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Published by Fredrick [Fredrick] on 07/24/2019 (2053 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.


snakehead
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.

Follow Fred on his Instagram and Facebook accounts.
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 05/10/2019 (4783 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.

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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.

_CDK2983


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 .

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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)

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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 Dave Kile [dkile] on 05/05/2019 (615 reads)
By Brian McGeehan

The annual Mother’s Day Caddis hatch in early May is one of the most anticipated events here in Southwest Montana. While it may not be quite as famous as the Salmon Fly hatch, the fishing can be every bit as good, if not even better. The sheer number of bugs that take to the air during the peak of the hatch is astounding. The oscillating clouds of bugs over the water can be mesmerizing, but the splashy rises of trout will quickly snap you out of it. The Yellowstone and Madison Rivers have the premier Mother’s Day hatches in our area, so let’s take a look at when to expect the hatch and some strategies to maximize your success on these rivers.

fishing-montana-in-may-4


Yellowstone River
Timing is everything with this hatch, and we need several variables to come together at once for productive fishing on the Yellowstone. The heaviest hatch on the ‘Stone will take place as the water temperature begins to creep above 50 degrees, which typically happens sometime around the first week of May. This is pushing right up on the start of runoff, so the water clarity will be the determining factor as to how good the fishing is during the hatch. The Yellowstone will come in and out of fishable shape multiple times each spring, so anglers cross their fingers that the hatch hits during an “in” period.

If water clarity is good, expect about a week of heavy hatch activity. This hatch can literally explode overnight, going from just a few bugs to a full scale caddis blizzard. Again, the first week of May is average but it all depends on water temperatures. There are several tributaries in and just below the town of Livingston, MT that dump mud in the spring, so the fishing is concentrated from town upstream into Paradise Valley. While there are a few spots to wade, the Yellowstone is a large river and fishing from a drift boat or raft is preferred. When the hatch is extremely heavy you may have the opportunity to fish dries in the morning, but afternoon and evening fishing is most consistent.

The Mother’s Day Caddis is best imitated by a tan, light brown, or olive caddis pattern in a #14. Traditional patterns like an Elk Hair Caddis or X-Caddis work well, but my favorite is some version of a Parachute Caddis. I like the way these flies ride in the water, and the indicator post makes the fly easier to see from the boat. I will usually fish an emerger or pupae pattern as a dropper off my dry fly as well. Trout can become very focused on one particular stage of insect during a hatch, so I like show them more than one at a time. When the fishing is on, there will be no mystery as to where to present your fly. The vast majority of risers will be along the bank, so you can cruise down and cast to fish as you spot them. Blind fishing your caddis along the banks can be productive as well. Trout feel safety in numbers, so they will often pod up during big hatches. When I find one of these pods, I like to park the boat down below and get out to target them on foot.

fishing-montana-in-may-10


Madison River
Because the Madison River is a tailwater, the Caddis blitz here is more predictable and very unlikely to be washed out by muddy water. The Mother’s Day hatch takes place on what locals refer to as the “Lower” Madison. This is the stretch of water below Ennis Lake. Just below Ennis Lake lies Beartrap Canyon, an extremely rugged 8 miles of whitewater. The best caddis fishing takes place just as the river exits the canyon, from Warm Springs access down to Black’s Ford access. The river is surrounded by almost 100% public land in this stretch and it is easy to wade or float.

The timing is basically the same here, with the bugs really getting going as the water hits 50-52 degrees during the first week of May. We can fish the hatch for longer on the Madison because the water clarity stays good most of May. Cherry Creek is a significant tributary in this stretch that can add mud to the river, but this can be avoided by heading upstream. There is also a boat ramp at the Cherry Creek confluence, allowing float anglers to take out here.

fishing-montana-in-may-19


On the Madison, you will find some dry fly fishing during the day, but nymphing will be much more productive. As the sun starts to get lower and finally leaves the water in the evening, the dry fly bite heats up. One big difference on the Madison is that the fish are everywhere, whereas on the Yellowstone they are usually targeting dries along the banks. The Lower Madison is a very shallow river with many weed beds and holes and pockets where fish can hide. While a boat is still nice, this is a great stretch of river to explore on foot. By wading and carefully watching an area, you are likely to spot subtle rises that boat anglers miss as they float by. You will not see any classic deep pools on the Lower Madison, so concentrate on drop offs, current seams, the edges of weed beds, and big boulders in the river. This river can be a bit tricky to read at first, but if you put in your time the areas that hold fish will become more obvious.

For flies, you will need the same bugs as you would on the Yellowstone. An olive or tan caddis in #14 with an emerger as a dropper is my top choice. I like my emerger fairly close to my dry to reduce drag, about a foot is what I use. I also apply floatant to my emerger and dry it when it becomes water logged. I want it floating right in the film in order to look natural to the fish and also to allow me to see the take. That visual is, after all, the main excitement of dry fly fishing!

Brian McGeehan is a Pennsylvania native but has been guiding an outfitting in Montana and the west for 20 years. His company Montana Angler Fly Fishing specializes in both Montana fishing as well as destination travel to Patagonia.
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 05/01/2019 (1561 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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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 04/28/2019 (17035 reads)
A mayfly hatch is the grand finale in the year long seasonal play that returns annually for trout and anglers.

MayFly StagesThis show begins the previous season with mature female mayflies, called spinners, laying their eggs on the surface of the water(video). The eggs shortly hatch into small larvae and quickly change into nymphs.

The nymph phase of the mayfly is the longest and will last just about one year. Different species of mayflies can be found in different parts of a stream. Some prefer the faster water and rocks, while others are only found at the end of pools in deep mud. During this time a nymph will grow and molt regularly. Molting is when the mayfly breaks out of it's old skin and a larger one is exposed underneath to protect it during the next growth cycle. During the final molting these leftover soft shells are referred to as shucks.

The emergence stage out of the water can be a quick and dangerous time for these transitional nymphs. Trout can find and aggressively feed on these insects that normally may be hiding or burrowing at the bottom of a stream. Once ready to leave the water the hatch begins. The emerger swims to the surface film molts their skins and expose there wings.

Green Drake Spinner aka Coffin FlyThe cloudy, grayish wings they emerge with give them there name: dun. The duns sit on top of the water and prepare its wings for flight. On top of the film of a stream they ready their wings for flight. This can take seconds or minutes depending how fast the mayfly can take flight. During this phase, mayflies often can been seen in great numbers sailing down the stream with trout striking on an easy food source. Once the dun escapes the water, it will head for the trees for several days.

While maturation occurs during this stage a dun may molt several more times until it becomes a spinner (Green Drake spinner aka Coffin Fly pictured left). As spinners they have no mouths to feed, male and female mayflies will seek each other out only to mate. The females will quickly lay her eggs back at the water starting the cycle over again.

The cycle ends when the dead and dying mayflies drop to the stream. The spent wing spinner is the one final opportunity for tout to feed on the last stage of this great yearlong production provided by the mayfly.

To learn and discuss more about mayflies on the site head over to the Hatch and Entomology Forum. Beginners can follow along and learn more in the Beginners Forum.

A great online site to follow and get deep into the latin is Troutnut and his Aquatic Insects of our Trout Streams. A must read!!







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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 04/25/2019 (4683 reads)
The Stream Reports have been an integral part of Paflyfish almost since the site began in 1995. There has been a lot of disagreement conversation about the ideas of sharing stream information. The differences dialog has been played out time and time again. Thought I would give a little of my perspective on what the Stream Reports are all about on this website.

stream reportsOne interesting fact is that Stream Reports make up only 1.6% of all the traffic on the Paflyfish. More people spend time talking about cougar sightings in the OT Forum than stream reports. Well that is a bit of an exaggeration, but not that far from the truth.

Stream Reports are a way for anglers to share objective information about their recent fly-fishing experiences in the region. Details about water conditions, weather, stream, location, hatches, fishing successes, flies used and other pertinent information can make up a successful report. A photo or two showing the stream or hatches always improves the information. Here is an example of one of my trips to a little know place called Kettle Creek in 2010. One of the benefits of a report is the opportunity it presents for a discussion of new or unique experiences. A report does not have to be clinical as much as it should be informative and fun.

Fly-fishing is about having fun, right?

So why bother sharing? This site is built on the foundation of sharing information for the improvement for all of our fly fishing opportunities. On this website we discus gear, fly-tying, conservation, meet-ups, techniques and yes I dare say it...streams. The better we are informed the better experiences we all have fly-fishing. Not Sharing (NS) of information is as detrimental to anglers as inaccessible water.

I like traveling all over the region and stream reports offer a rich data-set of real-time information from those who are actually on the stream providing first-hand information. In combination with other water data from the USGS, I can make well-informed decisions about my trips.

Wish I had the time to drive back and forth to Potter County to learn about those conditions on a regular basis. Sadly the four-hour ride limits the convenience of such scouting trips and when I do go I like to have some sense of conditions before blowing thru about $50 in gas for drive up to just hang at the Lakeview with Rick watching golf. Not that there is anything wring with that.

In my early days of fly-fishing, pre-Internet, post-clay tablet era, I spent plenty of trips standing over high water and blown-out streams looking stupid with a can of Iron City in my hand. (Now I have a Miller Lite in my hand as to look less fat, can’t shake the stupid part.) So I would then pack up my cooler, break out my DeLorme Atlas throw a dart and haul on down Route 80 for my favorite game of “let’s find the stream that isn’t blown out.”

Stream Reports help me plan for my intended destinations, but also investigate streams that are on the way or nearby. A few years ago I was heading to Penns Creek for the Jam and wanted to catch a stream along the way up. Having never been to Clarks Creek I checked a report that was posted few days before to help get a take on hatches, water quality, and general stream info. Truly enjoyed the stop as I had the whole project to myself that morning.

stream reportsSure real-time is cool, but even more important is the historic value of all this data. Understanding where and when hatches are occurring on certain streams and regions is a great record for us all to enjoy. The reports today go back for over five years, covering many states and countless streams. This will only grow over time.

Hundreds of waterways in the region are stocked with millions of trout and promoted by state agencies for the public to enjoy. (BTW most state agencies provide free maps and websites showing the detailed locations of all the stocked streams if you are even in doubt of the mystery of these locations.) The more of these common streams we share in our reports the better we have a complete picture of our fly-fishing opportunities and spread this information out.

The PFBC has identified nearly 3,600 streams as naturally reproducing wild trout streams. Most of these streams and like waters are small with fragile ecosystems. While hearing reports on these streams is encouraged, named streams and detailed locations are not required. Simply identifying the county, date and experience really can offer enough for most any angler. The delight of these jewels is the discovery.

I don't always put in a stream report and there is not obligation for anyone to do the same. However, Stream reportss while a small part of the site do offer a lot of open information for all to share and improve their fly-fishing experiences. So go find a new location and have some fun.






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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 04/15/2019 (15239 reads)
Streamers and Wooley Buggers
One of the great things about Paflyfish is the tremendous knowledge and sharing that is done especially in the forums. Tom "afishinado" Ciannilli, like many, regularly contributes to answering questions in the Beginners Forums. As the early trout season is about to get started he offered some great advice on A Dozen Top Flies. A very subjective topic, but for anglers just getting started, Tom's picks are are spot on.

Tom's selection is broken into six sinking flies for subsurface fishing and six surface dry flies. For some flies a range of sizes are important to have your fly box. The selection and success of fly and size will always depend on stream and conditions. I would suggest having more than about three of each of these to get started. Nothing worse than having a successful day with a fly and then not to have a backup if you loose it.

For any fly fishing angler starting to fill out their fly boxes these 12 types of flies will get you started on most any water for several months. You can join along with further questions in Tom's thread here in the forum.

A Dozen Top Flies by Tom "afishinado" Ciannilli
(notice I didn't say the dozen top flies...but if I had to select 12 flies, these would be in my box)

Sinking Subsurface Flies:

Wooly Bugger – Size 8 in dark olive w/ a black tail is my go-to. Having some black or white ones and a few a little smaller or bigger would be ideal. Fish anytime / anywhere – drift and/or strip.
Hares Ear Nymph – size 10 – 16 w/ and w/o beads. Natural is my favorite, but a few in olive or black would round it out. Fish anytime / anywhere – dead drift
Pheasant Tail Nymph – Size 12 – 16 w/ and w/o beads. Fish anytime / anywhere – dead drift
Green Weenie – Size 12. Fish anytime / anywhere – dead drift
San Juan Worm – Size 12. Fish anytime / anywhere – dead drift
Soft Hackle – Size 12 – 16. Pheasant tail, Partridge and Orange, Partridge and yellow, peacock to name a few popular ones. Dead drift, swing, hang or strip. All will catch fish.


Floating flies:

Blue Wing Olive (BWO)– Size 14 – 18 (early and late season mayfly hatches)
Adams – Size 10 – 18 (for dark mayflies)
Sulphur – Size 10 – 18 (mid-season light-colored mayfly hatches)
Beetle and/or Ant – Size 14 – 18 (Spring - late summer)
Griffiths Gnat - Size 18 - 22 ( For midges - very small insects - all year round)
Elk Hair Caddis – Size 10 – 18 in Tan, Black and Green for caddis hatches and/or stonefly hatches all season.

Note:
Mayflies have an upright wing and look like sailboats on the water.
Caddis have wings shaped like a tent over their body.
Stoneflies have wings that fold flat over their bodies.






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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 04/15/2019 (187905 reads)
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 03/22/2019 (766 reads)
In this a very cool video, witness slow-motion surface attacks on mice flies by giant Brook Trout in Labrador. Over 3 minutes of outstanding destruction and explosive surface takes! This video was captured at Three Rivers Lodge while shooting a future episode of The New Fly Fisher with Tom Rosenbauer.
Video provided by www.trophylabrador.com



For some more thoughts about Mousin, check in on the forum.
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Published by Dave Weaver [Dave_W] on 03/18/2019 (3998 reads)
While most Pennsylvania fly fishermen target river smallmouths during the summer, bass can be successfully targeted all year and the "pre-spawn" is among the best times, especially if you're after large fish. When water temps hit the mid 40s - this would usually coincide with mid March here in the southcentral part of the state - river smallies become noticeably more active and move up out of their winter hibernacula. These winter locations are usually the deepest part of a river, often the low, deep, slack water in front of dams. As bass become more active, they start to spread out a bit but still tend to eschew current.

By this time of year, they start to feed quite a bit more but, unlike summer when most of the bass lay up in front of boulders and mid river structure and aggressively hit poppers, my experience has been that pre-spawn bass are shoreline denizens. In part, this is simply due to the higher, cloudier, water conditions so often prevalent in March and April. However, this preference for specific shoreline locations makes locating pre-spawn river bass more predictable. When you catch a bass, there's usually more in the same spot. Often these are large females staging to move to eventual spawning sites later in May.

Finding these spots starts in summer. If you've got a bass river nearby, walk the bank during summer and familiarize yourself with the shape of the shoreline when the water is low and clear. Come high water, you'll know where to go. Perhaps the ideal pre-spawn location would be a point of land that projects out into the river, especially if there are large chunk rocks or boulders on it. Oftentimes there are river willows or vegetation that grow on the point in summer, but that often has water flowing thru it this time of year. If downstream from this point, there is an eddy (there almost always is) and the water is at least 3-4 feet deep, it's worth checking out. If the water in the eddy is very calm with little current or swirling action, and if there are boulders or woody debris along the shoreline of the eddy - it's a hotspot! Mouths of feeder creeks are usually good too.

drawing
Bass stage right on the current break along shoreline eddies this time of year. A typical hot spot would look something like this diagram. Image courtesy D. Weaver


These eddies don’t have to be large. I have taken multiple fish in the upper teens over the years from a single eddy that is only about 4 feet deep, maybe twenty feet in length, and the current break is only four or five feet from the shoreline. The key is slack or very slow water swirling back. When water temps are still cold, usually under 40 degrees, bass are likely in the slack water in the deepest part of the eddy, right on the bottom. As temps move up to and over 40 degrees, the bass move out and sit right along the edge of the current break where the faster water is moving as can be seen in the accompanying diagram.

Most of the time, I like a 7 or 8WT fly rod with floating line and a 8-9' tapered leader. Don’t go lighter than 12 lb test for your leader unless you absolutely have to. I typically use 14 or 15 lb. test. Despite smallies' reputation for being jumpers, in reality big smallies, especially in colder water, are bulldogs. They fight down and dirty close to the bottom and cover. You'll need a stout tippet to keep 'em out of the woody debris and shoreline brush.

bassDuring the months from about November until April, I prefer minnow imitating flies, the estimable Clouser Minnow is always dependable. For the (usually) cloudy water this time of year, black or chartreuse/orange is tough to beat. Many gear bass anglers like a black hair jig for early spring bass. I usually keep my flies for this time of year a bit on the smaller size, typically about 3-5 inches in length.

For rigging, place a large strike indicator at the base of the leader, or maybe a foot or so down the leader from the junction with the fly line. A "thingamabobber" would likely work well. I prefer the large, split, peg type bobbers you can get at the kids' fishing section at big box stores. Roll cast this rig out; you're aiming to get the fly to drop right at the outer edge of the eddy's slack water along the current break. This is often the money spot where bass are positioned during the pre-spawn. Roll cast your rig and do a mental five or ten-count to allow your fly to sink. In effect, you're just fishing a jig under a bobber. The key is to keep your retrieve slow. The indicator will suspend your streamer in the zone. Smallies often scrutinize baits/flies very carefully, then suck 'em in and turn away. Strikes are subtle this time of year and I find a big, floating strike indicator really helps detect these subtle strikes. When that indicator budges, do a strip strike and fight the fish hard. Despite the light takes, large bass are much more catchable on flies in the early spring than summer in my opinion. Big bass see a constant barrage of tube lures, plugs, and other stuff raining down on ‘em in summer and they can get shy or nocturnal. An eighteen-inch river bass in Pennsylvania is probably ten to twelve years old and has seen it all. In the early spring, I believe trophy sized smallmouths are just more willing to feed on flies after a long winter.

While it's easy to get distracted by the prime trout fishing this time of year, don't ignore river bass. Scout out a shoreline eddy on your favorite river, watch those water temps, and then present a fly low and slow along the current break. River smallies are definitely active now and this is a great time of year to catch big fish.
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