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Update from the PFBC Big Spring Meeting

Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 2010/3/7 (69769 reads)
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 2010/3/7 (70720 reads)
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 2010/2/28 (1546 reads)
So we are closing in on all the feather tossing stuff. As mentioned in earlier posts it is the line that carries the fly not the fly carrying the line. This presentation of the fly to the trout is completed with proper line set up. The main course of any line setup is the fly line, but the backing, leader and tippet complete the meal.

fly lineThe first course of the line setup and attached to the reel is the backing line. Backing is a braided line designed to provide support to the overall line setup when your fly line gets striped out from your reel as a fish is hooked and then takes off and as a buffer to keep the flyline away from the arbor(or axle) of the reel. This keeps the fly line from being wound in larger loops and reduces memory.

The only place I have ever seen my backing while trout fishing in Pennsylvania is on my reel. Point being it will be pretty rare to have a brookie take you down to the braids on a typical stream. For larger game fish and even steelhead fishing it is highly advised to take more notice to proper backing configuration. Around a 20lbs test braided backing line at about 100 yards is plenty to get you going.

Our meat and potatoes is the fly line and this is the stuff that makes all the magic happen when casting on the stream. Most major fly line manufacturers create some really great products today. Lines are designed with specific capabilities for float, increased line speed, distance and accuracy of a cast. In principle a fly line is intended to float on the surface for dry flies or sink for sub surface action.

Often engineered around a braided line for core support, the outer coating determines if the line is a floating or sinking fly line. Floating lines are made up of a polymer, often a PVC, that will provide a stiff line in casting and contain lots of tiny air bubbles to keep the line afloat. Sinking lines will provide that same stiffness for casting, however the outer core will contain metals in the line for faster sinking action. Lines are rated by weight and matched to the rod weight. So you match you 5wt rod with a 5wt line. Go with the floating lines when you get started and you can add a spool of sinking line later if you want.

One of the final discussions about fly line is the designation of Double Taper (DT) or Weight Forward (WF) lines. DT lines can be reversed after the front of the line has worn out and use the back end of the fly line. WF can have a better delivery of casting. There are more nuances to fly lines with length of the tapers, sinking speeds and such. Some manufactures created products based on types of fish to make it easier when choosing the overall correct type of line.

Our fly line is often big, brightly colored and you would probably never have a chance of catching a fish with a fly all knotted up to it. Our setup of line moves from delivery to presentation. A smaller, lighter and less notable line is needed to present the fly to those cunning Salmoninae (trout).

A monofilament leader that is about 7’-9’ long attaches your fly to your fly line. It is a very thin line and better suited not to be seen by wary trout. I like a 9 ft tapered leader, but there are a lot of variations. Some even use a straight line of monofilament that you find for your spinning line. Of course there are weights to this too. Damn fly-fishing is a heavy sport! Weight and size of the leader really depends on season, fly, fish and water conditions.

The sorbet of our setup is one more piece of line that is often used especially when dry fly-fishing on the surface. A piece of tippet line of about 18”-36” is tied on to the leader and then attaches to the fly. This is even smaller piece of monofilament and even less likely to be seen by the trout. Tippet is rated using an “X” system that ranges from 0X (.011” diameter) to 8x (.003” diameter). 4X to 6X are popular for trout. Back to the heavy lifting, 4X and 6X would range from 6 lb. to 3lbs depending on manufacturer.

Truth be told with that many different types of line discussed there are probably about 110,345 different variations to do what I just explained and many different personal preferences just to toss that feather we have been talking about.

In our final post I will put some of this together with gear, brands, setups and some pricing suggestions.
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 2010/2/19 (1116 reads)
youth fly fsihing


The US Youth Fly-Fishing Team will be holding it's Spring Northeast Educational Clinic from May 7-9 on the banks of famed Big Fishing Creek in Lamar, PA with the historic Sieg Center being our lodging, and base of operation. Offering clinics will be the following friends and fly-fishing greats : Joe Humphreys, Eric Stroup, George Daniel, Lance Wilt, Kurt Finlayson, and Brian Kimmel with a few more to be announced. Batting clean-up will be yours truly (I will teach how to apply ketchup and mustard to a hot-dog). The weekend will kick-off with an AWESOME educational session, led by Amidea Daniel, on the hyrdrologic cycle; stream entomology, and team building. That session alone will be worth your time! I have seen it twice now and I am still awestruck.

In addition: All attendees will be the head honchos at the Fly Fishing Film Tour on Friday Night-at the State Theater in downtown State College.

If you are a young angler, or know of a young angler who would cherish the opportunity to hang with a bunch of like-minded fishing dudes, to learn an incredible amount pertaining to fly fishing. see some cool vids, great eats and just some amazing hang time with some of the best America has to offer--SIGN UP!!!!!!

You'll be meeting young anglers, some of whom are members of the US Youth FF Team; some of whom will be members of the team; and some who just love to fly fish and learn about fly-fishing.

For more info: http://usyouthflyfishingteam.com/springclinic.htm

See ya there!

Coach Williams
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 2010/2/15 (1612 reads)
In our previous post we discussed the characteristics of a fly rod. The reel is the next important piece of hardware and serves a much different role than with spin casting. With spin casting a reel is the centerpiece to bring in a fish. Not so much with fly-fishing for trout. When fly fishing for trout in PA the reel primarily holds all the line. With larger fish the fly reel plays a greater role in playing and landing the fish.

The finer fly fishing reels are machined from solid bar-stock aluminum. These higher quality reels will last decades. Most cost hundreds of dollars and in some cases are works of engineering marvel.

lamson reelLess expensive reels are made from die cast alloys and perform with less precision. There are many fine products in this class that will last the fly angler for years. My old standby Lamson reel is over 20 years old and is still serving me very well.

Several entry-level fly fishing kits provide plastic reels. These plastic reels might be adequate to get familiar with the sport, but don’t necessarily hold up very long.

Aside from a reels defining fit and finish are the materials used in the drag construction. Simpler spring and pawl drags just put a light resistance on the fly line as as it is played off the reel. A higher quality disc drag system provides a smoother, even tension when you apply pressure to the fly line. This can become very important when playing and landing larger fish.

Bigger is not always better, a reel matched for the rod and type of fishing is the way to go. Most trusted manufactures are very clear which reels work best with those criteria.

Our next post gets back to throwing feathers and our fly line.
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 2010/2/12 (1772 reads)
Much like Discovery Channel's "How It's Made" Ross provides a more personal tour to show the entire process of machining and manufacturing of the Ross Reel.


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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 2010/2/8 (1721 reads)
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Region was dealt another major snowstorm this past weekend. This leaves many just a little anxious to get outside even more than normal. It looks like the Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sportshow in Oaks, PA on February 25-28 is going to offer us some much needed fun. There are plenty of great fishing, hunting and outdoor programs announced for the show. A little closer look revealed a very good line up for fly fishing anglers.

Bob ClouserI am a big fan of Bob Clouser and I am excited to see he has seminars scheduled for Friday of the show. Bob is from Harrisburg and is best known for creating the world famous Clouser Minnow fly pattern used for catching numerous types of fish. Among his other notoriety, Bob is also highly respected for his smallmouth fly-fishing prowess on the Susquehanna. He will be holding seminars on how to tie is famous his Clouser Minnow and casting weighted lines and flies.

Other fly-fishing seminars throughout the weekend will be delivered at various times by Lefty Kreh and Ryan Sansoucy.

A variety of fly-fishing vendors will be on the exhibit floor including Temple Fork Outfitters, St. Croix Rods, Main Line Fly-Tyers, and Delaware River Shad Fishermen's Association.

Kype Magazine will be sharing a short film in the Fly Fishing theater.

Tony from TCO Fly Shop shared with me they will have a “huge” booth with Simms, Sage, RIO and other cool products.

Bryan Kelly from Kelly's White Fly Shop is setup to have a booth and I am sure able to share a lot of exciting knowledge about smallmouth fly-fishing on the Potomac River.

The show will be host to a variety of other outdoor sports activities, which should prove to very entertaining. There seems like all types opportunities for those interested fresh water and saltwater fishing by the world Fishing Network (WFN). There will be plenty of hunting seminars and a special program by the Outdoor Channel’s Deer City Team USA. Event organizers arranged for plenty of entertainment for the family too.

You can find out more about the Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sportshow website here.
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 2010/2/4 (1277 reads)
How do you throw a feather?

You don’t.

You tie the feather to something heavy and then a toss the two of them together. This is the principle behind casting with a fly rod. See how easy fly fishing is!

I wish my friends Ron and Greg would have explained this to me when I first started fly fishing. I think it would have saved me some early embarrassing moments of fly fishing.

featherThe principle purpose of a fly rod is to deliver the fly line out towards a trout with a fly somehow attached to the situation. More about bad delivery and stupid fly imitations later on. The principle of spin casting is just the opposite as the weight of the lure carries the line to the fish.

There is a lot of kinetic energy and physics that is involved, but don’t worry we will get to that later when we cover casting. The good news is that we will cover that before we get to the entomology and biology if you were asking.

To do all this line tossing you need gear that will support that kind of physics. Before we start picking our rod let’s look at the whole fly delivery engine thing one more time. We discussed our rod, but as you can imagine there are many different sizes and types of rods. They are most often differentiated by length and weight. Since we are just getting started most common trout fly rods are between 7’ and 9’ here out East. The most common weight is between 4wt and 6wt. Don’t send me hate mail yet remember I said common.

Most popular modern rods are made of graphite. The very early fly rods were made of bamboo and these handcrafted rods are still highly regarded by many anglers. We are not going to talk about bamboo now because I would then have to go deep and talking about kilts. I think they are silly unless you are drinking scotch then who really cares anyway.

In principle the smaller the fish the smaller and less weight you need in your rod. For bigger fish the converse holds true. So fishing for sunfish an 8’ 4wt rod will do just fine. For trout you won’t go wrong with a 9’ 5wt rod. I like the 9’ because it helps when you are nymph fishing and need some extra reach. It doesn’t you’re your 8’ 4wt rod isn’t good for trout it is. I have a great Orvis 4wt rod and I still enjoy using it under that right conditions. Best suited for wild trout in small streams or when I am dry fly-fishing over smaller trout and fish.

Part two & three of this post we will look at reels, fly lines and a few modestly priced set-ups to get you started. Your assignment this week is to throw a feather and please don’t put on a kilt unless you are drinking scotch.
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 2010/2/1 (1198 reads)
Stripped BassCalling the Susquehanna River “increasingly impaired,” the board of commissioners of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) today called on state and federal environmental agencies to expand efforts to determine the sources of pollution which are contributing to the demise of the river’s smallmouth bass fishery.

The board’s resolution, passed at its quarterly meeting, urges the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to step up their investigations, saying recent data confirms a serious problem exists. Commissioners cited evidence from a two-year water quality study coordinated by the U.S. Geological Survey and partially funded by the PFBC which found stress factors such as elevated water temperature and low dissolved oxygen concentrations during the critical May through July development period for smallmouth bass. The Commission contributed $400,000 to the study in an effort to discover the causes behind the fishery’s decline.

Problems were first detected in the middle reaches of the river in 2005, when PFBC biologists found unusually high numbers of dead or distressed smallmouth bass. They later determined that the affected fish were suffering from infections related to a common soil and water bacteria Flavobacterium columnare, or Columnaris. The disease is considered a secondary infection brought on by environmental or nutritional factors that stress fish, weakening their ability to cope with the bacterial agent. The same bacterium was discovered again in 2007 and 2008.
In other action, Commissioners:

• Approved a long-term lease agreement with Erie County’s Lawrence Park Golf Club to install fish passage structures at two impediments in Fourmile Creek to facilitate the movement of steelhead upstream. The structures will be funded with grants from DEP’s Coastal Zone Management Program and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Community Conservation Partnership Program.

• Authorized staff to pursue the acquisition of a public fishing access and conservation easement on the Little Juniata River that includes approximately 1,020 linear feet on one side of the river. The site is located along Barree Road in Porter Township, Huntingdon County, and the Commission stocks this portion of the river at a location on an adjoining property.

A complete copy of the meeting schedule and the full agenda for the meeting can be found on the Commission’s web site at www.fishandboat.com/minutes.htm. 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.
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 2010/1/26 (3113 reads)
The off season is a great time to look at old books and to explore new ones as well. Some of the early books I read when I was getting started with fly fishing are still good reads and should not be overlooked. The more recent ones hold fresh insight to many of the locations and changes to many of streams in Pennsylvania.

Before you start striping any line or emptying your wallet you might want to take a look at The L.L. Bean Ultimate Book of Fly Fishing by Macauley Lord, Dick Talleur and Dave Whitlock. It is one of the best all around general fly fishing books there is for any new angler to the sport. Their book provides essential information about flies, bugs, gear, concepts, traditions and everything from Atlantic Salmon to the zug bug.

A lot of good first hand information can be found in Flyfisher's Guide to Pennsylvania (Flyfisher's Guide Series) by Dave Wolf and Trout Streams and Hatches of Pennsylvania; A Complete Fly-Fishing Guide to 140 Rivers and Streams by Charles Meck. Both books are carried by seasoned anglers. They not only help in the where, but try to make sense of the what before you get into a stream.

Dwight LandisReading some of the Pennsylvania fly water type books is how I got started early on. Both these books I am about to mention will probably require a trip to a library. There are over 645 public libraries in Pennsylvania so be brave and track one down. When there check out Dwight Landis's book Trout Streams of Pennsylvania published by Hempstead-Lyndell and Mike Sajna's book Pennsylvania Trout & Salmon Fishing Guide published by Frank Amato Publications. Dwight's book provides a lot of hatch information and detailed maps about where to find many streams. Mike shares a lot of similar information, but adds some unique historic accounts of most of these locations. Both these books are what inspired me to start Paflyfish many years ago.

Also in the library look for An Angler's Guide to Aquatic Insects and Their Imitations for All North America by Rick Hafele. Rick's book is more of a 200 level or great read about insects and can get you going in the world of entomology. A more recent and popular bug book is Hatches II: A Complete Guide to the Hatches of North American Trout Streamsby Al Caucci and Bob Nastasi.

There are many more books to explore and even more dynamic information on the Internet. Please feel to share and comment on some of your favorites as well.

Our next post will be taking a look at getting you going with rods, reels and line.
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