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Published by YoughRiverGuide on 03/20/2011 (7843 reads)
Written by Ernie Pribanic

Fly Fishing the YoughioghenyMarch is a hard month for the Western-Pennsylvania trout angler. Stricken with a surliness know only to those who have been denied the thing which they most desire for the better part of an Appalachian winter, they find themselves sitting haggardly in front of their computers, monitoring with doubtful eye the USGS gauges that correspond to their favorite spring time haunts. (At least, I do.)

People often ask me, obviously at times other than those when I’m wearing that March-spawned frustration upon my surly visage, “So what does the Youghiogheny’s foremost and most authoritative fishing guide look for before heading out to the river in the spring?” (They say that. They really do.)

Paflyfish's very own Dave Kile posited this question to me recently and asked if I might provide my answer in writing. Gracious fellow that I am, I reply thusly:

Upper Yough: (south of the Mason-Dixon, Maryland license required)

Ideal CFS for the wade-fisher is right around 300 or below. Of primary interest on this stretch of river is the four-mile catch and release area below the Brookfield Power plant. Brookfield Power releases cold water into the river here, creating a year-round fishery.

While this piece of water is a smaller version of the middle Yough below, it is still, by Eastern standards, a large piece of trout water, and you want to avoid it at higher flows.

Middle Yough: (below Youghiogheny River Lake--confusing isn’t it?)

Fly Fishing the YoughioghenyYou need to think of this stretch of river as having two sections: the dam to the Casselman River is section A, and the Casselman River to Ohiopyle is section B. Popular opinion says that section A can be waded safely at 1200 cfs or below, but this angler likes it best between 500 and 900 cfs. Check the USGS gauge at the dam for current flows.

Below the Casselman (and thanks to the Casselman), you have to check the gauge below Confluence. I won’t wade fish this piece of river unless it is at 1500 cfs or below. The determining factor is the amount of water coming north out of Maryland: if the Army Corps is running a lot of water from the dam, over 1000 cfs for instance, and you have the Casselman adding another 1000 cfs to the river, the Middle is out for all but the stout of heart.

Gear: (what to throw in you quiver)

For spring time fishing on the Yough, no matter which section you choose, I like a five and sometimes--if throwing bigger bugs--a six. If you know that you are going to be fishing streamers, a full sinking line is not a bad choice either.

As the season progresses, a nine-foot four weight can be a good choice for dry fly fishing on the Middle, and the Upper becomes perfect water for pitching dries with your favorite three or four weight.

Bugs:(hatches o’ plenty)

Ernie PribanicYou’ll find the typical spring bugs on both the Middle and the Upper, though the Upper is the buggier of the two. Midge hatches are a given on warm days throughout February and March, and if the water levels oblige, you’ll likely find fish working them in slower water and tailouts. Generally, by March, black stones, brown stones, and blue wing olives are common sights on both the Middle and the Upper River as well. Dry fly fishing is typically better on the Upper than the Middle throughout spring, though. This is generally due to water levels: when the Middle is high, you’ll have to work harder to find rising fish as most of their eating seems to get done below the surface.

On the Upper, you’ll find all the major mayfly species; while on the Middle, caddis, olives, march browns, and crane flies are what’s for dinner through April and May. Both sections have good populations of Green Drakes as well provided you find the right habitat for that particular burrower.

River Information and Guide Services:
For river information, hatch charts, or to book a guided trip on the Upper Yough and other Maryland waters, check out www.springcreekoutfitter.com.
For river reports or to book a guided float trip on the PA side, contact Ernie Pribanic or Jim DiBiase at www.laurelhighlandsguideservices.com

I want to thank Ernie for his contributions in writing this post. - Dave Kile
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 03/14/2011 (2973 reads)


The spring offers many anglers an alternative to trout in the rivers and tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware River. It is the time when shad return to spawn in the freshwater rivers from their winter feeding in the Atlantic Ocean. This migration has had terrible struggle starting early in our American history.

This story has it's beginnings going back to the late 1600's as mentioned by William Penn - "Shads are excellent fish and of the Bigness of our Carp: They are so plentiful..."

Certainly a popular and plentiful fish for commercial fisherman until 1806 when gillnets were first outlawed for many years. Sadly, this was only the beginning of many issues that plagued the shad in our region.

In the early 1800's the first dams along the Delaware were constructed and shut down shad migration past those points. As a result the access to spring spawning grounds were lost.

The Shamokin, Clarks Ferry, Duncan’s Island, Nanticoke, and Columbia dams along the Susquehanna were constructed to support the Pennsylvania canal. A dam above Newport halted the shad's migration up the Juniata during this time as well.

Once the railways took hold those dams and along the Susquehanna were removed and some shad returned. While some gains were made right behind this the effects of industrialization took it's toll on all the rivers. Coal mining, deforestation and pollution like sewage discharge was unchecked in the rivers.

Habitat, pollution and overfishing continue continued to devastate the shad populations in the rivers and tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware River.

With more dams added in the early 1900's like the Conowingo and Holtwood all shad migration ceased upstream on those rivers.

It not until the early 1970's that the first progress was made in utilizing fish ladders and stocking the rivers again with millions of shad eggs.

This new opportunity for anglers has been growing as the American Shad has seen a wonderful recovery especially over the past 20 years. This has been a conservative effort by organizations like the New Jersey Fish and Wildlife, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, power companies and sportsman groups in the region.

Thanks to Van Wagner for his YouTube Video and JakesLeakyWaders for finding this video.
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 03/08/2011 (3597 reads)




The Fly Fishing Show in Philadelphia was held the the weekend of March 5 & 6, 2011. This is the first time the show was held at the Valley Forge Convention Center and sounds like it will be part of the schedule for next year as well.

Being that is was the first year there was a little smaller with the number of vendors, booths and presenters. Chuck Furimsky, Fly Fishing Show Director, made sure there was plenty of the star power and regulars to make it a very good first year and plenty to go around for all. Joe Humphreys, Bob Clouser, Eric Stroup, Mike Heck, Bob Mead, John Collins, Shawn Davis, Anthony Giaquinto, Scott Cesari, Dave Brandt and Don Bastian to name a few

A lot of booths included TCO Fly Shops, Simms, The Evening Hatch Shop, Valley Forge TU, Main Line Fly-Tyers, Project Healing Waters, AA Outfitters Fly Shop and plenty more.

What I liked most about the show was just how well attended it was by Paflyfish members. I was into the show for than a few minutes and found Heritage Angler and LRSABecker eyeing up the hall looking for some deals. I'll let the video tell the story. More pictures are posted on the Facebook Fanpage : http://www.facebook.com/paflyfish

Nice show and looking forward to getting back to Philly next year as I am sure this will really grow!
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 02/28/2011 (2054 reads)
Paflyfish
The 2011 Instructional Mini-Jam is in the books, and was a huge success.

A BIG "Thank You" to the instructors - you guys did a great job, as I knew you would. Sorry I had to cut each of you short - this showed everyone just how well versed you guys were. Most impressive!

Here's a list of our instructors:
jdaddy - Gear and TU membership.
JayL - What trout eat, and flies to immitate them.
pcray - techniques used to fish those flies.
skiltonian - Indicator fishing techniques.
fly_flinger - common knots.
JasonS - On Stream Instruction.
Old Lefty - Fly Casting.

I'd also like to point out the generosity of our senior members in attendance. Andy (surveyor06) sorted and distributed flies that were donated for our new/non-tying members. They received several dozen each!

Lastly, I'd like to thank all of our senior and newer members, friends, and family members that showed up, and braved the bone chilling wind in the morning. I counted 36 people in attendance at the time of the group photo, and several more showed up during the day. Some had driven close to 3 hours to attend - that's hard core!

Judging from how well this event was received, I'd like to see this become an annual event. Hopefully, it was a learning experience for all. Please post anything you think that would help make this event better for next year - there's always room for improvement. Link to the thread in the Forum.

It was really nice to see old friends, and make new ones as well. - Heritage Angler

A special note of thanks goes out to Heritage Angler for his effort int bringing this event together. Heritage Angler really demonstrates what the sport is all about. -dkile
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 02/20/2011 (3583 reads)
It is hard to imagine that back in my early days of fly-fishing how easily I jumped into my truck armed with just a Delorme Atlas and didn't hesitate to run across the state to find some new untested waters. This was great fun to explore many parts of the state that I heard about and fortunately had plenty of time to make these treks. The good old days had a downside to taking off for a five hour drive on some Lewis and Clarke expedition into some uncharted lands for myself. I soon learned weather and water conditions in one area of the state can be drastically different 200 miles away.

In the early days of the Internet, one of the early website sites I found incredibly useful was the USGS implementation of the Real-time Water Data and Streamflow Conditions. This website provides detailed reporting of the most recent and historical water levels for hundreds of streams and rivers across the country.

USGS StreamgageIn 1888 the US Geological Survey started the first of National Streamgaging Program with a gage on the Rio Grande River in New Mexico and have been rolling them out across the country to the delight of all those that enjoy those waterways and streams.

I utilize the USGS site time and time again before heading out on my excursions now. I have cancelled or changed my plans on many a trip due to the timely data found from these gaging stations. I huge time saver in at least knowing there is some decent waters levels to my soon be fantastic fishing trip.

With recent funding reductions many of the real-time streamgages in New York and Pennsylvania may be discontinued. In total for both states it seems there may be about 70 sreamgages effected. Gages at streams like Spring Creek, Pine Creek, the Little Juniata River in Pennsylvania and the Salmon River, the Ausable River in New York.

It appears that there are no changes are planned for New Jersey, Ohio and West Virginia. Maryland has only one stream being effected by these funding issues.

Currently both the New York and Pennsylvania USGS Real-Time Water Data sites are requesting users who are willing to help with funding to potentially keep these gages up and running. At the time of this post I had contacted and USGS for more details and had no response.

So my suggestion is for the USGS is let us anglers, boaters and conservationists, "Adopt a Streamgage". Let us know what it would take for us to put our name in support of our favorite threaten metal shed next to the stream. If we can support some asphalt, why not a section of pristine fly fishing waters?

Reach out to your local USGS contact ask how you can "Adopt a Streamgage."

New York - 27 Streamsgages listed
Contact Rob Breault or Ward Freeman of the USGS New York Water Science Center at 518-285-5658 or dc_ny@usgs.gov

Pennsylvania - 44 streams listed
Contact Bob Hainly, Assistant Director of the USGS Pennsylvania Water Science Center, at 717-730-6971 or rahainly@usgs.gov

Maryland - One stream
Contact Jon Dillow of the USGS Maryland, Delaware, DC Water Science Center at 443-498-5524 or jjdillow@usgs.gov
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 02/10/2011 (2619 reads)
Public Meetings Scheduled to Receive
Comments on Draft River Management Plans

susky"The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) has scheduled seven public meetings to receive comments about the agency’s draft river management plans for the Susquehanna River, the Three Rivers in Pittsburgh and the Delaware River.

At each meeting, PFBC biologists will describe the history of fish management on the particular river, identify the factors affecting the biological health of the river, prioritize the future needs relative to fisheries management, and discuss the proposed future plans. The public will then have the opportunity to provide brief comments.

The meetings are free and the public is encouraged to attend and share their comments with PFBC staff.

An executive summary of each draft river management plan will be available on the PFBC website several days in advance of the meetings. The public can view the executive summary and also submit comments online by following the links below next to each plan.

Dates, Times and Locations:

Susquehanna River - www.fishandboat.com/SusquehannaRiverPlan.htm
• Feb. 12 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., PFBC headquarters, Harrisburg.
• Feb. 16 from 6:30 – 9 p.m., Langone Center, Forum Room, Bucknell University, Lewisburg.
Three Rivers - http://www.fishandboat.com/ThreeRiversPlan.htm
• Feb. 19 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Doubletree Hotel, Monroeville.
• Feb. 22 from 6 – 8 p.m., Franklin Public Library, Franklin.
• Feb. 24 from 6 – 8 p.m., Conference Rooms 301 and 302, Stover Campus Center, Waynesburg University, Waynesburg.
Delaware River - www.fishandboat.com/DelawareRiverPlan.htm
• March 2 from 6 – 8 p.m., Northampton Community College, Room 220, Center Building, 3835 Green Pond Road, Bethlehem.
• March 3 from 6 – 8 p.m., Hampton Inn at Matamoras, Main Conference Room, 122 Westfall Town Drive, Matamoras.
The mission of the Fish and Boat Commission is to protect, conserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s aquatic resources and provide fishing and boating opportunities. For more information about fishing and boating in Pennsylvania, please visit our website at www.fishandboat.com.

photo by jakesleakywaders
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 02/07/2011 (3691 reads)
Quill Gordon Crippled Real Wing
by Sandfly

quillBack in the late 60’s and early 70’s while fishing in the Pocono’s I fished the early season hatches there every year. The first big hatch was the Quill Gordon hatch. While the wet fly and nymph were productive the dry fly was not so productive for me. Even though I used the standard pattern I could not get consistent takes.

For years this went on and I became frustrated with the hatch. After moving to Ansonia in 2006 I found there is a heavy hatch of Quill Gordon's here at times on Pine Creek.

Again I was frustrated by the lack of surface takes on my flies I used. I experimented with different dries for the Quill Gordon with the same results. I think it was because the flies pop so fast the trout didn’t want them so much.

While sitting on the bank one day watching the hatch I saw a brown feeding on the surface. As I watched I noticed he was taking flies that were not riding high but the ones riding low in the surface. I went home and tied a few down wing flies and went back the next day.

They worked I started getting more fish on the down wing. I thought I could come up with a better fly yet and sat down and tied the Quill Gordon Crippled using raffia for the wing instead of the old standby of wood duck. Along with this I changed the body from a quill body to a dubbed dirty olive/yellow dubbing with a peacock quill rib. This did it and my catch rates went up.

Now when the Quill Gordon’s are hatching I make sure I have these in my box along with the old patterns too.
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 01/28/2011 (3938 reads)
Congratulations to Paflyfish member Dean Myers (djmyers) for winning the Grand Prize at the national fly-tying contest sponsored by Feather-Craft Fly Fishing. Dean recently was featured on Paflyfish with his Blue Winged Olive CDC Cripple tie posted in the blog back in September.

fallDean's original award winning Chain Gang Stonefly is designed with a unique thorax that helps the fly sink quickly.

Myer's is a resident of Lancaster County and when not tying is a full time computer programmer in New Holland, Pa.

More details about the is annoucement can be found at the the fly tying contest website here.

More of Dean's flies can be found over at MyFlies.com.
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 01/24/2011 (2459 reads)


The Fly Fishing Show in Somerset, NJ was well attended by many from all over the region. Plenty of vendors filled the exhibit hall and seminars were busy as well by Saturday. Some snow on Friday morning seemed to slow up a few on the first day. I arrived to the usual filled parking lots on Friday afternoon.

I enjoyed seeing a lot of friends and members from Paflyfish. I do think many held off from going to Somerset and are waiting for the Philadelphia show in March.

There was a lot of conversation about the Philly show. It is rather close to Somerset and only six weeks away. Seemed like many vendors were planning on attending, but not all.

The results from Friday seemed encouraging for many vendors. One of the destination guides felt he would have sold all his summer trips by noon on Saturday. One of the fly shops shared that they had been doing pretty well selling boots and waders first day. I helped out first thing Saturday morning with my own boot purchase.

I enjoyed meeting Steve at Rise Fishing Company. Steve and his wife Amanda have recently started a rod company focused on designing rods that are user friendly for anglers to match their skills and fishing situations. Rise also has pledged to donate 20% of their profits to conservation efforts. It was good to see Ernie Pribanic from Laurel Highlands Guide Services in the both helping the team from Rise as well.

Meeting up with friends and getting introduced to new folks is always the best part of the show, but I especially enjoyed getting to the seminars this year. Gary Borger was my favorite with his Fishing the Film discussion. Going to try and hopefully catch George Daniels if he is presenting in Philadelphia in March.

If you are considering going to the Philadelphia show in Valley Forge it should be worth the trip. Do make time to check out a seminar if you plan on going.

Hope to add a follow up post later in the week.
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 01/10/2011 (5791 reads)
By Matt Kern (mkern)

greg"I created this fly for a few reasons. Mainly because I never seemed to catch fish on caddis, but I knew how abundant they were in most streams. I heard people rave about LaFontaine’s Sparkle Pupa all the time, but didn’t really like the fly itself. I read/heard how the antron formed a bubble much like the natural as the fly ascends to the surface to hatch. I definitely wanted to recreate that bubble on the caddis pupa, but try and be a little more “realistic” (well as realistic as feathers and fur can get.) So I decided to create my own version.

Little did I know that the material that I selected to represent the bubble (the vinyl tubing) would do more than look like trapped air. It also acts like a bumper on a car. It allows the fly to bounce along the bottom, but there is a better feature yet… The softness of the tubing gives the angler another second to set the hook. The tubing is soft and the fish tend to chew it longer, or not reject it as soon.

I almost always use one of these flies in a tandem rig. It can have a bunch of weight to get the rest of the flies down and catches fish every outing for me. I will say, in the “non-peek” caddis seasons I tend to hook smaller fish, but the opposite is true in early Spring and in the Fall. The color scheme I show here is not the only one. You can tie many variations as well, like yellow-bellied, tan-bellied, cream-bellied, etc. There is also very little wasted materials with this fly. This is a fly I like to use year round.

Matt started fly tying and fishing about 10 years ago. He has worked at E. Hille's back in 2006 - 2007 as a custom fly tyer and rod builder. Matt offers a fly tying club at the school where he teaches.
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