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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 10/10/2019 (1424 reads)
I went up for Krayfish's Get schooled, Get spooled JAM the first part of October. Kray was very gracious to give me the lay of the land and host me on the water for a couple of days in his drift boat. There were a few other guys up from the PAFF to give the Delaware a try that week including: Krayfish2, DaveS, Pittsburgh Don, Istimey, moon, flyswatter Brooklyn Morgan, Cosmic Frank and Cody.

Krayfish with a Brownie

I had a great time with the guys and enjoyed some fine meals at Frank's house in Deposit. DaveS cooked up some killer fillets the first night. Being the newbie to the group, I enjoyed hearing previous war stories about the one that got away and learning a little more about the region.
West Branch Delaware, Deposit, NY

A little bit of a backgrounder for those like me to the region. The Delaware is really three rivers in this area and can be very different in each one depending on conditions. The lower West Branch flows out near Deposit, New York and is controlled by the Cannonsville Reservoir. There doesn't seem to be a lot of notice or reason for the releases that happen from the dam. The East Branch has flows from the Beaver Kill branch and upstream controlled by the bottom released Pepacaton Reservoir. The West Branch and East Branch meetup just below Hancock, NY and then form the mainstem of the Delaware. Some of the West Branch and all of the mainstem are shared by New York and Pennsylvania. These river systems offer some world-class wild trout and incredible bug life that make for some great fly fishing opportunities.


This was the first time for me to fly fish in these waters and really enjoyed the fall colors starting in the trees. The weather was a good mix of clouds, drizzle and sun while on the river for two days. The air temps were a good mix of the mid-'50s to maybe lower 80 on Tuesday. Some really nice days for fishing with a distinct feeling of fall in the air and seen in the mountains.


The big challenge was the water due to the release from the Cannonsville Reservoir on the West Branch. The water was up at about 1200 CFS and at about 60 degrees. This made for a great float, but Cannonsville Reservoir is a bottom release and the water was pretty turbid from the West Branch down to the mainstem both days.

Moon on Delaware
Moon getting into a brownie

We fished hard the first day on the West Branch with streamers getting plenty of hits. Not a very buggy day, but plenty of eagles and migrating ducks all around us.

The second day we went to the mainstem and covered the river with everything in our fly boxes: streamers, nymphs, emergers and dry flies. More rises seen and we went after any rise we saw. We had some #18 Blue Winged Olives in the afternoons as well as a few Isonychia during the day. This was a lot of fun and Cody kept us in line. At the end of day we had a spinner fall coming down and the caddis were coming off in droves. We anchored into a nice stretch of risers and I was happy to throw on my favorite B-52 Rusty Spinner. I hooked into a nice bow, but he showed me who was boss.

Cody providing barking out orders

I ended up staying at the renovated Troutfitter Fly Shop and Inn.


The fishing was very difficult, due to the release, but I had a great time seeing everyone and really appreciated Kray's services getting me onto the Delaware for the first time.
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Published by Dave Weaver [Dave_W] on 09/07/2019 (1640 reads)
We see so many photos of impressive trout caught across Pennsylvania and nearby states every year. Some we know where they came from and what fly they took, and others are more mysterious. Mostly, they’re wild brown and brook trout. Some of these fish are impressive due to their size and others are real lookers with beautiful colors; some are especially impressive based on where they came from as certain streams have cachet as tough streams with few large trout.

I have long felt that PAFF should identify a “top trout” on an annual basis from the photos submitted throughout the year. We’ve discussed it among the moderator staff over the years. So, for 2019, I’m keeping an eye on some especially impressive fish posted to this site. At the end of the year, the “winner” and some runners-up will be identified by the moderator staff. In the meantime, I have canvassed the pics from last year and we have selected a final group of five particularly impressive fish. From these, we have selected a winner.

trout trout


So (cue the drum roll), the Top Trout for 2018 was submitted to the site by Nightstalker – a magnificent brown trout caught on a streamer (Below). Of course, the decision was tough. Runners-up (Above) included a large brook trout submitted by Salvalinusfontinalis, another large brookie submitted by Mowgoli84. 3wt7X submitted a big brown caught by a friend from Penns, and Nymph-wristed submitted a beautiful wild brown that, although it wasn’t the unicorn he hooked, was still a “pig.” These were all top fish in their own right and worthy to be remembered by a Pennsylvania fly fisher as a fish of a lifetime.

Resized Image

Nightstalker – Brown Trout

So, kudos to Nightstalker for winning the Top Trout Award for 2018. Even more so, a heartfelt thanks from Dave Kile and the moderator staff for all the enjoyable content and beautiful photographs and stories that YOU, our readers, have contributed to this site for so many years.

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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 09/02/2019 (1232 reads)
By Brian McGeehan at Montana Angler Fly Fishing

Wild fresh run Pacific steelhead are considered by many to be the ultimate gamefish on a fly rod. These electric sea-run brethren of the rainbow trout grow large in the prolific waters of the North Pacific before entering coastal rivers prior to spawning. One of the most remote and least explored regions to target steelhead is the Tongass National Forest of Southeast Alaska. The sprawling 16.7 Million Acre forest spans both the mainland and a vast network of islands and is home to hundreds, if not thousands, of small clear waters where steelhead spend a few weeks each spring. These waters feel more like trout streams than steelhead rivers and their beautiful crystalline waters are surrounded by the towering temperate rainforest and snow-capped peaks. The only road networks in this region are found within a few miles of a handful of small fishing towns on the coast in this region such as Wrangel, Petersburg and Sitka. The vast majority of this country is only accessible by boat and much is still to be explored in terms of its steelhead potential.

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For the past several spring seasons we have been partnering with the Captain Trig Papenfuse who operates Viaggio Charters to offer an Alaska Steelhead Explorer Program to explore this vast region. This small operation is limited to just 4 guests per week during the prime April and May steelhead window. Long time Montana Angler guide Bill Buchbauer is one of the guides for the program along with Greg Slachter who owns Fly Guides, a guide service in Haines, AK.

We set out in mid-April to spend a week exploring new waters before our first guests arrived. On most trips, the guides visit 4-5 fisheries that they have had success in past seasons while exploring new waters on about 2 days of the trip. Exploring new waters is the ultimate adventure and can result in dead-end leads or the ultimate rush in finding new steelhead waters that few (if anyone) knows about. On our scouting week we set out to bypass the rivers that we had good information on to focus on unexplored waters that looked interesting after scouring maps and Google Earth. Our exploratory crew consisted of Bill, Greg, myself as well as our significant others Ashley, Chris and Ann.

The fisheries that guests target during a week aboard the Viagio tend to be smaller rivers and large streams. While there are a few larger river systems on the mainland, they often have a glacial color and locating steelhead is more challenging. The smaller systems are gin clear and easier to wade. Since the season is so short and the forest is so vast the option to visually spot fish is a huge advantage (and also adds to the “cool factor” when fishing). On these small waters, two-handed rods are not needed and can even negatively impact the fishing due to the added complexity of hiking through the forest with longer rods. The ideal weapon is a 9 foot single hand rod with 8 weight floating line and a reel with a good drag. Most of the fishing is either indicator nymphing or swinging smaller leach or classic steelhead patterns depending on the behavior of the fish and the size of the waters.

The standard program involves breaking up into groups of 2 anglers - each with one of the guides. The 72’ Viaggio mothership is also equipped with 2 jet boats. The jet boats are used to access the mouths of streams and small rivers. In some cases 2 different rivers can be targeted the same day while in other cases all 4 anglers visit the same fishery while one pair works the lower river and the other pair hikes further upstream. Both mainland and island fisheries can be targeted based on current weather conditions, where fish are found, etc.

This style of fishing is truly exploratory. Even on known steelhead waters, there is always the uncertainty as to how many fish are in the system at any one time. Over the years the guides have learned that there are a few predictably safe bets that seem to hold fish for several weeks at a time while others can be either spectacular or a bust depending on the timing of the run. Exploring new waters offers the ultimate adventure - sometimes all of the research pays off and a pristine fishery is identified with huge fresh run fish in small waters. Of course some explorations result in lots of hiking and bushwhacking with few or no steelhead encountered. Typically our guests land on average around 16-20 steelhead per week with the Viaggio team. Often one or two days of the week are a strike out while other days when the hot fishery is found produce lots of action.

Due to the delicate nature of these steelhead fisheries and the fact that so much work and effort has gone into finding waters that hold fish the actual names of the rivers and streams in this report have not been used.

Motoring, Glaciers and Crab Pots

We had a mid day departure from Petersburg on our first day aboard the Viaggio. Due to a lingering storm and large swells we opted to spend the first day motoring a few hours en route to the outer island fisheries that would be our target for much of the week and then stop to explore a large glacier and set out some crab and shrimp pots. Although the steelheading opportunities in Southeast Alaska are the marquee attraction on these trips, an adventure in this region would be remiss without taking in some of the other unique activities that this spectacular landscape has to offer.

Upon anchoring the Viaggio we set out via jet boat to explore the terminus of a large glacier as it enters the ocean. As we approached the glacier we entered a labyrinth of icebergs recently calved from the ice mass. The high density of the glacial ice produced by high pressures results in a spectacular blue color. After lots of photo opportunities and a stop to collect some glacial ice for cocktails, we headed back to our anchorage. Before heading in for the night we dropped several crab pots and shrimp pots along the way.

Exploring No-Tellum Creek

The next morning we got up early and headed back out in the larger jet boat to pull the crab and shrimp pots. Although only a few shrimp turned up, we did manage to collect enough Dungeness Crab to excite the chef, Kristin, with the prospects of fresh crab cakes which we would enjoy at dinner that evening. The seas had settled and we planned to motor to the outer islands by days end. Along the way Bill and Greg wanted to stop to revisit a river that had showed promise on past visits. They had found fish in the system at higher flows and with lower water at hand they were excited about the prospects of seeing this fishery again when it was easier to access. Since there weren’t any other viable rivers or streams nearby and we still had a long motor in the evening all 6 of us set out up the river. The mainland fisheries tend to be higher gradient than the island fisheries and this was river required some rugged hiking, bushwhacking and wading. The efforts paid off and we found fresh steelhead in droves. Even with a shorter day to explore we found plenty of fish in near perfect flows. One run held about a dozen huge steelhead with several over 30”. This day ended up being our most productive of the trip with 8 large fish to the net and at least another 8 fish hooked up that were not landed. The sight of such large fish holding in just 2-3 feet of water and watching them turn on our flies was truly one of the most amazing fly fishing experiences I have ever encountered. This day alone made the entire trip worthwhile. It is simply difficult to describe in words how special this type of experience is! Everyone in the group landed at least one steelhead and we all headed back to the Viaggio with permanent grins.

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Once aboard we pulled anchor and made a long run to some of the outer islands where the rest of the rivers and streams we planned to explore were located. An incredible dinner was enjoyed that featured some of the fresh seafood we harvested earlier in the morning. Along the way porpoises followed the boat on numerous occasions. In the larger sounds we viewed humpback whales from a distance and even had a close encounter with a pod of orcas as they fed under the boat. Truly a day we will be talking about for years to come!

Dontask Rivers 1 and 2

After the long motor from the previous day we were now deep within the island systems found along Alaska’s inside passage. Although each island fishery is unique, they tend to be lower gradient than the mainland fisheries. Trying to find new steelhead rivers with scant information is not an easy task and Bill, Greg and Captain Trig had spent copious hours reviewing maps, charts and google earth to narrow down the prospects. On this day we set out to explore two smaller rivers that were within close proximity to one another. We split up with Bill leading Ashley and Chris up one river while Ann and I joined Greg up the other.

As we hiked up this small fishery it looked ideal. The gradient was low and there were plenty of pools, gravel bars and riffles. Our hopes started to fade after a few hours of attempting to spot steelhead in the clear waters as well as making some blind casts in deeper runs. Just as we began to lose focus Greg stopped to examine some grey shapes in a tailout. We debated whether they were steelhead or rocks so Greg stepped out to make a few casts. After the 3rd casts the shapes darted off - spooked steelhead. Although we were unsuccessful with this pair of big fish our hopes were renewed with the knowledge that steelhead were indeed in the system. We increased our efforts and carefully scanned every section of potential holding water. We quickly spotted some more fish in the next run and Ann and Greg set up to make some casts to them. While they were working these fish I continued up the river. Within 200 yards I came around the bend and stopped in my tracks as I spotted 3 huge fish at close range finning in just inches of water. After one cast the fish slide off into deeper water but didn’t appear overly alarmed. I set up just upstream and tried to drift some favorite steelhead nymphs with no interest. These fish didn’t seem very "grabby" so I switched out to a variation of an intruder pattern designed to be fished on the swing. With such tight quarters on this small stream getting the proper geometry on the cast to swing the fly was a daunting task. I had to carefully wade into the edge of the run on my knees to prevent spooking the fish in order to gain enough room for a roll cast quartering down and across the run. I could still see the fish laying in 3 feet of water and after the 5th cast I successfully swam the fly in front of two fish and the second fish lazily turned on the fly and took it. The water quickly erupted as the fish rocketed and cartwheeled around the pool. This hot steelhead got the better of me and just when I thought he was ready for the net he made one more dash and broke off.

We hiked a bit more up the stream and found one more fish in a tough position. After spooking it we needed to turn around and start making our way back to the meet point at the river mouth for our planned pickup from Trig. On the way back we made another attempt at the same run and managed one more hookup - again with the same results of the fish getting the better of us on a blistering, tackle busting run.

Upon returning to the Viaggio we learned that Bill’s foray into the other drainage was not as productive. Even though both drainages looked equal in size on the maps, in reality it was a much smaller volume fishery and very brushy with a lot of deadfall. They were unable to locate any fish and we determined it was not a usable option for future trips.

Secret Creek

A large storm rolled in the previous night and heavy winds and rains were forecast for the remainder of the trip. Anticipating the storm we changed plans of venturing further into the island system and instead moved in between two large islands that were home to some high quality fisheries that the guides had used in past seasons successfully. Some of the smaller rivers and streams in this region had yet to be explored and we decided that this would be a useful way to spend the rest of the week while staying protected from the brunt of the weather.

On day 4 we ventured up a mid sized river that looked promising on the maps as it was the outlet for a mid sized lake. Often these lake fed fisheries offer more stability and similar drainages in the area that are lake fed had proved productive. With the poor weather we opted to stick together vs. making longer runs in the jet boat to cover 2 rivers in one day.

Our morning was spent on the lower runs of the river which proved to look extremely fishy but were also swift, deep and difficult to navigate. Shortly after leaving the coast we entered a beautiful, but rugged gorge. After working the lower runs the gorge eventually became impassable. We recognized that we could either call it a day and head back early to the Viaggio or attempt to bushwack up and around the gorge to see if the upper waters were easier to access. Upon studying the maps it looked like the gorge only lasted about 1 mile. After an hour of bushwhacking through dense forest and dead fall we had only made short progress. Just as we were about to lick our wounds and had back we stumbled onto a well worn bear trail. This region of the world has one of the highest populations of black bears on earth - while they are not a threat to people they sure do a nice job of clearing some paths in the forest! With the discovery of the trail we made much better progress and were able to make our way back to the river. While the upper waters were still rugged, they were manageable and we located a passage back to the water that looked to offer several great runs including a pool below a large waterfall that looked promising.

Screen Shot 2019-09-04 at 9.55.50 PM

The waters were already on the rise with the steady rains and sight casting was not as productive as our earlier days so we switched to blind fishing by swinging flies and indicator nymphing. Ashley was the first to connect under Bill’s guidance as she hooked into a strong fish that tail-walked across the pool. The knowledge that steelhead were indeed in the system invigorated us all. Within 20 minutes I also hooked a huge fish that rocketed to the other side of the run before shaking the hook. Ann and I found ourselves in a productive run and had 4 more hookups in the next 30 minutes while managing to land 2 of the fish. After exhausting options on the 3 pools we had worked we hiked above the falls. We only had about another hour to explore before we headed back to the jet boat. On the upper waters the river flattened out a bit, we had excellent luck on either native rainbow trout or young steelhead - catching about 20 fish between 10-14 inches but no sea run fish. With time running out we headed back to the Viaggio with another successful outing under our belts. This was definitely a fishery worth revisiting in the future to explore in more depth now that we had located some trails around the gorge and verified that it did hold steelhead.

Swing-And-Miss River

When your are exploring remote rivers in search of steelhead sooner or later the well runs dry and that was the case on our final day of fishing. We took a roll of the dice on a smaller drainage that looked like it might have potential. The stream was fed by a lake high in the mountains which was promising and the gradient looked similar to other waters we had experienced success on. The fishery was also in close proximity to some known “winners” so it would be a big win if we found fish on it in terms of logistics.

After running the jetboat to the river mouth we realized the actual volume of the stream was much smaller than we had expected based on the map drainage. Streams this small aren’t as likely to hold fish as they are more variable in conditions but we set off to hike up the fishery just in case. After a short hike up the stream it proved to be extremely rugged with a lot of deadfall. Since the river was already on the small side we decided to pull the plug and check it off the list and return to the Viaggio early to relax and unwind after a fantastic week. With a big storm and rough seas forecast we took advantage of the early fishing exit and started motoring back to Petersburg to avoid an early wakeup on our departure day the following morning.


Southeast Alaska is truly a special place in the world. The combination of wilderness, wildlife, scenery and truly unique wild steelhead fisheries one of our most unique destinations. Exploring the Tongass National Forest should be on the bucket list for any adventurous angler. While success doesn’t come every day when steelheading, the incredibly high quality of targeting these impressive fish in such small and clear waters is difficult to describe and is one of the coolest angling experiences I have personally had the opportunity to enjoy. Our scouting mission was a success and allowed us to write off some fisheries that are not worth a return visit while also discovering a few gems that will become a staple of the program. Alaska Fish and Game publishes maps of all known steelhead waters in Southeast Alaska and several of the fisheries that we had success on had not been previously listed as a known steelhead fishery - pretty cool stuff!

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 Dave Kile [dkile] on 08/23/2019 (1585 reads)
Fall fly fishing in Pennsylvania offers anglers an awesome opportunity to enjoy cool, colorful days on some spectacular streams. Anglers will appreciate the solitude of fall fishing while others are busy with different fall activities. There are plenty of streams across the state with trout and hatches to keep you busy on familiar waters and even going after some streams you’ve been thinking about.

Fall Fly Fishing

Just like in the spring, you’re looking for trout and good water. There are plenty of streams that have naturally reproducing trout as well as stocked waters by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC). However, the PFBC only provides very limited stocking on select streams during the fall, which starts at the end of September through the beginning of October.

As the weather begins to change, so does the entomology or insect life in the stream. Activity will differ from region to region, stream size, summer water temperatures, and geology. The fall provides a more limited selection of insects, and often, anglers enjoy bringing a more modest selection of flies and imitations. Some of the more popular collections include Slate Drakes, BWOs, Caddis, terrestrials and egg patterns. Typical nymphs and streamers are always part of the mix.

Where to Fly Fish?

Stocked streams and Special Regulation Projects
About 40 streams are stocked after the start of fall by the PFBC. The number of trout is not close to the spring stockings, but offer increased angling opportunity to some of the more popular Special Regulation streams across the state like First Fork Sinnemahoning Creek, Lackawaxen River, Little Pine Creek, Ridley Creek, and Laurel Hill Creek, to name a few. The full list of fall stocked lakes and streams can be found at the PFBC site here. Some private clubs and Co-operative Nurseries also provide some stockings beside the PFBC, but those details are not publicly released.

Rainbow Trout
Something from the PFBC

Class A Trout Streams
Class A Wild Trout Streams are designated by the PFBC as: “Streams that support a population of wild (natural reproduction) trout of sufficient size and abundance to support a long-term and rewarding sport fishery. The Commission does not stock these stream sections.”

Wild Trout
Something a little wild

There are hundreds of these streams across the state. Some of the more popular streams are Penns Creek, Little Juniata, and Spring Creek. There are hundreds of streams across the state in this category, and a full PDF listing can be found here. Not all Class A stream sections are on public land so always ask permission from landowners when approaching Class As or other wild trout streams.

The wild trout in these streams behave and act differently than their pellet raised brothers. You’ll find these trout having lived a season or two and are well adjusted to their environment. They have survived the heat of the summer, floods, predators and have seen hundreds of anglers casting all kinds fly past them. Anglers who know the waters, conditions, and entomology of the fall will be rewarded for their knowledge with some fun but challenging trout.

Wilderness Trout Streams
“Wilderness Trout Streams are a sub-group of wild trout streams; some Wilderness Trout Streams also have a Class A designation based on meeting a minimum biomass threshold. Under 58 Pa. Code §57.4, it is the Commission’s policy to manage wilderness trout streams where stream remoteness and populations of wild trout combine to offer sport-fishing opportunities for anglers in a wilderness setting.” – PFBC. Often these remote wild trout stream areas share use with Hunters so always carry some blaze orange with you to help you to be recognized by hunters.

Holtwood Brook Trout Stream

These streams offer anglers a unique experience of often remote and out of the way streams with wild trout. Hopefully, anglers who make their way to these streams are rewarded with native brook trout in some great settings. These are often small feeder streams and those no-name streams you roll past getting to bigger, more popular stocked waters. These streams should be treated with great respect due to their fragile and unique environments. However, these streams are not all in the remote mountains of the state, but can often be found just around the corner of your home if you search a little.

Anglers with a sense of adventure, stealth, and respect can have a lot of fun with little gems scattered throughout the state. Generally, we ask that you not even post a stream report for these special streams to keep the traffic and adventure optimal.

For more detailed designations on all the wild trout waters from the PFBC, anglers will enjoy the PDF publication - Pennsylvania’s Wild Trout Streams.

Watch Out for the Redds
Reproduction plays an important part of the trout lifecycle during the fall months for both brook and brown trout. Brook trout, native to the Eastern US, usually spawn during late September through October. Brown trout typically spawn in October through late November. However, each stream is very different when this actually occurs.

During the spawn, the coloring on the trout will intensify, especially in the males. Females will create gravel beds called "reds" for the dropped eggs to be fertilized. It is very important to avoid fishing these sections on streams when you see redds and be careful not to kick them up when wading. It is probably best even to leave trout to overtop redds alone and give them a chance to protect the eggs.

Enjoy your fall fly fishing and add your stream report to the forum to share with others when you return.
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Published by Alex Ciocca [drakeking412] on 08/16/2019 (28019 reads)
The trip to Idaho was absolutely phenomenal though. The scenery, geology, wildlife, everything was just what we were looking for. We met up with some of my girlfriend's friends from Oregon and camped for the week at Alturas Lake campground which had some extremely beautiful tent-only sites tucked next to the lake. Early week was very quiet and peaceful till later in the week when there was a music festival in nearby Stanley so there was much more drinking in the area. I only fished the lake one day and I'm not much of a stillwater guy so I didn't have much luck but enjoyed watching some families slay stockers with powerbait, nice to see the kids so excited.

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We hiked up to the Alpine lakes one day and fished those however we got to the trailhead a little too late so the "w" had shown up and put all the fish don and my casts too haha. I was stubborn and would only throw a dry but it was fun and worth just the sights, we really enjoyed them and you live and learn. There was tons of bug activity up there though which was really cool to see.

We also did a float trip down the Salmon River which was my first guide trip and my first float trip proper. Man, that was a seriously good time. I could do that every day and not get tired of it. Our guide Troy lined up with our ideas on conservation and fishing in general and was a great guy to be around, I'd consider him a friend and plan on fishing with him again one day. We caught tons and tons of fish too with some being decent sized. My girlfriend had the time of her life throwing big foams and not touching a single fish haha. She hit her first fish on her own and broke off her first fish too. Several times I heard "I should have given him line Alex" haha the one that got away. Driftboat fishing is amazing though and I'm extremely interested to do it more.

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Lastly, I fished the tribs to the Salmon which were somewhat difficult to fish and access was tough at times. They were much clearer and higher flows than some of our streams and the fish seemed to be sitting in different positions than I'm used to. After an hour or two I started to figure it out and got into some fish. Around lunch, I started to miss fish and make mistakes that lost me some very nice fish. I also made a very big mistake of losing a fish, snagging, and then while frustrated retrieving the fly slipping and busting my shin very hard on some very hard rock. It was close to a day ender. Perseverance wins though and I was rewarded in the late afternoon with some 18" native cutthroat, the fish I went to Idaho for. They were very aggressive on the take and the fights were exhilarating too.

Overall my first major out of state fly fishing trip was a major success. We took a much-needed vacation and got to do some super amazing hikes and fishing. I have a ton more photos of some of the other areas like hot springs and falls I'll be putting together later, I can post the link to that here later but it's for her family too so it's going to be tough...

Thanks for reading and check out Idaho if you haven't! Feel free to pm and I can give you some pointers.

link to photos:

link to the conversation in the forum
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Published by Fredrick [Fredrick] on 07/24/2019 (1770 reads)
The "Frankenfish!" Chances are you have heard this name on your local news channel or on some overdramatized fishing show. The snakehead has received a lot of sensationalism by the media over the years with a lot of it misleading or greatly exaggerated. The snakehead is just a fish. They can’t walk on land to eat your pets and they don’t spawn five times a year. Just recently, John Odenkirk, the leading biologist on the Northern snakehead's impact on the Potomac with over 15 years of research has recently stated that he does not see the Northern snakehead as an invasive species anymore.

Photo courtesy Fredrick

For a fish species to be considered invasive, it has to cause economic or environmental harm. To date, there is no scientific evidence to show that this fish is causing harm to the economy or existing fish populations. If anything the snakehead has boosted sales in fishing licenses and equipment in the area they're inhabiting. They are a blast to catch with spectacular topwater strikes and they are great table fare which makes them attractive to many anglers.

Since hearing that this fish was found in Meadow Lake in 2004 I was intrigued about this so-called devil fish. So, like any angler, I wanted to catch one. I took to the internet to do my homework and gather all the information I could to help me catch these fish on the fly. What I found was very limited: a few guys claiming to be experts but only had two or three fish caught in a period of several years. To me, catching three fish of a certain species hardly makes you an expert and the experts shared no info on what techniques to use other than they had flies for sale that would catch snakeheads.

After a disappointing search for fly fishing related information, I turned my search towards what techniques conventional fisherman were using to catch this fish. I lucked out and found a YouTube channel called Noobangler On this channel, there was a group of guys that called themselves the Snakeheads Stalkers. They were based out of Pa and NJ that were targeting snakeheads in my area. After studying their videos, I had to find a way to translate what these guys were doing into fly fishing. Northern snakeheads don’t have great eyesight so they hunt mainly by sensing vibrations in the water. They also spend the majority of their time in aquatic vegetation, so I needed to find a fly that pushes a lot of water and is weedless. I took to the internet again to find something that fits my criteria for the fly that’s going to get one of these devilfish out of hiding to hit my fly.

My search was disappointing. There were weedless flies, but they didn’t push enough water, and flies that pushed a lot of water, but they were far from weedless. With my search coming up a dud, I needed to create my own snakehead catcher - one that is weedless but also pushes water. After a lot of wasted money spent on tying materials, at least ten or more prototypes, I had a fly that could do what I needed it to do. So how to fish the fly? Snakeheads like to hit lures that are moving with little to no pauses. I’m not sure about you, but I don’t want to be stripping my fly in like crazy all day to keep it moving at a pace that will get a snakehead's attention. Before I decided to catch a snakehead on the fly, I was known to hit the surf from time to time with the fly rod so I was very familiar with making my fly move fast using a two-handed retrieve where you tuck the fly rod under your arm so both hands are free, then you proceed to retrieve the line hand over hand. This makes for a lot faster retrieve and it is also less taxing than a typical single hand retrieves.

So, I have the fly and retrieve; it’s time to go catch my Frankenfish. It took me more than ten outings before I finally caught one. There were naysayers. Those people drove me to continue my efforts to get one of these fish to hand. I don’t think I will ever forget that day when I finally caught one. I ran right home after work and grabbed my kayak and my fishing gear and headed to one of my local snakehead holes.

It was hot and very humid out that day. I was paddling along the pads and in the distance, I noticed some nervous water in front of me. Nervous water can only mean one thing in water with snakeheads: there was a fry ball. A fry ball is a school of snakehead fry. Snakeheads breath air so the area where the babies are is always roiled because the fry are consistently surfacing for air. Snakeheads are great parents, both the male and the female guard their young on average for about four weeks. This is one of the easiest times to catch a snakehead they will hit almost anything that they believe is a threat to their young. Running a fly through the fry ball will anger the parents and BAM! - fish on. Once in a while, you will find some smart parents that won’t hit your fly, but if you get a few casts in the fry ball it usually ends in a bent rod.

Well, it was my lucky day. The first fry ball I paddled over, I made sure I didn’t get too close to it to scare the parents off. I dropped anchor to make sure I didn’t drift into the fry ball from the wind. After I made sure I wasn’t going anywhere, I just sat there and watched the fry and parent interacting to plan how I was going to get one of the patents to hit my fly. After some thought, I decided to cast a foot or two out of the fry ball and just strip my fly through the fry ball. I grabbed my rod and made about a forty-foot cast. My fly landed about three feet over the fry ball. I let it sit for a few seconds then I start to make my retrieve. I am at the edge of my seat the whole time. While my fly starts to go over the fry ball some fry scatter away then a huge deep pop noise with a splash. It took me a second to process what had just happened because I was still in shock from what I just witnessed. One of the parents annihilated my fly. My adrenalin was pumping so much I almost forgot to set the hook. I raised my rod up hard while simultaneously doing a strip strike FISH ON!!!!!! The fish immediately went for the weeds so I gave it the full strength of the butt section on my Sage Largemouth rod. After three attempts to go in the weeds and some water thrashing head shakes, I got the fish in my net and on the deck of the kayak. After some hand to hand combat with the fish to get the hook out, the fish stood still just enough for me to snap a quick pic. Right after that the fish flopped out of my yak and spit the hook out in the process. It was from that moment, that I knew I had to catch more of these mysterious, hard fighting fish that have taken residence in my back yard.

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Published by Dave Weaver [Dave_W] on 07/11/2019 (3049 reads)
Mid summer into mid autumn is prime time for small stream, warm water fly fishing. While this summer (2018) 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.


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.

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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 05/10/2019 (4636 reads)
Friday, May 17th 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.


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.


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 .


Friday – May 17th - Sunday, May 19, 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)


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 Joe Dziedzina [Dizzy] on 05/06/2019 (22143 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 05/01/2019 (1419 reads)
Every few years the topic comes up about what are the essential everyday carry (EDC) items you want to have while on the stream. These are not fishing items, but things you might carry for safety and are just common sense. Here are some ideas on what I carry and the waterproof sports case that I use for just this purpose.

Witz Keep It Clear Drycase (Clear)

For more ideas on first aid and everyday carry, ideas check out the forum here.
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