No one really knows when fly fishing first began. It is believed that it existed long ago in ancient times. One of the earliest written references to fly fishing was made by Claudius Aelianus. In 200 AD he wrote of people that were fishing in a river with a hand made fly. He described how they attached red wool and feathers to a hook. The rods they used and the sting attached were each about six feet long. These people were the ancient Macedonians. Throughout history from Aelianus to the present people have been writing about fly fishing, and many thousands of others have been enjoying the sport.
The Princess of Soapwell, English, was an avid fly fisherman. Her name was Dame Juliana Berners and she was a master at her sport. At the time Columbus was searching for the New World, Dame Juliana was publishing an extensive treatise on the art of fly fishing. In her treatise she described the twelve styles of fly and included extensive instructions on how to tie them. She patterns were put into categories by the month that they were used most often.
She also described the rod that was used for fly fishing during that time. It measured about 18 feet long and was very flexible, The rods were made of several different types of wood which added to their flexibility. Their lines were short, by today's standards, and were made of hand braided horse hair. The general rule of the time was that the line should not be longer then the fishing rod. The line was tied to the tip of the pole.
Many fly fishermen of today have used her patterns for the fly. They say they are just as effective today as they were more than five hundred years ago. Several of the more popular patterns include the Black Gnat, the Wooly Worm, the Stonefly and the Whirling Dun.
In the mid 1600's Isaak Walton published his book "Compleat Angler." Throughout history from then on, Izaak Walton has been considered the patron saint on angling, and of fly fishing in particular. In truth, it was actually his friend, Charles Cotton, that had contributed the portion of the book that pertained to fly fishing. The flies and rods described in this book were very similar to those described by Dame Juliana. However, the lines described were slightly different. They were still made of horsehair but were about six feet longer then those of the 1400's. The main difference was that some of the lines were tapered. It is believed that this was the first time tapered lines were described in writing.
In the early 1800's, fishing line makers began mixing silk in with the horsehair. By the time of the Civil War the first all silk lines were made. They were coated with an oily coating which made them water resistant. Horsehair lines were almost never used after that. Occasionally they were found in England up to World War II.
The first nylon line was made in 1948 and from that point forward synthetic materials have been used by most people for fly fishing. In 1952, a technology was created that made an automatically tapered line withe extreme precision.
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With the mental image of all the rising trout I should already be casting to, I made a quick decision to go with the Chota's STL Plus boots. They were expensive, but time was wasting. Back to the stream, on with the boots, and up the trail…
The first thing I realized was that these were very comfortable boots. There was a little WOW! factor when I first put them on. They were very cushy hiking up the path at Barree, but still gave very good support.
The second thing I realized was that these felts seemed to grip better than felts I’ve had in the past. Having arrived at the stream so late, I mentally debated time vs. traction (cleats come unattached and must be screwed into the “Pivot Holes”). In lieu of the added safety, I decided to forgo the addition of the cleats to get on the water quicker – wouldn’t you? The polypropylene felts more than kept me upright…even in heavy water. My only precarious situations came from me tripping over rocks rather than sliding off them. Traction will only improve with the addition of the cleats.
As the rain began to move in and the day drew to an end, I got out of the river to start the hike back to the car. Even wet, the boots were lightweight and did not retain much water. That cushioning kept the long walk comfortable, even with a three year old on my shoulders going up a steep climb. It was a good day.
I had a pair of Chota’s (STL without the “Plus”) years prior that wore well, but tried other manufactures in recent years that were cheaper…none of them lasted as long as the first pair of Chota’s and none were as comfortable. These new Chota’s initially, are more comfortable and offer better traction in the water than the old Chota pair.
Very Comfortable – “a cushy injected PU mid-sole” definitely makes these Chota’s easy to wear all day long.
Polypropylene felts –The ““Dark Grey” Polypropylene felt sole” really seemed to grab the slippery bottom of the Little J very well for me…even better than whatever regular felt is made from. What is regular felt made from, anyway?
Removable Cleats – Included with the boots. Easy to screw in – and remove (in case you are on Flybop’s driftboat) which makes them pretty versatile.
Lightweight – Light for the hike in but also did drain water quickly with the ““Micro-Screen” ports (that) allow for rapid and complete drainage while blocking out screen.”
Quicklace system – Easy to strap up, but also very easy to undo even when wet.
Leather: While I like the look of the leather, it will eventually shrink and harden with repetitive soaking / drying cycles; thus making them difficult to put on whenever they have time to dry completely. Fortunately my foot size is 8 ½, so I have always had that little extra space in my boots since they don’t come in half sizes.
Cost: More than I would have liked to spend, but should last longer.
Quicklace System – Wears out a lot quicker than a regular pair of laces (at least on my original pair of Chota’s – and these look and feel the same).
Very comfortable, sturdy, and provides great traction in the water…that is what I want from my wading boots, and these boots provided all 3!
Commission committees will meet beginning at 8 a.m. on Monday, April 20, and again at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, April 21. Formal consideration of the agenda by the full Commission will begin at approximately 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday, April 21. All committee meetings and the review of the agenda are open to the public and attendance is encouraged.
Many of my first years fly fishing were spent following a few good friends around many of the notable streams in western and central Pennsylvania. Ron, Greg and a few others would take me along and were kind enough to teach me quite a bit along the way. Incursions to Spring Creek, First Fork, Yellow Creek and Oil Creek proved to be very productive. I soon became very fascinated with the sport and realized some of these guys actually knew what they were doing.
As my interest increased I would listen to them explain the importance and characteristics of hatches. Blue Winged Olives (BWO), Red Quills, Sulphurs and Green Drake were much the fan fare to a neophyte like myself. With some experience and a little book work over the winter my fly fishing prowess began to grow.
After a few years I really felt I had mastered this fly fishing thing and truly knew quite a bit about many aspects of fly fishing including hatches. That was so I thought.
One May evening I started to see a hatch take to the air on Penns Creek. With my now vast experience I confidently announced to all that a Sulphur hatch was beginning to take shape. A silence fell over the stream. That in itself was very unusual because peace was usually left back at the side of the road with quiet when I fished with this gang.
Ron then shouted over that this was not an Ephemerella dorothea hatch and wasn’t sure what was coming off the stream just yet. Now it was my turn to pause. Who da whaddity? Ron was a teacher, but it wasn’t science. Ron normally spoke in barley and hops not foreign tongues. Could it be I was I not paying attention to our secret assault plans for the evening when I was filling the cooler with ice?
Greg, the real science teacher, could see I looked a little confused and chided in that there are thousands of different types of mayflies, caddis and stoneflies in the streams and each species had there own individual Latin name.
So now my broad knowledge of twenty insect names turned out to be just a short list of common names. I knew then I would be reading some new books that upcoming winter.
Ron added that fly fisherman were lazy too. That I already knew as I glanced over at our friend Gary sitting on the side of the stream looking at the trout jumping in front of him. Some flies carried the same common name, but were not always related. The BWO’s I saw in March were not the same BWO’s that returned in May. This was some bad logic or just mean.
Ron reminded me not to think to hard about these overwhelming issues and more importantly had I put ice in the cooler before we left the camp? I confirmed the ice situation was well at hand and went back to the riffles in front of me. I noticed Gary still had not moved.
When the early spring blooms brighten things up I like to dust off a couple of my old favorite fly fishing entomology books. As I then review my Latin taxonomy of classes, orders and families I get encouraged that warmer weather will soon be here and the prepare for the spring assault on the Pennsylvania streams. Carpe Diem!
Matching the Hatch: A Practical Guide to Imitation of Insects Found on Eastern and Western Trout Waters (Stoeger Sportsman's Library)
by Ernest George Schwiebert
An Angler's Guide to Aquatic Insects and Their Imitations for All North America
by Rick Hafele and Scott Roederer
The Orvis Streamside Guide to Trout Foods and Their Imitations
by Tom Rosenbauer
Pa Hatch Chart
PaFlyFish.com is chocked full of maps, tips, news, stories and conversations already at you fingertips. Pennsylvania is a sizable state so starting with the Pa Trout Streams section under the site menu is a good place to begin. There are six regions with hundreds of stocked and special regulation streams that are ideal for fly fishing. Take advantage of the maps to explore the areas you want to travel.
A little searching with some of those new stream names in the forums and stream reports can usually yield a string of information. A host of highly regarded authors can be found in the Fly Fishing Books section. Some good old fashion book reading is worth some time.
A quick trek to the PFBC website can offer an additional collection of streams and detailed regulations.
Finally, time with your local fly shop and Trout Unlimited Chapter are wonderful places to meet up with others. They can provide any number of classes, workshops, and conservation opportunities.
With the arm chair work complete go explore the state. Some of the best places you’ll find will likely be the ones you didn’t set out for when you got started. There may not be an easy button here, but the journey is part of the catch.
Please check your local TV listings for the PCN channel in your area. Viewers may ask questions by dialing PCN’s toll-free number at 1-877-726-5001.
“Our nation is at a transformational moment when it comes to rivers and clean water,” said Rebecca Wodder, president of American Rivers. “Water is life, yet our nation’s water infrastructure is so outdated that our clean drinking water, flood protection and river health face unprecedented threats. Our country needs the smart, cost-effective solutions for clean drinking water, flood protection and river health outlined in America’s Most Endangered Rivers that will bring us into the 21st century.”
Most notably for Pennsylvania was number seven on the list Laurel Hill Creek. Sighting excessive water withdrawal as a major threat for this wonderful western Pennsylvania stream. The full press release can be found here.
For over one hundred years the House of Hardy has been known as one of the worlds finest makers of fishing tackle. Their name is synonymous with quality and excellence. They are recognised worldwide as one of the greatest names in fishing tackle.
William Hardy and his brother John James formed the Hardy Bros partnership in 1873. Initially they dealt in high quality firearms but soon changed direction. They were both avid fishermen and this love became their business. Thus was started the famous line of Hardy rods and reels.