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It's been quite a few years since I've seen fifty degree weather in January. Just a few days before we had a few inches of snow on the ground and low thirty degree temps. But with the mild temperatures melting that snow brought the water up and off color. My little bit of cabin fever got the best of me, so I loaded up my streamer gear and made my way to two of my favorite Central PA streams for two days.
Both streams had that greenish gray color and were on the rise. I seemed to hit both streams perfectly right on time when that water was coming up. The streamer bite for me fishes great when the water is coming up. Both streams did not disappoint. It was unbelievable how these fish were chasing down these flies. They were definitely sitting up against the banks and welling to chase down a meal. Hopefully I'll see some mid temperatures in February and get to break out the streamer gear out again.
For the next few months it's all about the fly fishing shows. The fly fishing show in Edison, NJ just finished at the end of January. The show was pretty well attended by anglers from all over. I was kind of surprised there weren't as many fly tiers as years past and a few of the big manufacturers were missing too. But all in all as usual I had a great time. It was great catching up with some old friends and making a few new ones.
On February 3,4,5 Sky Blue Outfitters had its second annual fly tying weekend at the Farm House in Logan Mills,PA. The event was represented by Rick Nyles, Dave Rothrock, Brian Shoemaker and myself. We had two good tiers that we shared our tying skills with and the guys went home with lots of new tying techniques. As usual Rick cooked for the event and all the meals were over the top. We'll all be looking forward to next year's event.
The next fly fishing show will be Cabin Fever February 26th in Cranberry,PA. For me it's the closest show that I attend out of all of the shows. Cabin Fever is always well attended and this year I am thinking it's going to be a little bit more packed. This year's premier speaker will be the Godfather of Streamer Fishing, Kelly Galloup. I am sure Kelly will draw a large audience of streamer junkies including myself. Should be a great show.
So as we wind down the month of February, spring is just right around the corner. This year was probably the least amount of snow I've seen in February that I can remember in a long time. With no snow pack on the ground and seasonably warm temperatures throughout the month hopefully we won't have low flows when the fishing gets real good in May and June.
I can honestly say it was definitely the most fishing I have done in February. Water flows at times were on the low and clear side, but for the most part most our streams fished pretty well. Of course streamers were the game on every trip out. It was just a matter of figuring out what was going to be the color of the day.
It's the middle of March now and the fly fishing shows are starting to wined down. It looks like the anglers are starting to come back to the shows since covid. The attendance at all the shows were great this year. All of the shows were very good this year, I booked a few guided trips at every show and again did lots of talking. Looking forward to next year's show season.
As far as getting out on the water this month, well that has not happened. The weather here has been terrible. It turned brutally cold and started to snow again. You would have thought it was February, but not this February as we had some great days to be out. Hopefully at the end of the month we'll see better temperatures.
The plan is as soon as the weather breaks and we get a few days of good sun. I am going to get the boat out on the lake and chase some pike. As some may know as the lake water warms in the spring. The pike will move up into the shallows. This is the perfect time to target them with flies. So hopefully the weather will cooperate and we can get a few trips on the lake for those toothy critters.
The end of March definitely went out like a lion. The weather here in Western and Central Pennsylvania was down right miserable. The temperature and conditions seemed to change hourly. One day it would be sixty degrees and the next day it would be snowing and twenty mile an hour winds and O yea throw some rain in there too. We managed to tough it out and got a few days out there on the river and lake.
The river has been up and down with all the rain that has been coming into the area. Just when you think it's going to start fishing good it starts to rain again and blows it out for a few more days. On the lake the wind has been the biggest problem. When the wind is blowing 20 miles an hour or more you might as well stay home. It's just not much fun trying to throw those big flies in the wind. But as said all was not lost, we got a few good days and we took some fish.
The beginning of April saw us not spending much time on the trout waters, but on the lakes. Chasing toothy critters with big flies is the new game now. Looks like the wet flies will take a back seat for a little while. We're very fortunate to have two of the best lakes in Western Pennsylvania in our backyard for pike and pickerel. These lakes have very good populations of both species.
Targeting these fish is not the easiest, it's a real grind. Throwing six to seven inch flies on eight and nine weight rods will test your patience and stamina. At this time in March and April water temperatures are still a little on the cool side and these fish are staging mostly on the dropoffs. Intermediate sinking fly lines, short leaders and a ten inch of steel leader seems to be the perfect set up.
Well, coming into the end of April and believe it or not water flows are on the low side. When have you seen temperatures in the high eighties and a couple of days almost pushing ninety. That scenario was short lived and here came the April showers and cold temperatures. It didn't take long for things to turn ugly, the flows shot up and our streams went to mud. At this point the wet flies were put away and the streamer game was on.
The beginning of May saw good flows on all the waters that we're fishing. Guide trips were in full swing and I was piling up road miles and before I knew it the month was over. All of the anglers I guided had good trips and some nice fish came to the net. I was also able to get on the lakes a few times and throw some big flies for largemouths and smallmouths. Those trips were awesome and some giants came into the boat on those days. At the end of May water flows all over were starting to get pretty low. We need some rain real bad to have some good trout fishing in June. If no rain comes floating for smallmouths will be the game right into the summer months.
As we finish up the month of June guided trout trips are winding down. I want to thank all of the anglers that came on guide trips with me the first half of the season. Mother nature didn't treat us very well with the weather but we made the best of it. All of the guys were pretty successful on all of the trips and a few nice trout were brought to the net. Again thank you all and hope to see you next season.
Our fall guide trips will start up in late September and run through the month of October. If your interested in chasing some fall brown trout give me a call.
With the end of June here now it's time to start chasing smallmouths and largemouths. If you're interested in a lake or river float trip for bass shoot me an email. We'll be targeting these guys throughout the summer months.
The month of July saw us mostly chasing largemouth and smallmouths on the lakes. We were able to get in a walk & wade trip on Pine Cr and Driftwood Branch up in the northern part of the state. We also floated the upper Juniata a couple of times too. The weather had been so-so with storms moving through the areas, but keeping the waters at good levels. All of the trips ended with very good results. If I were to say which trip turned out to be best. I would have to say the walk & wade trip on Pine Cr & Driftwood Branch. Both rivers had really good flows and clarity being slightly cloudy. Each river gave up a bunch of decent smallmouths. The top water bite on the lakes has been not bad, but just not lasting long enough. If you're not chasing bass with the fly rod during the summer months you're missing out on some exciting fly fishing.