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Fly Fishing Tips  Fly Fishing Tips
Multi Species in the Autumn Transition Zone

Published by Dave Weaver [Dave_W] on 10/24/2016 (1068 reads)

autumn02
Below Ramcat Run (acrylic on canvas)
article and images by
Dave Weaver (Dave_W)



Large Pennsylvania streams and rivers in October and November can provide an interesting grab bag of fish that might munch our flies, and big weedless streamers are the way to go. For many Pennsylvania fly fishermen, October and November are months when they return to stream trout fishing, if they ever left. In particular, years such as this one magnify this effect as we have spent what seems like many months waiting for rain and cooler temperatures and are especially eager to get back out for trout. Some fly fishers gave the river bass game a go-round during summer, but soon are back on trout streams as the days get shorter and colder. Few die hard fly fishers stick with bass by late October. Try checking out a mid- sized or larger bass river in late October: a fly fisher is a rare sight.

Spin fishers, by contrast, know that late autumn fishes well on the big rivers. Bass are still active and walleyes, pike, and muskies are on the prowl. In addition, many of the larger streams and mid-sized rivers have transient populations of large, wild brown trout in the “transition zone” – that is to say the lower reaches of what normally passes for trout water (or where it is stocked) that transitions into a warm water fishery. These fish drop back downriver during the autumn, or migrate out into rivers from colder tributaries. To be sure, these trout are hard to find, cagy, often nocturnal even in colder periods, and are a specialized game. Nevertheless, they are part of the mix. Some very large browns fall to spin guys fishing tubes and swimming plugs for bass and walleyes during the colder months here in Pennsylvania every year.

autumn01Chances are, there are some big rivers near you that you might consider fly fishing in the coming weeks. Larger tailrace rivers such as the Delaware, Potomac, Lehigh, Youghiogheny, or Allegheny have trout in their upper reaches, but gradually these rivers transition to warm water species downriver and are associated with smallmouth bass, walleyes, and muskellunge. With colder temps in autumn, large trout will sometimes migrate downriver into these areas associated with warm water fishes.

Larger trout streams or “creeks” such as the Little Juniata, Frankstown Branch, Raystown Branch, Swatara, Mahoning, Clarion, Schuylkill, Tionesta, Shermans, Conodoguinet, Penns, Pine, Shenango, and other similar streams all are popular for both bass and trout. Moreover, about half of these creeks have muskies or tiger muskies. Smaller waterways such as these are prime spots to target bass, trout, and even muskies in late autumn. Even the West Branch Susquehanna is coming to be associated with stocked trout in its upper reaches these days in addition to its much-improved (now superb) warm water fishery downstream.

On waters such as these during the late autumn colder temps and shortening days put big river smallmouth bass in an aggressive mood. Big browns, and muskies are on the prowl as well and they’re not looking for a size 18 dry fly, they want a meal! Chubs, fallfish, shad, suckers, big sculpins, madtoms, and shiners are on the menu and these baitfishes have had a season to grow and are large, typically several inches in length and often much larger. This is the time of year to throw big streamers with at least a six-weight rod. Oftentimes, an eight- weight is better. A floating line works fine although if you’re working deeper rivers with current, a sinking line will get you in the strike zone.

autumn03Any large streamer can work, but I like articulated doubles using soft materials and deer hair. Clip the hair in a large spun head that pushes water. Deer hair can make a fly more buoyant and wind resistant, but such sparse, spun deer heads also produce a fly that has a nice side to side, erratic swimming pattern when stripped and stopped. This side to side swimming pattern is deadly. Generally, for this game I like flies in the four to seven-inch range or larger if you’re hoping to target toothy critters. Twenty-inch brown trout, or smallies in the mid-teens, are fish that can easily inhale and swallow six-inch prey species. I like double hook flies since trout and muskies often seem to seize the fly mid body and often need a trail hook for solid hook-ups. Bass, by contrast, only need a single hook at the front of the fly for good hook up ratio as bass are head hunters. Colors are a matter of preference, but the old wisdom about “dark day, dark fly” holds true in my opinion. Black and chartreuse is tough to beat in stained water.

A major challenge to this season is leaves and weed break-up. In late September, many rivers see a break-up of grass beds and this results in a lot of junk in the water column. By early October, much of the weed break-up is done, but leaves start to foul the water column by mid-month. By late October, leaves can make fishing nearly impossible in some places, especially on windy days. To contend with this, you will want a fly tied weedless so as to pull through the leaves. The flies depicted here are examples of typical streamers I’d reach for on autumn rivers. The key is a decent weed guard design. I prefer mono loops tied in at the hook eye, as can be seen. For larger patterns such as these, fifty pound mono works best. I generally put a weed guard only at the lead hook and not the trail hook. You’ll still catch some leaves, but weed guards will at least allow you to fish fairly effectively where conventional flies would immediately foul. Experiment and find a design that works for you – just keep the fly at least four inches long. Bigger is better.

October and November are great months for fly fishermen in Pennsylvania. Target the transition zone on larger creeks and rivers and you will have a genuine shot at multi-species if you throw big streamers. To be sure, smallmouth bass will be your most likely catch, but large brown trout and muskellunge are out there too. Just the other day, I was wading a favorite pool on a mid-sized creek and could see a brown trout, a three-foot-long muskie, and several smallies in the mid-teens. . . all within casting range. Catching all three species in a day would be uncommon in my experience, but the possibility exists if you’re at the right time and place. So, tie up some big weedless streamers and get out on a big creek or river this fall. The trout guys will be nowhere in sight and many of the summer bass fishing regulars are sitting in a tree stand. You’ll probably see few anglers. Double haul that big streamer out, strip it back through the leaves, and hold on when you see that big swirl or feel that pull. You may even have to fight the fish to surface before you’ll even know what chomped your fly. A motivating experience during a great time of year!
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Published by Dave Kile [davekile] on 12/09/2015 (9235 reads)
flyboxesWell after almost 30 years of fly fishing I have assembled quite a sundry of storage boxes for my flies, nymphs and streamers. Not that any of these boxes are special. Just a real eclectic set of Plano, Orvis, Perrine and Tupperware containers. I have Adams stuck with Sulphurs, midges with my little BWO’s and Caddis flies with my nymphs. Imagine a house with about seventeen additions of all different shapes and sizes bolted on.

How I got to this point is anybodies guess. Probably it has been based on my early experiences and knowledge with certain flies. As I learned more I just added it in to what room I had and seemed logical at the time. What I don’t get is how I caught just as many fish being a numnuts with a small limited arsenal of flies compared to my expansive cache today.

shamwowguyAll these boxes have served me well and actually I still have my first fly box that my friend Ron gave me the first year I started fly fishing. He set me up with a great selection of starter flies. I guess he felt I was worthy enough not to lose the darn box on the stream. I think my hope over the years has been that the ShamWow Infomercial Guy would show up on the TV early one Sunday morning with some sort Super Fly Life Organizer Box for $19.95 that included a special offer of two for the price of one and my life would be twice as good going forward. No such luck.

Still waiting, I moved on and purchased a new chest pack that has started me down this unintended, but well needed holistic journey. It’s like when you buy a new car you have to clean the garage out to make the new ride fit it inside.

The new chest pack won’t fit all my stupid boxes so I need to get organized. I knew this was going to happen, just like I can anticipate what’s going happen every time I go to the dentist for my semi annual cleanings. It will be painful, I will get a scolding and new appointment to come back in four weeks to replace a 35 year filling that is falling apart. It must be part of the 101 class on how to run a dentist office.

So what the heck am I going to do? Does this mean I move my Caddis flies out away from my nymphs? Do I put my BWO with my Sulphurs? Can I keep my Red Quills near my Adams? Oh the humanity what would Brad Pitt do?

Well the first thing I did was take stock of my situation. No that did not mean dashing to the fridge for a Yuengling. It meant not only figuring out where to put the flies, but understanding what I already had in the inventory. Maybe the dentist visits aren’t such a bad thing after all.

I then spent some time sorting through all those flies by putting them on the kitchen table. It became evident that this was not going to work when my English Springer Spaniel came up to me with a head full of flies that looked like Colonel Henry Blake’s fly fishing hat from M*A*S*H.

So I needed a way to get these flies organized. Just like you find at a fly shop, only smaller, cheaper, portable and something my dog wouldn’t wear on her head. Well after a little research it seems people who dabble in beads, whatever the hell that is all about, seem to have many of the same anxieties I do about being organized. Apparently there are lots of beads needing organized out there because there are quite a few choices on the art supply websites.

With a little more research they advertise these boxes for workshop organizers too. So I trucked on over to Home Depot to see if I could find something right away. I couldn’t possibly wait for the beadheads to ship me something that could take days. I needed to solve this problem before my next dentist visit.

I found the Rimax four tier rack of removable trays. Next to it were extra spare trays and I was able to get the whole set-up with a few extra trays for about $21. [chorus singing and clouds are parting] After what I saw the beadhead organizers were going to have to solve their problems without my help. I snapped up the trays and ran on home.
flyboxes
So now I can place all my flies into about eight portable trays fully organized by type and size. I could even label each tray. The plan will be to still haul most of my flies with me as I head out. However, I’ll load up just a couple of fly boxes as needed and leave the trays in the truck.

I know this has its fault’s. The most obvious is numnuts anticipating what might happen on the stream. Since my name is Dave and not the Amazing Kreskin this could be not so good when the March Browns make any early visit to Penn's Creek this year. I figure I’ll just always have to bring my standby favorite of five flies that catch me 90% of my fish anyway. I think that is all Ron let me have when I first got started. We will see how it goes.

Now if I can just get the ShamWow guy to clean my garage I’ll have time to go fishing!
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 08/11/2014 (3119 reads)
The next time you go fly fishing and bring along $10,000 worth of photo gear here are a few tips to capture some images on the water. Well I don't encourage anyone to spend that kind of money for your photo gear, it would take away from all the money you should spend on fly fishing rods, but there are a few good tips in the video. Many of you do run around, wisely I might add, with some waterproof point and shoots while you fish. Adorama is a very good online camera store out of NYC. They also offer plenty of educational videos about photography on the YouTubes. It's not often you find many tips on fly fishing photo techniques. Worth a look if you would like to drool over some high end gear too.



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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 07/07/2014 (3310 reads)



Just when the trout season slows down in Pennsylvania, Hank Patterson returns with some important pointers on nymph fishing. So get off the vice and and kick back for another episode of The Reel Adventures With Fly Fishing Expert Hank Patterson.






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Published by Maurice Chioda [Maurice] on 04/23/2013 (4787 reads)
Ahhhhh the evolution of a vest fisherman.
by Maurice


Evolution of a Vest Fisherman


Stage One: get vest fill with unmentionables over time until its so heavy your back hurts at the end of a fishing day.

Stage Two: Decide to get a pack...smaller, holds less, straps to back rather than hanging on shoulders. no more back pain.

Stage Three: realize pack is too small and holds too little so get a bigger pack, still just a front pack but larger. You become front heavy and tip over easy......

Stage Four: Find a BETTER pack that has a backpack on it. Now you can carry a raincoat, water bottles, TP, everything you would ever need until you realize now you are carrying more than you did with a vest and your back hurts again. But less than if it were all in a vest.

Recommendation: The beauty of Chest packs/rucksacks is that they have a deep yoke around your neck, (don't pull on your neck like a vest) and most importantly they strap snuggly to your pectoral area (chest) to take the weight off of your shoulders where a vest focuses it on your shoulders.






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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 07/13/2011 (3724 reads)
After a busy spring and early summer of fly-fishing, now is a good time to give your gear a little attention. Your fly line is especially could use some love during the season.

The UV rays of the sun and common chemicals can break down your fly line over time. Sunscreen and the deet in your insect repellent can easily do the most common damage. After a short time even Mud, salt and dirty water can weaken the effectiveness of you line unless you periodically clean and treat them carefully.

The team over at Rio Products has put together a couple of quick videos sharing some ways you can best keep your fly lines clean.


Cleaning A Fly Line - Part 1 from Sol Duc Buck on Vimeo.



Part 2 coming shortly shortly.
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 04/13/2010 (4401 reads)
Wild Trout Streams are a secret treasure for many fly fisherman in Pennsylvania. Many anglers hold a certain reverence for the quiet and often secluded opportunity they provide. With over 500 wild trout streams and well over 1,000 miles of water these hidden gems are a different kind of stream for fly-fishing. Some of these streams are unnamed or are tributaries of lesser waters. Rarely mentioned by name or found on many maps, this intimate experience also comes with greater stewardship and responsibility for those that take on these waters.

wild trout streamThe fly fishing experience in these backwoods areas are often regarded as one of self reliance and stealth. These small streams can provide a surprising opportunity to explore and uncover trout in a more wilderness environment. Much of the experience is not only finding these streams, but then learning the secrets of what makes these wild trout so illusive.

The Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) defines Class A Wild Trout Streams as: "Streams that support a population of naturally produced trout of sufficient size and abundance to support a long‐term and rewarding sport fishery." The PFBC’s manages these stream sections for the the growth of the wild trout fishery with natural reproduction and no stocking. These streams can hold brook trout, brown trout or both species.

The PFBC is considering changes to its list of Class A Wild Trout Streams. At the next Commission meeting on April 19 and 20, 2010, the Commission will consider changes to its list of wild trout streams. Specifically, the Commission will consider the addition of over 80 new streams or changes to current watts of streams to the list.

So if you want to get a little wild try something new, it may be in your backyard.
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Published by Dave Kile [davekile] on 09/05/2009 (2636 reads)
When you have been out fishing for a while and changing flies over a period of a day you loose quite a bit of your tippet. One of the preferred methods for joining two different lines of similar size is the blood knot when joining sections of tippet or leader. This is one of the best methods for extending the length of your tippet.

A quick animated instruction for the blood knot and well as others can be found at: Animated Knots by Grog.

Aging eyes and dark evenings can really challenge some to tie this knot. I know plenty of nights I have calculated the time to tying tippet ratio. The last thing I would want to do is tie a blood knot at dusk.

The folks at Anglers Ace provides a simple little knot tying product that could save some time. Here is a quick slideshow showing how the product works.

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