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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 03/11/2014 (4780 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 03/06/2014 (2579 reads)
Anytime you are fly fishing over at the Swatara or Quitty in Lebanon Valley a stop to the Snitz Creek Brewery is a must after packing up your gear. Proprietors, Patrick Freer and Adam Szajda opened the brewpub in January with a little something special for all us fly fishing anglers in mind. Anyone who has thrown a dry fly will love the attraction of getting a Brown Trout Stout draft beer from a tap handle made from a fly rod and reel.

Snitz Creek Brewery Taps


The brewery goes all in with the fly fishing theme by not only taking their name from the local Snitz Creek waters, but adds a whole selection of crafted beers, food and even a logo that is a hop fly.

Snitz Creek Brewery Sampler


The Saturday afternoon I dropped in the place was already way crowded. Kim was kind enough to find me a spot to test the waters.

Snitz Creek Brewery Stout


I enjoyed a sampling of the Opening Day IPA, Brown Trout Stout, Woolly Bugger IPA and Explorer Ale. The Explorer Ale is a season ale that offers nice combination of malt and hops. I'm an ale guy so it hit the spot. The Woolly Bugger was of course a lot bolder as an IPA with big body with a dark roasted punch. The Brown Trout Stout had a great mix of some roasted flavors including chocolates. The Opening Day IPA delivered a lighter color with some tasty hops.

Snitz Creek Brewery Food


The brewpub provides a great feel as a place to stop in with friends after a busy day or have enjoyed some time in the outdoors. Plenty of room at the bar, booths or tables to hangout enjoy not only some excellent beer, but wine and food too.

Snitz Creek Brewery Bar


The menu carries that outdoor theme with Trophy Burgers, Shore Lunches and more. All authentic local food with items that include Lebanon bologna, grilled cheese and pretzel rolls. Who wouldn't want some Hook, Line and Sinker Fries!

Snitz Creek Brewery Tanks


I spent a some time talking with Charlie Hildebrand, Operations manager., who gave me a tour of the brewery and restaurant. Charlie was a great guy to speak with had a lot of good background on the brewpub. Patrick, Adam and other local partners spared no expense into the brewery with all new specialized brew tanks, gear and a kitchen that is state of the art. A really beautiful setup to go along with the fun environment.

_CDK3759


Thanks to WGmiller for for sharing the news about Snitz Creek Brewery and I look forward to getting back over for some more Explorer Ale with a Trophy Burger and Woopie pie!

Snitz Creek Brewery
7 North 9th Street
Lebanon, PA
717-450-4467
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 03/03/2014 (3398 reads)
One of the first signs of spring is the emergence of the little black stonefly in many streams in the East. A variety of stoneflies (Order Plecoptera) in different sizes and colors follow suit throughout the season. Stoneflies are often overlooked by many Eastern anglers as mayflies and caddis are much more prolific. They rarely show up in any great numbers and their timing is not very predictable. Still, it is an important insect to understand for both nymphing and dry fly fishing.

StoneflyIn the Western states stoneflies are held in high esteem as anglers anxiously anticipate them for their large numbers and size (Video). Generally, stoneflies are the largest of all insects that live in the water.

Like many insects, stoneflies have a successful lifecycle that dates back over 250 million years to the Permian Period and not much about them have changed.

Stoneflies have the characteristic six legs of insects, but four wings that are folded flat on top of the abdomen. Coloration is black, brown, yellow and tan. Despite 200 million years of evolution they are considered awkward fliers.

Some general lifecycle traits of all species start with the females depositing hundreds of tiny eggs over a stream that quickly find their way to the bottom among the rocks. Nymphs then grown and molt 12-36 time before leaving the water. Some species can require up to three years before they mature into adults. As nymphs they can be found under rocks feeding on algae, mosses and even other aquatic invertebrates.

While Mayflies and caddis flies emerge out of the water, most stoneflies hatch from the shore line. Each species varies, but stoneflies will swim to the banks and crawl out of the water onto rocks or plants to molt into winged adult insects. Stoneflies are regarded as more nocturnal and you will more likely see the molted shucks and not see the actual emergence. Another difference between Mayflies and Stoneflies is that many species will have mouths and can feed during the weeks they live as adults before finally mating and dying.

Seeing active stoneflies and shucks is a good sign to start fishing with a stonefly nymph or a stimulator dry fly.

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!! BugGuide has more details as well.





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Published by Jon [jhedge] on 02/13/2014 (2483 reads)
This past year was my first year fly fishing and most of what I've learned has come from the help of members of this forum. I've had a blast getting to know all of you and just wanted to say thank you for all the events put together and willingness to help out the newbies.

Grand Cayman Fly fishingThis January I had a family vacation scheduled to Grand Cayman. I've been there one time prior but never fly fished there. This time was gonna be different though!

After some research and talking to a few members on here I decided to book a guide early on in the trip then take what he taught me and fish on my own the rest of the time. From a members recommendation I contacted a local guide Randy Parchment. Randy was a great guide and super knowledgable and helpful. He kept in contact with me during my whole trip giving me tips on where to fish and who to purchase some local flies from. He also helped with other touristy things on the island. For our guided trip he took me to the flats of Rum point and definitely got me on some bonefish.

I wasn't able to connect on any fish that trip but not for lack of trying on both Randy and my part. With the knowledge I gained I was ready to hit the flats on my own. I mainly fished at Rum point due to the wind directions of the week. It was the calmest portion of the island and the fish were definitely there. After a few hours on my own over the next couple of days I started realizing why bonefish are referred to as the "gray ghost". They are very difficult to spot moving across the flats. Once you manage to spot them and stalk within casting distance you had to be spot on and delicate in your presentation. I busted many a group of feeding fish by casting too close or plopping my line down too hard on the water. Once that wrong move was made those fish scattered! I stuck with it though and on my third outing finally landed my first bonefish! They are every bit as powerful as people say. That fish snapped the line right out of my fingers and took off! After a few runs though he was mine.

bonefish


Throughout the trip I managed to land 4 bonefish and a few other random fish. All the bonefish were on the smaller side. I saw a few bigger ones and got one to chase my shrimp pattern but never took it. I also went out a few times for smaller tarpon in some of their salt ponds but never got lucky. I had a hit on a popper there but no hook up. I had a blast fishing for bones and look forward to the next time I can get somewhere tropical.

Grand Cayman Fly fishingFor those interested I used a TFO BVK 9ft 8wt rod and reel. It performed flawlessly for me and I was able to get some good distance out of my casts. As for flying I was able to take my rod and reel as a carry on from here to Grand Cayman. However, upon return since it is a British island the rules were different and I had to put it in my larger suitcase under the plane. If anyone wants any more info feel free to pm me. And here’s a few more pics on Facebook from the trip and follow along in the forum here.

I want to thank Jon for sharing his trip. Looked like a great time. - Dave






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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 02/03/2014 (1958 reads)


I got in early for the 2014 Fly Fishing Show in Somerset, NJ. and spent some time checking out the exhibit area as all the booths were getting setup. Glad I was a tourist that afternoon as many of the vendors put a lot of work getting ready for the weekend. Hung out with Rick Nyles & Nick Raftas at Sky Blue Outfitters since they got setup early.

Fridays are the day I like running through the exhibit floor before the bigger crowds on Saturday. I made my way over to the professional fly tiers including Dave "Wetfly01" Allbaugh and Mike "firandfeather" Heck. Plenty to see from Sage, RIO, and plenty of vendors with tying materials. Always pleased to see and spend some time with Justin, AJ and Evan at the Allen Fly Fishing booth. They were busy all weekend and with a lot of folks getting into their reels and rods.

Of course a lot more guys from Paflyfish showed up on Saturday and could help but running to everyone. Another fun show and looking forward to the Fly Fishing Show - Lancaster in March.





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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 01/21/2014 (2645 reads)
Fly fishing anglers can pursue many types of freshwater fish in the region including bass, carp and sunfish. Undoubtedly, fly fishing for trout is by far the most popular. Millions of brook trout, brown trout and rainbow trout are stocked in the Northeast every year. Aside from state and local club stocking efforts, all three species can be found naturally reproducing with varying degrees of success as well.

Trout flourish in waters that sustain fertile, cooler conditions year-round. Pollution has had an obvious negative impact on the success of wild trout populations. Many streams with high acidity or low levels of pH in mining regions have had a difficult time sustaining trout populations. Brook trout especially are the most tolerant of these conditions however their presence was greatly diminished during the twentieth century by deforestation and subsequent warmer water temperatures. Pollution spills that wiped out the insect life have been equally as devastating to trout populations. With improved conservation efforts and time, wild trout are making a strong comeback.

Better water conditions provide improved fertility in a stream so that young trout can feed on plankton, small crustaceans and insects. Mature trout will eat insects, fish, salamanders, crustaceans and even small mammals. Fly fishing for trout requires a keen knowledge of habitat, trout food and the fish. There are differences on how to fly fish for wild vs stocked trout.

Let's take a look at some of the general characteristics you’ll find with the three most common trout found in the northeast region for fly fishing.


Brook Trout - Salvelinus fontinalis
Brook Trout photo by 3wt7X

Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis)
Brook Trout are the only stream trout native to the region. Generally brook trout are found from northern Georgia along the Appalachian Mountains and then north into Maine. They are also found in the Great Lakes–Saint Lawrence system over to Hudson Bay region. During the 19th century brook trout were first introduced throughout the western US. They are the official state fish for New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Michigan, New Hampshire, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.

A typical wild brook trout can be 6"-18" inches dependent on habitat, nutrition and age. They are typically the smaller of the three commonly found trout. Brook trout spawn during the fall starting in late September thru November. Of the annual stocking in Pennsylvania by the PFBC less than 20% of the annual stocked trout are brookies. Fly fishing for wild brook trout in small mountainous streams is it’s own pursuit by many.

Habitat: Brook trout generally live in small to moderate-sized streams, lakes, and ponds. They thrive in cool temps (34-72 degrees), clean and well-oxygenated water conditions.

Identification: body coloring is generally dark brown-green, the upper body and top have a wavy or a marbling pattern called vermiculation that extends onto the dorsal fin, the sides and belly shade is lighter, body is marked with light colored or yellow spots with smaller red spots surrounded by a blue halo and white leading edge on pelvic and anal fins.


Brown Trout - Salmo trutta
Brown Trout photo by 3wt7X

Brown Trout (Salmo trutta)
Brown trout are not a native species to the United States and they were introduced from Europe during the 19th century. They have become very successful across the country in many streams and lakes. Wild brown trout are typically larger than the native brook trout and are commonly found 12"-18". Larger brown trout can be found up to 30 inches and some can live well past 15 years. In Pennsylvania, about 1/3 of all streams stocking by the PFBC is with brown trout.

Habitat: Brown trout can be found in a wider range of water conditions. They prefer water temps from 50-60 degrees but can sustain themselves into the lower 70's. They are typically a little less tolerant of low pH conditions as compared to native brook trout.

Identification: body color is surprisingly not brown in color with black and often red spots on the sides, the lower belly section is yellowish, the tail fin typically has no spots.


Rainbow Trout - Oncorhynchus mykiss
Rainbow Trout photo by 3wt7X

Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)
Rainbow Trout are native to the Pacific coast of California to Alaska. Pennsylvania and other east coast states introduced rainbows during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The average size range for rainbow trout is 10"-14" inches, with some individuals reach 20+ inches. Opposite of brown and brook trout, wild rainbow trout spawn in the spring time. There are only a few naturally reproducing populations of rainbow trout on the east coast, but the species does very well in hatcheries and is the predominate species used in stream stocking. In Pennsylvania over 50% of the stocked trout are rainbows.

Habitat: Rainbows, much like brown trout, are a little less tolerant of low ph conditions. It is even suggested they can tolerate temps up to 75 degrees.

Identification: dark-greenish to silver back, red-pink stripe along lateral line, blackish spots on sides, head, dorsal fin and tail

Beginners can follow along and learn more in the Beginners Forum.

Additional Online Resources
http://www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/fishfacts/
http://www.fish.state.pa.us/pafish/fishhtms/chap15trout.htm
http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7016.html
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 01/16/2014 (2104 reads)
Paflyfish is a popular spot for fly fishing anglers in the region for a lot of 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.

wild brown troutI am hoping to expand on that information this spring with a new and updated series of content on the site that is targeted for beginners getting started with fly fishing. From my own experience, it took me many years to really grasp a strong understanding of the sport, let alone having any confidence that I knew what I was doing on a stream. I still question myself after 30 years, so not much has changed. After my last few years, revisiting the fundamentals of the sport would be a good lesson for me as well. I have found myself in a rut with some old habits and anxious to hone my skills again.

Specifically, I will be adding a weekly blog post to the site that will be aimed at beginners for several months. I will cover many of the fundamentals of the sport including topics on trout, streams, hatches, flies, gear and more. As we move into April and May we will cover specific techniques and strategy based on the time of year. These blog posts will be great for anyone just trying to get their head around the sport. There are plenty of great books and Internet resources for anglers to explore as well. The posts are intended to be an introduction to a topic. I will be making sure to include that information as well so folks dig a little deeper on their own. Part of the fun of the sport is the exploration.

Fly fishing getting startedI plan on updating some of the existing static content on the site as well. It has been a while since the Hatch Charts and Where to Fly Fish sections have been improved. I look forward to enhancing those sections and adding some new ones including a Fly Fishing Terminology Page. Subsequent posts in the Fly Fishing Getting Started section will be organized and likely made into their own menu on the site.

Those beginners that want to follow along can join in the conversation at the Beginners Forum. A great spot to ask any questions and get a lot of good answers. No hassles or trolls guaranteed!

I would then suggest you participate and share your success in the Stream Reports forum. This forum is as much about sharing your fly fishing success as it is sharing stream conditions around the region. We all benefit from knowing water conditions and the timing of hatches. Good chance to get some more help about what you experienced on the stream too.

Finally Beginners might want to stay up with the Events Forum. Plenty of activities and events Paflyfish and from from other organizations posted here for you to get involved with as well.

Tight Lines,

Dave








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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 01/08/2014 (2703 reads)
The Fly Rod Chronicles is a program I have been enjoying on the Outdoor Channel for a number of years. Curtis Fleming and crew travel the country sharing their fly fishing pursuits like no others. In early May of 2013 the show made it's way back home to West Virginia for the Harman's North Fork Invitational 2013. The event offers two-man fly fishing teams a chance to compete for first place on the North Fork of the South Branch River in West Virginia.

Fly Rod Chronicles
The Fly Rod Chronicles at the Harman's North Fork Invitational 2013


Some really top notch anglers get together for this event and Todd Harman was on me for a couple of years about getting a Paflyfish team going for the Invitational. Since Paflyfish has some pretty darn good anglers I figured it wouldn't be too hard to get a competitive team in place. With all the talent I see at a Paflyfish Jamboree I was more concerned about just fielding a team that could wake up for the first session.

As it turned out the short straws went to Shane "Sbecker" Becker and Phil "PhilC" Chadbourn to represent Team Paflyfish at the competition Shane had been to Harman's the year before, which offered him some advantage for the team. Before leaving I asked the guys to just have fun and do their best. I felt like I was sending my kids off to college and almost digressed into warning them about not getting into any trouble.

The North Fork does not support naturally reproducing trout and Todd Harman, Harman's Invitational host, makes sure the stream is always stocked with some awesome looking trout.

Not having been in any fly fishing competitions myself, I had to get familiar with how the Invitational worked. Basically, sixteen teams competed over two days during three sessions of fly fishing. Each team had two sessions on Friday and one on Saturday. Points were accrued by the total length in centimeters of trout over the three sessions. Each team was allowed to land up to seven fish during a session. The best eight teams then duked it out for one final session with the winner being selected based on those points from that last session. There was some strategy that each team needed to make with picking the section of streams or beat for the session. Higher scoring teams got the early picks on their preferred beats.

Harman's North Fork Invitational
Shane at the Harman's North Fork Invitational


The guys headed off Thursday for the weekend and I waited for snippets of emails for updates on their progress.

[Spoiler Alert]
I got a short email late on Friday of first day from Phil cautiously offering up they had a lot of fishing yet to do, but they were in first place. Phil must have figured I would think this was some sort of hoax and Shane shortly followed with an email validating that they were ahead after the first two sessions. Phil managed to land one of the biggest trout of all the competitors that first day. It was great to read their excitement and was much better news than the bail thing that was still itching in the back of my head.

A mid-day email from the duo on Saturday was a little less encouraging. Day two Team Paflyfish presented some new challenges in the third session as they were only allowed to use two flies. That morning was not as productive and they fell back to third overall. This still put them into the finals and they had the third pick of the stream beat.

I didn't hear anymore from them until much later that night. I got a text photo of a poorly lit image from Shane that had some darkened red, white and blue looking thing. My guess was they didn't do so well and moved onto some Pabst Blue Ribbons. A more detailed email arrived later sharing that the guys ended having a really good day. They offered it would have been better if they could have landed a bunch of big rainbows that they missed getting into their nets, but the final message was, "We got it"! Much to their own surprise, Shane and Phil pulled it off by taking first place at the Invitational.

Fly Fishing Competition
The Surprised Winners


"It was just awesome. We had a great time and I never thought that we would win. I just didn't want to come in last and holy cow we won the thing," said Shane. Phil added, "It was a really good time and enjoyed hanging with Curtis and crew."

Curtis later shared with me, "Phil & Shane are class-act and represented Team Paflyfish in high regards. They were a blast to hang out with and very good fly fishermen."

Catch all the fun of the weekend, including Shane and Phil of Team Paflyfish as they take on some of the best anglers from all over the country at the Harman's Invitational 2013 on the Fly Fishing Chronicles. Shows air on the Outdoor Channel starting Monday, January 13th at 11:00 am, Friday, January 17th at 7:00 am and 12:00 pm. A final program will be aired on Saturday, January 18th at 5:30 pm.

Harman's Luxury Log Cabins is a sponsor of Paflyfish. The North Fork does not support naturally reproducing trout and is stocked by Harman's along 1 3/4 miles of water providing anglers with the opportunity to fish for rainbows, browns, brookies, tiger and golden trout. A great place to relax with friends, family and for in some awesome trout fishing.

Photos provided by PhilC and Shane.








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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 01/02/2014 (1188 reads)
In an attempt to get just one more day in fly fishing for 2013, Afishinado, Fishidiot and I made our way over to central Pennsylvania on Monday. A cold wintery day, but to be expected for the end of December.

Letort Spring Creek
Dave Weaver Stalking on Letort Spring Creek


A heavy rain hit the region the day before. Many of the limestone and smaller streams were cleared up and fishable. It was still very cloudy and temperatures held in the upper 30's all day.

We found our way over to the Letort in hopes of a Blue Winged Olive (BWO) hatch mid day or early afternoon. It is pretty common on cloudy, mild winter days to find a sporadic BWO hatch getting the attention of the locals.

Letort Spring Creek


Winter fly fishing can be very difficult. Cold weather and less active trout can make for some real hit or miss fishing. For the Letort and the wild brown trout in the stream the best approach is nymphing with the hope that some risers are out on midges or BWO's. The high streamside vegetation that so strongly dominates everything along the stream in the summer is gone and it is easier casting if you are lucky enough to try some dry flies.

Letort Spring Creek
Afishinado Putting on a Nymphing Clinic


Afishinado managed to get some action with nymphs. I did see a few risers and tried a midge with my usual "no luck".

There were some small BWO's sailing down the stream, but not a lot of active fish rising to them. What was more interesting was our observation of what look liked a #16 sulphur mayfly that was hatching during that same time. We were pretty taken aback to see a few little orangish mayflies floating past us in the middle of winter.

BWO on Letort


A fun day out and glad we could fit in one more final day in for 2013.








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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 12/27/2013 (1138 reads)
Hank's in Missoula Montana sharing some fishing stories and browsing gear at a couple local fly shops. Hope you dig it! Snap It!







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What color woolly bugger is the most productive for you?
Black 40% (64)
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Don't use them ever 6% (10)
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