Fly fishing SMB in Lancaster county

A

Austin G

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Jun 23, 2024
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Ephrata pa
Recently got into flyfishing and now do to warmer temperatures have started chasing SMB. Fishing upper Conestoga and some parts of Millcreek around Monterey Road. Any suggestions on flies for this time of year? I seem to be catching lots of small pan fish and rock bass but nothing to big. Just curious for any advice thanks.
 

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Well, if you're tossing that nymph, you should upgrade. Just start with a size 6 or 8 woolly bugger. That will catch plenty to start.
 
Dear Austin G,

By all means think about using some poppers and streamers for the SMB. Even if you are fishing with a 4 or 5 weight trout fly rod you can easily cast size 6 flies if you upsize your leader. A 7 1/2 foot leader ending in 10# test tippet will work great for bass and panfish and allow you to turn over the bulkier flies you are tossing.

Regards,

Tim Murphy :)
 
Dear Austin G,

By all means think about using some poppers and streamers for the SMB. Even if you are fishing with a 4 or 5 weight trout fly rod you can easily cast size 6 flies if you upsize your leader. A 7 1/2 foot leader ending in 10# test tippet will work great for bass and panfish and allow you to turn over the bulkier flies you are tossing.

Regards,

Tim Murphy :)
Thanks I will definitely give that a try. I am using a five weight currently.
 
The Monterey Rd/Newport Rd (Rt 772) area was the upstream limit of the Mill Ck SMB population range about 20 yrs ago when the entire stream was surveyed except for the very headwaters. As you probably know, there was and may still be a dam at Newport Rd, which at that time did not seem passable for fish. Given that Mill Ck’s history of substantial water quality problems had apparently greatly improved and given that the stream’s fish community upstream from the dam and beyond was typical for a warmwater stream except for the absence of SMB, fingerling SMB were twice stocked in that stretch up to about New Holland. It’s unknown whether they took hold and created a reproducing population.
 
Don't be afraid to try larger poppers and steamers. It will be difficult to cast with a 5wt rod, but just try a short 4-5' leader or even just a straight 4' section of mono or fluorocarbon in 12-15 lb. test. Work the flies aggressively. They will smack it.
 
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+1 to buggers and poppers. I fish the stogie pretty often, and lately the fish have been eating foam hoppers pretty well too. Give em a good plop down, and a twitch every now and then as they drift.
 
+1 to buggers and poppers. I fish the stogie pretty often, and lately the fish have been eating foam hoppers pretty well too. Give em a good plop down, and a twitch every now and then as they drift.
Definitely lots of opportunities and tons of water to explore on the Conestoga River. I occasionally enjoy smoking a stogie while fishing the ‘stoga! Give it a shot it’s a pretty solid WW fishery.
 
The Monterey Rd/Newport Rd (Rt 772) area was the upstream limit of the Mill Ck SMB population range about 20 yrs ago when the entire stream was surveyed except for the very headwaters. As you probably know, there was and may still be a dam at Newport Rd, which at that time did not seem passable for fish. Given that Mill Ck’s history of substantial water quality problems had apparently greatly improved and given that the stream’s fish community upstream from the dam and beyond was typical for a warmwater stream except for the absence of SMB, fingerling SMB were twice stocked in that stretch up to about New Holland. It’s unknown whether they took hold and created a reproducing population.
Yes the dam is still there and has a good bit of largemouth around and slightly up upstream. I will have to check up stream towards new Holland. Thanks for the info Definitely very interesting. Downstream from the damn towards Lancaster I am assuming has a better SMB population?
 
Definitely lots of opportunities and tons of water to explore on the Conestoga River. I occasionally enjoy smoking a stogie while fishing the ‘stoga! Give it a shot it’s a pretty solid WW fishery.
I will definitely do that thanks
 
+1 to buggers and poppers. I fish the stogie pretty often, and lately the fish have been eating foam hoppers pretty well too. Give em a good plop down, and a twitch every now and then as they drift.
I will definitely get some poppers and try thanks
 
Don't be afraid to try larger poppers and steamers. It will be difficult to cast with a 5wt rod, but just try a short 4-5' leader or even just a straight 4' section of mono or fluorocarbon in 12-15 lb. test. Work the flies aggressively. They will smack it.
OK, I will definitely try some out. I know they can be a little difficult to cast, but I will shorten my leader and try that out thanks.
 
Well, if you're tossing that nymph, you should upgrade. Just start with a size 6 or 8 woolly bugger. That will catch plenty to start.
Fish a size 6 popper, you will still catch panfish but also get the interest of bass from 5 inches to hogs!
 
Fish a size 6 popper, you will still catch panfish but also get the interest of bass from 5 inches to hogs!
I fish gurglers, not poppers. I much prefer the my gurgler. I was just giving a newbie the most basic and common fly that will work. I don't throw a bugger much for bass myself, but they're effective and common flies.
 
I fish gurglers, not poppers. I much prefer the my gurgler. I was just giving a newbie the most basic and common fly that will work. I don't throw a bugger much for bass myself, but they're effective and common flies.
Gurgles are awesome, I actually swim my poppers more than doing hard pops. Enough to push wake and make the legs look like a struggling bug. Sometimes the pop spooks them. Also found one pop then dead drift works for finicky bass. A lot of times they hit right after the fly lands so wait till the rings disappear before you make your first strip or pop!
 
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