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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 11/12/2013 (1398 reads)
I was anxious to squeeze a little more fly fishing this fall and pleaded with Maurice to give up on his leaf raking plans to join me. Both our teams in the NFL have been doing pretty poorly, so giving up honey-do's and another anticipated butt-kicking was an easy call.

Fall Fly Fishing
Fall Fly Fishing

We met up at one of our secret favorite dirty fly fishing streams in York County and made our way upstream about mid-morning. The stream was stocked last month and even in the flat water along the banks there we a few trout hanging about. A large amount of rain last month also drove a good conversation about where fish go during a flood. We both agreed it all depends of they were wild or if they were recently stock.

The bright sun was a helpful in raising the air temps up to about 57 degrees. The water was very low and gin clear at 44 degrees.

Maurice quickly uncovered a pod of trout between a stretch of rocks about 20 feet long. Finding the trout and quietly moving into position when the water is so low and clear is critical.

After a very serious discussion on red hots, weenies, bead heads, zebra midges and walt's worms we snuck in fairly close. The wind helped reduce the surface visibility and allowed us to get in without spooking the trout. One of the few times a little bit wind is helpful when you are fly fishing.

Rainbow Trout
Something from the PFBC

Maurice then did his usual thing of catching fish and I did mine thing of taking photos of him catching fish.

We made are way upstream taking our time to cautiously spot the trout and quietly approach holes along the way. Most of the trout we saw were sitting back a few feet from the rocks, not moving too much, but easily skittish if we moved in too quickly even from about 25' away. Polarized lenses were a must and even then a trained eye was helpful spotting the trout.

Wild Trout
Something a little wild

With the water being so cold and the trout were hanging on the bottom, it was really necessary to get our flies down deep. We are kept in our strike indicators about 5'- 8' off the flies with a little bit a split shot. Even in what seemed like very low water conditions many of the holes were still very deep.

Fly Fishing
Sneak Attack

We even hooked into a couple of trout at a few spots that I normally would have overlooked. Maurice is always really good about reminding me of the things that are right in front of me.

At this point in the season you never know how many days you have left to fly fish. Been a bit of challenging year for me personally, so getting some time on the water with Maurice was very much appreciated especially when he remembered to bring the beer when we got back to the trucks.








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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 10/30/2013 (3084 reads)
One of the first useful websites I found for anglers on the Internet was the USGS Water Data site. The website provides real-time streamflow conditions for over 9,000 streams and rivers across the country. Detailed information about stream discharge levels and water gage level heights are provided. The USGS has just started a beta (early release) version on the web for mobile users to get easier access to the data.

USGS Mobile Water Data

The desktop version has always been an incredibly useful trip planning tool for me before I headed out on fly fishing trips. Nothing worse than driving flippin four hours to that great mountain stream for the weekend only to find out that it blown out along with ten surrounding counties that looked like a hurricane just rolled thought the region. I use this almost every time I go fly fishing and have changed my plans by hundreds of miles based on the reliable data from this web site. Sometime those plans involve me just driving to a closer bar, but it works.

The new mobile site is pretty straight-forward to work with and can be found here: m.waterdata.usgs.gov. No need to install any app, just point your browser to the url and you are good to go. Right away it feels like it was designed to be navigated with you just the use of your index finger.

That is good because the other designed point for the site is for it to work with newer smart phones. A data connection and browser on your iPhone or Android based phone is really all you need. Works with my iPads and other tablets as well. The USGS does mention that it may not older devices or older browsers.

I found the mobile site is very responsive and with very detailed terrain map as the base. The graphs show a seven day view at the gauging station, which can show if the water is going up, down or staying the same. Knowledge of the stream discharge levels does help indicate if the stream is high or low.

Hope in future updates they provide some access to selective date ranges of the stream gauges like in the desktop version. Right now they are only fixed on the last seven days.

Nice new update from the USGS! The full USGS Water Data for your desktop computer can be found here.






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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 10/23/2013 (1637 reads)
This is the second half of the Big Spring Update and PFBC Meeting - here is the beginning Part 1

Stream Improvements in Section 2

I was really taken back by how good the project looked on Section 2 a few weeks ago. Much of this got rolling in the fall of 2012 when the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) outlined the agency’s habitat management plan for Big Spring Creek with Section 2. The project was finished late summer of 2013 as planned and supported by funds from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

Big Spring Creek


The plan was to improve 2000 feet of habitat conditions in Big Spring Creek that would favor wild brook trout. To accomplish this the project focussed on narrowing the stream bed in addition to reducing: the rate at which the creek’s waters warm as they flow downstream, the amount of water surface area exposed to solar radiation and late-afternoon dissolved oxygen. Effort was taken to include specific gravel in the steam bed that would favor the wild brook trout during the spawn.

Upon visiting Section 2 of the creek it appeared much of the last of work had recently been completed in September. Clear evidence of the stream narrowing could be seen along the creek and the stream was noticeably deeper. Some areas it appeared as if over 20 feet of stream bed was reclaimed. Grass seed and tree saplings were planted along all the new habitat areas of the stream banks.

Big Spring Watershed Association


The efforts on the project looked great. It had only been a few weeks, but already the ground netting was keeping in the soil and grass was growing. This is the same effort put in to Section 1 back in 2010 with solid results along the stream.

While I was there I meet up with several members of the Big Spring Watershed Association (BSWA) who had come out to inspect the progress of the project as well. The members of the Big Spring Watershed Association are biologists, naturalist, local citizens and anglers who all are very anxious of the success of Big Spring Creek. The small group there were all in agreement with success of Section 2 up to that point.


Big Spring Creek Public Workgroup Meeting

The last PFBC Big Spring meeting must have been a real doozy because the PFBC was really prepared to deal with this meeting in a very civil and constructive manner. I give them a lot of credit for coming back out to take on the topic and have a good plan to keep the meeting well organized. Probably the only thing crazier than a public meeting on fly fishing is having a Internet forum on the topic. But, who would be stupid enough to do that?

Dave Miko


Dave Miko, Chief of Fisheries Management, lead the workshop for the PFBC. The front end of the workshop was an update by the PFBC that reviewed the progress of Section 1 and Section 2 of the projects.

Chief Miko did a nice job explaining the forum for the workshop, expectations and goals before the 40+ participants broke into four separate groups to battle it out discuss things. Attendance was a mix of anglers, citizens, members of TU and BSWA. Once into the groups, members from the PFBC led walked thru a series of questions about the progress to date, issues and future goals.

Big Spring Creek


A lot of solid information was shared and everyone had an equal opportunity to express their opinions, concerns and suggestions going forward. I noticed the one group was a little more well behaved with the armed WCO sitting nearby...kidding. Certainly a lot of strong and divergent opinions were shared on how the stream should be managed. Some people wanted to completely remove all the rainbow trout and others to just leave things as they are...some a little heated, but nothing that wasn't in line.

No real outcomes was finalized as the workshop was intended to gather feedback from the public and share it with the commissioners. With so many different views the public is going to all have to live with some compromises, which seems a little difficult for a lot of people everywhere lately.

Again, hats off to Dave Miko and team for coming up with a constructive format to handle the topic!






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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 10/07/2013 (1538 reads)
Part 1

I met up with Dave Weaver last Monday to check on the progress of the PFBC Phase 2 stream enhancements for Big Spring Creek in Newville, PA and to attend the PFBC meeting that evening. It was a pleasant afternoon and I enjoyed a little stream time as well around the middle fly fishing section where the project was recently completed. These projects on Big Spring have been a significant effort for many for the last several years. A lot of progress has been made in stream enhancements for wild trout within this watershed, but not without some controversy along the way.

Background
Big Spring is a wonderful stretch of limestone fed water located in Cumberland County. There has always been a lot of attention given to the stream due to its productivity as a Class A brook trout stream, beautiful environment and rich history. The PFBC owns a good stretch on both sides of the stream, which gives them unique opportunity to manage Big Spring unlike other waters across the state.

Big Spring CreekThe stream is also tied up in a lot of controversy on how to manage the trout and waterway between anglers, landowners, scientists, guides, the Big Spring Watershed Association, Trout Unlimited, PFBC and others. Much of the issue stems from the fact that Big Spring is a highly productive limestone brook trout stream, something that there isn’t a lot of left in the state. The main bone of contention, currently, surrounds the population of non-native rainbow trout that are thriving in these waters and – in the view of some - threaten the success of the native brook trout fishery. Everyone wants brook trout to have the best opportunity to be successful in these waters. There are a lot of strong opinions on how to do this. Views range from doing nothing, to removing all the rainbow trout.

Since 2006 PFBC has worked with other organizations to take on the Big Spring Creek habitat enhancements with the goal of improving wild trout habitat, particularly for brook trout. In 2010, with funds from both the state and federal Government, Phase 1 was completed covering 2050 feet. Phase 2, which was funded with a grant from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, has now been completed, covering 2,000 feet of improvements. Part of these improvements include riparian plantings in the newly filled areas utilizing native plants. If you visit Big Spring, please watch your step as some of these plants are still small.

In large part, these efforts involve correcting some of the negative effects from the mills and dams that had a dominate role from the mid 1700's through the early 1900's on Big Spring. In both phases, construction work included narrowing the stream channel while slowing the water speed and increasing the depth and cover, through the use of log vane deflectors, enhanced riparian shelves, and improved wetlands.

Phase 2 Project and Meeting Part 2 here






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Published by David Weaver [Fishidiot] on 09/23/2013 (8798 reads)
By Dave Weaver

President of the United States and General of the Armies Dwight Eisenhower was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed a wide range of shooting and fishing pursuits. His retirement home here in Gettysburg is managed now by the National Park Service as a museum and historic site. NPS archivists and historians currently hold many of Ike and Mamie’s personal possessions in a separate storage area where they’re being conserved and catalogued. I was able recently to get access to this storage site to photograph Ike’s fly rod and some of his other fishing gear. Also on display at the farm’s reception center is a fly/spin combo rod.

Ike undoubtedly owned a good many rods and reels and some have perhaps been lost to history, held in private collections, or may be stored at Abilene. While he enjoyed all manner of fresh water fishing, Ike was particularly fond of fly fishing for trout. Local rumor has that streams around Camp David were stocked with trout whenever Ike was visiting and local anglers, upon hearing that Ike had been at camp, would flock to fish the downstream areas of these creeks and catch the remaining fish.

I’m not sure if he spent much time salt water fishing however there are three different sand spikes and a chum pot in the NPS collection. The fly rod is a Pflueger R3780 in eight foot length and made of fiberglass. The White House tag can be seen on the rod bag. The small bottle is dry fly treatment and labeled Silicote Dry Fly Dressing, copyright 1946. I’d like to believe that this fly rod and some of the other gear might have some neat stories to tell. Ike loved fishing and, with the great responsibilities he carried on his shoulders, one certainly can’t begrudge him his days on the stream.

For Eisenhower, like many of us who love fly fishing, the sport probably served as way to make a point about something else. In the next photo, Ike has just been nominated and is getting acquainted with his new VP Richard Nixon in Fraser, Colorado. The renowned historian Stephen Ambrose wryly wrote of this photo, In casting, as in politics, Eisenhower was terribly earnest in his attempts to educate Nixon, with frustrating results in both cases.

(Photo and quote courtesy Eisenhower Soldier, General of the Army, President- Elect 1890-1952 by Stephen Ambrose, p 170


Resized ImagePerhaps the most famous wartime photo of Eisenhower is just before D-day when he’s chatting with paratroopers from the 101st Airborne getting ready to jump into Normandy. For years I’ve wondered what sort of pep talk was he was giving them? Well it turns out that the tall lieutenant on the right in the photo was from Michigan and later told the story that, when he told the general where he was from, the discussion turned to – no surprise – fly fishing. The cameraman just happened to shoot the photo as Ike was demonstrating the intricacies of fly casting to his rapt audience of Soldiers. Perhaps we can hope – and I’d like to believe – that this brief focus on fly fishing, at least for a few moments, served as a brief escape for these troops from the onerous duties awaiting them over the next days.

The author would like to thank Mike Florer of the NPS for assistance with access to these artifacts. For more information on the Eisenhower National Historic Site or to plan a visit, please hit:
http://www.nps.gov/eise/index.htm





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Published by David Weaver [Fishidiot] on 08/28/2013 (7253 reads)
This summer the Cumberland Valley Chapter Trout Unlimited (CVTU) volunteers have completed another section in a multi-phase habitat improvement project in The Run in Boiling Springs. The first log wing deflector that was completed last summer. More recently the parking lot was finished early this summer.

The next pics depict the log vane deflector under construction and completed over the summer as well. This was about 25 yards downstream from the AT footbridge and turned a fairly flat, featureless pool with a depth of about a foot, into a much deeper section with a nice plunge pool and better flow/oxygenation. Within minutes after we completed this, I saw a couple nice trout move up under the logs.


boiling springs fly fishing


Thanks are due to the Bureau of Forestry for donating the logs and Pennsy Supply for the shot rock. Also: PFBC, Shane Gilbert, and (as always) Gleim Environmental for their time and help. It's much appreciated.

In August the ongoing project by CVTU to improve habitat in The Run continued. Two additional vane deflectors were installed just downstream with the help of the students from the Rivers Conservation and Youth Camp. In the past, many of you have supported CVTU or the youth camp with donations or flies.

If you have not fished The Run in Boiling Springs lately, drop by. It's holding fish in large numbers this summer (this has not been consistent in recent years) and fishing well, even in the hottest weather. The improvement projects have worked well and fish can be seen holding both above and below them. Just a couple nights ago I was fly fishing, I managed an very nice brown trout on my third or fourth cast in The Run.

It's been a good year for The Run as well as the Breeches itself. I think the improvements have turned out well. Drop by and check 'em out.

Special thanks for CVTU for their efforts on this conservation effort for anglers.






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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 08/15/2013 (2064 reads)
Our friends over at from Tightline Productions offer up a video instructions on tying up a Black Foam Beetle for summer fly fishing opportunities.


Foam Beetle from Tightline Productions on Vimeo.








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Published by David Weaver [Fishidiot] on 07/29/2013 (2201 reads)
Book Review by Dave Weaver

My Life was This Big And Other True Fishing Tales
Authored By Lefty Kreh
Introduction by Nick Lyons.
Skyhorse Publishing, New York, NY 2008. 262 pp


Lefty KrehThis is an enjoyable auto biography by Lefty Kreh – arguably the current dean of fly fishing. It has long been my opinion that the Greatest Generation has made a unique and permanent impact on world history and Lefty Kreh remains today among the few fly fishing authors from this generation that are still alive and active in the sport (Stu Apt comes to mind too). So many of them, like AJ McLane, Charles Waterman, Jack Sampson, Ted Williams and others – men whose lives were steeled in the cauldron of World War II - have since passed on. Lefty, amazingly, is still going strong. When I watched this octogenarian teaching his casting seminar recently at the Fly Fishing Show I remain amazed. To say someone is a national treasure, or living legend, has become trite…….but if there’s a person in the fly fishing realm today who can live up to this description, it’s Lefty Kreh: the great fly fisherman who never seems to age. I’ve certainly never fished with, or really even spoke to, Lefty but having had the great privilege of having many friends from his generation (something I appreciate a lot more now than I did when I was younger and these friends were still alive) I recognize the humor and humility that so many of them seem to have when I watch Lefty at shows. If you’ve never watched Lefty at a fly fishing show, don’t miss the next opportunity. He’s a hoot. If only I could have learned more from my WWII veteran friends when they were still around….. So watch Lefty if you can – time is running short.

This book follows the basic autobiography format with the Lefty’s recollections of his life and involvement in the sport. Lefty was born in the mid 1920s in Frederick Maryland and grew up the hardscrabble life so typical of dirt poor kids in the Great Depression. His stories of childhood and the challenges of the day are the stuff that made Baby Boomers roll their eyes a generation ago: food shortages, ragged clothes, walking miles to school in the snow. Nevertheless Lefty had a happy childhood growing up in a mixed race neighborhood and lived a life of adventure catching catfish for money on his home stream, the Monocacy River. He also developed his lifelong affinity for improvisation during these years.

Naturally, I was particularly interested in Lefty’s chapter on the war. Drafted like so many of his generation, Lefty hated the Army. It just rubbed him wrong with so many of the petty trivialities and rigidness that anyone who has attended basic training can relate to. He served in Europe as an artillery forward observer in the 69th Division, a dangerous but critical job and suffered in the cold and terror of the Battle of the Bulge. Lefty still has some residual effects of frostbite. Always focused on the next good thing coming down the pike, Lefty noted that he didn’t really think much about the conflict for many years afterwards.

His career as an outdoor writer started after the war, like most writers of the time, with local newspaper gigs and grew into national writing for the well known magazines of the day. Much of Lefty’s early career is dominated by his time in south Florida managing fishing tournaments and improvising fly fishing technique. He fished with Ted Williams, Earnest Hemingway, Joe Brooks, and even Fidel Castro and virtually everyone who was part of the dynamic south Florida fishing scene in the 1960s. Interestingly, when he screwed up the courage to ask Hemingway the secret to good writing, Papa answered, “It can’t be edited” – a comment Lefty found fascinating. He also tells the story of the Lefty’s Deceiver, quite possibly the best known salt water fly pattern of all time.

Lefty, like many of us, just loves smallmouth bass but, like many of his generation, tends to feel that fishing today is nowhere near as good as it once was. He describes the Potomac River and river bass fishing in the Mid Atlantic generally as much worse than it used to be and, partly, attributes this to rivers being “too clean” today. He’s also skeptical of many biologists who feel that bass populations are excellent and the rivers are healthy today, feeling that many of these biologists lack perspective and are not from this part of the country. Personally, I found these contentions among the few fishing related opinions expounded by Lefty with which I’m personally skeptical. Perhaps if I’d known what the Potomac was like 50 years ago, I’d have a different opinion, but alas, we’re all prisoners of our own perspective and times.

Of course, Lefty is well known for his knowledge and teaching of fly casting and he explains his Four Principles of fly casting. He has also been a long time critic of the old “10 and 2” concept that has been taught to countless beginners for years. Lefty thinks its nonsense and rails against this maxim in page after page of this book.. Among the many stories about famous fishermen he’s known, Lefty describes George Harvey as, “the best trout angler I’ve ever fished with.”

On the subject of writing and, generally, the business side of the sport of fly fishing, Lefty offers some interesting perspectives. He feels that “fly fishers are the only anglers who habitually buy books” and argues that there are probably more books about fly fishing than any other outdoor topic. However, Lefty feels that avid fishermen don’t have much money and this has put a crimp in the willingness of corporate sponsors to get behind TV shows and such and, due in part to this, sport fishing is fading in America. The angling TV shows today focus mostly on bass fishing, and trout or salt water fly fishing shows aren’t thriving. He also doesn’t care much for the new fly fishing tournament scene writing, “Most real fly fishermen are resisting this influence” and frequently points out that fly fishing is (or should be) a non competitive endeavor.

One topic I’d hoped Lefty would touch on is the rise of fly fishing blogs and the future of fly fishing print media but, other than this, his perspective on the sport is vast and he has fished with most everyone that is famous in our sport in the last half century and this book is replete with descriptions of these folks as well as all sorts of wisdom about all the famous game fishes we chase (or hope someday to chase). Lefty closes the book with, “That’s life. That’s fishing. I’ve loved them both.” A more fitting and essential philosophy could not be articulated for a guy whose life really was this big.

David "Fishidiot" Weaver is a moderator and regular contributor on Paflyfish. Folks can find more about David and his artwork at www.rodandbrush.com






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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 07/23/2013 (3143 reads)
Didymo (Didymosphenia geminata) or rock snot is a non-native invasive microscopic algae that blooms in freshwater rivers and streams, with consistently cold water temperatures. Didymo forms a think brown mat of algae that can take over significant sections of stream.

didymo Didymo can be brown, tan or whitish in color covering vast stretches with it's wet cotton or steel wool feeling algae. It is not green or slimy.

Rock snot can take it's toll when it begins it's heavy blooms and smothers the bottom stream bed. It can choke out much of the aquatic life and can greatly impact the food supplies for trout in the ecosystem.

All states in the region have been impacted by this invasion species on some of the better known waterways including the East and West branches of the Delaware River, the Batten Kill and recently Pine Creek in Pennsylvania. The Pine Creek waterway does not show signs of these blooms as of yet. In Maryland, biologists first confirmed didymo in Gunpowder Falls in Baltimore County in early 2008. In 2009, it turned up in the lower Savage River, Allegany County and in Big Hunting Creek in 2012.

Jason du Pont produced and excellent video Didymo: A Video Diary on the transformation of the Gunpowder once a didymo bloom begins and takes over a stream.

Didymo: A Video Diary from Jason du Pont on Vimeo.



The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commision offers these ideas to help control the spread of didymo:
"The PFBC recommends that anglers allow exposed equipment to completely dry before entering new waters. After equipment is dry to the touch, allow it to dry another 48 hours, the commission suggests. Thick and dense material, such as life jackets and felt-soled wading gear, will hold moisture longer, take longer to dry, and can be more difficult to clean.

Soaking equipment in hot water containing dishwashing detergent (two cups of detergent for every two and a half gallons of water) for 20 minutes or more also will kill didymo and some other aquatic invasive species.

Cleaning boats and equipment with hot water (maintained at 140 degrees Fahrenheit) by pressure washing or soaking is another effective method. If hot water is not available, a commercial hot water car wash also makes a good location to wash boats, motors and trailers. At the other end of the temperature range, freezing items solid for at least 24 hours is effective. If cleaning, drying or freezing is not practical, please restrict the equipment’s use to a single waterway."


For more details on how to stop the spread of didymo visit the PFBC page here.

While Didymosphenia geminata does not pose a health risks to humans, but it certainly causes significant issues for the aquatic life in our streams. Our attentiveness to this issue is the one way we can help stop the spread of this growing problem.

top photo - Tim Daley, PA DEP
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 07/15/2013 (2540 reads)
fly fishing switzerland


Paflyfish member Pat "pcray1231" this past week fit in some fly fishing while over in Switzerland. His trip took him to Northern Switzerland. He shares a few thoughts and photos with the forum.

"The scenery was excellent, the fishing was excellent, it's exactly what I wanted and asked for from the guide. I coulda fished a big lake for pike, which was apparently hot. I coulda went to more lowland areas and fished bigger waters. But THAT is what would be a lot like PA. Northern Switzerland looks a lot like central PA with better food. I wanted to get down in the Alps and fish the highlands.

flyfishingThe stream was very different from PA. Faster. No pools. At all. In PA, you may have a fast riffle, but then there's a pool. There were no pools here, just a straight shoot of fast water, and it was all white. The fish were out of the current in the little corners and such, TIGHT to cover. It wasn't overly grown over, but required very accurate casts and good line handling. It wasn't easy fishing by any means. But it wouldn't have been fun if it were.

The woods were mostly pine, and while I knew what we were heading towards, most of the day you'd just get a peak here and there of the towering mountains. At the top, the forest backed away from the stream as the stream split up. So the view really started right as the fishing ended."

More thoughts and comments in the forum here and plenty of more photographs in his Photobucket.






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