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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Pennsylvania Trout Fishing Report: March

Date: March 16, 2017

Water Conditions: Water levels in the area are slightly lower than normal for this time of year, but are in great fishing shape. As the snow begins to melt off, it will be important to consider how snowmelt could affect water temperatures. See previous article, Winter Fly Fishing: The Snow Melt Impact. 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: Blue Winged Olives Size 18-20, Black Zebra Midge Size 18-22, Little Black Stonefly Size 18-20, Rock Worm Larva Size 12-16, Frenchie Size 12-16, Pat’s Rubber Legs Size 6-10, Pink Beaded Walt’s Worm Size 12-16, UV Braider PT Size 16-22, RTV Nymph Size 12-16, Wooly Bugger Size 6-10, Slumpbuster Size 6-8

Fishing Report:

We have certainly experienced more than our fair share of warm, and comfortable weather so far this winter. Recently, the weather has been more typical of the season with cooler temperatures and doses of snow. Prior to the recent cold snap, the fish seemed to have turned on with hopes of spring being right around the corner. Even the bugs such as Midges, Little Black Stones, and Blue Winged Olives were hatching heavy at times. We certainly deserved another shot of winter, and anglers alike are hoping that ol’ man winter is giving his final blow for the year. Looking ahead towards the next week, the weather forecast is back towards normal for this time of year with daytime temperatures in the 40’s. As winter breaks, the fishing will likely pick right back up again as the fish turn on for spring. It will be interesting to see what happens with the bugs in regards of hatches over the next month. Until temperatures warm up a bit nymphing the slower, winter water types should be the most productive ways to catch fish. Slowly drifting, or stripping streamers should also continue to pull large fish out of there hiding spots. Enjoy time on the water now, it won’t be long until spring is in full swing and the water is crowded again. Go fish.

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Pennsylvania Trout Fishing Report: February

Date: February 21st, 2017

Water Conditions: Between snow and rain there hasn’t been a lack of precipitation in our local area recently. At the beginning of the month flows were pretty high, even unfishable at times, but since the water has slowly dropped. At the present moment, waters conditions on our rivers and creeks are in great shape. 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: Zebra Midge Size 18-22,  Peeking Caddis Size 12-16, Rock Worm Larva Size 12-16, Frenchie Size 12-16, Pat’s Rubber Legs Size 6-10, Pink Beaded Walt’s Worm Size 12-16, UV Braider PT Size 16-22, RTV Nymph Size 12-16, Soft Hackles Size 16-18, Wooly Bugger Size 6-10, Slumpbuster Size 6-8

Fishing Report:

So far this February has been unusual, but welcome. We have experienced a few cold snaps, however, there remains a surprising amount of mild, warm weather. With daytime air temperatures ranging from 50-65 degrees, it’s been fantastic weather to be on the water. With the weather fluctuating so much between warm and cold I think it has kept the fish a little on their toes. For that reason, on some days the fishing was a little slower than one would hope for, given how nice the weather has been for February. We are in the middle of a prolonged warm spell that should last at least through the weekend. Recently, with this longer stretch of nice weather on consecutive days, the fishing seemed to really pick up. A strong number of Midges and Little Black Stones made there presence known, and the fish took notice. Nymphing in typical winter water types continues to be the most productive method for catching numbers. Since a little extra water is around, fishing streamers continues to work pretty well on some of the larger fish. If they are not willing to chase an aggressive streamer retrieve, try swinging or dead drifting. This winter continues to be much more favorable for fishing than the last several. It will be interesting to see how long this warm weather sticks around, or if we get another extended cold snap. In the meantime, water and weather conditions have been near perfect for February. Go fish.

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Pennsylvania Trout Fishing Report: January

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A beautiful sculpin eatin’ wild brown.

Date: January 25th, 2017

Water Conditions: A combination of recent precipitation, and snow melt from warm weather have the streams in the area full of water. Currently most of the larger rivers are unfishable due to water that is still way too high and colored. Most of the smaller streams and creeks in the area are fishable with ideal water conditions that are a bit high and off color. Over the next week, water conditions should settle back to normal and be in great shape for fishing in the meantime. Most of the watersheds in the area have fluctuated up and down several times over the last month which has created several windows of favorable water conditions. 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: Frenchie Size 12-16, Stonefly Nymphs Size 6-10, Pink Beaded Walt’s Worm Size 12-16, Flashback Pheasant Tail Size 16-22,  Zebra Midge Size 18-22, RTV Nymph Size 12-16, Soft Hackles Size 16-18, Wooly Bugger Size 6-10, Slumpbuster Size 6-8

Fishing Report:

So far this January, it would be impossible to have any complaints. We have experienced mild weather for a lot of the month, and also had a fair share of precipitation. On most days, the fishing has been better than can be expected for this time of year in Pennsylvania. Our part of the state seems to have experienced more rain than others, leaving our water in better shape than some of the neighboring areas.

Nymphing “winter water types” while getting flies low and slow is usually the most productive way to catch fish. Winter water types that are usually the most productive are deeper pools, soft glides, and slower rolling riffles. A lot of the time during the winter, success can be defined by which section of water or holding areas an anglers chooses to focus on. Fishing at a slower pace, while ensuring to get good drifts with flies dredged along the bottom, can be rewarding.

Although streamer fishing doesn’t usually win the numbers game, it can be a good way to persuade the big fish to eat. So far this month the streamer fishing has not exactly been red hot, but it has been fairly consistent at producing solid fish here and there. Stick with it, keep casting and stripping. Covering water to find the right nice fish that is ready to eat is usually the key to success. If the fish will not move for an aggressive retrieve, try drifting it slower with twitches. The grind of swimming big flies all day can definitely be worth it. I’ll admit, I’m streamer obsessed right now. And that’s a whole ‘nother story.

Overall, the fishing conditions this January have been a blessing. Thus far, we have not had to worry about cabin fever setting. Mild weather and precipitation have made it pretty easy for anglers to enjoy the winter fishing season. Go fish.

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