Sunday, May 4, 2014

Lots of Water, Plenty of Fish

After spending some time earlier today making another tying video with Tim Flagler, I wolfed down some lunch and then headed to PA to fish.  Doug, his friend Alex, and Alex' mom were fishing a freestone river north of the Lehigh Valley, and I intended to meet them there to fish a river I haven't fished in many years. When I was crossing the Delaware though, I got a call from Doug's mom telling me that plans had changed because the river they had been fishing was running quite high and wading was difficult.  So we met in Easton, and after some discussion, we decided to fish a Lehigh Valley limestone creek that typically fishes well even when the water levels are above normal.

It was a nice afternoon.  The bright, warm sun was often blotted out by banks of quickly moving clouds, carried by gusty winds that made casting difficult at times.  Thanks to that NW wind, it never warmed much beyond the 60 degree mark.  The creek was up and flowing well; along the banks where it was shallow, it was clear, while the deeper water was off-color, looking almost as though it was infused with light olive-gray fog.  A few small craneflies hatched here and there, but other than that there was little bug activity.  The only mayfly I saw was a single, lonely blue-winged olive that flew by me during a lull in the wind.

The boys were on the water, with Douglas fishing well before I was even rigged up, and into fish quickly. Here he is just after netting a small wild brown he took on a Walt's Worm, while Alex looks on.

I entered the stream several pools above them, and set up my leader with two flies - a Walt's Worm on the point, and a #18 black silver bead head zebra midge about 15 inches above it.  I worked the edges of a fast seam near the bank and soon was rewarded with a small wild brown that jumped over and over again before I got it to hand.  I carefully worked the pool as I slowly waded out from the bank, and I hooked and landed a bunch of fish over the next hour or so.  By then the boys had caught up to me, smiling with news of many fish caught.  Alex' mom was several pools down having been frogged-lept by the quickly moving youths.

We fished for maybe 2 hours, and all of us caught fish.  Doug, Alex and Alex' mom, Madeline, mostly caught their fish on Walt's Worms.  I caught all but one on the zebra midge, which the trout hit hard, like they hadn't had a bite to eat in days.  When we were walking back to our cars, I showed Doug the zebra midge I had been fishing and it turns out it was one he tied and had given to me last year.  No surprise there.

It was an enjoyable day on the water, especially because we didn't know what to expect after the torrential rains 5 days before, and we caught fish.  After we were off the water, I spent some time talking with Doug about tackle, flies, tactics, and the way fly fishing manufacturers and retailers market and sell the gear we use. Suffice it to say, Doug truly has immersed himself in our sport and has already developed opinions on all of the former.  Some of those beliefs will change, and some won't, just like the rest of us - it is wonderful to witness the evolution of a young fly fisherman.

Sharpen your hooks.

Afterthought - How come "it is" can be expressed as it's, but "is it" can not/can't be expressed as is't?  Do not/don't you think that is/that's funny? 


Hacklebarney Jimmy said...

I hit the Passaic on Saturday night (in the rain) and had good success on dries. Where I usually concentrate on the riffles, I worked the pools heavily with a EWC which I tied with yellow yarn on the top for a better visual. I hooked three decent fish and there werent even any caddis coming off-they seemed to be taking some white midges in an 18-20 range.
The biggest thing I did this time was take my time and wait for the rises, instead of charging ahead. A rewarding experience either way.

Matt Grobert said...

Patience and presentation over pattern. Sounds like a good evening. Glad you had a good outing. Best, Matt