Sunday, May 27, 2012

North to Alaska

It's 5:45am in the Seattle airport, I've spent the past 6 hours sleeping in a chair, the sun is coming up; did I really sleep? Absolutely NOT! Im going back to Alaska how could I :). As many of you know, or if you have talked to me for more than about 5 mins, the word Alaska always comes out of my mouth. Its been 3 years since I've called Sitka Alaska my home, its steelhead season and I'm only hours away from stepping off the plane to reunite my love for that place. All my flies are tied, all my gear is packed, new camera, and new rod sit in the seat next to me, ready for their first shot at a Wild Alaskan Steelhead.

Anyway, I may have a chance to get a short preview of my trip up in the next 10 days, if not see you in 10 days!!!

Dan a good friend and pervious employee of Paul's, with a beautiful Hen caught just a couple days ago

Flying along the east coast last night 

Put my new sleeping bag to use already!

Just a small sample of my fly selection for Alaskan Steelhead... Starlight Leeches

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fishing Report - Tulpehocken Creek

This week has been very productive thus far. Caddis are all over the water from first light till dark, Sulphurs have been hatching every night around 4pm. We have also been Tricos just about every morning for the past week or so. I have not seen fish keyed in on Tricos just yet, however there were a significant number of spinners on the water this morning. I would have a few spinners in your boxes, in anticipation for the first good spinner fall that should happen very soon.

Row 1: Elk Hair Caddis, CDC Caddis, Z Wing Caddis 
Row 2: CDC Hackle Sulphur, CDC No Thorax Sulphur, Transitional Sulphur Emgerger
Row 3: CDC Trico Dun, Drowned Trico Spinner, CDC Trico Emerger

Male Trico Spinner from this morning

Aside from the Tully, I have been spending a bit of time over on the Manatawny. This is a great little stream for bug life, awesome looking water, and a few more wild fish. The Manatawny has a great Sulphur hatch, among others like Hendricksons, and Caddis. Yesterday morning I was fishing, when I started to see Sulphurs falling to the water. I had great fun for about an hour before I had to go to work. Here is one I got yesterday.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Wild Fish Have It All

This past weekend, Steve "The Mailman" Nelson and I made a trip to the West Branch. The forecast looked good, even with a bit of rain in it; rain often means BWOs and maybe a few Sulphurs. Turns out lots and lots of rain means nothing at all, we fished all day with very few bugs coming off, and even fewer fish coming up for them. Despite that we managed to get into a few fish, using tactics some would frown upon, nymphing. Hey fish gotta eat :)

A couple days before, you could find Joey and I on one of our new favorite small wild brown trout streams. We took the big camera hoping to get a few really nice shots.

Here are a bunch of photos from both trips, Enjoy:

Am I fishing, or waiting for a rise? Either way that was a comfy rock 

Joey, showing us his stealthy tactics 

Beautiful Wild brown that fell to a pheasant tail nymph 

Pheasant Tail doing work. 

Beautiful Wild Delaware brown fell to a Sulphur Emerger 

This Rainbow fell to a soft hackle Sulphur in the fast water

This fish made my trip (for those of you that don't know I have a sick obsession for wild Rainbows)

Steve "The Mailman" Nelson, working hard in the rain

This brown fell to a Sulphur Spinner with a Orange egg sack 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Leland's First Tarpon

Leland headed south to Orlando FL this week for business. What better thing to do when work is done, head to the Keys and catch one of these:

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, May 10, 2012

West Branch Weekend

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of fishing with 2 shop regulars, Bob Burnham and Rob Stillwell. We headed up first thing Sunday morning, with my boat in tow. I decided with the water flowing around 575 cfs at Hale Eddy, the best bet would be to float from there down to Balls Eddy. It was a tough day of fishing, high sun, small numbers of bugs, and not to many fish up feeding. Despite all that, the high sun got just enough caddis flying to get a few fish up. Bob and Rob both made the few shots they had count. Later in the day there was a hendrickson spinner fall that had a good number of fish up and feeding. We rowed out, just as dark rolled in.

So that night I decided sleeping in the back of my jeep would be a good idea. Fishing on Monday was very spotty, the conditions were the exact opposite as the day before; no sun, lots of wind, and some rain. That being said, there were a few caddis flying around, again just enough to get a couple fish up in a back channel. Later that night I met up with Steve, it was slow fishing and neither of us had much action until the last 2 hours of light. Around 6 everything went crazy, Hendricksons, March Browns, Sulphurs, and Caddis littered the water.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Featured Fly - Tulpehocken Creek Spent Caddis

This weeks featured fly was sent to me by a good friend, and a great fisherman Frank "Chip" Swarner. He is also an avid steelheader and ties some amazing Traditional Salmon Flies.Chip has been fishing the Tully for years, so when I asked him to do a featured fly, he said,"Caddis are starting, I have the perfect fly". He wasn't lying either, I was out the other night fishing the Water-Works, fishing going crazy, not eating anything I was giving them. I put one of Chip's Spent Caddis on, Bam fish on. They Work.

As most of you know the Caddis hatches on Tulpehocken Creek can be quite impressive and it seems like there are always some hatching from Spring into Summer.  Whether it is the Emerald Caddis that the Tully is well known for,the apple, olive, tan, yellow or the little Black Caddis', there can be many choices to make when it comes to caddis patterns.  Throw in the various life stages of the caddis flies that can be represented and there is a myriad of options and combininations which make the challenge even more interesting.

One of the stages of the Caddis flies I like to represent in the Spring time would be the Spent Caddis.  There can literally be thousands of these lifleless Caddis flies floating down the Tully's surface and in the water column as well.  That means "easy pickens" for the trout that key in on this last stage of the Caddis' life.  This would be similar to representing dead Mayflies, or Spinners as most people call them, except there are a few differences.

When dead and floating on the surface, Caddis flies are laying on their side unlike mayflies, which lie with their belly on the waters surface.  What this means is that when spent Caddis flies lay on the water, both wings are on one side of the body and the legs are on the other side.  This is very important when trying to represent this stage of the life cycle.

Over the years I've noticed that there are usually a few different sizes of spent caddis flies floating on the surface.  The larger trout seem to key in on the larger spent caddis flies since there is a little more nutritional value to them.  Size 16 is a good place to start with this pattern.

Tulpehocken Creek Spent Caddis
Hook: TMC 100 dry fly - size 16 shown
Thread: 8/0 or 70 denier - brown or tan
Body: TCO Emerald Caddis Dubbing
Ribbing: 8/0 or 70 denier - olive
Legs: 3-4 strands of antron fibers - tan
Spent Wings: Woodcock wing feather or any natural brown hen feather
Head: TCO Dubbing - tan or cinnamon

Step 1 - Clamp the hook in the vise and attach your tying thread.

Step 2 - Attach the ribbing to the far side of the shank and wrap the thread back to the rear of the hook.  I like to stop the thread right above the hook point. 

Step 3 - Tightly spin some TCO Emerald Caddis dubbing to the thread and wrap the body. Keep it nice and thin and stop well short of the eye of the hook.

Step 4 - Rib the dubbed body and tie off at the front of the body.  Trim off excess.

Step 5 - Pick out about 3 - 4 strands of antron fibers and double them over the thread as though you were tying in flashabou for a clouser minnow.  Attach the antron fibers to the near side of the hook and trim the legs to length.

Step 6 - Pick your feather of choice. A woodcock wing feather is shown for this step by step.  Strip all the of the lower fibers off the stem and trim off the tip of the feather so you are left with a "V" shape. Tie this feather in by the stem, on the far side of the hook shank, so it is laying flat and out to the side.  Trim off the excess and apply a little head cement to the tie in area.

Step 7 - Tightly spin some TCO Tan or Cinnamon dubbing to the thread and wrap the head.

Step 8 - Whip finish the thread, trim, and apply head cement.

Thanks Chip!!!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Caddis and Streamers

I have to bite my tongue the next time I tell someone streamers don't work that well in the spring. The past couple days, due to dumb luck, I've been throwing streamers every night. White woollybuggers and brown slumpbusters, size 8 and 10, maybe olive now and again. But hey if thats not your thing, its all good, caddis have been coming off in clouds. Sulphurs have started in small numbers, if you see a couple floating down, tie one on and see what happens.

Joey's awesome rainbow, fooled by a cdc caddis

Nice brown with a slumpbuster hanging 

Hey even Carp like the slumpbuster 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Exploration and Brown Trout

Last week Joey and I decided to check out a small stream outside of Reading. There were rumors that this stream was full of wild browns, not to sure if it even has a name. Anyway we showed up kinda early and got right to it, looking up stream I saw a few fish (not sure if trout or cubs at this point) rising to caddis. As we got closer, we realized rumors where true. We had a great couple hours bush whacking along the bank, stopping at every hole we came to. Small stream fishing can be tough but it can also be very rewarding. These fish seemed to really like CDC Caddis, anything that looked like a caddis pupa, and small pheasant tails.


Hot Flies: CDC Caddis, Para Adams, Pheasant Tails, Caddis Pupa, Caddis Larva