Gear Review: Orvis Recon – 9ft 6wt

A Coffin Fly perched on an Orvis Recon 9ft 6wt.

Over the last 15 months, the 9ft 6wt Orvis Recon became one of my favorite all around trout rods to date for the larger water that I fish. Yes, this rod was released in 2015, but I like to thoroughly fish a rod at least full season before drawing any conclusions.

Orvis released the Recon in the mid price category with a retail price of $425 for the freshwater models and $450 for the saltwater models. It seems that over the last year or so, fly fishing companies are putting more emphasis on offering quality products at the mid price level. While priced in the mid level category, the Orvis Recon is anything but.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure what to expect when purchasing a mid priced fly rod because I frequently do so. Over the last 15 months my Recon saw much more than a fair share of water time. Some of my other fly rods are actually feeling neglected. For trout fishing on the larger pieces of water I frequently fish, I can’t put the 9ft 6wt Recon down. Why? It’s simple. I love the way it feels in hand, and love the way it casts.

Although physical weight might make the Recon heavier than some other rods, it’s almost impossible to tell that with the rod in hand. The Recon feels so light in hand, and to me that’s what really matters. The Recon’s progressive action also makes it super smooth and easy to cast. Be aware, this rod is faster than you may think. Yet another reason I dig it.

Whether it’s a long cast with a dry fly, roll casting a heavy nymph rig, or putting the fight to a large fish in heavy water, the 9ft 6wt Orvis Recon will do so effortlessly. This rod is a great tool for wade fishing, but also for float fishing. When it comes to all around trout fishing on larger waters I feel right at home with the 9ft 6wt Orvis Recon.

The only application that I would shy away from the Recon is serious streamer fishing. In my experience, the Recon is not quite as stiff as desired for throwing sinking lines or big, heavy streamers.

If you are in the market for a mid priced all around trout rod, I’m sure it will be hard to find one better than the Recon. At the price point, I almost think that Orvis did too good of a job with this one. Go cast a Recon, see what you think.

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Summer Bassin’ & Relentless Fly Fishing

Roasted the Boogle Bug, and bent the 8wt in half.

When you and your fishing buddies are all fly fishing guides, it can be challenging to pin a day down on the water together. Yesterday Jake, Andy, and I were able to take a ride down the river for a summer smallmouth session. It was a blast. If you feel like you might be missing out on something, it’s because you probably are. I’m not sure what a summer would be like without river smallmouth floats.

I grew up fishing the river for smallmouth bass with my family and friends. Yeah I know, a lot of people are claiming home water these days. But, I lost my first Mickey Mouse Shakespeare Spincast in the river when I was 3 years old. So there’s that, insert laughter.

Puttin’ in. My idea of a good morning.

Anyways, where I was going with that is I’ve spent a lot of time on the river fishing for smallmouth, but every time I step in the boat with Jake and Andy I learn a thing or two. Whether it’s something about fly design, fish behavior, or a technique, I think it speaks volumes about how dialed in their smallmouth program is on the water they fish.

As I always say, you are only as good as the company you keep. When anglers fish together, they have the opportunity to learn together. But only if they are willing. I love that the anglers I surround myself with are able to question each other, and bounce things off each other in a constructive way. Anglers learning together is one of the things I’ve always loved about fly fishing. Well that, and having one heck of a lot of fun while fishing.

Don’t know the answer, Boogle It.

Yesterday we caught bass a variety of ways, but I pretty much got glued on fishing poppers. It’s sort of like dry fly fishing for trout, except smallmouth don’t necessarily sip, they gulp. And then they bend an 8 weight in half like it’s their day job, because they are river smallmouth and that’s what they do.

From rain, the river has been pretty high so far this summer. Yesterday was the first I’d been out after smallmouth since early spring, and I was glad to spend the day with good buddies. As always, I’m looking forward to many more river days this summer.

If fly fishing for smallmouth is your thing, check out Jake’s website: Relentless Fly Fishing and blog: All Things Fly Fishing. There are years worth of great fly patterns, stories, and photos.

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Pennsylvania Trout Fishing Report: June

A solid streamer eatin’ brown from a typical adventure with Austen.

Date: June 28th, 2017

Water Conditions: It’d be pretty tough to ask for better water conditions than we are seeing so far this summer. Our local area continues to receive rain at a pace that is keeping our rivers and creeks in great fishing shape. Yes, the rain created some days that were blown out, but thanks to the precipitation low, clear water conditions are being avoided. It’s nice to have extra water around for the fish, and to help keep the fishing rolling through the summer. Water temperatures are not currently a concern thanks to the cooler weather, but it never hurts to remain aware. Monitoring stream conditions on your local watershed prior to making the trip is always a good idea. See the Stream Flows page on the blog for a list of streams with USGS data.

Recommended Flies: Zebra Midge Size 18-22, Red PT (Pheasant Tail) Size 18-20, Frenchie Perdigon Size 18-20,  UV Braider PT Size 16-18, Soft Hackles Size, Ant Size 12-18, Blue Quill Size 18-20, Light Cahill Size 12-14, Isonychia Size 10-12, Golden Stonefly Size 6-8

Fishing Report:

While the rain has kept anglers off the water some days, it’s been great to have the extra flow through the beginning of this summer. The higher water and cooler weather so far is much appreciated after a very dry and hot summer in 2016.

Any day that ends with being on the water is a good day.

This year’s irregular weather pattern continues to make the bugs seem out of wack. Hatches and evening dry fly fishing continues to be hit or miss, and not make much sense at times. Don’t get me wrong, there were some great hatches and solid nights of dry fly fishing this year. Overall though, it just seems to be an off year that has lacked the heavy number of bugs and consistency we are used to in the area. At least this seems to be the case on the water I frequently fish.

With that being said, the nymphing and streamer game continues to be productive thanks to great water conditions and cooler weather. If I’ve said it before I’ve said it a thousand times, but it’s great to have the high water keep the bigger fish on the move.

Light Cahill. Because Sulphurs aren’t the only yellow mayfly.

Ants have been around in strong numbers, and the terrestrial fishing should continue to kick on as the water levels drop back towards normal. Summer bugs such as Blue Quills and other Paraleps are playing a strong role. For that reason, smaller nymphs are producing the most fish to net. However, there are also a few of the bigger bugs around such as Isonychia, Light Cahills, and Golden Stones.

As summer marches on and water levels drop, presentation and how an angler approaches the water will become even more important. Summer fishing can be challenging at times, but also very rewarding. I look forward to sight fishing and the technical conditions of summer. Fishing low, clear water can provide many lessons towards growing as an angler.

The release.

In the meantime, water conditions and weather are in great fishing shape. As a result the fishing is solid, take advantage. Go fish.

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Pennsylvania Trout Fishing Report: May

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A late night fish slurpin’ down Green Drakes.

Date: May 31st, 2017

Water Conditions: Currently a lot of the watersheds in the area are high and unfishable from rain over the past couple of days. Many of the streams will be fishable again in the next few days, if they are not already. So far this spring water conditions have been in great shape overall. We continue to receive rain which has kept water levels anything but low. While high water leaves our river systems unfishable at times, it’s also great for the fish to have the extra water. Monitoring stream flow on your local watershed prior to making the trip is always a good idea. See the Stream Flows page on the blog for a list of streams with USGS data.

Recommended Flies: Green Drake Size 6-10, Sulphur Size 14-16, March Brown Size 10-12, Gray Fox Size 12-14, Caddis Black/Tan Size 12-18, Isonychia Size 10-12  Frenchie Size 12-18,  Pink Beaded Walt’s Worm Size 12-16, UV Braider PT Size 14-18, RTV Nymph Size 12-16, Soft Hackles Size 12-18, Zebra Midge Size 18-22

Fishing Report:

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Green Drake: The Big Bug of May.

May is arguably one of the best times of the year to be a fly fisherman in Pennsylvania. Spring is without a doubt the “match the hatch” season, and a majority of the big hatches take place in May.

The weather this year continues to be an irregular pattern. Air temperatures are fluctuating back and forth frequently between hot and cold. This is certainly keeping the fish on their toes, but it has also created irregular hatch patterns.

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Sulphur Size 14.

Hatches have been anything but consistent on the water that I so frequently fish. There are bugs around, but we are not experiencing as heavy numbered hatches as expected this time of year. So far this year Grannoms, Sulphurs, March Browns, Gray Foxes, Caddis, and Green Drakes have all shown tendencies of sporadically hatching through different periods of the day opposed to a few hours of heavy bug activity at one time.

One of the best parts about the river systems in our area is they have a wide range of bugs. A lot of evenings anglers have to play the game to see which bugs the fish are eating the most out of what’s being offered. In my opinion, that’s a good problem to have.

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River Meals- because even gas station macaroni salad tastes better along the water.

As usual, nymphing throughout the day tends to be the most productive method, and dry fly fishing is the excitement of the evening. With all the extra water this spring helping keep big fish out of hiding, streamer fishing has continued to work well at the right times.

While it has not been a typical year in terms of weather patterns or hatch activity, the fishing has been quite good at times. At other times it seems the fishing is slower than typical for this time of year. Every day on the river is an opportunity. Anglers that are married to their river system have a better chance of experiencing those “magic” hours of fishing.

Forget the weather, don’t try to predict what evenings will be better than others. Put your time in, and you will earn the rewards. Go Fish.

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Pennsylvania Trout Fishing Report: April

Date: April 27th, 2017

Water Conditions: So far this spring water conditions have been in great shape. Recently, our rivers and creeks dropped to reach levels lower than normal for this time of year, but remain in good fishing shape. We are not desperate for rain, but some extra water to keep things rolling through spring would be nice. Monitoring stream flow on your local watershed prior to making the trip is always a good idea. See the Stream Flows page on the blog for a list of streams with USGS data.

Recommended Flies:  March Brown Size 10-12, Gray Fox Size 12-14, Tan Caddis Size 12-16, Crane Fly Size 14-18, Sulphur Size 12-14, Frenchie Size 12-16,  Pink Beaded Walt’s Worm Size 12-16, UV Braider PT Size 14-18, RTV Nymph Size 12-16, Soft Hackles Size 12-18, Zebra Midge Size 18-22

Fishing Report:

April is an awesome time of the year to be a fly fisherman in Pennsylvania. Spring is without a doubt the “match the hatch” time of year. After a winter of fish primarily eating underneath, it’s great to see fish feeding on the surface with regularity.

Water conditions have been in great shape so far this spring, and a variety of bugs are hatching. As a result, our river systems continue to fish well.

The weather this year continues to be an irregular pattern. A very early warm snap, followed by a cold snap into early April, and now temperatures are near 80 degrees as we near the end of April. The Grannom hatch this year fell victim to irregular weather, at least on the water that I fish in our local area. It seemed as though Grannoms did not hatch in as strong of numbers as typical for our area. While the fishing was quite good at times, periods of emergence did not seem as long which limited fishing hours in the morning. Fishing the egg-laying flights during the evening also seemed less productive than normal due to the smaller number of bugs.

Not long after Grannoms disappeared Tan Caddis starting showing up on the scene. Over the last week March Browns, Gray Foxes, and Crane Flies have been hatching in numbers. Recently Sulphurs are starting to pop off, and should soon appear in full force.

One of the best parts about the river systems in our area is they are bug factories. A lot of evenings anglers have to play the game to see which bugs the fish are eating the most out of what’s being offered. In my opinion, that’s a good problem to have. Some of the best dry fly fishing days of the year are this time of the year. Go fish.

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