Tailwater Road Trip

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Gettin’ lost in the fog on the West Branch.

A little over a week ago, Austen and I jumped in the car for 4 hours to check out the West Branch of the Delaware. As with most of our adventures, it was a last minute throw some plans together type of thing. It was supposed to rain like hell in our area that weekend, so we decided to dodge it by checking out what’s probably one of the largest fishing destinations in the east. For good reason too.

I’m always up for a couple days on the run searching for fish in different water. It seems the crew I run around with is the type where we just get in the car and go. We figure out where we are gonna spend the night when it gets dark, and worry about more important things first, like getting on the water.

I haven’t spent near as much time as I should on the Delaware river system. And that will be sure to change, I fell in love with the area last weekend.

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It’s easy to love a hard fighting rainbow from the West Branch of the Delaware.

Are there a lot of other anglers? Yes. Are the fish really technical and tough to catch? Yes. And, that’s sort of the point. Everyone seems quick to point out that the fish are really tough to catch, and there are a lot of anglers around.

But, there are some other questions that I think are more important. Is the water cold even in the middle of a dog day of summer? Yes, thanks to the tailwater bottom release. Are there large wild trout? Yes, tough to catch, but the opportunity is there for both browns and rainbows. How about hatches? Yes, like most tailwater fisheries, the bugs are awesome. To be able to fish summer Sulphurs in July is like a Pennsylvania fly fisher’s dream.

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Some fish don’t need a caption.

Stream etiquette should be a priority all the time, but on a technical, slower moving river with a lot of anglers around it is absolutely a must. Here is a link to an article posted on Hatch Magazine about drift boat etiquette that was actually written by a guide from the Delaware. There a a bunch of other articles out there on stream etiquette, just use your best judgement.

If your looking for a campground, hotel, or a cold beer check out The Beaver-Del. It’s all of those things that fly fisherman need, and it’s located right along the East Branch. It’s a really nice atmosphere, and the owners were great. Make sure to try the Catskill Brewery Devil’s Path IPA. It’s phenomenal, but one too many might jeopardize those early morning plans to get on the river at first light. Spoken with a bit of experience, possibly…

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A very solid brown Austen caught sippin’ a Sulphur.

Austen and I had an absolute blast on our “tailwater road trip”. I’m already looking forward to getting back up there again. The Delaware River system is definitely worth the hype. It’s also a great option for anglers in Pennsylvania if the water temperatures get borderline in the summer. 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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2016 Retrospective

As 2016 comes to a close, I’d like to thank all of you that have been following along with my thoughts, stories, fly patterns, information, and photographs on The Flow – Fly Fishing Blog. In 2016, there were many fish, good times, and beautiful pieces of water to think back on. Here are some of my favorite photographs from 2016. Enjoy, and Happy New Year!

A streamer tied by my buddy Bryan that was good for a few fish in 2016.
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Featured Fly: Pink Beaded Walt’s Worm.
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Featured Fly: Rock Worm Larva.
A big nose caught sipping a sulpur spinner as it was getting dark.
A big nose caught sipping a Sulpur spinner as it was getting dark.
A sulphur spinner with the egg sack still in tact.
A sulphur spinner with the egg sack still in tact.
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Gear Review: Hatch Finatic Fly Reels.
A thin blue line on a map that me started in fly fishing.
It’s always nice to get back to small stream Brook Trout on dry flies.

A Stanley full of coffee that was helpful to keep warm on a bitter cold day.
A Stanley full of coffee that was helpful to keep warm on a bitter cold day. Air temps were 6 degrees.
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A streamer tied by my buddy Austen that proved to be successful. Photo by Pat Burke.
SlimShady
Slim Shady, a fish that will certainly not be forgotten as the year changes. Photo by Pat Burke.

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Pennsylvania Trout Fishing Report: June

My good friend Bryan reminding us what Central Pennsylvania has to offer.

Date: June 8th 2015

Water Conditions: Flows remain low due to the lack of rain across the central Pennsylvania area, however, due to cool weather water temperatures are not an issue on most streams.

Recommended Flies: Sulphurs Size 16-18, Isonychia Size 10-12, Paraleptophlebia Size 18-20, Tan Caddis Size 16-18, Pheasant Tail Soft Hackles Size 16-18, Walt’s Worm Size 14-18, Green Weenies Size 12-14, Ants Size 12-20, Zebra Midge Size 18-20, Pink Eye Size 16-18, RTV Nymph Size 12-14,

Fishing Report:

The main portion of the hatch season is winding down on most streams as summer fishing conditions approach in full force due to low, clear water. If you like sight fishing, it’s getting to be that time of year! Green Drakes are all long gone on the streams in my area. Isonychia (Slate Drakes), Tan Caddis, and small Sulphurs have been the main stays lately. The summer bugs, such as Paraleptophlebia, ants, and beetles, are starting to work progressively better as they become more prevalent. As expected, unless there is cloud cover all day the afternoons have been fishing slower than mornings and evenings. The fishing has become more technical as expected but is still very good. There is no doubt that we need rain, but due to cool weather lately water temperatures have not been an issue on most streams despite low flows. Get out on the water and enjoy the great fishing that PA has to offer, but in the mean time do your “rain dance”. I have been on the guiding grind lately which is why the site has been a bit quiet. This is expected this time of year so I’m more than happy to be on the water guiding and/or fishing everyday. I’ve been playing around with some new ideas, flies, and gear so be sure to stay tuned for new content to come as soon as I get some more time for myself. Tight lines!

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To monitor stream flows by live data provided by the USGS, click HERE.