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Big Trout Program

Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 03/16/2015 (3538 reads)
The Pennsylvania Board of Fish and Boat (PFBC) Commissioners proposed major changes to the existing delayed-harvest-artificial-lures-only (DHALO) stream sections when they met on January 21-22. Anglers who enjoy the special regulation waters will find trout harvested earlier and be sharing these streams with some who will be able to fish live bait year round if these changes go through January 1, 2016.

First Fork Sinnemahoning CreekThe current regulations for DHALO waters provide year-round trout fishing opportunities using only flies and artificial lures such as spinners. No bait is allowed. Anglers may harvest fish between June 15 and Labor Day with a limit of three fish a day greater than 9". Less than 96 miles of water and 55 streams make up the DHALO regulations that include stream sections on West Valley Creek, Oil Creek, Neshannock Creek, Black Moshannon Creek, First Fork Sinnemahoning Creek, Pine Creek, Quittapahilla Creek, Laurel Hill Creek and Tulpehocken Creek.

The newly proposed rule changes by board members take the special regulation program in a very different direction. Changes for the DHALO move up the start of the delayed harvest period three weeks to the Saturday before Memorial Day. The daily limit would be set to three fish greater than 7". Bait fishing would be permitted during the new harvest period for all anglers. Finally, anglers 16 and younger would be able to fish with bait year-round.

The PFBC hopes to provide more opportunities for anglers and enhance the fishing experience with these changes. “By expanding the harvest period and allowing the use of bait, we can increase angler success while improving the use of the trout before they are lost to natural mortality in the warmer summer months,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway.

Pennsylvania contains over 85,000 miles of streams and rivers. The PFBC and cooperative nurseries stock over 4,100,000 trout in approximately 735 streams and numerous lakes across the state. The DHALO projects are made up of 55 streams that on average cover about 1.6 miles of water. All DHALO streams are subsections of approved trout waters open to public fishing and stocked for all anglers in the Commonwealth.

Back in 2004 then Commissioner President Samuel M. Concilla of Erie County shared his views at a board meeting about the DHALO regulations as they are established today, "I think Delayed Harvest is one of the best programs developed by the commission. It offers a lot of angling opportunities."

Over ten years later many anglers still agree and are not in favor of the proposed changes. "The new proposal is not the right approach and I don't see how harvesting more fish sooner will make fishing a better experience on these streams" shared Ron Kolman of Indiana County, Pennsylvania.

Many of the DHALO streams contain hold-over trout during the summer and are available for another fishing opportunity by anglers in the fall. This is important to anglers with most fall stockings having been eliminated. Anglers fishing in DHALO streams with flies and artificial lures are able to catch and release a trout multiple times. Early harvesting and bait fishing clean out a project much more quickly.

"Bait fishing mortality is greater than the use of artificial lures. Even in the Delayed Harvest period, anglers with bait will likely be killing trout through their intent to catch and release further reducing the angling opportunities for those willing to abide by the original regulation," offers Maurice Chioda of York County.

In addition, Trout Unlimited worked hard with the PFBC to establish and encourage landowners to provide access for anglers to these special project waters based on the current regulations. Will these landowners still provide the same access if the regulations are changed?

Memorial Day weekend is considered by many anglers as the top weekend for fly fishing and continues for several weeks afterwards. Pennsylvania offers some of the most premier fly fishing destinations on the east coast, which includes many of these special regulation streams. Tourists travel to the state to enjoy these unique (fly fishing) waters through the late spring and summer. With limited budgets, will tourist still want to come to streams already harvested or go to other more appealing destinations in the west or north?

Thoughts and comments can be shared in the Paflyfish forum. Directing comments to state officials is even more important.

The proposed changes will be published as a notice of proposed rulemaking in the PA Bulletin for a 60-day public comment period. If adopted on a final rulemaking, the amendments would take effect on January 1, 2016.

Interested persons are encouraged to submit written comments, objections or suggestions about the proposed rulemaking to the PFBC Executive Director John Arway, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, P.O. Box 67000, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000.

Anglers are encouraged to contact their Pennsylvania State Representatives. Written letters are best and Representatives can be found at the Pennsylvania House of Representatives website.

Update 3/16/2015
The comment period is now officially open for the proposed Amendments to Chapter 65.6, Title 58, Part II. The official comment period is from March 14 through May 13, 2015. I am very much opposed to this proposal, so is the Pennsylvania TU and 89% of the members on this site. Please let the PFBC know you are opposed to the changes with a letter or online here.

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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 03/02/2015 (1529 reads)
While at the Fly Fishing Show in Somerset I met up with site member Kevin "Fisherboy3" Craig when he was over at Ben Turpin's booth. After catching up a little Kevin and Ben, they shared with me a recent endeavor that Ben started helping anglers learn how to improve their fly tying skills.

Ben is an accomplished guide and rod builder covering much of New Jersey, Central and Eastern Pennsylvania. He shares a lot of experience and knowledge bringing this fly tying website together.

The Whip Finish Industries website provides an opportunity for fly fishing anglers to learn through his step by step videos on how to tie some of the most important flies for the region. The videos on the site cover dozens of different types caddis, sculpins, nymphs, stone flies, scuds, midges, mayflies and other patterns.

There are plenty of free lessons and tips demonstrated by Ben for anyone to check out and get started. Ben provides a members only section with some more of the advanced flies for only $10.00 a month. Every month new patterns are added.

What really sets the site apart for many is the option to get the correct supplies like hooks and materials that are used in the video directly from the site. So whatever pattern Ben is tying in the video you can get those identical products. Also available is all the tying tools to get you started.

If you have been thinking about starting into fly tying or just looking to advance you skills check, out the Whip Finish Industries website or YouTube Channel.
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 02/14/2015 (1403 reads)
Every year in June along the Yellow Breeches 32 young men and women get an outstanding opportunity to become better educated on the importance of cold water conservation. For those not familiar with Rivers Conservation and Fly Fishing Youth Camp it is wonderful program supported by many expert volunteers from the fly fishing community.

Rivers Conservation and Fly Fishing Youth Camp

A good portion of the time during camp students spend time in a classroom setting. Classes include studies of entomology, wetlands, ecology, hydrogeology, aquatic invertebrates, hydrology, watersheds, the biology of pollution, trout behavior and stream restoration. There are many sessions that take place on the stream or outside during the week.

The instructors in the program often include leading experts including many from state agencies like the PFBC, DEP and DCNR. The Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited sponsors the program with help from the Cumberland Valley TU.

Every morning and evening the participants are given the opportunity to fly fish the catch and release section of Yellow Breeches where they stay for the week. June on the Yellow Breeches is an excellent time to be fishing. Lessons in casting, knot tying, fly tying and more are also part of the curriculum.

This year the program will run from June 21-26, 2015. The cost of the program for youths between the ages of 14-17 is $350. There are different ways that financial support is provided and there are several openings still available. The deadline for the early acceptance period is March 31, 2015.

Truly an exciting opportunity to learn more about conservation and enjoy fly fishing as well. To find out more please go to the website here where they also provide applications.
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 02/04/2015 (1104 reads)
Personally one of the most difficult situations I still encounter on the stream to solve is tying together tippet and leader. Usually I need to do this in the least desirable time, like in the evening during the middle of a big hatch. Usually the scene includes a lot of trout leaping out of the water and laughing at me while a struggle with a knot I can barely see. Ughhh

To help with tying flies to your tippet Rio shares with us how to tie seven popular fly fishing knots including the clinch knot, improved clinch knot, loop knot, Homer Rhoads knot and others . They provide some easy to follow directions, laughing trout not included. I also like how the Zack and Simon explain when to use the knots and some of the advantages of each knot. I had chance to catch up with I enjoyed catching up with Simon again on the exhibit floor at Somerset Fly Fishing show.

A good video if your are looking to add or improve your fly fishing knots.

Seven knots for attaching a fly to leader/tippet material, and how to tie them from RIO Products on Vimeo.

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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 01/22/2015 (1139 reads)
Fly Fishing ShowThis weekend brings the Fly Fishing Show to the Garden State Exhibit Center in Somerset, NJ. This is the best fly fishing show you can find and a great opportunity see what the latest and greatest is going on in the industry.

For those of you that have not made the trip before it is a three day event that includes a very large exhibit floor, fly tiers, retail shops, educational programs and more. Many members from Paflyfish make their way to the show every year. Here is a link to a video and recap of the show in 2014. If you are looking for trips, rods, reels, flies, waders any gear or tying materials this is the show to hit. There are many outstanding presentations about fly fishing techniques and locations to attend as well.

I enjoy going to the show to see a lot of good friends that end up there every year. Justin and team from Allen Fly Fishing can always be found at the show. Tom "afishinado" Ciannilli at the Orvis booth on Saturday. Guides and tiers from the site like Mike Heck, Dave Allbaugh, Rick Nyles & Nick Raftas are there at booths.

Details can be found on the Fly Fishing Show website.
Somerset dates: January 23-25, 2015
Show Hours
Friday: 10am – 6pm
Saturday: 8:30am – 5:30pm
Sunday: 9am – 4:30pm

If you can't make it this weekend there is the Fly Fishing Show in Lancaster on February 28 and March 1, 2015. A little smaller venue, but a good very good show as well.
Show Hours
Saturday: 9am – 5:30pm
Sunday: 9am – 4:30pm
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 01/19/2015 (2673 reads)
Winter fly fishing can be a good opportunity to get out and take a break from your fly tying bench. The opportunities are certainly a little more limited during the winter months with many streams possibly iced up. Southcentral Pennsylvania can often offer several options in in the region during the winter with spring influenced streams and wild trout.

Trout during the winter are not as active as you might normally find them in the spring and summer. Spring fed streams offer a much more consistent temperature often in the 50's year round and thus more resistant to the cold weather conditions. Some of these popular winter streams in Southcentral Pennsylvania include Yellow Breeches Creek, Big Spring Creek and LeTort. The wild trout in these streams can be incredibly challenging when the weather is warm, so have some realistic expectations for your first trip to the region.

Dave Weaver offered some solid ideas in the forums. "My usual advice to CV [Cumberland Valley] newbies is to embrace the reality that trout in these creeks are bottom feeders and live on a year round diet of scuds, sculpins, midge pupa, and cress bugs. This isn't to imply that you won't find rising fish, you can, and there are hatches as well (mainly sulphers and BWOs) but for someone used to fishing upstate or in the's often a big disappointment. You can fish for days (esp this time of year) and not see any surface activity around here."

Fly Fishing Getting Started - Spring Creek Winter Flies

Dave Weaver on LeTort Spring Run

I asked Southcentral Pennsylvania fly fishing guide, Mike Heck, what are his favorite flies are for wild trout on his local spring fed streams. Mike shared, "If I had only the option to carry just a few flies. Toss all boxes in my vehicle and pull out five flies. I would without a doubt carry shrimp, cress bugs, black sculpin, BWO parachute and a olive CDC midge. These fab five should be just enough to fool a trout and cover any stream condition I may encounter."

Take a little time planning before you head on a trip to any spring fed stream in the winter. Knowing where you want to go, what flies to bring and tactics to try can really make a difference. There are other streams outside the Cumberland Valley that are spring influenced and open during the year. Doing a little homework can offer a few quite locations. I would suggest looking through the forums with key words like #spring creeks, #limestone and #winter to get you started. I also recommend you get a copy of the book Spring Creek Strategies (Mike Heck, Harrisburg: Stackpole Books, 2008)
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 01/13/2015 (1019 reads)
Tightline Productions has been offer up a host of great videos over the years. Recently they added offer up video instructions on tying . You can check out their Vimeo Channel here.

Hi-Vis Coachman from Tightline Productions on Vimeo.

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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 12/29/2014 (11520 reads)
Fly Fishing Getting started

Paflyfish is a popular spot for fly fishing anglers in the region for many good reasons. There are all sorts of great conversations and information shared in the forums on a host of different topics. We are very fortunate to have so many folks not only provide information online in the forums, but help out beginners at clinics and instructional jamborees. Also there are some darn smart anglers on the site coming from all walks of life. The site is filled with thousands of great post and threads that offer any angler any opportunity to expand their fly fishing opportunities. This section will be a dynamic page for beginners to find an index of information to get started with fly fishing. As relevant blog posts and threads are collected they will be added for quick and easy topics.

Take the Journey

Types of Trout

Trout Food
Trout Food Overview
The Mayfly Stages of Life 101
Mayfly Sex Identification 102
The Caddisflies
Green Drakes: May Madness
Meet the Hendricksons

What Fly Rod and Fly Reel to get?
A Dozen Top Flies
Knots and the DBK
Trip Packing

Seasonal Information
Getting Ready For Fall Fly Fishing
Conquer the Cold: The theory of bigger being sometimes better
Getting out for some fall fly fishing
Try Some Winter Fly Fishing
How to Dress for Winter Fly Fishing

Beginners Forum
Fly Fishing Locations
Fly Tying
Stream Reports

Additional Online Information
Fly Fishing Hatch Chart
USGS Real-Time Streamflow Data & Mobile
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 12/22/2014 (816 reads)
christmas tree flyI was catching up on some of the recent threads in the Paflyfish Fly Tying Forum and found a post from Night_Stalker about a Christmas Tree Fly. Digging a little deeper into the post I checked out the post originating from Louis Cahill at Gink and Gasoline. Louis is an advertising photographer and along with Kent Klewein share their fly fishing stories on Gink and Gasoline. I have enjoyed many of their blog posts, but had missed this one from a couple years ago.

Well Loius served up a little holiday fly tying wonderment with his post a couple years ago and should you should check out his Christmas Tree Fly post and the Gink and Gasoline blog.

Happy Holidays,

From Paflyfish!

images with permission from Louis Cahill
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 12/14/2014 (1421 reads)
Winter fly fishing can a be a very rewarding time to get out on the water. The most important thing to an enjoyable day of winter fly fishing is dressing for the weather. After decades of winter activities like hiking, hunting and fishing you would think I would know better, but one of my worst days fly fishing was because I forgot my wool socks. Not so smart with my cotton socks. So let's take a look at the best approach wintering up for a day of fly fishing.

You've heard it before, but I'll say it again. Layers, layers, and more layers. The most important thing are the correct layers.

Alright Captain Obvious we know cotton socks don't work, so the best bet is a two layer approach with your feet. I first put on a thin polyester wicking sock. Overtop of the polyester sock I use a classic ragg merino wool sock. Bigger can be better, but make sure you can still get into your boots comfortably. If your socks are too thick and your feet are too tight in the boot this will not help keep you warm. What you are trying to accomplish is wicking away the perspiration from your feet with the polyester sock to the wool sock.

Legs and lower body
Winter Fly FishingAgain layers are the way to go. Keeping your legs and lower body warm while in the water is a non- negotiable. A few years ago I ended up getting a pair of Simms Guide Mid Pants. These pants are made of fleece and provide greater insulation than cotton. I would imagine you can get a decent pair of tapered fleece pants online that will do the trick. I like the tapered pants as they bunch up less at your ankles when you get into your boots. Often I'll wear a pair of light polyester long pants overtop of the fleece pants. A few ways to approach this but I'd avoid the cotton sweat pants.

Upper body
I generally have a three layer approach to the upper body. I use synthetic polyester base layer for wicking. I like the Under Armour mock longsleves. Offers a good base from the arms to the neck. The middle layers are your main insulators and going to keep you warm. A couple layers of fleece or wool always work for me. I found a great fleece shirt at Walmart for $10 a couple of years ago and is my goto whenever I head outside. A good down vest can work too, but you don't want too much bulk. The number of layers and type is really up to you and the temperatures you expect to encounter.

Finally for your upper body is a good outer shell. The key is something that will keep the wind from getting to you. With the layers you have already put on, a big winter coat is not best step here. A winter windstopper shell that is water repentant is the answer. This is the place I would invest my money. I have an older Simms windstopper jacket that works great and think I spent $200 at the time. With layering this jacket works from October thru April for me. Today I would look at the Simms Bulkley Jacket ($300) or Cabela's Guidewear WindStopper Jacket (on sale for $110, but not water repentant). Specific fly fishing wading jackets are usually cut short in length and make it easier fitting into your waders. Once you are dressed and have your waders on you want warmth, but also upper body mobility too.

The other stuff
Fingerless gloves or mittens are a must. Plenty of good options made of wool, fleece and polyester. Leave the ski gloves for the slopes. Last but not least is a wool hat.

You really should try all this gear on before you go to the stream. Adding a few more layers may cause some difficulties getting onto your fly fishing boots and waders. The holidays don't help either. No sense having all the right gear if you can't fit into your waders. I enjoy my fly fishing backpack this time of year with layers I am taking off or adding on. Finally, even if you don't think you'll need it, bring an extra layer to leave in the car.
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