretty easy. Finally, the huge variety of fisheries means that there are a lot of smaller waters that are ideal for wade fishing.

Madison River, Montana
Madison River, Montana


Where to fish?
Pick up any coffee table fly fishing book that showcases famous waters around the world and Montana rivers will be heavily represented. Anglers from around the world are familiar with the Yellowstone, Madison, Missouri, Bighorn, Beaverhead, Gallatin and many others. Where do you begin if you are planning on fishing on your own? DIY anglers need to be cautious about planning their trips around the most famous rivers which are generally also the largest. While the Yellowstone is one of my all time favorite rivers in the world – it is also a huge fishery that is very difficult to wade in most stretches of the river. Even smaller rivers like the Beaverhead can prove frustrating since it is a meadow style river and at higher flows is next to impossible to wade fish without a boat to hop from run to run (but at lower flows is manageable). Some large rivers like the Madison have sections that are wading friendly and other sections that are very challenging to read without prior river knowledge. Other fisheries are very hard to access without permission from ranchers and offer very little private access. Although this is not an exhaustive list, here are a few locations that an angler fishing without a guide should consider. They all offer good public access and manageable wade fishing.

Bighorn River
The Bighorn is a very large river, but at lower flows (spring and late summer) there can be very good wade fishing. This is also a very easy river to float and if you plan in advance you can rent a drift boat for a reasonable price. The Bighorn has astronomical fish counts and the trout are big – most in the 17-19” class. The downside is that it is also relatively crowded (at least by Montana standards) since most of the fishing is done in the section just below the dam at Fort Smith.

Gallatin River
The Gallatin is a small mountain freestone river with high trout counts. It starts just inside of Yellowstone Park and flows for about 30 miles through the Gallatin Canyon which is mostly public forest service land with easy road access. Fishing from boats is not permitted and the river is very easy to “read”. There are numerous pull offs along the canyon section and the fishing isn’t very technical. Most of the trout are less than 15” but the population is very healthy. The only time that wading is difficult is during the run off period in late May and June.

Rock Creek
Rock Creek is located about 45 minutes from Missoula and is similar in size to the Gallatin. Like the Gallatin there is ample National Forest land with public access. Trout are medium sized but the river is beautiful and finding public water is not a problem.


Rock Creek Montana
Rock Creek


Ruby River
The Ruby River near Sheridan is a small mountain stream that turns in to a medium sized meadow river. The Ruby in the National Forest offers lots of public access for smaller trout. Below the reservoir it enters ranch country and the only access is from bridges and a few state owned parcels but fishing can be good for decent sized trout at the lower access areas.

Upper Bitterroot
The Upper Bitterroot and its tributaries offer good public access and a some National Forest fishing but avoid run off.

Upper Madison River
The legendary Madison River has some locations that are best floated but there are a few areas that attract out of state wade anglers. The first is the section between Hebgen and Quake Lake – this is an especially good fishery in the spring and fall. The next section is the wade only area from Quake Lake to Lyons Bridge with good access at Reynolds Pass and Three Dollar Bridge. Finally there is an access point to another wade only area called the Channels at Valley Garden. The Channels can be tough to get around, however, do to dense willow stands along the banks. The Madison from Lyons Bridge to Ennis and then again from Ennis Lake to Three Forks can be non descript and difficult to read and fish without a boat.

Backcountry Streams and Lakes
For those that like to backpack – there can be terrific alpine lake fishing in remote wilderness areas. The most expansive area for hiking and fishing is the Beartooth Plateau near Red Lodge that offers thousands of mountain lakes and a few good streams. Other smaller ranges also offer good fishing for the adventurous angler. Most alpine lakes are stocked periodically by air but all streams and rivers in Montana are wild trout by law.


Montana Backcountry
Montana Backcountry Stream



Yellowstone National Park
Although only a small portion of Yellowstone Park is in Montana, the Big Sky state is the main entrance to the park at locations like West Yellowstone, Gardiner and Cook City. Yellowstone is wade fishing only by regulation and offers lots of great streams and rivers. Generally spring and fall fishing is best in the West and South side of the Park and summer fishing is best in the Northeast section (with numerous exceptions). Although there is ample road access – anglers that are willing to hike will be rewarded with lightly pressured trout.

Livingston Spring Creeks
The legendary spring creeks near Livingston include DePuy, Nelson and Armstrong. These are on private ranches and require advanced reservations. Rod fees are $100 in peak season and $75 in shoulder seasons. These technical waters are easy to wade and have thick hatches. They are similar to Pennsylvania limestone streams in many ways. Plan on booking rods a year in advance (or more) for dates in mid June to July for the PMD hatch. DePuy has the most rods per day and is the last to fill up. You need to reserve a year in advance or more for Armstrong or Nelson for mid summer dates.

When to Come
This is one of the most commonly asked questions that we receive from anglers planning trips to Montana. If you are planning on fishing on your own it is probably a good idea to avoid run off when the snowpack is bringing levels up. This is a great time to book a guided trip but fishing on your own is much tougher in late May and mid June if you don’t have a boat and don’t have intimate knowledge of the rivers or access to private water. DIY anglers can have great luck in the spring before run off in late April to Mid May. Another nice window is just after runoff in late June and early July. Mid August is tougher on the public waters because the fish have seen a lot of flies but is a great time to target the back country if you like to hike. Late September and October is also great for fishing on your own since the waters are lower and you can fish some of the public waters in Yellowstone and outside the park for fall run browns.

Brian McGeehan is a Pennsylvania native and has been guiding Western rivers in Montana, Wyoming and Colorado for 19 seasons. He is a licensed Montana outfitter and owner of Montana Angler Fly Fishing based in Bozeman, MT. Brian will follow up with some more advice in a follow up post “Part 2: Planning a Guided Fishing Trip to Montana”. Here is a quick map to some of the streams.






  Send article

Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 05/19/2020 (11373 reads)
green drake I was looking through my photographs from last year and found a Green Drake snapshot, which is one of my favorites. Green Drakes (Ephemera guttulata) are one of my favorite flies to observe, too.

I say observe as I usually find myself on Penns Creek fishing while a huge Green Drake hatch is coming off and I am doing anything, but catching a lot of trout. The mixed hatches that occur during this time of year are exciting and frustrating as many angler's would agree.

So this year I am going to stop practicing the fine art of talking to myself during the hatch and I might even throw on a sulphur or a should I dare say a emerger on during the madness?

The Green Drakes can starting showing up around May 20th and are complimented by the Coffin Fly spinners which provide equal splendor during this time of year. So sit back and get ready to enjoy the show.






  Send article

Published by Joe Dziedzina [Dizzy] on 05/03/2020 (22731 reads)
The Sulphurs are here!
With the best hatch of the season fast approaching, I thought it might be helpful for some of the “Newbie’s” to post a few words on the Sulphur Hatch to get them off to a flying start this month… so if anyone has anything to add in the way of tips, tricks, details, etc. PLEASE feel free to chime in!

The months of May and June here in southeastern PA bring forth the greatest event of the fly-fishing season… the SULPHUR HATCH. These yellowish mayflies are actually made up of three (3) different mayfly species; Ephemerella rotunda, E. invaria, and E. dorothea. Most streams in SEPA hold all three (3) species which can be good AND bad. It’s good because it extends the sulphur hatch from 1st/2nd week of May through much of June (most seasons)… and it’s bad because there are subtleties that the fish notice and key on (sometimes) and if the angler does not adjust, he (or she) could be in for a long evening. The good news though, is that the “bad” is well within your control.

First a quick overview of the three (3) players, in order of emergence;
Ephemerella rotunda: Duns have a medium yellow body color with slight “olive cast” to them… the largest of the three by a hair, could be as large as a size 12 hook size, but a size 14 will do (a true “tweener”)… often hatch out of very swift water (just below riffles)… hatching usually begins around Mother’s Day and lasts 2-3 weeks… hatch most often in late afternoons (4-6 pm)

Ephemerella invaria: Duns have a yellowish/orange body color … best imitated with a size 14 hook… often hatch out of slightly slower flows than rotunda’s… hatching usually begins around 3rd week in May peaking around Memorial Day (slowing down in June)… hatch most often in early evenings (6-7 pm)

Ephemerella dorothea: Duns have a pale yellow body color … best imitated with a size 16 hook (sometimes 18)… often hatch out of slower pools… hatching usually begins in last week of May and lasting well into June… hatch most often in evenings (7-8:30 pm), sometimes right at dusk in a quick “blizzard” of activity.

Believe it or not, there are other “yellow” mayflies hatching during these same times as well, but those listed above make up the Sulphur Hatch as most anglers know it. As you can see there are differences between the three and it will save your sanity to have the proper sizes/colors to cover the gamut. At the very least I would carry size 14 dry fly’s in sulphur yellow to cover the rotunda/invaria and size 16 pale yellow imitations to cover the dorothea (some anglers use a Light Cahill for this). To compound the mayhem, in addition to the over-lapping hatch activity, trout will often key on a certain “stage” of emergence from drifting nymphs, to struggling emergers, to floating duns… and just when you think you have THAT all figured out, there could be spent spinners on the water as well!

If you show up to the stream in the mid afternoon and no fish are rising and no insects are on the water (or in the air)… you could be in for some fast action by tying on a Pheasant-tail nymph (size 14-16) and fishing the riffles and runs. Prior to emergence these nymphs will fill the water column as they struggle to reach the surface. Trout will be gorging on them and you will often see flashes in the stream as fish slash from side-to-side engulfing drifting nymphs by the mouthful.

Once a good supply of duns are on the surface the trout will come up for them and the real fun begins with dry flies… fish staging in faster water will be easier targets as they have precious little time to inspect your offering. Trout holding in slower pools will be a bit tougher, but may be larger and you should still dupe them easily with a stealthy “down & across” approach. If the fish refuse your floating dry, try tying an emerger pattern or weightless nymph about 6” off the back of the dry. This will take fish that are targeting these hapless naturals. Some of you may have heard people say that the trout are easier to catch at the beginning of the sulphur hatch but get smarter as the weeks wear on? These are the guys that don’t adjust to the dorothea activity and are missing out big time. The difference in a size 16 or 14 hook may not sound like much, but place the fly’s next to each other and you will see why the trout key on one or the other. Just pay attention to what is on the water and you’ll be OK.

The last piece of the puzzle is the spinnerfall. Again, this can be as frustrating or as rewarding as you want to make it. Personally I take my largest “dry fly caught” trout every season during the spinnerfall. It’s an easy meal and one that large trout rarely pass up. As you survey the stream take notice of the presence of any swarms of “dancing” mayflies over the riffles. These will be egg-laden females preparing to drop their cargo into the drink before dying and dropping in themselves. The males in all likelihood have already fallen, spent from mating activity. During sulphur season this activity most often takes place during the early evening if not right at dark (maybe early morning if air temp’s are too high for mating flights). These mating swarms start out high above the stream surface and if you happen to notice flocks of insect-eating birds (swallows, swifts, nighthawks… maybe bats) high above, you can be pretty sure that a spinnerfall is about an hour away. Sounds complicated but it is surprisingly simple… for this activity I carry just one fly—The Rusty Spinner—in sizes 14-18. Look for subtle risers, often times near the tail ends of pools, just “dimpling’ the surface and float your imitation right down into the waiting jaws of a heavy brown. If rising fish continue to ignore your floating dun, tie on a Rusty Spinner and 9 out of 10 times you will be surprised at the response.

Always keep in mind that ANY and ALL of the above described activities could be going on… sometimes simultaneously! Just be observant, let the trout tell you what they want, and you will enjoy your cigar and cold beverage a LOT more back at the parking area… this I promise.

*NOTE* The referenced taxon above is a bit outdated as the society of entomologists (or whoever they are) have decided that E. invaria and E. rotunda are now the same species (E. invaria)… also they have added a second dorothea to E. dorothea (E. dorothea dorothea). This info is strictly for the angler’s that are over-obsessed with details (like ME for example)… the trout still eat them the same as they always have.
  Send article

Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 04/21/2020 (532 reads)
After days of rain and all the big water is flooded out, the smaller backwoods streams are a great place to explore. They can be fun to venture to try out on a nice day as well. George Daniel takes some time to share some of his tactics for small streams. Check out as he shares ideas on gear, techniques, and how to approach all s smaller stream as to offer.



Many of you are already familiar with George Daniel. If not you should, as he is one of the most knowledgable and genuine anglers to follow in fly fishing today. A Pennsylvania native, George is an author, speaker, guide, US National Fly Fishing Champion and most recently the director/lead instructor for the Pennsylvania State University Fly Fishing Program.

You can find George here: Website, YouTube Channel, Instagram
  Send article

Published by Dave Weaver [Dave_W] on 04/13/2020 (901 reads)
In sad news for the fly-fishing community and the Cumberland Valley in particular, Ed Shenk passed away this week. He was 93.

Ed was one of the last of a well-known generation of Pennsylvania fly fishing innovators from the Greatest Generation. He is often mentioned in the same breath with Charlie Fox, Vince Marinaro, and other central Pennsylvania fly fishers who were central to advancing the sport in the mid-twentieth century. Like Fox and Marinaro, Shenk is best known for his association with the Letort, our state’s best-known stream for the development of innovative fishing methods.
Ed Shenk

Many of us knew Ed and fished with him. While he could be opinionated, Ed was always willing to help and was eager to share his knowledge and experience. An innovative fly tier, Ed has long been associated with a variety of well known and still productive patterns, in particular the Letort Hopper, Letort Cricket, Shenk Sculpin, and Shenk’s White Minnow among others.

He was a guru of short fly rods and was handy at building custom glass rods. This short rod school has made a lasting impression on many of us who still love to fish with rods under six feet long, almost a sort of rebellion against the new fad for longer rods.

Ed was particularly skilled at targeting large trout with streamers, sculpin patterns in particular. This too affected many of us. I remember an article by Ed, “Sculpinating Trout” from (I think) Fly Fisherman Magazine in the mid-1980s. When I recently told Ed that that article had hooked me on sculpins, still one of my favorite flies, he was delighted and surprised someone would remember an article from back then.

Ed published a book, Fly Rod Trouting (Stackpole, 1989) that should be in any Pennsylvania angler’s library. In it, Ed recounts what is, I think, Pennsylvania’s greatest fish story: Old George. This was a great trout Ed pursued for a long time in Letort, finally catching it in 1964.

Image courtesy PA Fly Fishing Museum.
  Send article

Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 04/12/2020 (15623 reads)
Trout enjoy a wide array of food and insects being more popular. While mayflies (Ephemeroptera) enjoy much of the spotlight, caddisflies (Trichoptera) are incredibly plentiful in waters across the region. Not always the preferred insect of the fly anglers mostly due to lack of familiarity.

caddisflyCaddis are a hardy insect and has thrived in streams that have been decimated with pollution. Streams like the Tulpehocken, Oil Creek and Casselman are just a few streams known for their abundant caddis fly populations in our region. For many of these streams, the caddisfly is so prolific that mayflies are an often afterthought for anglers.

The caddis behavior is a little less predictable and is certainly one of the reasons it is not as popular for many anglers. Many mayflies can be timed to within a few days and hours. The Green Drakes on Penn's Creek are revered by anglers the same way the "Swallows" of Capistrano are anticipated at the Mission San Juan Capistrano. Caddis not so much.

That is not to say great hatches of caddis are not enjoyed by anglers and trout, as there can be wonderful evenings and days with them covering a stream. Just as often there can be sporadic emergers happening without much fanfare.

There are over 1200 species of caddisflies in the country. They range in size and colors covering the gambit of black, green, tan, cream and white bodies. The more popular Grannom hatch does arrive across much of the region at the end of April and is much anticipated by anglers and trout alike.

To get some understanding of their cycle it is as easy to do as by simply lifting a rock the next time out on the water.

caddisflyMany types of caddis larvae can be found at the bottom of the stream in self-made protected cases or roaming along the bottoms of streams. Some of these species create protective cocoons made of small stones or sticks held together with silk-like threads. This thread is also used to secure the larvae to the larger rocks or stream beds where they live.

As the caddisflies mature they reach the pupa stage were they hold-up inside their cases and prepare to emerge out as adults above the water. This transformation from water to wing is the most dangerous for all insects. The caddisfly rise from their cases often with the help of a small gas bubble pulling them towards the surface. Once there they emerge with their uniquely folded tent-style of wings they take flight.

The caddis return to lay their eggs either on the surface or by diving to the bottom depending on the species. Like when they emerge, this is the time when they are most susceptible to hungry trout. The cycle of life then returns as these eggs transform into the larvae again.

Like mayflies, caddisflies begin in earnest in April and are a big part of many streams. Continued sporadic hatches can be found through the late Fall.

To learn and discuss more 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!!
For further reading check out Gary LaFontaine's book Caddisflies.






  Send article

Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 04/07/2020 (485 reads)
Pennsylvania Statewide Trout Fishing Opens Early - April 7, 2020
PENNSYLVANIA TROUT FISHING SEASON NOW OPEN

HARRISBURG, PA (April 7) – Effective 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, April 7, 2020, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC), in consultation with the Office of the Governor, Pennsylvania Department of Health, and Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) opened the statewide 2020 trout season.

This measure allows properly licensed anglers and youth to begin fishing for and harvesting trout. All regulations, sizes, and creel limits apply.

Anglers and boaters must abide by social distancing guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Governor Tom Wolf’s Stay-at-Home Order regarding COVID-19.

“We realize that this announcement is another disruption to tradition, but it is in the best interest of public health and safety,” said Tim Schaeffer, PFBC Executive Director. “We have already seen that anglers and boaters across the Commonwealth are willing to adapt their behavior to include social distancing, and we ask everyone to follow their lead while enjoying outdoor activities during this challenging time. The trout we have been stocking have had time to spread out, and so should you.”

Anglers and boaters should limit travel by fishing close to home, cover their faces with a mask or other cloth covering, keep a distance of at least six feet from others (the length of arm with an outstretched fishing rod is a good guide), only go fishing with members of their families living in the same household, and never share fishing gear with others. If another angler is in an area you intended to fish, move on to another spot.

Non-resident Pennsylvania fishing license holders should comply with the CDC Travel AdvisoryOpens In A New Window urging residents in several states, including New York and New Jersey, to refrain from non-essential domestic travel.

The decision to open trout season immediately is intended to discourage concentrated gatherings of people that may have occurred on the traditional opening day, to minimize intrastate and interstate travel, and to reduce the threat of illegal poaching in waters that have already been stocked.

PFBC staff will continue to stock trout throughout the spring, but not all waters have been stocked at this time. To further discourage group gatherings, a stocking schedule and list of waters that have been stocked will not be provided to the public this season. Anglers should also be aware that public access to some waters may be restricted by the landowner or local municipal government.

Fishing and boating is permitted in Pennsylvania state parks and state forests, when social distancing guidelines are followed. DCNR is encouraging people to fish and conduct other outdoor recreation within 15 minutes of their homes. Anglers should note that state park facilities, including restrooms may be closed.

“Outdoor recreational activities, including fishing, lift our spirits and help relieve stress, but they need to be done with attention to social distancing guidelines to help protect ourselves and others, and slow the spread of COVID-19,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “That means practicing physical distancing of six feet, avoiding crowds and staying close to home, and being prepared with a mask and hand sanitizer.”

Regardless of fishing location, anglers should bring a bag with them and carry out their trash.

As a result of this action, a Mentored Youth Trout Day will not take place this season. The PFBC will honor all Voluntary Youth Fishing Licenses purchased in 2020 for all mentored youth fishing opportunities during the 2021 season.

To participate in trout fishing, anglers must have a Pennsylvania fishing license and Trout/Salmon Permit, both of which may be purchased online using the FishBoatPA mobile app for smartphones, or at www.fishandboat.com. Those who do not have the ability to purchase online and are unable to visit a retail location may call (814) 359-5222 for purchasing assistance. Anglers may produce a digital copy of their license on their mobile device as proof of purchase. A signed, printed copy is not currently required to prove you own a valid license. If approached by a Waterways Conservation Officer in the field, an angler or boater may provide a digital image or receipt of their fishing license, and a digital receipt from their launch permit or boat registration. Anglers may still display their fishing license.

Practice Social Distancing While Fishing

In accordance with direction provided by the Governor, Pennsylvania Department of Health, and the CDC, the PFBC recommends that anglers practice social distancing while fishing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

· Stay home if you do not feel well.

· Cover your face with a mask or cloth covering.

· Practice social distancing by keeping at least 6 feet (the length of an outstretched standard fishing rod) between you and the nearest angler.

· Avoid crowds. If you arrive at a fishing spot that is already occupied, find another location.

· Keep children from wandering into the personal space of others.

· Do not share fishing gear.

· Do not carpool.

· Buy your fishing license online.

· Continue to follow CDC guidelines, which include washing your hands or using hand sanitizer frequently, and not touching your face.

· If you are fishing at a state or local park, the restrooms may be closed. Use the bathroom before you visit or dispose of waste properly. Carry out your trash.


A video message containing social distancing recommendations while fishing can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/NUtaY260DDA
  Send article

Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 04/03/2020 (353 reads)
After careful deliberation, and in following the latest guidance from national, state and local authorities, we are sad to announce that the Paflyfish Spring Jamboree will not take place the weekend of May 15-17, 2020. We greatly appreciate your understanding as our actions are always in the best interest of our fly fishing community.

We may consider some sort of Fall Jamboree, but we will have to evaluate that at a later date.

As of March 26, 2020, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) holds to the following statement regarding fishing in Pennsylvania- "In Pennsylvania, fishing is a year-round activity with many species of fish to enjoy, including bass, panfish, musky, walleye, catfish, trout in select waters, and many more. Fishing is often a solitary activity and is currently acceptable per the guidelines issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Health if social distancing guidelines are followed."

Please keep up with current announcements and changes of these guidelines at https://www.fishandboat.com/

As of April 2, 2020, the Seven Mountains Campground is still open and operating. If you wish to make any cancellations, please contact them promptly about your reservation. They do have certain policies about cancellations and you will need to communicate with Seven Mountains Campground to discuss a refund or credit for a future date. I spoke with the new owners and they are very understanding of today's current situation. But, don't wait if you are changing your plans.

You can reach Seven Mountains Campground at (814) 364-1910 or https://www.sevenmountainscampground.com/

Please take care, be safe and follow all government guidelines during these times for health of everyone.

Please follow up in the forum here.
  Send article

Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 03/29/2020 (248 reads)
HARRISBURG, Pa (March 26) – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) knows that anglers and boaters are ethically minded, passionate outdoor enthusiasts who might have some questions about how the COVID-19 outbreak is affecting their favorite activities this spring.

As we continue to face the challenges of this rapidly shifting situation including travel restrictions, business and facility closures, and the desire to find safe and beneficial recreational activities, the PFBC is providing answers to several Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

Many detailed answers to questions about the upcoming trout season can also be answered by reviewing the PFBC news release issued on March 16, 2020.

Still have questions? Stay informed through official PFBC information updates posted on www.fishandboat.com and our official social media channels. We welcome your call at (717)705-7800 or email at RA-BE@pa.gov.

Please practice social distancing while fishing and boating.

Frequently Asked Questions:

May I still fish?

Yes! In Pennsylvania, fishing is a year-round activity with many species of fish to enjoy, including bass, panfish, musky, walleye, catfish, trout in select waters, and many more. Fishing is often a solitary activity and is currently acceptable per the guidelines issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Health if social distancing guidelines are followed.

Are there any changes to trout season?

Yes.If you plan to fish for stocked trout, be aware that the PFBC is operating under a consolidated statewide schedule for all counties during the 2020 trout season. Under this revised plan, a single Mentored Youth Trout Day will occur on Saturday, April 11, and a single Statewide Opening Day of trout season will take place on Saturday, April 18. As a result of these changes, separate, earlier regional mentored youth and opening days will not occur this year in the 18 southeastern counties, including: Adams, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Perry, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, and York. Anglers in these areas should revise their plans as necessary to adjust to the statewide schedule.

What should I do to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus while fishing?

When bank fishing or wading, please keep a distance of at least 6 feet between you and the nearest angler. A good rule of thumb is that if you can turn your rod perpendicular on all sides of you without hitting anyone, that is a safe distance.

• If fishing with a child or children, advise them to not wander into the personal space of other anglers.

• Refrain from carpooling. Sharing a vehicle with others could put you at risk.

• Avoid crowds. If you arrive at your fishing spot and it's crowded, find another location.

• Avoid sharing fishing gear with anyone. Each angler is advised to have their own fishing gear (bait, bait container, waders, gloves, hand towels, clippers, pliers, or other personal items).

• Remember to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; to clean your gear well after using it; and to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water after fishing.

• If you are fishing at a state or local park, the restrooms may be closed to protect staff and visitors. Use the bathroom before you visit or dispose of waste properly. Carry out any trash, since there are limited staff at these facilities.

• Purchase your fishing license online at www.fishandboat.com.

• Continue to follow the guidance from the CDC below:

• Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

• Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.

• Clean surfaces frequently.

• Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.

Is the Regional Trout Opener still happening in 18 southeastern counties?

No. The PFBC is operating under a consolidated statewide schedule for all counties during the 2020 trout season. Under this revised plan, a single Statewide Opening Day of trout season will take place on Saturday, April 18, 2020.

Why did we consolidate the Regional Opening Day and Statewide Opening Day?

To best protect the public and our staff from the spread of COVID-19, we consolidated the Regional and Statewide Opening Days. Opening days are the busiest fishing days of the year. We made the decision to consolidate the openers to the later date in order to reduce fishing pressure, provide more time and space to reduce the chance of anglers spreading or coming into contact with COVID-19, and to allow our staff more time to stock trout.

Is Mentored Youth Trout Day still happening?

A single, statewide Mentored Youth Trout Day will occur on Saturday, April 11, 2020. The earlier Regional Mentored Youth Trout Day will not occur this year.

Are you still stocking fish? May I help?

The PFBC is still stocking fish! But to help slow the spread of COVID-19, the public is not permitted to help stock fish at this time. For the sake of your and our staff's health, we respectfully ask that you not attend stockings this year. The 2020 trout stocking is being conducted on an accelerated schedule. These changes will not result in any reduction in the approximately 3.2 million trout scheduled to be stocked statewide in 2020. To complete trout stocking operations without the assistance of the public, the PFBC has modified stocking methods for this year. Many PFBC staff are being reassigned from their normal work duties to assist with stocking fish into lakes and streams. In some cases, pre-season and in-season allocations of trout will be combined into single stocking events to increase the efficiency of stocking trips.

Why aren't we updating the stocking schedule online immediately after stocking?

Our focus is on stocking the fish as quickly and efficiently as we can. We will update the online stocking schedule in advance of the April 11 Mentored Youth Trout Day and April 18 Opening Day.

Where may I fish?

Some trout waters managed under special regulations are open to year-round fishing. For instance, the PFBC's Keystone Select Stocked Trout Waters are managed under Artificial Lures Only and Catch-and-Release regulations and feature high concentrations of trophy-sized trout. You can also fish for other species like bass, panfish, or catfish at a creek or lake that is not stocked with trout. There are lots of great options out there! Check out the PFBC's online list of Pennsylvania's Best Fishing Waters by navigating to www.fishandboat.com, clicking on the "Locate" tab in the upper right hand corner of the screen, then clicking on "Best Fishing Waters" in the drop-down list. Pennsylvania state park waterbodies are also still open to fishing, as long as the waterbody is not stocked with trout. If the state park waterbody is designated as Open to Year-Round Fishing per the PFBC Fishing Regulations and is stocked with trout, anglers may fish it, but must immediately release any trout caught. Remember that the facilities at the 121 state parks and 20 state forests will be closed until April 30. The public will continue to be able to access trails, lakes, forests, roads, and parking areas at state parks for passive and dispersed recreation. Please be sure to adhere to the latest travel guidance from the Governor's Office and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Please refer to the Regulations Summary Book on www.fishandboat.com for more information on creels and other regulations.

The store where I buy my fishing license is closed. How do I get a fishing license?

Buy it online using the FishBoatPA smartphone app or on a computer at www.fishandboat.com.

Do I still need a fishing license?

Yes. During this unprecedented time, anglers and boaters will be able to display their fishing license digitally on a phone or other mobile device, and they will be able to provide electronic receipts for the purchases of launch permits, fishing licenses, and boat registrations as proof of purchase. Fishing licenses and permits, launch permits, and boat registration renewals can be purchased online by using the FishBoatPA app or at www.fishandboat.com. If approached by a Waterways Conservation Officer in the field, an angler or boater can provide a digital image or receipt of their fishing license, and a digital receipt from their launch permit or boat registration as proof of purchase. Of course, you may display your fishing license on your hat or vest as you always have. We expect many anglers will continue to display their licenses and encourage them to do so.

How are fishing license dollars reinvested in Pennsylvania?

The PFBC is a user-funded agency and relies on fishing license revenues to fund the services and programs it provides to anglers – like the hatchery-raised trout that are being stocked across Pennsylvania at an unprecedented rate this spring. Thank you for expressing your support for fishing in the Commonwealth through the purchase of a license that is your ticket to fun and relaxation all year long.

How do I report suspected fishing violations, including poaching before trout season starts?

Call the tip line at 1-855-FISH-KIL (1-855-347-4545).

Reminder: Wear your lifejacket!

If you fish from a boat or go boating without fishing, please remember to wear your life jacket! Everyone is required to wear a Coast Guard approved personal flotation device (PFD or life jacket) during the cold weather months from November 1st through April 30th while underway or at anchor on boats less than 16 feet in length or any canoe or kayak.

Still have questions?

Again, we welcome your call at 717-705-7800 or email at RA-BE@pa.gov and will get back to you as soon as possible. Your cooperation is essential in helping the PFBC provide safe and memorable fishing experiences in the midst of many unexpected events happening this spring. By following the guidelines listed above, which are meant to optimize public health and safety while fishing, we hope that you are able to get out along a stream or lake this spring and enjoy the many benefits of fishing and being outdoors.

Media Contact:

Mike Parker
Communications Director
(717)705-7806

(717)585-3076 mobile
michparker@pa.gov

  Send article

Published by Tom C. [afishinado] on 03/27/2020 (3147 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.
Dave Weaver Midges

Tying Midges

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.

Artwork by Dave Weaver
  Send article

1234...45>
RSS Feed



Site Content
Sponsors
USGS Water Levels <Click Map>
Polls
Spring 2020 have you fished
More often 54% (62)
Less often 34% (39)
About the same 10% (12)
_PL_TOTALVOTES
The poll closed at 2020/5/14 10:38
Comments?





Copyright 2020 by PaFlyFish.com | Privacy Policy| Provided by Kile Media Group | Design by 7dana.com