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2018 North Central PA Summit Recap

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Published by Andy [The_Sasquatch] on 10/09/2018 (226 reads)
The past few years, low water was an issue. Obviously, that wasn't the case this year. Unfortunately on Thursday, the day began with more rain. But we managed to get out Thursday afternoon into the evening. Jerry and I fished some streams that are normally non-existent this time of year, but even they were bordering on too high. We then headed up into the Sinnemehoning watershed-a watershed that despite going up there almost my whole life, we never fished much-and found some nice big pools and willing fish. Some of the other guys checked out some of the more common stomping grounds near the camp w/out a whole lot of success.

Paflyfish


Thursday night was epic. Chuck mentioned that they forgot salt and vinegar chips. This led to me saying "Well, we can make a run to Coudersport for chips...oh wait! It's open mic night at Olga's Cafe!"

Within a few minutes, 5 of us (Chuck, Biker, Moosehead, Dave, and myself) were loaded into my dad's truck (he stayed behind to nap/greet Rick when he arrived) on our way to Olga's

Open Mic night at Olga's is quite an event. It was standing room only! When we first got there, an older lady was reciting some hippy-bippy poetry about the earth or something. Then an old timer got up to play and sing, but for some reason did not sing into the microphone which made hearing him impossible. Another guy got up and began to play some Billy Joel (Lord have mercy), followed by an acapella singer who had some unusual song choices-though her voice made up for it. Then, back up w/ the Billy Joel guy who, much to the approval of everyone in Olga's, led us in a rousing chorus of "Take Me Home Country Roads", changing the lyrics to "Potter County, Pennsylvania, take me home, mountain roads".

The last guy to perform got up w/ his laptop, connected it, hit the background tracks, and next thing I knew he was walking up and down the bar counter singing "Luck Be a Lady"...a little too close for comfort for me and the lads. Everyone polished off their Dirty Bastard Scottish Ales, and we were back in the truck to Sheetz for the chip run.

Back to the fishing:
The bulk of the group arrived Friday throughout the day. I took a few fellows back into the Sinnemahoning watershed, and Rick caught a HOG of a brownie, 20" for sure. Amazing fish! Some of the other guys headed up Slate Run where, w/ the high water and lack of people fishing this year, they had a banner day.

Friday night was more shennanigans at the cabin, including the Christening of the new "Please Do Not Feed the Sasquatch" sign, brought by Moosehead to commemorate the 1 year anniversary of Al and Chuck's tent being attacked by the bear.

Saturday morning Brad from Potter joined us in the AM for breakfast and BSing, and the fishing was back on. At this point, the small streams were just amazing. I took a few guys up into the Hammersley, which was just beautiful this time of year. Not sure where everyone else went, but it sounds like everyone got into some fish.

Saturday night ended with our normal communal feasting, drinking, pipe smoking, and BSing. I took a picture of all the guys hanging out in camp and posted it to my family's private FB page. Deer camp has been dwindling big time over the past 5 years or so, and the family was excited to see a cabin full of fly fishermen, making use of the camp! They were even more excited when I told the family that these guys helped stack the shipment of firewood that got delivered a few days before we arrived.

I love hosting this event. I look forward to it every year, and I know my extended family is glad to know the cabin is still being used for things like this. Looking forward to next year already. Mark it down. First full weekend in October!
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 10/01/2018 (266 reads)

By Brian McGeehan at Montana Angler Fly Fishing

For myself and many other local anglers, Montana’s fall run of Brown Trout is the most anticipated event of the year. Large, lake dwelling trout begin moving into the river systems during late September and October and are accessible to fly anglers during this pre-spawn period. Productive fishing will last as long as the weather (or in some cases, regulations) allows, usually sometime in mid-November. This is far and away my favorite time to guide and fish in Montana, and having a shot at these big lake run bruisers is the main reason why. While there are a myriad of places to catch a big fall Brown Trout in Montana, the Madison River ranks at or near the top of the list. With 3 lakes along its course, Hebgen, Quake, and Ennis, the Madison offers 3 different runs within a close distance of each other, significantly more variety than you will find elsewhere. The Madison has options to both float and wade, as well as to fish streamers or nymphs. Additionally, the Madison has a fall run of Rainbow Trout as well, giving the angler more shots at large trout. While some general rules and guidelines apply, each run of fish on the Madison is different, and learning and applying these nuances is what makes this type of fishing some much fun.

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Techniques for Fall Run Fishing
No matter which section of the Madison you choose to fish, the techniques will be similar. Fishing for these migratory trout is a nymph and streamer game, as they are not inclined to feed on the surface. You will want to beef up your tackle for this kind of fishing. When fishing from a boat, I prefer a 9ft 6wt or 7wt rod, and employ a sink tip when fishing streamers. When wade fishing, I have converted to using a two handed switch rod in an 11’4” 7wt. Long popular with steelhead fisherman, these 2 handed rods are quickly catching on with trout anglers. The longer rod allows for easy roll casting and mending, as well as the ability to use longer leaders and more weight. You can also employ various sink tips to swing streamers or wet flies, which is a very popular technique for Steelhead in the Pacific Northwest. While a two handed rod is by no means a necessity for fishing the Madison, it is a fast growing segment of the fly fishing market and one that I have found very useful. A 6wt rod between 9 and 10 feet will work just fine for wade fishing.

For flies, it is hard to beat a stonefly nymph trailed by a small mayfly when fishing under an indicator. Choose dark, drab patterns that mimic a Blue Winged Olive nymph. Stoneflys are effective in a wide range of colors so don’t be afraid to experiment. Egg flies can be effective as well, especially late in the season when some fish have already moved onto the redds and there are natural eggs in the system. Soft hackle flies, such as a soft hackle Pheasant Tail or soft hackle Hare’s Ear are also good bets and can be fished on a dead drift of swing. For streamers, I like large articulated patterns if I am going to be stripping them out of the boat. If I am going to swing streamers, I’ll choose a string leech or intruder style of fly.

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Regardless of the technique chosen, the key to catching these migratory trout is identifying where they will be holding in the river. Since these fish are used to living in a lake environment, the slowest, deepest runs you can find will be a good place to start. These deep, slow buckets are an ideal place to nymph fish, especially at the heads of the run where the water begins to slow and deepen. The most important thing in nymph fishing is getting your flies down in front of the fish. If you are not bumping the bottom and getting snagged up occasionally, you are not fishing deep enough. You will want to find a comfortable balance between leader length and the amount of weight you are fishing. I typically use a 10ft leader when nymphing in the fall, whereas in the summer my nymphing leaders are only about 8ft. Swinging steamers is most effective in shallower runs or at the tails of pools, where the water picks up some speed and isn’t quite so deep. Steelhead fisherman will tell you that they look for water about the same speed as your average walking pace when they are looking to swing flies. If you are going to strip streamers out of a boat, concentrate on structure along the bank as well as ledges where the water transitions from shallow to deep.

Fishing the Madison Fall Run: Yellowstone National Park
The Yellowstone Park section of the Madison is the most popular area for fishing the fall run because it gets the highest number of fish that move into the river. Both Browns and Rainbows begin to push out of Hebgen Lake in late September and will be in the river until the YNP season closes on the first Sunday in November. Yellowstone Park does not allow float fishing, so this is strictly a wade fishery. Both nymphing under an indicator and streamers are popular and effective techniques here. The fall run is about evenly split between Browns and Rainbows, with the average fish going between 16” and 20”, with a fair number up to 22”.

The Madison in Yellowstone Park is a broad, shallow river so the most challenging aspect of this fishery is locating the runs that hold fish, which sometimes can be miles apart. The most popular area, by far, is a group of deep runs located just inside the Park boundary known as the Barnes Pools. This area is reached via a dirt road that is located just inside the parks west entrance at West Yellowstone, MT. The dirt track splits before reaching the river, providing access to the upper and lower pools. Immediately upstream is another nice area, known as Cable Car Run, followed by miles of shallow, unproductive water. The river begins to deepen again towards its headwaters at Madison Junction, and you can spot productive runs from the car as the road closely parallels the river here. There are some sneaky spots here and there that hold fish, and that is the reward for the adventurous angler who takes the time to learn the fishery.

Fishing the Madison Fall Run: Between the Lakes
In local angling parlance, “Between the Lakes” refers to the short section of the Madison River between Hebgen Dam and the head of Quake Lake. Quake was formed in August of 1959 when a huge earthquake triggered a massive landslide that blocked the Madison River, killing 28 people in the process. Dead trees break the surface to this day, an eerie reminder of the power of nature. Though it’s barely two miles long, this stretch holds an extraordinary number of fish due to the fertile tailwater environment and close proximity to the lake. However, the population is greatly skewed towards Rainbow Trout, so this section sees the fewest number of fall run Browns. Though much fewer in number, this section holds the biggest Browns in the river. In the spring of 2013, a dead Brown that measured 38” and weighed 35lbs was found in the area and several fish over 30” have been caught in the last few years. While your odds of catching a fish this size are astronomically low, it is a good feeling knowing you are fishing water with such potential. Realistically, you can expect good numbers of Rainbows in the 14”-17” class, with Browns up to 22”.

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Between the Lakes is a swift, boulder strewn run that is best suited to nymph fishing. In addition to the flies discussed above, classic tailwater patterns like a Ray Charles or Scud are worth a try in this section. While this water doesn’t look anything like the Missouri or Bighorn, the same types of fly patterns will work. The key water type to look for here is the slack water on the backsides of current obstructions such as rocks or islands. While there are a few nice deep holes, don’t get stuck on the depth of the water too much. It such a swift section of river, finding water that is the right speed becomes paramount, even though migratory fish typically gravitate towards slower, deeper water. This entire section of river is basically roadside, so it is quite easy to scope out and pick a good spot. This section of river is open year round, so it is a good option in November after Yellowstone Park closes. The run here starts a bit later than the other two sections as well.

Fishing The Madison Fall Run: Varney Bridge to Ennis Lake
If you are interested in fishing out of a drift boat, then the section of river from Varney Bridge down to the town of Ennis is where you want to be. From town down to Ennis Lake, the river is restricted to wade fishing only. Access here is tough as the river is in a bit of a willow jungle, so the preferred strategy is to use a boat to move from hole to hole, which is allowed as long as you exit the boat before you start fishing. Fish will start pushing into this section in mid-late September, and by mid-October will be dispersed throughout the river quite a ways upstream. The number of fish here is somewhere between Yellowstone Park (the most) and Between the Lakes (the least). Pressure is less here as well, given the necessity of a boat to reach much of the fishing.

When float fishing from Varney to Ennis, I prefer to strip large streamers with a sinking line. The river twists and turns through the willows here at a pretty good clip, so the rapid fire nature of streamer fishing suits it quite nicely. You can certainly nymph fish here, but even so I like to choose a small streamer as my point fly even though I will be dead drifting it under the indicator. The fast current will impart action on the fly and it makes having a perfect dead drift less important. The river braids quite extensively here, so a skilled oarsmen with local knowledge is important, as some channels contain logjams, dams, and other obstructions.

I like to nymph fish down below Ennis, as again this section is restricted to wade fishing only. This section, known locally as “The Channels”, has even more islands and side channels than the Varney to Ennis stretch. The river is typically shallow here, with the deep runs getting most of the attention. There are plenty of sneaky spots to be found. As such, it takes a long time to learn this section well. Another interesting aspect of floating The Channels is that the boat ramp you use to take out is actually on Ennis Lake, requiring you to row almost a mile across the lake. It’s wise to check a wind forecast before committing. If you want to wade fish, the best access is the Valley Garden Fishing Access Site, which is just downstream from town. It’s kind of a jungle in there, but you can hike both upstream and down.

Brian McGeehan is a Pennsylvania native and has been guiding Western rivers in Montana, Wyoming and Colorado for 20 seasons. He is a licensed Montana outfitter and owner of Montana Angler Fly Fishing based in Bozeman, MT.
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Published by Swattie [Swattie87] on 08/28/2018 (1723 reads)

By Matt Yancheff ("Swattie87"- Images Courtesy Author)

I often see a common question come up early in the learning curve for anglers looking to get into small stream, wild trout angling: How do I find good streams to fish? It can be an intimidating first hurdle to overcome, but once over it, the way is open to a very rewarding angling experience. It requires some homework, often good for a cold evening in the dead of winter with your beverage of choice. You’ll swing and miss sometimes, but the home runs you hit will be well worth the strikeouts.

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Below is the method that I’ve developed and relied on, and that has led me to many good small stream days in the woods of Pennsylvania:

1. Locate via some simple Googling, the following three lists published, and regularly updated by the PFBC: 1) Natural Reproduction List. 2) Class A Wild Trout List. 3) Wilderness Trout Streams List. They contain different information, and there is some overlap between them, but it is all useful. They all indicate the county the stream is in, so you can use that to begin to narrow things down.

2. (Optional, but not necessary. Good for a beginner with this method, but the more successful you get, you’ll find you’ll rely on these less.) Purchase a couple of PA stream guide books. Dwight Landis’ is very good, and is my personal favorite, but there’s several other good options out there as well. Again, some simple Googling will head you in the right direction if you wish to purchase these. They all run about $20-$30.

3. Review the above-mentioned lists and books and locate some streams in a given area that you think interest you. Cross reference those stream’s locations with a good mapping software. Google Maps works very well for this, and of course, is free. Are the streams on publicly owned land? If not, who owns the land? What are the potential access points? Of course, it goes without saying, always be respectful of private and posted land. Toggle between topographic and satellite views. Is the stream in a remote forested area, or is it running through folks’ back yards? How big does the stream look? How steep/rough does the terrain look? State and National Forest maps are available online for more information. Kudos as well to the Pa. Game Commission as they have recently updated and published detailed maps online of every single State Game Lands tract in PA. They’re very useful for helping confirm access and parking locations for streams on SGL.

4. After your research in Steps 1-3, pick three or four potential streams in an area and head out for a day to check them out. This way you have a couple back up plans if you get to a stream and find unforeseen access problems, or another angler already there. Or if a stream just turns out to be a dud, which happens sometimes.

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5. Once you’ve fished a few of these streams and located a couple good ones, start to think about what they have in common. Take note of what you saw on the maps, and what the stream turned out to actually look like when you got there. Was it what you expected? How big was it? What was its gradient? Did it have lots plunge pools, or was it more riffles and runs? What kind of water fished best? Then look for those similar characteristics in other areas using the lists, books, and maps. You’ll find you’ll quickly become pretty good at it. Before long, you’ll start working backwards – looking at the maps first for good potential spots based on what you’ve learned, then cross referencing with the lists and books….This is when you know you’ve figured it out.

As long as you’re willing to make a bit of a drive sometimes, do a bit of homework first, and be willing to strike out once in a while, this will work, if you try it. We are very fortunate to live in a state with the amount of small, forested wild trout water Pennsylvania has. Get out there and enjoy it!
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Published by Dave Weaver [Dave_W] on 06/25/2018 (1644 reads)
Mid summer into mid autumn is prime time for small stream, warm water fly fishing. While this summer has, so far, been unseasonably wet and cool here in southcentral Pennsylvania, mid-June has traditionally been the time I start to look to local creeks for bass and panfish. The main game are smallmouth bass, rock bass, and red-breast sunfish. Many of these creeks also have largemouth bass, carp, fallfish, green sunfish, bluegills, hatchery trout, crappies, even pickerel and walleyes. However, red-breasts, rockies, and smallies are prevalent in most of the creeks I fish, with red-breasts ruling the roost. Green sunfish are equally widespread and sometimes are present in numbers best described as swarms, but they’re generally too small to target.

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Many fly fishers, if they’re not focused entirely on trout fishing, look forward to the summer bass fishing season. Wading or boating the Susquehanna or other bigger waters is indeed a great experience, but many of these anglers overlook the little local creeks close to home. While the rivers are a motivating place to fish in summer, if you don’t live near one, or otherwise are waiting for levels to drop and clear, something that can take several days after small streams have cleared, don’t overlook warm water creeks close to home. Most of these streams I frequent are typically twenty to fifty feet wide and comparable to what I’d consider medium sized trout creeks that one would fish with a 4WT.

Many of these streams are downstream sections of Approved Trout Waters. Agricultural valley streams can be productive too. Some are tributaries of bigger rivers and may play a role in bass spawning in springtime. One thing to note about access: land owners whose properties these creeks traverse, are often less familiar with anglers on their property as landowners who have trout waters on their property. Nevertheless, I have found that, if you ask nicely, you are likely to get permission. In my experience, streams with some gradient and traditional riffle to pool structure fish better than slow-moving waterways, which are often soft bottomed and tough to wade. These streams with current also hold more and bigger fish, especially red-breast sunfish.

This is simple fishing. For gear, I usually wet wade these creeks as they often fish well at mid-day during the summer. I recommend long wading pants rather than shorts as these streams often have dense vegetation along their banks and lack trails due to lack of fishing pressure. Spare your legs and wear pants or waders. I usually use a 7WT fly rod but trout gear is fine and sometimes I’ll use one of my tiny, five-foot brookie rods. Normally I like bigger sticks since I’m roll casting big flies and big strike indicators. Basic poppers and nymphs cover most bases. Plain old Wooly Buggers or Clouser Crayfish are deadly too. No need to go fine on the tippet. I almost never go lighter than 10lb test line and often use 12-14lb test. Stronger tippets will allow you to rip flies out of vegetation.

These streams often hold very dense fish populations, although not typically large ones. One of my favorite local creeks that I’ve fished for decades has produced countless smallies for me, but the biggest I’ve ever caught there was fifteen inches. Creeks are a numbers game with respect to bass. Sometimes a big smallie, or even a largemouth, will show up, but these are rare. While smallies are the main bassin game, there is another favorite creek of mine that, for some reason, has far more largemouths. Rock bass are often present too. Look for rockies around woody cover in the slower, deeper pools. Smallies and red-breasts are more likely to be in the main channel under current where chunk rock is present. In my experience, rock bass are less likely to rise to poppers and are much more susceptible to being caught on nymphs and streamers. Ditto with red-breast sunfish. You’ll get plenty on top, but if you’re mainly after these panfish you will probably get a lot more of them subsurface. Sometimes I’ll fish upstream with a popper and catch bass. On the way back downstream, I’ll fish subsurface with a buggy nymph or small crayfish pattern and slay the sunnies and rockies. Oftentimes, you will find a particular big rock or log that always seems to hold fish and you can pull multiple fish out from around or under it. Such hotspots usually remain productive year after year.

I’m convinced that the fish in these creeks are seasonal transients. This varies and I know some creeks where bass winter over. However, in most of the creeks I fish, the bass and sunnies usually migrate out in autumn, sometime around first frost. By this time, it’s time to go elsewhere and I switch to the big rivers or trout fishing. In the springtime, usually by late May or early June, the bass and panfish return to the creeks. Prime time is July to September. Some years with low flow conditions in springtime, such as 2016, I seem to find fewer bass and panfish in these creeks in summer. Better flows seem to pull more fish up into these creeks. I have found small bass and sunfish in the tiniest of creeks, some just a foot or two wide that dry up in warm years. These creeks aren’t worth fishing, but it is testimony to how far up into the watershed these fish can migrate.

Don’t overlook small streams in summer for easy going fly fishing. You can catch dozens of hard fighting fish in an afternoon and often some decent sized bass in the eight to twelve inch range. Many of these creeks rarely see an angler – maybe some kids with inner tubes and fishin poles. If you have a kid or a dog, bring them too. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a creek filled with scrappy bass and red-breast sunfish - a great way to spend a hot, lazy summer day.

You can see more of Dave Weaver's great artwork at www.rodandbrush.com

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Published by Joe Dziedzina [Dizzy] on 05/15/2018 (19814 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.
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 05/08/2018 (1377 reads)
Friday, May 18th is the start of our annual gathering for the Paflyfish Spring Jamboree Weekend. This is our annual meet-up for members of the site to get together to fly fish, tie flies, camp and share a few stories. We have a lot of fun fishing over some of Pennsylvania's finest streams including the Little J, Penns Creek, Spring Creek, Fishing Creek and plenty more in the region.

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The pavilion at Seven Mountains Campground is rented by Paflyfish and is used as a meeting point during the weekend. Plenty of impromptu conversations, fly tying and meet-ups take place at the pavilion. The idea of the weekend is to provide a setting for a casual weekend of fly fishing in a great region of Pennsylvania . As with every year we will be meeting up in the evenings at the pavilion to catch up on the days fishing trips. Friday and Saturday mornings we meet for coffee and plan the day. Often plenty of opportunities for some fly tying and casting lessons being shared.

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This year we are going to make the weekend at little more informal. At this time we are not going going to be planning any special speakers or activities. There is always plenty of impromptu fly tying, casting lessons and support on where to fish. So if you are unsure about the area, do not worry there are plenty of members from the site that can help get you started. Many anglers from the site come up early or stay later after the weekend. Follow the latest details in the forum .

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Friday – May 18th - Sunday, May 20, 2018
• 7:00 am Coffee at the pavilion Saturday and Sunday mornings
• 9:00 pm Gathering after the day of fishing Friday and Saturday evening (BYOB)

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Please contact Sevens Mountain Campground directly if you would like to stay there that weekend. They have a limited number of cabins and campsites. I encourage you to make your reservations now.

Sevens Mountain Campground
101 Seven Mountains
Campground Rd.
Spring Mills, PA 16875
(814) 364-1910
(888) 468-2556
Call between 8:30-4:30 M-F
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 04/03/2018 (139169 reads)
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Published by Maurice Chioda [Maurice] on 11/30/2017 (2297 reads)
Fly fishing during the winter can be an enjoyable endeavor if you put some effort into finding where the wily trout feed during the cold water temperatures. An important “hatch” in winter is that of the early black and brown stoneflies.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So find a big freestone stream with a fall/winter stocking of brown trout (more likely to rise) and on a warm sunny day in the winter/late winter, January through March. Swing ‘em if ya got ‘em.
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Published by Dave Weaver [Dave_W] on 10/31/2017 (1961 reads)
Susquehanna River, Lancaster Co., 10/21/17

WEATHER: Blue bird skies with highs in the 70s.

WATER: 3.2' at the Harrisburg gauge, gin clear, 60 degrees. A few boaters and yakkers but not a lot of activity.

HATCHES ETC: Nothing significant. A few scattered bugs, no rises; large schools of small minnows around 2" in length around shoreline areas. No crayfish seen. One bass caught in a riffle today had multiple caddis larva in his mouth and gullet. These caddis were dark colored and about #16.

Teamed up with Afishinado today to put some autumn hurtin on the Susky bass.
We arrived at mid day about 11am and fished until 5:30pm. It was a tough day. The bright sun and very clear water seemed to have the river switched off. We fished some very good sections with little success. Around 4pm, with the sun lower in the sky and softened by haze, the river seemed to wake up. We found active fish in fast water, mostly along current seams but also in shallow riffles. I had expected to find SMBs around ledge rock and and deeper tailouts today, but these spots didn't produce. The active fish were in pretty fast water. Had luck high sticking a helgy nymph and swinging a Clouser. I tried poppers briefly with no success. I managed about eight fish with three in the mid teens. Afish got fifteen bass with one at 18 inches.

A very nice day to be outside, but fishing was sub-par for what I'd expect on the big river in October. Nevertheless, with water levels still quite low, if you're a wading angler, the Susky is in great shape for FFing right now.

Members can follow along with comments in the forum here.

"Susquehanna>


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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 10/05/2017 (1864 reads)
By Brian McGeehan at Montana Angler Fly Fishing

September in the greater Yellowstone region is quickly becoming one of the most popular times to visit and fish. September is a great time to fish Yellowstone National Park because water temperatures are dropping into the optimal range and trout feel the urge to pack on the pounds for the upcoming winter. Weather in September is usually very pleasant with cool, crisp mornings and warm afternoons. September is the only month of the year when literally every river in the Park is fishable. The Madison drainage has cooled enough for productive fishing but the high country streams are still warm enough for fish to be active. Throw in a few bugling elk and some fall colors and you have the recipe for a great trip. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of September fishing in the park.

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Firehole River

As the weather cools, the Firehole once again becomes a viable option for fishing. At the beginning of the month, it may only be cool enough to fish in the mornings, but by the middle of September it should fish well all day. The main attraction during September is the White Miller Caddis, which typically emerges from mid morning until early afternoon. On cloudy days, especially towards the end of September, Blue Winged Olives emerge in the middle of the day. When no hatch is present, swing soft hackles through the riffles. I prefer drab, generic flies like a soft hackle pheasant tail or hare’s ear. In the fall, primarily due to low water, the fish in a Firehole can be a bit pickier than they were in June. Downsize your tackle a bit and take care not to spook fish with your movements.

Madison River
The main attraction on the Madison River in Yellowstone Park in the fall is the run of fish out of Hebgen Lake. While this run peaks in October and November, there will usually be some fish in the system in the latter part of September. The best way to target these fish is by nymphing or by swinging a streamer in a down and across fashion. No matter the technique, the key to catching these fish is locating where they are holding. These fish are used to a lake environment, so look for deeper, slower water. When nymphing, I prefer a stonefly nymph as my lead fly and small, nondescript mayfly pattern as my dropper. If I am swinging a streamer, I like the intruder style patterns that are popular with steelhead fishermen.

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Lamar Valley- Lamar River, Slough Creek, Soda Butte Creek
Fall fishing in the Lamar Valley can be challenging due to low water and the cumulative effect of fishing pressure throughout the summer. On sunny, warm days turn to small terrestrials like ants or micro hoppers. On cloudy days, especially towards the end of the month, look for mayfly hatches of Blue Winged Olives or Tan Drakes. Plan on fishing a 5x leader that is a few feet longer than your standard 9ft length.

Yellowstone River
The Yellowstone River inside the park is a nice option in September as it falls off the radar for many once the famous stonefly hatches have ended. The river hosts an excellent Blue Winged Olive hatch, especially on cloudy days and towards the latter part of the month. Hopper patterns and attractors will still be your bread and butter for much of the month. September is a good time to start working in mayfly style attractors such as a purple haze or parachute adams as the fish may be a bit more selective than they were in July and August. A small streamer will fill the void if the dry fly bite slows.

madison-river-montana-34


Gardner River
The entire Gardner River should fish well in September, as the section below the Boiling River will have cooled sufficiently for all day fishing. In the early mornings, I like to nymph fish with a stonefly trailed by a attractor pattern like a prince or copper john. As the day heats up, small hoppers and various attractor patterns are your go to. Cloudy days will see hatches of Blue Winged Olives. Remember that the Boiling River essentially creates two separate rivers. Fall mayfly hatches will appear above in the cooler water first while hopper and attractor fishing will hold on longer in the warmer waters below. During the fall, keep in mind that there is always the possibility of a surprise up from the Yellowstone.

Fall fishing is truly one of our favorite windows for both Montana and Yellowstone National Park. Cool mornings and warm afternoons often produce the perfect blend of ideal water temperatures coupled with fall hatches and late season terrestrial fishing. The general family vacation season has slowed dramatically leaving the park to more serious anglers.

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.
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