Sunday, June 21, 2015

Rainbows On the South Branch

Late in the afternoon Friday my son Matt called me at the office to see if I would meet him on the river after work to fish that evening. It had been a warm day and I said yes, but we would need to check the water temperature first. Since I live only a few miles from the river, I told him I would go home, grab my gear and go down to the river and check the water temperature and call him before he made the half hour drive from his home.  

When I got to the river an hour or so later, I was hopeful the water temperature would be safe for catch and release fishing as the level was up some from recent rains and it was cool the evening before.  We were in luck, the water was 66-67 degrees F, so I called Matt and told him where to meet me.   While I waited for him, checked out a few spots along the river and was surprised to see only a handful of anglers with the weather being so nice.  It was warm, with hazy clouds dimming the sunlight, and the air was calm.

When Matt arrived I told him to leave his waders in the car, we were going to wet wade.  After getting ourselves ready we walked to the river and slowly waded in spreading out a comfortable distance, but not too far apart in case he need some help.  The last few years he has been concentrating on college, and now that he's graduated he's getting back into fly fishing, requiring some refreshing on knots and fly selection.

The only flies we saw were clusters of tan/ginger caddis fluttering over the water surface, and an occasional golden or brown stonefly adult.  Fish rose sporadically along the opposite bank and in the deeper runs and pockets.  Fortunately, this is one of the easier late spring/summer situations to figure out most nights - the clusters of fluttering, light colored caddis in the air over the water, with no adults on the water surface, and fish rising = speckled caddis (hydropsyche) emergence.  In this situation I have found that a size #14-16 tan Iris caddis works wonderfully, so I tied one on.  Matt tied on a tan caribou caddis, and we both began waiting for rises and casting to those targets.

We fished until dusk turned to dark, and we could no longer see our flies on the water.  We had a good evening, having caught a number of nice fish, some in the 8-10 inch range, and few 12-14 inch fish. I caught all of mine on the Iris caddis, and Matt got his on the caribou caddis, and later on the Iris caddis as well.  He also had few long distance releases, the result of being a little rusty after a few years off.  The bottom line, he is doing things right and hooking fish after a long hiatus from the sport. After we packed up I took him to dinner at a local Italian eatery, where we had a good meal and a couple of beers, while we talked about the fishing and other important what was happening in other sports.

Sharpen your hooks!  And take your kids fishing, it's great fun

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Mayfly Swarms Close PA Bridge

A massive mayfly hatch on the Susquehanna River near Lancaster, PA, led to the closing of the Route 462 bridge Saturday night after they caused several motorcycle crashes.  Now that is a hatch!

LINK:Swarming Mayflies Close PA Bridge  

Hope everyone  is alright.

Thursday, June 11, 2015


Things have been a little crazy lately, which has put a bit of a cramp in my posting here, yet we keep plugging along boosted by all the good stuff in life.  My kids being the primary source of that positive energy.  I took this photo of my daughter and Henley, my grandson, at my son Matt's graduation a few weeks ago.  There is something about it that brings a big smile to my face whenever I look at it, so I thought I would share it with you all.

There is beauty all around us, most often in the things that are connected to us.

A sharp hook is important, too.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Beaverkill River - Lots of Bugs, Not So Many Trout

This past weekend my son Matt and I joined Vinnie and Paul up on the Beaverkill.  We had high hopes when we drove up Saturday morning as Matt hasn't been up to the cabin in 5 years, and the fishing has been good in recent weeks. When we left the house, it was cloudy after morning showers, which added to our optimism.  The bugs and the trout tend to be very photosensitive and usually cloud cover can bring the bugs out and the trout to the surface to feed on them.  But alas, by the time we arrived in Roscoe, the sun was out in full force.  Not to worry, it was a beautiful day with a light breeze, the river was in great condition, and the four of us were just happy to be hanging out at the house.

We decided to get a few things done and fish later in the day when the sun would be less intense and we hoped a good evening hatch would ensue.  We cracked a few beers, the three of them went out to mow the grass, trim and do some general landscaping, while I sat and tied flies to music at full volume to drown out the power tools  - all the windows were open.  That's how is usually goes, I get to tie the flies we'll use in the evening while the others do a little sweating.  It's a division of labor that no one seems to have an issue with.  While they were working outside, they found this little guy in the bushes next to the house.

Around the time most folks are just sitting down for dinner, we headed out to fish the lower Beaverkill.  When we got there we were encouraged by the cool air and lack of any breeze.  The river was beautiful - clear, a little low and it just felt right.  The river here is lined with hardwood trees that rise up the steep river banks in a thick, fresh green canopy that hides the thick-barked trunks that lie within.   There were a few insects in the air, mostly caddis and an occasional mayfly, but rising trout were scarce and those we did see rose once and then were done.  Here's Matt working on the one trout we found rising regularly, and well upstream is Paul (the little white figure practicing his casting).

As the sun fell from the sky towards the horizon, the number of insects hatching increased yet much to our dismay very few trout rose to take them.  There were large and small Sulphur duns and spinners, Grey Fox, Slate Drake duns and spinners, Cream Variants, and at least three different species of caddis - speckled, grey and little black.  None of the aforementioned were hatching in large numbers, but there were enough that we thought for sure that by dusk there would be plenty of trout rising to them.  It never happened.  Matt caught a smallmouth bass, and as we were walking up the river bank to call it a night, I saw a trout rise in a seam, I cast to it, and it took my caddis imitation. That was the one and only trout we caught. 

After a steak dinner at the Riverside Inn, we headed back to the cabin, made a good sized fire in the fire pit.  A little whiskey was poured, a few beers were had, and we sat around the roaring fire until 3:00AM talking, laughing, telling fishing lies, and listening to music.  

Sharpen your hooks.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Tying the March Brown (Deer Hair) Emerger

Here's a simple but very effective trout pattern I have been fishing for many years to imitate the larger mayflies that emerge in late May through July.  It's comprised of three materials, and by changing them up in different colors and sizes, you can imitate a number of mayflies with ease.  The pattern floats well and is effective on both fast and slow waters, which is a plus, too.  Thanks again to Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions for another excellent job in producing the video.

Hook: TMC R200 #10
Thread: 6/0 Danville Orange
Trailing Shuck: Mayfly brown micro zelon
Body: Fawn rabbit
Wing: Deer body hair

Sharpen your hooks.