Saturday, December 31, 2011

Steelhead from Friends

A couple of my close fishing buddies sent over some pictures of there latest Steelhead Adventures.

Vince a buddy of mine spent 6 weeks out west fishing the Ron,the Snake, and the Clearwater. He picked up the 2 handed rod last winter and has not looked back. After you see a steelhead take a skating dry fly or hammer a swung wet fly; you become a completely different level of obsessed. Vince is all but that.

Here are a few pictures from Michagn's Pere Marquette. Driving 12 hours to fish is just another reason why Leeland can be put into the same category of obsessed as myself and many other East Coast Steelheaders. It also helps when you catch beautiful wild fish like these.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Feature Fly - Psycho Pince

This weeks featured fly is Mike Mercer's Psycho Prince nymph. This is a great pattern for both Great Lakes Steelhead, and trout. With all is flash it works well as a anchor fly, or just a solo nymph for picky fish. I tie this fly from size 18 up to a 10.

Psycho Prince Nymph

Hook: TMC 3761 sz. 18 – 10
Thread: Uni Thread 6/0 – Purple, Pink, Black
Bead: Cyclops Beads or Tungsten
Tail: Goose Biots – Brown
Body: Ice Dub – Purple, Pink, Peacock
Rib: Ultra Wire – sized to match hook
Back: Turkey Tail or Pheasant Tail
Legs: Goose Biots – White
Wing: Ice Dub – Yellow
Collar: Ice Dub – Contrasting color to body
Step 1: Flip hook over and slide Gold bead up to the hook eye.
Step 2: Add a small dubbing ball at the top of the hook bend. Tie in the brown goose biots in front of dubbing ball, wrapping the thread towards the ball as the biots flair out.

Step 3: Move the thread to behind the bead, Tie in the Ultra wire and turkey tail fibers. (wrap thread back to the dubbing ball and brown biot tail.
Step 4: Dub the body with ice dub, tapering a thicker body the closer you get to the bead.
Step 5: Fold the Turkey fibers over the body.
Step 6: Wrap the wire towards the bead making a rib.
Step 7: Tie in the white goose biots on either side of the fly. 
Step 8: Take a clump of Ice Dub and make a wing. Trim the fiber leaving about 1/4" for the wing.
Step 9: Dub a collar with Ice Dub - either same as body or a contrasting color. Whip Finish 

Step 10: Go Fish!!!
Here are a couple fish that fell to the Psycho!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2 Days on the Salmon

A return client of mine Dan Shaffer met me at Whitaker's, around 6:30am on Sunday. The temp gauge in my Jeep read 7 degrees when I opened the door... it was going to be a cold one. After battling frozen guides and a frozen anchor rope for several hours, a hot cup of coffee and a couple hot fish warmed us right up. The water level was up a bit and coming out of the dam at 1800cfs, so fishing was slow. At the end of day one we shook hands and parted ways (both to hot showers I'm sure).

Waking up and seeing the the temps were already in the 30s, day 2 was sure to be more enjoyable. We started the morning off on foot to try to find a couple of fish up river before we headed down in the boat. Unfrozen guides make for easy line control, so getting a good drift was a breeze. It wasn't long before Dan had his first fish on, not long after that we had another one in the net. Time to float.

We put the boat in and headed down; the water had also dropped to 1200cfs a much for manageable level. Dan ended up with 2 more fish in the net and a couple of others on. We stopped and had a nice warm bowl of soup and a hot cup of coffee to end the day.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Salmon River 12/12

Joey and I decided to head up to the Salmon River Monday to meet up with Chris from the Bryn Mawr store and his long-time fishing buddy Shane. We met at Whitaker's around 8am and headed down to the DSR (Douglaston Salmon Run), in the hopes of finding a few fresh fish.

Once geared up we headed to the river. The water was low, so fluorocarbon was a must. The river wasn't crowded and it was nice to have a long stretch of river to ourselves. Joe and Chris headed up stream while Shane and I headed down. After fishing all morning, Shane and I made our way up river to meet up with the other guys for lunch. We all managed to hook at least one fish before lunch.

After a nice lunch and a cold beer, it was back down river till the sun went down. We fished all afternoon without a bite--I spent over an hour skating flies in the slow water hoping and wishing to see just one nose come up. Then, right as the sun went below the trees, the fish got hungry and for the next hour the bite was on! We were joined by Rob from Whitaker's for the last few minutes of the day; he had to show us how it was done with a center pin rod... 5 cast and a fish!

Here are a few pictures from the trip:

HOT Flies: Sucker Spawn (Pink, Blue, Fl. Chart.), Roe Egg, Egg Stealing Sculpin, and Thumpin Jack Flash Stonefly (Fl. Chart.) 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Big Spring

I had the opportunity to check out Big Spring for the first time on Sunday. It has to be one of my new favorite streams in PA.

If you have never been I would recommend checking it out.

Here are a few photos from the stream.

Hot Patterns: Sculpin Streamers, Sugar Shot, San Juan Worm, Zebra Midge

Monday, December 5, 2011


High water has plagued us all season, many times keeping us from fishing our favorite waters for weeks. Often times we find ourselves fishing smaller water or tributaries that feed our desired rivers or streams. Many times these tributaries or “Tribs” can hold surprises under small cut banks or in seams we have so many times overlooked. I found myself becoming more and more familiar with a few local tribs as the season passed by. One in particular has a history of healthy wild fish mixed in with stocked fish from the main river; wishful thinking seems to blind an angler when such stories are floating about. Every fish landed you think to yourself “this one is wild for sure” or “I don’t know it looks wild to me” more times than not it is just a healthy stocked fish, but there is always that chance.
Wild fish have distinctive marking and many times fight much harder than their stocked neighbors. Many times you can tell a wild brown trout from a stocked one by a blue or black spot on the gill plate. Wild browns become very colorful and get almost a red belly during the fall due to natural spawning instincts. Rainbows can be a little harder to tell apart, many wild fish carry parr marks for several years. Color and fin shape can also be distinct signs of both rainbows and brown stocked fish. Nevertheless the fish are all beautiful and the cold, food filled streams keep the fish strong and worthy of the time one spends chasing them.

With the Tully running high and muddy, I decided to head to a smaller stream and see what I could learn today. Here is a sample and one reason why I love to fish.