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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Featured Fly: Pat’s Rubber Legs

Ginger/White tied on Knapek Jig Hook #4.
Ginger/White tied on Knapek Jig Hook #4.

Pat’s Rubber Legs Material List:

Hook: Jig or Long Nymph Hook #4-10 (TMC 200R or equivalent would work.)
Bead: Gold Tungsten or Brass (Match bead size to hook size.)
Lead Wire: 8-12 wraps (Match Diameter to Hook Wire Diameter.)
Thread: Brown 6/0
Body: Wapsi Variegated Chenille Medium
Legs: Wapsi Spanflex (Medium for #4-6, Small for #8-10)

Tying stonefly patterns can be complex, very time consuming, and give many fly tyers a headache. A Pat’s Rubber Legs, or Girdle Bug, is a simple stonefly nymph that is a solution to that problem. While complex stoneflies can be very fun to attempt, trout will still eat the simple stuff. Not only is this style of stonefly nymph easy to tie, but I truthfully think it out fishes many more complex patterns on most days.

On a stream where stoneflies are a major source of food, you will never find me without patterns such as a Pat’s Rubber Leg’s or Girdle Bug. I find these flies to be especially effective during the winter mouths when trout can find it hard to pass up a larger meal. There is a wide range of color options for this pattern, but I usually do the best with Ginger/White, Black/Coffee, Brown/Yellow, and Light Olive/Brown. I almost always use Brown Wapsi Spanflex for legs on all the color options I tie.

The only part of this fly that can be a bit problematic to master are the 3 sets of legs in the front. Some tyers use more or less, but I have found 2 tails in the back and 3 sets of legs on the front to be proficient. I like to tie in one set of legs at a time by placing the Spanflex perpendicular to the hook shank, and securing it with a couple of figure eight wraps. See image below:

To me, tying the sets of legs in using this method seems quicker and easier to position them properly. It also seems to make quickly wrapping the chenille between each set of legs a little less of a hassle. If this method works for you, great. If not, there are certainly many ways to achieve the desired result. Tight wraps!

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Pennsylvania Trout Fishing Report: January

“Grip and Grinning” one of the nicest fish taken thus far in January. Photo taken by Jake Villwock

Date: January 22nd, 2016

Water Conditions: The flows during the beginning of January were higher than average in most areas of the state due to rainfall. Although we have not received much rain as of late, flows remain in great shape over the last couple weeks. The current cold snap in temperatures could create the possibility of ice on streams with less spring influence.

Recommended Flies: RTV Nymph Size 12-16, Frenchie’s Size 12-16, Walt’s Worm Size 12-14, Zebra Midge Size 18-20, Pink Eye Size 18,  Girdle Bug Stonefly Nymph Size 6-8, Tailwater Sowbug Size 16-18


Fishing Report:

Warmer than average winter weather temperatures, and elevated flows produced some of the best fishing I have seen during the first several weeks of January. Fish were eager to eat, and many large fish were taken by myself and many other anglers I am friends with. As usual, elevated flows combined with colder water temperatures resulted in the success of larger, flashy flies. My three best patterns on the point of my nymph rigs have been a size 14 RTV Nymph, a size 12-14 Frenchie, and a size 8 Girdle Bug Golden Stonefly Nymph. As flows dropped to normal levels, I found success with the same three patterns in smaller sizes. In addition, Lance Eagan’s Tailwater Sow Bug in size 16-18 have been a successful fly fished as a dropper in combination with the point patterns mentioned above. Picking the right water type and fishing it well is very important this time of year as feeding habits of the fish slow down. Although that is usually the case. Low and slow has once again been the mantra.  Fish remain in slower, deeper winter water types. The “soft” spots of riffles, slower glides, and deep pools are producing the highest number of fish. Recently true winter weather has settled in bringing cold air temperatures and the possibility of snow and ice along with it. Despite old man winter waving his hand, the fishing should remain pretty good for those willing to commit to the task. If we see a break in the cold air temperatures, that would be a prime opportunity to hit the water. I suspect the fishing will be productive as soon as we see a mild day. After-all the fish must continue to eat, and the only way to catch them is if your flies are in the water. Good luck!


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Frozen Waders, Heavy Stoneflies, and Wild Browns

"Grip and Grinning" one of the nicest fish from the day. Photo taken by Jake Villwock
Photo taken by Jake Villwock

Yesterday warranted the first wild browns of 2016. With this winters first shot of 20 degree weather and a dose of bitter wind, you would think that it would be a good day to stay at home.  Sometimes it pays to disregard the weather forecast, string up the rod, and just go fish. Yesterday was certainly one of those days.

I thought about spending the day tying flies, but when Bryan called and asked me to go fish with a few of his buddies I couldn’t turn down a good time. We met up and fished with Jake Villwock from TCO Fly Shop and his friend Rob.

Despite tough January weather conditions, the fishing was really everything we could have asked for. Good friends, a couple craft Busch Light beers, and plenty of cooperative fish to go around. From all the rain last week, the water conditions were ideal, particularly if you like to fish heavy stoneflies. Ahhhh, the joys of catching trout on big flies never gets old. I would say about 65% of the fish I caught ate stonefly nymphs, and the rest fell victim of a Frenchie in size 12. Although I think that the larger bugs were important, I think fishing the right water type was more important.

Winter fish behavior has truly set in, and the browns we found today were definitely in the winter water type such as slower, deeper riffles, large pockets, and soft glides. Low and slow was also the name of the game as far as where the flies needed to be. The fish were relatively podded up together in the winter water, and tight to the bottom.

As always, it’s much easier to brave the cold weather with a couple buddies. Dealing with frozen waders, cold weather, and getting on the water was far worth the effort yesterday. Along with more than satisfactory numbers, I was able to put several browns in the net in the upper teens. The pictures were all taken on Jake’s camera so you will have to hang tight for them.

If you are itching to get on the water I would do it soon. Looking at the long term forecast here in Pennsylvania it looks like it’s only going to keep getting colder the next few weeks.

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