Thursday, December 31, 2015

Good Bye 2015, Hello 2016

Here is my annual good bye to the past year. It was a great year; I got married, had the privilege of getting a fly excepted by Orvis, caught my first Tarpon, and got offered to work at the new TCO location in Boiling Springs. It was also a great year for fishing. I did not do as much traveling as I have done in the past, but I did manage to fish Michigan, and Belize for the first time. I have to thank Doug our resident Orvis Rep / friend, and Elizabeth my wonderful wife for those opportunities. Here are some of my favorite memories from 2015.

Guide trip with Drew and Linda, one of my favorite smallmouth of the year.
Big Spring Rainbow trout in the snow.
Central PA bass float with good friends!
Tarpon from a golf cart on my Honeymoon.
Elizabeth with her first Bonefish!
Lake Ontario Atlantic Salmon. 
High water smallmouth in July. 
Just over 20" smallmouth from Michigan with Mike Schultz.
Beautiful Brook trout from a Spring Creek.
Spring time smallmouth Float.
Rainbow right before a huge snow storm.
Small stream Rainbow trout.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Small Stream Set Ups

I have found myself enjoying small stream fishing more this year. Whether its a stream full of wild brook trout that top out at eight inches, or a small spring creek that might have a 24 inch rainbow lurking under its banks, I love them all. Over the past couple years I have spent a lot of time fishing different types of small stream rods, most of which were 3wts. In this post I am going to give you a brief review of six different rods that I have fished.

1. Scott G2 883-4

Its been a while since I fished this rod, but I can still remember how much fun it was to fish. A perfect small stream dry fly rod. I would say that its only fault is that its not a very good nymphing rod. It is a very soft rod, that will lay a dry fly down anywhere you direct it.

2. Scott A4 803-4

Most of our client rods are A4s, and I have not had a single person speak poorly about them. A couple of my buddies bought this rod specifically for small stream situations, and love them. It is a little on the fast side, so you can nymph and toss streamers well with it. But its a 3wt, so by nature it will still present a dry fly with precision.

3. Winston BIIIX 863-4

This one is new to me, but talking to a couple of the guys at the shop, I can say its a great small to medium stream rod. It has a nice backbone to be accurate at distance, with great line pick up. Steve from Bryn Mawr loves his, and said to me the other day "its a perfect rod for PA Spring Creeks". I would have to agree.

4.Winston BIIILS 803-4

This rod has a lot of the same pros and cons of the G2, it is very slow, but a beautiful rod for small brook trout streams. It can be a little weak in the wind, or with multiple flies on the line. A great dry fly rod, or very small unweighted streamer rod. So if you prefer hiking into the backwoods and tossing royal wulffs or stimulators, this is the rod for you!  

5. Orvis Helios 2 842-4

Where to begin, this has to me my personal favorite. Yes it is a 2wt, but its a powerful 2wt, and can handle just about anything you throw at it. It will toss streamers, dry dropper rigs, and even straight double nymph rigs with an indicator. You can toss this rod a mile, and with a thicker butt section it adds a bit of leverage to fighting those bigger small stream fish. It is also a great PA Trico rod.

6. Orvis Recon 843-4
The Recon is the newest rod added to the Orvis line this past year. It is the stiffer brother to the super fine. This rod is perfect for small stream fishing with streamers and heavier nymph rigs. It will present a dry fly with ease, but is better for bigger bugs or windy days.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Penn State and Stoneflies

The forecast was calling for almost 60 degrees, so when Andy called me to ask if I wanted to go fishing Monday, it was a no brainer. We were headed out to one of his favorite sections of the creek to fish nothing but stonefly nymphs. If you didn't know, stoneflies are my favorite to fish and tie. I was just excited to get out and walk the creek and fish something bigger than a size 18 zebra midge. The fishing was great in my mind, but Brian and Andy said it was a little slower than earlier the week before. They were convinced that it was the drastic drop in was water temps, despite the warm air temps. But it was still an awesome day and I can't wait to get out again soon.

Early Stages of a Foam Back Stonefly
Top and Bottom of the A&W Stonefly Fly Pattern

The infamous Griddle Bug Fly

My new favorite Stonefly Hook. 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Quick and Final trip to the Salmon River

I made up my mind last December while digging my car out of a ditch on some backroad at 4 am, that I would not be guiding up there this year. Driving icy backroads at 4am in the morning can grow you a few white hairs, and when you start sliding around a sharp bend with a boat in tow, you might even lose a few. Unfortunately that meant I would not be up there much at all. Made it up once in November for a Simms meeting and a single day of fishing, and this last trip over the weekend. Jack, Rob, and I made the trip with plans to fish the DSR both days. After day one with only one little steelhead to hand, we were not in any hurry to get on the water the next day. When we made it to the parking lot after breakfast at a local diner and there were only four cars in the DSR parking lot we knew it was going to be tough. Covering almost the entire DSR both days, we never gave up, but that didn't matter, there where no fish to be had. One steelhead and a lot of casting practice, but when you are doing it with friends who cares about the fish. I mean we all would have loved to catch more fish, but we made the best of it and had a blast. Till next year Salmon River!

New Simms Large Sling packs, are awesome!

Small and colored up, but she had heart! Love Steelhead.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Fishing Around Town

Its been about a month now since I have posted some fish pictures, so here you go. I've been busy getting things in order with the new store, but there is always time to fish. The spring creeks are starting to fish well with all the grasses starting to slowly die off. The Tully is starting to pick back up now the the water temps are stable and the leaves are all gone. It should be no surprise that midges have been the key in fly choice on the Tully. The spring creeks have had some great olive hatches when the conditions are right, and the sow bugs have been fooling a couple big fish. 

Beautiful wild Big Spring Creek rainbow

Tully Rainbow 

Dale with a well deserved beauty.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

George Daniel - Strip Set Recap

All three stores had a great turnout for George's presentations and tying demos. I decided to record him while he was tying on of his favorite PA streamers. A variation of Tommy Lynch's Drunk and Disorderly, tied on a single hook for simplicity and ease. The video was over 20 minutes long, so there is a bit of chatter cut out, but listen as George explains materials and fly design. Enjoy!

Friday, December 4, 2015

The Silent Midge - Video

It is winter time, even if it doesn't feel like it. This is the time of year when fish really key in on small midges. They can come in all different colors, shapes, and sizes; from a bright red to a dull black. No matter the color, trout love them! This video shows you one of my favorite mid winter midge patterns. Enjoy!