Friday, April 8, 2022

Fishing This Weekend? Nope

I was hoping to post about New Jersey opening day tomorrow and the likelihood that the hendricksons would be popping, but the rivers and streams are flooded today.  It rained like crazy yesterday and last night, some rivers even hit flood stage here in the Northeast.  It looks like most will be too high to fish, and some may come down enough to fish but may be chocolate milk.  Get your weighted streamers out if you go. 

I had high hopes before last night that we would see bugs this weekend since the daffodils bloomed last week and the forsythia are in full bloom here in New Jersey.  Maybe Sunday things will settle enough, otherwise, barring any more rain, early next week should be good if you can get out. 

The wild trout streams and tributaries may be down enough to fish, so all is not lost.  Sometimes the smaller creeks and streams fish well after a good rain. 

Sharpen your hooks!

Monday, March 21, 2022

The Last Day of Winter...

..felt like the first day of spring and fished like it was the middle of April.

I got on the water about mid afternoon on Saturday.   It was warm and breezy with passing clouds randomly muting the bright sun.  The river water was chilly and clear as gin, and best of all, there wasn't another angler anywhere in sight. I had just cleaned my fly line and tied a new leader on the end of the heavy butt.  While I added tippet to the end of the leader, I noticed quite a few small tan caddis in the air along with a few little black stoneflies. Standing at the head of the pool in ankle deep water, I scanned the water surface for bugs and rising fish.

Sure enough, a fish rose in a slick between two fast currents about 25 feet directly across from me.  A half a minute later a tan caddis floated right through the same slick and was quickly taken by the trout.  I picked out a tan, size 16 caribou caddis from my dry fly box and tied it on the end of my tippet.  Stepping out from a bank a little so I had a sidearm back cast,  I worked some line out until I felt I had the right amount of fly line and tippet to make a reach cast to the head of the slick above where the fish had taken the caddis and then dropped the fly on my forward cast.  The fly landed a little short of the target.  Once the fly was well out of the target area I lifted and made a couple of quick false casts, adjusting my line length using the first cast as my scale, and dropped the fly in the slick about a foot above the target.

The fish took the fly as though it was just another natural.  I lifted the rod tip, set the hook, and the fish cleared the water before taking off downstream.  My drag was too loose! I quickly tightened the drag just enough to slow the fish down and get control and after a brief battle I netted a nice 12-13 inch rainbow.  I said hello, removed the fly from its jaw, and lowered the trout back into the water with it facing into the current where it swam out and away, disappearing into the dark depths of the center of the river.

Over the next hour or so I took a few more rainbows on that same tan caribou caddis dry.  It was a good match for the naturals that were in the air and getting blown onto the water by the on-and-off breeze.  For you bug nerds, the naturals were tan short horned sedges, Glossosoma sp. They are one of the first caddisflies to hatch in the Northeast, typically just before the hendricksons start to show.  And yes, they are starting much earlier than usual.

Having worked about halfway down the pool by this time, I stepped up on the bank above the water, leaned against a tree and thought about nothing....I didn't think, which is what happens when your time on the water melts away all the bullshit that goes on when you're not fishing.  This doesn't happen every time I fish, it's rare. Usually, my mind winds up some where between the bullshit and days like this, which I'll take any time.  

Then it happened.  A nice fish rose a few feet from the bank 30 feet above me in the slow, shallow water that was maybe a foot deep.  I took slow steps down in the water in front of me.  The fish rose again in the same spot.  I moved out enough, maybe knee deep, to get a back cast and began working line out while false casting.  The fish rose again as I got into position, giving me a clear target with which to place my fly.  I dropped my fly a couple of feet above the fading rings of the rise, it drifted about a foot before the trout took it in a whisper of a sip.

Little sip by a decent fish.  I set by just tightening my line and was quickly into a fish that went straight to the center of the river.  After some head shaking, deep dives and back and forth short runs, I netted a nice 16 inch brown.

I removed the hook from its jaw, took a quick picture, and then tipped my net into the water and watched it swim away slowly into the cold, clear current it came from.  Then on that high note, I stepped out of the river and headed back to my car.

The forsythia in my area are in bloom, so expect to see hendricksons hatching before too long.  

Sharpen your hooks.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

The Times They are a Changing

In the last few days I have been told by reliable sources that hendricksons are already hatching on some Pennsylvania limestone spring creeks.  I have even been sent pictures of the bugs, which are in fact, hendricksons.  Both male and female, and in one report trout rose to take them off the surface for a brief period of time.

Now I know that the spring creeks tend to have a more stable temperature range, but in 50+ years of fly fishing I have never seen a hendrickson in mid-March...ever, and I fish a lot.  I have seen a stray here and there in late March, but just one, and I imagined it was doing it's best imitation of an olive or a quill gordon. 

This is a male hendrickson (Red Quill) - 3 tails, dark smoky wings and big rusty eyes, size 14.  The females are one size larger, tannish pink underbelly (dorsal side is darker and often has some olive coloration), and small dark eyes. 

What does this mean for our freestone streams?  Only time will tell, but just in case I'll be sure to have my hendrickson imitations when I'm on the water in the next few weeks.

I'll be on the water a couple of times in the next few days and report back what I see.  I'm hoping to only see olives and maybe some midges, but we're living in weird times so I guess anything is possible.

Sharpen your hooks.

Friday, March 11, 2022

Weather or Not...To Fish

The last few weekend either I've been busy or the weather hasn't been conducive to fishing.  So of course, with this weekend being open for me, it looks like the weather is going to stop that notion in its tracks.

The long term forecast does looks better for next week.  In New Jersey, the little black stoneflies have been hatching well and should continue through the next couple of weeks.  Fishing a black pheasant tail nymph or small black stone, size #12-16, is a good bet right now.  And if you get lucky while on the water, you may even see the adults skittering along the surface and a trout or two rising recklessly to grab them for a quick meal.

The little blue-winged olives have been making an almost daily appearance on may streams in recent weeks and should continue to do so for a few weeks to come.   As usual, the hatches vary from day to day in intensity with the trout following suit.  And then there will be days when the hatch is good but the trout are practicing keeping their mouths shut while hanging close to the bottom out of sight.  So goes fishing.

Blue-winged Olive Parachute

Blue-winged Olive Spinners

Black Soft-hackle Pheasant Tail Nymph - my go-to for the Little Black Stonefly Nymphs

Micah's Twisted Black Stonefly Dry

Sharpen your hooks!

Saturday, February 26, 2022

The Fly Fishing Show - Lancaster, PA

Yes, I'm still here and I am intending to get back to posting regularly! 

The fly fishing show is this coming to Lancaster, PA next weekend - March 5 & 6 - at the Lancaster Marriott in Lancaster, PA.  I'll be there both days tying flies and doing presentations.  Show Hours are: Saturday 9:00am – 5:30pm and Sunday 9am – 4:30pm.

Here's my schedule for the weekend:

Saturday Seminar - 10:30 AM - Simple Flies for Selective Trout – Easy to tie hatch matching patterns that employ minimal materials and how to fish them.  

Sunday - Featured Fly Tyer - 10:00 AM - Tying Mayfly Emergers. I'll be demonstrating how I tie a few very effective mayfly emerger patterns.  

Sunday Seminar - 3:00 PM – Northeastern Hatches & Their Imitations - An overview of the most common Eastern hatches, their imitations and how to fish the. 

I'll be tying flies the rest of the weekend on the show floor.

For all the details, click here: The Fly Fishing Show Lancaster, PA

Hope to see you there.

Sharpen your hooks!

Sunday, March 21, 2021

A New Season Is Upon Us

It's that time of the year when the days get longer, the sun higher and the aquatic insects start to stir in earnest.  The Little Black Stoneflies have been hatching in recent weeks and now that we are well into March they are active just about every day.  The Chimarra caddis larva are also present in the water, and of course, the Blue-winged Olives are hatching just about every day, somedays better than others as is typical.  We are also fortunate to have good water levels thanks to decent snowfall totals here in the Northeast.

Yesterday we fished for a while on the South Branch of the Raritan River and did well with stocked rainbows.  Nothing huge, but some respectable fish, all of them taken on size #18 Zebra midge.  I fished two flies, no added weight, up and across drifts with all the takes right down on the bottom.  There were lots of midges in the air and the Little Black Stoneflies pulsed as they usually do - they showed for five minutes or so and then disappeared for a while before a bunch would again be over the water.  Nothing rose the whole time I was on the water, maybe it was a little too cold or the fish just weren't interested in looking up.        

In the March issue of the Riversage Journal, we featured an article and a video on the Little Black Stoneflies (LBS).  We have posted here in past years how effective a floating adult pattern can be on windy days when the hatching LBS adults get blown onto the water surface as they struggle to get air born, and how during the egg-laying activity of the the LBS the females skitter along the water surface using the surface tension to pull the egg sac off the end of their abdomen.  A high floating, hackled fly can be just the ticket to take the trout that chase these moving morsels.  

In 2013 our friend Micah Dammeyer aka Knee Deep Fly Fishing, designed a great pattern for imitating the Little Black Stonefly adults that has replaced our past designs for this hatch.  It is fairly easy to tie and uses readily available materials. Here's a video we made on how to tie Micah's Twisted Stonefly pattern.  

When the trout are feeding on the Little Black Stonefly adults it will be quite apparent as the rises are typically aggressive as the fish chase the clumsy fliers as they skitter along the water surface. I fish this pattern on a 9-foot or longer leader tapered to 4X.  You can use a lighter tipper, but be forewarned, you may break fish off on the take as you skitter the fly on a taught leader. If an active fly doesn't draw strikes, try dead-drifting the fly over the rising - you may have to go down to 5X for this if you get no response.  As with any day on the water the fish often will determine the method of your presentation.

If you go out in the next couple of weeks be sure to carry some Blue-winged Olive dries in sizes #18-22, Chimarra Caddis larva in size #18, and Micah's Twisted Stone or in a pinch, a gray elk hair caddis in sizes #12-14.

I'm going to fish again today, it's a beautiful day and the temps are expected to reach the low 60's.  Around my home the daffodils are pushing up through the decaying leaves and when I went out on the deck this morning songbirds filled the air with music of hope and better days to come. Spring is surely on the way.

Sharpen your hooks!

Friday, January 15, 2021

Riversage Journal - Winter 2021

The Winter 2021 Riversage Journal is now available on line. This month our contribution is "Quiet Water, Winter Fly Fishing for Trout" and a video on tying my version of a simple scud. In addition, there are a bunch of other great articles on fly fishing, birds dogs and wing shooting. Click on the photo below to open this latest issue.  

Sharpen your hooks!

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

New Jersey Christmas Stocking

From Jim Holland - Shannon's Fly Shop in Califon New Jersey:

On Wednesday, December 16th Shannon's partnered with four local Trout Unlimited chapters, Hacklebarney, Central Jersey, Fred Burroughs and Ridge and Valley to stock 350 Rainbow Trout between 12-20 inches at the Point Mountain TCA. These additional trout should help to improve what has other wise been a slow fishery due to a lack luster fall stocking in part created by limitations of how fish were stocked in the fall due to COVID restrictions. Normally an off road vehicle is used to spread the fish out but this was not possible this fall. Please support these local chapters by joining TU and by visiting their respective websites.  Here's a video of that stocking produced by Tim Flagler - Tightline Productions.

On Friday December 18th, (my father's birthday) we brought the Bubba Contest back to the South Branch for 2020. The contest is named for two very large trout each adorned with numbered jaw tags. Land and remove the jaw tag with hemostats then bring video or photo proof of a successful release to the shop and win a new Grey's FR80 Streamflex rod and a Hardy Ultralite Disc reel. We stocked over 500 fish ranging in size from 11-21 inches including Rainbow, Brown, Tiger and Golden Trout. We hope that the majority of you will practice catch and release. Here's a video of that stocking produced by Tim Flagler - Tightline Productions.

Jim closes with the following: 
For fly selection, remember that the water is cold and most prey items for trout this time of year are small. We have an excellent supply of Tungsten Jig Frenchies and Hare's Ear nymphs right now. Smaller #16-18 Beadhead Flashback Pheasant Tails have also been popular. I would trail a RS2, WD40 egg pattern or scud behind it. Keep those flies small; #18-22 have been the most effective. The Gorge and the Pequest were both fishing well and should continue throughout the winter months. Fish slow and deep and that goes for streamers too. Midges are also popular and we have a nice variety of colors, styles and sizes.

I would add that I have been doing well fishing #18-22 black Zebra Midges and small beadhead Soft-hackle Pheasant Tail nymphs.  A black Woolley Bugger fished slow and deep has also taken a fair share of fish for me lately.

Many thanks to Jim Holland and Shannon's Fly Shop, the Volunteers who stocked, The Musky Trout Hatchery, and Tim for the great video.  Get out and fish.

Sharpen your hooks!

Thursday, October 22, 2020

A Long Dry Spell

It's been a year of less blogging and less fishing thanks to Covid, low water locally and having to be very close to home due to a family health issue that has now been resolved.  With Autumn in full swing, I did manage to get out on the river last week late in the day, and despite the low, clear water conditions managed to pick up a few fish.  

It was a warm, windless day and early enough in the season that most of the dying leaves were still clinging to the tree branches.  As is typical in the fall months here in the East, I saw many different insects over and on the water but only random, inconsistent rises.  There were light cahill spinners, blue-winged olives, micro caddis, slate drakes and squadrons of dot wing sedges flying upstream over the river. 

Since I really didn't have any targets, and it was clear the dot winged sedges had been hatching well in resent days, I tied on a size 16 brown and yellow LaFontaine sparkle pupa.  It took me a bit to get adjusted to the river flow and how much weight I needed, but after a short time my instincts took over and I hooked and landed a nice rainbow in a narrow, fast run behind a couple of large rocks.

It has been four months without fishing in NJ - this was the longest period in over 40 years that I did not fish local waters.  And in that period I only fished a handful of times in PA and NY.  I tied a lot of flies though, and while tying I do fish in my head.

We are in need of some serious rain though, as you can see by the photo above, the streams are low and clear with reduced flows.

Sharpen your hooks.      

Friday, September 4, 2020

September 2020 Riversage Journal

The September 2020 Riversage Journal is now available on line.  This month our contribution is "Olives and Ants".  In addition, there are a bunch of other great articles on fly fishing, birds dogs and wing shooting.   This month's giveaway is "A Hunter's Fireside Book, Tales of Dogs, Ducks, Birds & Guns" by Gene Hill. Click on the photo below to be directed to the site. 

Sharpen your hooks.

Monday, August 17, 2020

August 2020 Riversage Journal

Hi folks, hope you all are doing well in these trying times.  We've not been fishing much recently due to the low water levels and warm river temperatures in the region, and also because we aren't traveling. Even most of the Catskill rivers have been low and warm so we haven't been going up there. Most years we would be returning from Montana around this time, but that didn't happen this year for the first time in decades.  We have been tying everyday and writing, and I've been very busy at work fortunately.   

This month's issue of the Riversage Journal is out.  Lots of interesting articles on wing shooting and fly fishing in this one.  My contribution is a piece on what flies I carry during the summer months besides terrestrials to cover the more common hatches in the U.S.   And there's a tying video I did on tying a biot body rusty spinner that's from a live Instagram session from a couple of months ago that we did for a Trout Unlimited chapter.  Click on the logo below to read the Journal. 

Sharpen your hooks.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Riversage Journal

We recently teamed up with Ray Miller and a bunch of other highly talented wingshooting and fly fishing folks on Ray's most recent project, the Riversage Journal.  The Journal is a monthly EZine and can be viewed by clicking on their home page below.   

My contribution this month is a piece on the Rusty Spinner.  Please take some time to check it out and feel free to provide feedback here or directly to Ray at the link on the website.  We welcome your feedback.

On another note, our absence in recent weeks is a result of not only the current situation with the pandemic, but we also lost our mom to the virus a couple of months ago.  She was 92, raised 8 children yet always found the time to take me fishing or get fly fishing or tying supplies when I was a youngster. She lives on in me and the rivers I fish.

Sharpen your hooks.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Live Tying Session Tonight at 6:30 PM

If you have the time tonight I'll be doing a live tying podcast on Instagram on the @Jerseyshoretu sponsored site.   We'll be tying two very important May fly patterns - a Rusty Spinner and a Sulphur Usual.  Both patterns utilize snowshoe rabbit foot hair for the wings.  Just go to Instagram and log into the @Jerseyshoetu live broadcast and join us.  I'll be tying and answering questions as well as demonstrating what I have found are the most efficient techniques for tying these two patterns.   

Sharpen your hooks.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Give Your Local Fly Shop Some Love

The Hendrickson hatch is peaking here in New Jersey, and that's making a lot of anglers happy to be on the water.  That said, our mom and pop fly fishing shops should also be at peak sales with the fly fishing season coming into the height of the season from now through June.  Unfortunately, with the necessary statewide stay-at-home order and restrictions on non-essential businesses, the fly shops cannot allow walk in traffic.  Owning and running a successful fly shop, being that it caters to only a limited part of the general population, is not easy in normal times.  With the current situation, it is substantially more difficult. 

So please, if you need any fly fishing supplies or equipment, whether you are in New Jersey or elsewhere, call your local fly shop and buy from them.  Most have curbside pick-up and free shipping.  Because the shops are local, the time for shipping is minimal, and you will be making a difference in lives of folks that love our sport and who will be here after this is all over so we can have a place to go inspect the latest equipment, take tying lessons, shoot the shit, learn new techniques and get the latest information on whats hatching on your favorite stream.

Here's a list of New Jersey fly shops in alphabetical order and their contact info:

Shannon's Fly Shop - Califon, NJ 908-832-5736

Streams of Dreams Fly Shop - Upper Saddle River, NJ  201-934-1138 

Tight Lines Fly Fishing - Parsippany, NJ 973-244-5990

Whitewater Flies - Lafayette, NJ 973-229-0424

Be safe, patronize your local fly shop, and sharpen your hooks.

P.S. - It's physical distancing. : )

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

A Short, Successful Outing - More Hendrickons

Last Thursday I grabbed an hour on the stream after work and managed to hit the tail end of the hendrickson hatch that day.   When I got to the river in the late afternoon there were just enough of the mayflies hatching to keep a few trout feeding in the run I chose to fish.  The air was cool, and the breeze kept it that way on my face despite the bright sun.  The water was crystal clear and 50F on the nose.  Some little black stoneflies came and went, and early smokey-winged sedges were everywhere but on the water surface.

With only a few fish rising steadily, I quickly tied on about 3 feet of  fresh 5X tippet to the end of my leader and to the end of that, a size #12 Catskill style hendrickson.  I then picked the first fish I saw rising at the lower end of the pool.  It was holding just below the surface in a wrinkle just below a submerged boulder where it could just tip its nose up and sip in each freshly hatched mayfly in its path that didn't get off the water quickly enough.  Fishing from below the working fish I dropped my fly just above where the boulder sat.  The bumpy current pushed and bobbed the fly as it floated over the rock and the first few drifts went unmolested.

After a few minutes I changed position and moved up to a point where I was across from and just above the rising fish.  I hoped that I could drop the fly above the rock with a reach cast and feed to the fly down to the target and mend my line as needed to get a good drift.  My second cast landed just as I had wanted it to, with the fly first followed by tippet, leader and line.  Sure enough, just as the fly passed the rock and entered the chop the fish eased up and sipped in the fly.  After a brief battle, I brought a nice brown to net.

And that was it.  I watched and scanned the water but in the short time I worked that fish, the others stopped rising and the hendricksons all but disappeared.  The early smokey-winged sedges still filled the air but again stayed off the water.  I also saw a few little black stoneflies skitter along the water, but nothing chased them.  I walked up the stream a ways to check out other runs, but they were also void of working fish.  I stuck around for a bit enjoying the solitude and hoping for a stray rising fish  but to no avail. That's fishing.

The early smokey-winged sedges (Apatania sp.) are very abundant this year in the South Branch, their mineral cases lining the rocks in the calmer sections of pools where they pupate and hatch.   Apatania sp.  The ones I saw must have hatched earlier in the day and were just flitting around enjoying the sunset by the time I arrived.  I recommend that if you do get out to fish the South Branch in the next week or so, be sure to have some size #16-18 dark caddis imitations so you're ready in the event you catch the hatch.

Apatania sp. mineral cases - be careful wading to avoid crushing them.

Early smokey-winged sedge. Note that the body is about a size 20, and the wings are about 2X that. I tie them on an 18 and make the body short on the hook and the wings extending past the bend a bit. 

Sharpen your hooks and be safe out there.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Little Black Stone Flies and...Hendricksons

This past Saturday I fished the South Branch of the Raritan River for a couple of hours in the afternoon and had a great time fishing dry flies.   The river was a little low and clear as gin, the air was maybe 50F with a bright sun moving in and out of the clouds passing overhead.  When I got there I was expecting ot see the black stoneflies on the water, but I wasn't expecting to see Hendricksons hatching so early in the season.  Not a ton, but enough that the trout were focused on eating them over the more adundant stoneflies.

Of course, I didn't notice the Hendricksons at first, as there were plenty of stonesflies in the air and on the water and so that's what I initially set out to imitate with a #14 dark gray caribou caddis.  I dropped the fly over rising trout only to have them ignore it time after time.  My presentations didn't put the fish down, I thought I was getting a good drift, but the trout were having none of it and kept rising like I wasn't even there.  So I stopped casting and got down low to reduce the glare coming off the water,  and looked across the surface and saw a mayfly.  I watched it drift along and sure enough a trout went out of its way to take it.  I watched some more and much to my surprise I saw more of what turned out to be hendricksons, mostly red quills (males) but also a few of the larger hendricksons (females).  So as not to disturb the good water, I waded downstream to a shallow run and stepped out into the current to grab one of the insects to positively identify it.  Yep, a red quill!  About 2 weeks earlier than we normally see them in this region of the Northeast.

(Red Quill)
I did not expect this at all; 50 years of trout fishing in New Jersey and I had never seen hendricksons hatching this early in the year.  I have seen a random one here and there in late March over the years, but not enough to bring up fish.  I also saw a single quill gordon, large and looking much like the female hendrickson, but a lighter body and only two tails.  Hendricksons have three tails.

Once I got back to the run where fish were rising to the duns, I tied a size #12 Catskill hendrickson to the end of a new, 3 foot long, piece of 5X tippet.  I waited and watched until I saw a consistently rising fish and then with a quick cast I dropped my fly a couple of feet about the working fish.  The fly dragged before it got to the target so I picked it up and made another cast, this time a strong reach cast, and that did it.  The fly drifted right over the fish and it took it like candy.  I brief fight ensued before I netted a nice rainbow. 

A number of fish were working the run I was fishing, and a few casts later I hooked and landed another rainbow.  The hatch pulsed as it usually does, with brief periods of flies coming off the water and fish taking them followed by a 5 to 10 minute period with few bugs and the fish presumably resting on the bottom waiting for another pulse.  I wound up taking a bunch of cookie cutter rainbows and a nice brown trout.

And here's the one fly that did the trick.  I took this one in the sun where it appears very light, but it isn't, as you can see in the second photo.  The hackle and tail is from a rusty dun neck from Sidlinghill Hackle and the body is a mix of tan, pink and gray rabbit fur.  When I have a good day with a fly, I cut if off and save it leaving some of the tippet so I have a momento from a good day on the water.     

It looks like the hendrickson hatch is likely going to peak quite a bit early this year, perhaps before opening day in New Jersey.  So if you go out you will have to fish special regulation waters which there are only a limited amount of; don't expect to  be alone on the water.

Sharpen your hooks and give each other plenty of room on the's just fishing.      

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Blue-winged Olives, Stoneflies and Rising Trout

Last weekend, 3/14 & 3/15, we managed to fish both days.  Saturday in Pennsylvania with a couple of friends, and that Sunday by myself on the South Branch of the Raritan River.  

Both days were typical late winter early spring days; cool, breezy and a mix of bright sun and clouds.  The river on Saturday was crystal clear and slightly lower than normal.  Blue-winged olives hatched in pulses, and tiny midges danced in the air and in the leeward sides of rocks and trees.  Trout rose in  tempo with the insect activity, and after carefullt watching the rises it was apparent that some of the trout were taking the olives, and others were gently sipping in the tiny midges.  The olives were a size 18, and the midges were generously 1/8 inch in length with slender black bodies and clear wisps of wings. It always amazes me that these minute insects have all the parts necessary to create energy to move their legs and also their wings to fly.

As I usually do, I wandered off upstream from the others and found one of my favorite runs with rising fish and free of anglers.  As we had seen in the runs downstream, some of the fish rose to the olives, and others sipped in the midges leaving only a couple of subtle rings as evidence.  Took a few small wild browns on a size #20 simple snowshoe emerger before the rise tailed off and the sun went below the hills.

On that Sunday I fished close to home, and while the PA stream was a limestone creek, the South Branch is a freestone stream that has an abundance of stoneflies along with mayflies and caddisflies.  I got to the stream mid afternoon, and initially I didn't see many insects in the air or on the water.  So I started out throwing a black woolley bugger at the opposite bank and stripping it back through likely holding water.  I got a few chases and bumps but no hook ups.

Around four o'clock the sun had come out in full force and with that the little black stoneflies appeared.  The females skittered and dropped down to the water to lay their and the trout began to chase them on top.  The breeze helped out to by knocking the clumsy fliers onto the water surface where many struggled before being eaten.  I put on a #14 dark gray caribou caddis and using my 10' 3wt rod and a long leader of 10 feet, I skittered the fly where trout were taking the naturals.  I think it took two casts before I took a stocked holdover rainbow of about 12 inches.

By the time I had to get off the water, I had caught a bunch of stocked rainbows, and one brown of about 10-11 inches, all on this one fly.

Sharpen your hooks and keep your distance.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

The Fly Fishing Show - Lancaster, PA - This Saturday & Sunday

The fly fishing show is this coming to Lancaster, PA this weekend - March 7 & 8 - at the Lancaster Marriott in Lancaster, PA.  I'll be there both days tying flies and doing presentations.  Show Hours are: Saturday 9:00am – 5:30pm and Sunday 9am – 4:30pm.

Here's my schedule for the weekend:

Saturday Seminar Catch Room - 1:00 PM - Tying and Matching Northeastern Hatches – Common Eastern Hatches & Their Imitations.

Sunday Seminar Release Room - 3:00 PM – Presentation - Follow Your Leader.  Techniques on presenting dry flies and emergers on trout streams.

Sunday - Featured Fly Tyer - 10:00AM - Tying simple flies for sophisticated trout.  

I'll be tying flies the rest of the weekend on the show floor.

For all the details, click here: The Fly Fishing Show Lancaster, PA

Hope to see you there.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

International Fly Tying Symposium 2019

The International Fly Tying Symposium will take place next weekend November 23 & 24 at the Parsippany, NJ Sheraton Hotel.  I'll be there all weekend as will my son, Hunt, tying some of our favorite trout flies.  I'll also be presenting a seminar on Sunday morning at 10:00AM - "Effective Flies for Northeastern Hatches.  

As usual there will be many other seminars and fly tying classes, and of course, dozens of very talented fly tyers showing their tying skills and sharing techniques and tips on tying trout flies, salmon flies, bass and panfish flies and  saltwater flies.  For more information, hours and details of seminars and classes, click here: International Fly Tying Symposium 2019

On fishing, we have been getting out and doing quite well mostly catching stocked rainbows with a few browns mixed in.  Not much surface action lastely, so we have been going deep with nymphs.  The hottest patterns have been $3 Dips, Galloup's BWO nymph and Walt's Worm.

Hope to see you at the Fly Tying Symposium.

Sharpen your hooks and stay warm out there!    

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Tying A Conehead Bunny Leach

When we get some water in our rivers and streams, the Conehead Bunny Leach will get down to the fish holding near bottom looking for a hearty Autumn meal. As Tim says here, it's easy to tie and has lots of action in the water.  Tie some up in the olive shown here, black, brown and even white.  Be sure to tie some smaller ones like this size #8, and also in larger sizes.  I like patterns like this that have some weight as I can feel what they are doing on the end of my line as I retrieve them.

Sharpen your hooks!