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||After the Hatch at the Snitz Creek Brewery|
As Dave Kile has pointed out before, PAFF has some really skilled anglers, and this event was further proof of this. Dave Rothrock, a certified FFF casting instructor, was kind enough to provide his impressive teaching skills to his fellow PAFF members free of charge at this event. To all who attended, I hope each of you took something with you that will improve your skill level, and enable you to catch more fish.
PAFF has grown exponentially over the years. We've come a long way from the old "continuous threads" format of the old forum, but the heart and soul of the forum is still the incredibly talented membership of this forum. Kudos to Dave Kile for providing us with such a great resource!
This event was an informal get-together to share some of the wealth of knowledge that exists on the board and with its members. As Afish stated, it was just something some of the members came up with to promote good will and camaraderie amongst our fellow board members. A common thought that was expressed throughout the evening was a sense of regret people had for not being able to attend the "official" PAFF Jamboree. Events like these provide a way for us to get together and share skills and good times without having to make a multi day commitment in time that many just can't do. Look for more of these "Mini Jams" in the future!
On a personal note, I was surprised that we didn't have any beginners attend this event. It was a perfect opportunity to get some free casting help. An even bigger surprise was the really experienced anglers that showed up - for example, Afishinado. Smart anglers take every opportunity to further their skills, and a better casting skill set is always desirable. The never ending quest to improve oneself as a flyfisherman is one of the best things about the sport IMHO.
Photographs from the afternoon
Next up - The Trico Summit! More info to follow on this.......
Anglers enjoy the world-class fly-fishing waters of Spring Creek that meanders through the town. Other prominent streams such as Penns Creek, Fishing Creek, Spruce Creek and the Little Juniata River are all in close proximity too. The mountain fed and limestone streams provide cool productive waters through out the year that are a delight to fly fishing enthusiasts.
Members of the Pennsylvania fly-fishing community at PaFlyFish.com resoundingly selected Bellefonte in a recent poll as the Best Fly Fishing Town in Pennsylvania. Selected for not only the close proximity to the many wonderful streams in the area, but its hospitality, shops, dining and accommodations. With a lodging named the Riffles and Runs Bed and Breakfast how can this not be a wonderful fly fishing town.
Bill Simmeth, member at PaFlyfish.com adds, “If I would ever move somewhere close to good fly fishing, Bellefonte would be at the top of my list. The town has all the amenities a fly fisherman could want with good restaurants, accommodations and two great fly shops nearby. Yet it still has that nice small town feel to it."
Walt Goldman, Mayor of Bellefonte, commented, “We are thrilled to hear that Bellefonte has been recognized for this wonderful designation. Bellefonte welcomes all fly fishing anglers to come and visit our wonderful town."
Thanks to www.VisitPa.com for the Bellefonte picture.
Many anglers are looking forward to time with the family and some possible time on the water fly fishing. Here are some happens around the state.
Boiling Springs - June 20th in Boiling Springs will be PA Fly Fishing Heritage Day. This is held at the pavilion at Allenberry and involves some nice tying and casting demos as well as the chance to talk to local and national experts about insects, bamboo rods, etc.
Yellow Creek, Bedford County - June 20th The Yellow Creek Coalition there will be a pig roast fund raiser Sat. June 20th (food at 2pm) just up the road from the fly fishing project. Contact Fred Sherlock at 814-766-3176
Sunbury - June 18-21 Fathers Day ’09 promises to be a lively day in Shickshinny when 80 paddlers land in town as part of the North Branch Susquehanna Sojourn. The 100 mile, six day sojourn begins on June 18 upriver at Vosberg Neck and comes to Shickshinny on June 21. It ends on June 23 at Shikellamy State Park, Sunbury, at the confluence of the River’s North and West branches.
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.
I hope anyone who can make it takes advantage of this opportunity to put a face with the names you see on the board. Every Jam for the past 10 years have been friendly and fun experience.
Hemlock Acres Campground
Coburn, PA 16832
No one really knows when fly fishing first began. It is believed that it existed long ago in ancient times. One of the earliest written references to fly fishing was made by Claudius Aelianus. In 200 AD he wrote of people that were fishing in a river with a hand made fly. He described how they attached red wool and feathers to a hook. The rods they used and the sting attached were each about six feet long. These people were the ancient Macedonians. Throughout history from Aelianus to the present people have been writing about fly fishing, and many thousands of others have been enjoying the sport.
The Princess of Soapwell, English, was an avid fly fisherman. Her name was Dame Juliana Berners and she was a master at her sport. At the time Columbus was searching for the New World, Dame Juliana was publishing an extensive treatise on the art of fly fishing. In her treatise she described the twelve styles of fly and included extensive instructions on how to tie them. She patterns were put into categories by the month that they were used most often.
She also described the rod that was used for fly fishing during that time. It measured about 18 feet long and was very flexible, The rods were made of several different types of wood which added to their flexibility. Their lines were short, by today's standards, and were made of hand braided horse hair. The general rule of the time was that the line should not be longer then the fishing rod. The line was tied to the tip of the pole.
Many fly fishermen of today have used her patterns for the fly. They say they are just as effective today as they were more than five hundred years ago. Several of the more popular patterns include the Black Gnat, the Wooly Worm, the Stonefly and the Whirling Dun.
In the mid 1600's Isaak Walton published his book "Compleat Angler." Throughout history from then on, Izaak Walton has been considered the patron saint on angling, and of fly fishing in particular. In truth, it was actually his friend, Charles Cotton, that had contributed the portion of the book that pertained to fly fishing. The flies and rods described in this book were very similar to those described by Dame Juliana. However, the lines described were slightly different. They were still made of horsehair but were about six feet longer then those of the 1400's. The main difference was that some of the lines were tapered. It is believed that this was the first time tapered lines were described in writing.
In the early 1800's, fishing line makers began mixing silk in with the horsehair. By the time of the Civil War the first all silk lines were made. They were coated with an oily coating which made them water resistant. Horsehair lines were almost never used after that. Occasionally they were found in England up to World War II.
The first nylon line was made in 1948 and from that point forward synthetic materials have been used by most people for fly fishing. In 1952, a technology was created that made an automatically tapered line withe extreme precision.
If you're interested in fly fishing, here's a resource you won't want to be without. Learn the art and craft of fly fishing, and catching the big ones that all anglers dream about! Visit this page for more information at http://www.palalu.com/flyfishing/
PaFlyFish.com is chocked full of maps, tips, news, stories and conversations already at you fingertips. Pennsylvania is a sizable state so starting with the Pa Trout Streams section under the site menu is a good place to begin. There are six regions with hundreds of stocked and special regulation streams that are ideal for fly fishing. Take advantage of the maps to explore the areas you want to travel.
A little searching with some of those new stream names in the forums and stream reports can usually yield a string of information. A host of highly regarded authors can be found in the Fly Fishing Books section. Some good old fashion book reading is worth some time.
A quick trek to the PFBC website can offer an additional collection of streams and detailed regulations.
Finally, time with your local fly shop and Trout Unlimited Chapter are wonderful places to meet up with others. They can provide any number of classes, workshops, and conservation opportunities.
With the arm chair work complete go explore the state. Some of the best places you’ll find will likely be the ones you didn’t set out for when you got started. There may not be an easy button here, but the journey is part of the catch.
Fly selection can be most complex for the fly fisher during an insect hatch. During a hatch the fish feed selectively on the most abundant insect form in or on the water. To be armed with the perfect imitation, in size, form, and color, for each phase of every hatch he may encounter, the fly fisherman would need hundreds of fly patterns in dozens of sizes. One current catalog lists forty-six patterns in five sizes to imitate the phases of one mayfly's life cycle.
Mayfly color can vary considerably, even during the same hatch on the same riffle. Under different light and water conditions, a fly can take a variety of manifestations to the trout. Flies appear differently to fish on cloudy days,on bright days, under the direct light at noon, and in the low angle light of morning and evening. Fish perceive flies differently on riffles than on smooth slicks. Murky water following a rain will alter the trouts view of a fly.
The power of Google Maps help provide detail locations and easy driving directions to over a hundred fabulous locations across the state.
The project has been a special collaboration of many of the PaFlyFish members who really provided expertise on the locations of the streams. The new maps provide the framework for more and new information about stream locations across the state.