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Fly Fishing Getting Started - How to Dress for ...

Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 12/14/2014 (208 reads)
Winter fly fishing can a be a very rewarding time to get out on the water. The most important thing to an enjoyable day of winter fly fishing is dressing for the weather. After decades of winter activities like hiking, hunting and fishing you would think I would know better, but one of my worst days fly fishing was because I forgot my wool socks. Not so smart with my cotton socks. So let's take a look at the best approach wintering up for a day of fly fishing.

You've heard it before, but I'll say it again. Layers, layers, and more layers. The most important thing are the correct layers.

Feet
Alright Captain Obvious we know cotton socks don't work, so the best bet is a two layer approach with your feet. I first put on a thin polyester wicking sock. Overtop of the polyester sock I use a classic ragg merino wool sock. Bigger can be better, but make sure you can still get into your boots comfortably. If your socks are too thick and your feet are too tight in the boot this will not help keep you warm. What you are trying to accomplish is wicking away the perspiration from your feet with the polyester sock to the wool sock.

Legs and lower body
Winter Fly FishingAgain layers are the way to go. Keeping your legs and lower body warm while in the water is a non- negotiable. A few years ago I ended up getting a pair of Simms Guide Mid Pants. These pants are made of fleece and provide greater insulation than cotton. I would imagine you can get a decent pair of tapered fleece pants online that will do the trick. I like the tapered pants as they bunch up less at your ankles when you get into your boots. Often I'll wear a pair of light polyester long pants overtop of the fleece pants. A few ways to approach this but I'd avoid the cotton sweat pants.

Upper body
I generally have a three layer approach to the upper body. I use synthetic polyester base layer for wicking. I like the Under Armour mock longsleves. Offers a good base from the arms to the neck. The middle layers are your main insulators and going to keep you warm. A couple layers of fleece or wool always work for me. I found a great fleece shirt at Walmart for $10 a couple of years ago and is my goto whenever I head outside. A good down vest can work too, but you don't want too much bulk. The number of layers and type is really up to you and the temperatures you expect to encounter.

Finally for your upper body is a good outer shell. The key is something that will keep the wind from getting to you. With the layers you have already put on, a big winter coat is not best step here. A winter windstopper shell that is water repentant is the answer. This is the place I would invest my money. I have an older Simms windstopper jacket that works great and think I spent $200 at the time. With layering this jacket works from October thru April for me. Today I would look at the Simms Bulkley Jacket ($300) or Cabela's Guidewear WindStopper Jacket (on sale for $110, but not water repentant). Specific fly fishing wading jackets are usually cut short in length and make it easier fitting into your waders. Once you are dressed and have your waders on you want warmth, but also upper body mobility too.

The other stuff
Fingerless gloves or mittens are a must. Plenty of good options made of wool, fleece and polyester. Leave the ski gloves for the slopes. Last but not least is a wool hat.

You really should try all this gear on before you go to the stream. Adding a few more layers may cause some difficulties getting onto your fly fishing boots and waders. The holidays don't help either. No sense having all the right gear if you can't fit into your waders. I enjoy my fly fishing backpack this time of year with layers I am taking off or adding on. Finally, even if you don't think you'll need it, bring an extra layer to leave in the car.
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 10/16/2014 (7557 reads)
fall fly fishing


Fall fly fishing in the the region offers plenty of great opportunities. The cooler weather offers anglers some solitude of fly fishing while many are caught up with other fall activities. A little bit of preparation can be a rewarding opportunity for those who can make the time.

Reproduction plays an important part of the trout lifecycle during the fall months for both brook and brown trout. Brook trout, native to the US, usually begin to spawn during late September through October. Brown trout typically start spawning in October through late November. I have seen this go later too.

During the spawn coloring on the trout will intensify especially in the males. Females will often create gravel beds for the fertilized eggs called redds. It very important to be careful of these sections on streams when you see redds and not to kick them up when walking. Probably best even to leave trout overtop redds alone and give them a chance to protect the eggs.

fall fly fishingOften the water in the fall is low and gin clear. Spotting trout on a redd is pretty easy to see as in the photo to the left. The trout will sit over top of a small group of rocks that they have knocked around and they often will have a little more cleaned up look as if someone kicked up the spot. Take a little time before marching into the stream to check on the conditions. Good advice for any day.

As the trout begin to change so does the entomology or insect life in the stream. Activity will be different from region to region, stream size, earlier summer water temperatures, and geology. The fall provides a more limited selection of insects and often anglers enjoy bringing a more modest selection of flies and imitations. Some of the more popular collections include: Slate Drakes, BWO, Caddis, midges and terrestrials. Typical nymphs and streamers are very successful smart choice as well.

I like Dave Weavers suggestions for even looking for rainbows behind the redds feeding on eggs. Some small simple egg patterns can produce some pretty good results for these rainbows. The most common color for natural trout eggs are cream, pale orange and pink.

The full and fast spring streams can take a new characteristic once September arrives. Low clear water can create a challenge for some anglers, but stealth and patience can provide many rewards.

With summer holder over trout and newly stocked trout in many streams there should be ample opportunity for solitude and fish in autumn. Check out the PaFlyFish forums and stream reports to learn more about what is happening in your area.






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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 06/02/2014 (5299 reads)
Green Drake

Recently going through my mayfly photographs I found a nice set of pictures from the Paflyfish Spring Jam in 2010. The Green Drake (Ephemera guttulata ) hatch was in full swing that year and photographs of these mayflies was easy and plentiful. Most of the weekend was overcast and rain as normally forecasted for the Spring Jam. Emergers (subimigo) and spinners (imago) were not so much active during the day, but lined the sides of the streams in the hundred's of thousands. I am always torn between fishing and photography on days like this but glad put down my fly rod for a while and captured a lot of great shots.

With so many mayflies and photos it was easy to get so nice shots of the Green Drake spinners, which are referred to as Coffin Flies because of their white extended body. I wanted to demonstrate the differences between spinner (imago) male and female. These two Coffin Flies attached show these differences. Most notably the male has longer extended fore legs and claspers at the rear of the body. Females as seen do not have these body characteristics.

Male (left photo)
Long fore legs
Rear claspers or forceps at rear of body
Eyes on a male tend to be larger

Female (right photo)
Short fore leg
Forceps do not exist
Smaller flatter eyes






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Published by Maurice Chioda [Maurice] on 04/23/2014 (4052 reads)
flyfishing knots

While sharing some time on the water the other day with Dave Kile (dkile) I experienced what seems to happen often during a decent hatch with some wind, you guessed it, a wind knot! Or as Lefty Kreh calls them, bad casting knots. Everyone gets them now and then especially when combining a breeze, long leaders and fine tippets. Or for the chuck and duck crowd, of which I am often a member, weight and multiple flies. So as Dave stands upstream pondering my delay to cast to a rising fish, he asks, what’s the problem Einstein? I said I have a wind knot, and it reminded me of a tip I learned many years ago.

Back in the 80’s we were on a bus trip to the Breeches from the ‘burg and there was a video on the tube for those not taking the time to sleep. Being full of interest in sponging any and all info I could at the time, one tip in the video stuck with me. Terminal knot tying efficiency. Think about it, every time we tie on a new piece of tippet, a new fly, etc., we are out of the game. It stands to reason that the faster you can tie on a fly (improved clinch knot in my case) or a new piece of tippet (double surgeons knot), the quicker you can begin flogging the water again.

The video stressed the need to get your knots down to 15 seconds each. Practice, practice, practice until you can meet that goal. This will put your fly change or tippet adjustments into under one minute if you include the spooling off tippet, picking out a new and returning the old flies. If you find yourself taking 5-10 minutes each to accomplish that task, you could likely be wasting an hour or more tying frustrating knots. Practicing on stream is KNOT efficient! (pun intended)Now it’s not a race, and I don’t suggest it to be. But it is practical to be as efficient as possible when enjoying your streamside time. Plus, when a hatch is on, the fish and bugs don’t wait until you re-tie, it goes on as scheduled, often it seems to go faster as the trouts plop, plop, plop all around you.

So do yourself a favor by following these few tips;
• Get your knots down to 15 seconds or so.
• Accept the fact your eyes are going bad and get some readers if seeing the eye is getting harder every year.
• Keep your tippet handy, I keep mine outside near my left hip where I can reach it easily.
• Keep your flys handy with few boxes so searching is not too long.
• Know your limitations and adapt.

Resized ImageThat last one may seem out of place for a seasoned fly fisher but this efficiency exercise also applies to damage control. That's right, when you booger up your line with a collapsed cast, loose loop or wind knot, bring your line in gently and assess the damage immediately. It can be tempting to just begin pulling and tugging but try to resist. Take a few seconds and loosely pull on some of the loops to see what you are dealing with. Look for loops that exit the knot and pull them back through. Often its only one or two loops that cause the whole mess. If it looks too complicated to unravel it probably is. Clip off the fly, this often makes it a much easier task because you can slip the tippet through the knot. Remember it only takes you 15 seconds to tie it back on. Just be sure when you clip it off you put it somewhere you remember like a fly patch, or other handy outside vest place. Don’t keep it in your hands or put it in your mouth. Trust me, this never ends well…soon you are chasing it down stream with your net or trying to get it out of your lip.

Lastly, If it's a total mess clip it ALL off and start over, in one minute or so you will be casting again.

Now I consider myself a pretty good untangler…in fact, my slogan is “Fly fishing is the art of tangling and untangling lines of different diameters while trying to enjoy yourself”. But it doesn’t have to be yours.






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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 04/15/2014 (5311 reads)
Fly Fishing Getting started


Paflyfish is a popular spot for fly fishing anglers in the region for many 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. The site is filled with thousands of great post and threads that offer any angler any opportunity to expand their fly fishing opportunities. This section will be a dynamic page for beginners to find an index of information to get started with fly fishing. As relevant blog posts and threads are collected they will be added for quick and easy topics.

Take the Journey

Types of Trout

Trout Food
Trout Food Overview
The Mayfly Stages of Life 101
Mayfly Sex Identification 102
The Caddisflies
Stoneflies
Green Drakes: May Madness
Meet the Hendricksons

Gear
What Fly Rod and Fly Reel to get?
A Dozen Top Flies
Knots and the DBK
Trip Packing

Seasonal Information
Getting Ready For Fall Fly Fishing
Conquer the Cold: The theory of bigger being sometimes better
Getting out for some fall fly fishing
Try Some Winter Fly Fishing
How to Dress for Winter Fly Fishing


Forums
Beginners Forum
Fly Fishing Locations
Fly Tying
Stream Reports

Additional Online Information
Fly Fishing Hatch Chart
USGS Real-Time Streamflow Data & Mobile
Troutnut.com
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 03/20/2014 (2452 reads)

fly rodIf you ask any fly fishing angler out there what is the best first rod and reel setup you need, you will get a different answer from everyone. Picking your second, third, or even seventh rod you will have some very specific purposes in mind and still get a lot of different answers. Your first fly rod and reel should be a good general purpose setup that will be easy to use in most any trout stream in the region.

For the love of Zeus you don't want to look like the dopey guy in the Symbicort commercial that has a crappy M*A*S*H hat, is fishing for brook trout in a creek with a large arbor saltwater 9 wt reel and 15 foot fly rod setup with a real bobber on your line. I'm not saying go spend all your 401k money, quite the opposite. Don't spend a lot, but get something that makes sense to get started with in our region to fly fish for trout.

Fly Rod
If you are just getting started, you will likely want a 5 weight (wt) 8'6" - 9' graphite, medium fast action fly rod. This is an all 'round great fly rod or beginners. I like the four piece rods as they travel better. Make sure whatever setup you get has a good rod tube to keep it protected when it is stored away or while in your vehicle. You can expect to pay about $100 or more to get started.

Fly Reel
To select a fly reel you match the weight of the fly rod to the corresponding reel. If you get a 5 wt rod then you get a 5 wt reel. Nothing fancy needed when you first get going, it's really just a spool to reel in your fly line. A line holder if you will. No need to drop a car payment just yet. Starting at around $100 will get you a good quality machined aluminum reel. While as little as $35-$70 will get you into the game with a stamped steel or synthetic line holder.

Fly Line
Be sure to complete your setup with a weight forward fly line that matches the weight of your fly rod and fly reel. Remember unlike a spinning rod and reel, the fly line is what carries your fly. So stick with the 5 wt again for your fly line and that will run you $29 - $59.

Tapered Leader and tippet
A knotless tapered leader is usually a 9' section of special mono line that connects the end of your fly line to some ~30" of tippet and then your fly. With proper casting the tapered leader and connected tippet provide a natural presentation of the fly onto the water. The different x's and lb test of the leader and tippet should be changed during the season and conditions where you fish.

A 5x trout leader is a middle of the road and good starting point in the early season. You will likely be fishing more streamers and nymphs in March and early April. When dry fly fishing on top or for smaller trout you can get to smaller 6x leader and tippet setups. You will want the presentation of the fly to be a little more delicate and the right tippet can make a huge difference. You should pick up a few leaders that will run you about $3 each and a spool of 30' 5x - 5lb test tippet is about $5. Think five's for now.

fly reelI want you to explore more of the details on these setups and ask others. Just remember when you share with someone the setup I am suggesting 99 of 100 people will say it is wrong and I am and idiot. Hopefully in 30 years you can be an idiot just like me. Check in on the forums to do some research. Get started and then modify your setup as you see fit and what works best for you. I never use knotted leaders for example only crazy people use that crap. Kidding of course...a little.

The dollar amounts I discuss are good starting points and you will do just fine. You can spend more if your budget permits or you just got a good tax return. Maybe your wife just snuck in some new cloths from Anne Taylor with the dry cleaning and it's your turn. Been married 25 years and know a lot of these tricks. Just say there was a great 50% off sale. I hear that one all the time.

So where do you buy this gear? Please look at the sponsors (Allen Fly Fishing, Trident Fly Fishing, Risen Fly, The Sporting Gentlemen and Shadow Fly Fishing) on the site that offer the gear discussed. There are plenty of great brands and choices. But, mainly because I trust them, they have a good range of products and warranties they stand behind. They are available to answers questions for you through email, on the phone or in the Shop Talk Forum. You will find many other members on the site providing feedback about their gear in Gear Talk or the Beginners Forum. If you want some more tradition conversation go to a nearby fly shop and get some answers there too.
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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 03/11/2014 (3102 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 03/03/2014 (2580 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 Dave Kile [dkile] on 02/17/2014 (3279 reads)
Trout enjoy a wide array of food and insects being the more popular. While mayflies (Ephemeroptera) enjoy much of the spotlight, caddisflies (Trichoptera) are incredibly plentiful in waters across the region. Not always the preferred insect of the fly anglers mostly due to lack of familiarity.

caddisflyCaddis are a hardy insect and has thrived in streams that have been decimated with pollution. Streams like the Tulpehocken, Oil Creek and Casselman are are just a few streams known for their abundant caddis fly populations in our region. For many of these streams the caddisfly is so prolific that mayflies are an often afterthought for anglers.

The caddis behavior is a little less predictable and is certainly one of the reasons it is not as popular for many anglers. Many mayflies can be timed to within a few days and hours. The Green Drakes on Penn's Creek are revered by anglers the same way the "Swallows" of Capistrano are anticipated at the Mission San Juan Capistrano. Caddis not so much.

That is not to say great hatches of caddis are not enjoyed by anglers and trout, as there can be wonderful evenings and days with them covering a stream. Just as often there can be sporadic emergers happening with without much fanfare.

There are over 1200 species of caddis flies in the country. They range in size and colors covering the gambit of black, green, tan, cream and white bodies. The more popular Grannom hatch do arrive across much of the region at the end of April and are much anticipated by anglers and trout alike.

To get some understanding of their cycle it is as easy to do as by simply lifting a rock the next time out on the water.

caddisflyMany types of caddis larvae can be found at the bottom of the stream in self-made protected cases or roaming along the bottoms of streams. Some these species create protective cocoons made of small stones or sticks held together with silk like threads. This thread is also used to secure the larvae to the larger rocks or stream bed where they live.

As the caddisflies mature they reach the pupa stage were they hold-up inside their cases and prepare to emerge out as adults above the water. This transformation from water to wing is the most dangerous for all insects. The caddisfly rise from their cases often with the help of a small gas bubble pulling them towards the surface. Once there they emerge with their uniquely folded tent-style of wings they take flight.

The caddis return to lay their eggs either on the surface or by diving to the bottom depending on the species. Like when they emerge, this is the time when they are most susceptible to hungry trout. The cycle of life then returns as these eggs transform into the larvae again.

Like mayflies, caddis flies begin in ernest in April and are big part of many streams. Continued sporadic hatches can be found through the late Fall.

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!!
For further reading check out Gary LaFontaine's book Caddisflies.






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Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 02/10/2014 (4443 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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