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Wow, March and April have come and gone so quickly that I didn't even have time to get any posts on the blog page in time in those months. This year the guiding season got started earlier than ever. I guess everyone was pretty much fed up with the winter months and tired of hearing about covid and just wanted to get out and fish.
The month of March fished well with the flows holding pretty steady through the month. BWO's and black stoneflies were the main hatches. We fished mostly on Spring Creek and the Little J. Both streams gave up some good numbers of fish.
In April the grannoms came early this year and the guide trips that I had early in the month went very well. The anglers on those trips landed and missed a lot of fish, but all in all they all said they had a great time.
I also was able to get out a few times in between guide trips to chase some fish. Believe it or not I did not throw a single wet fly. The new game for me in 2022 is chasing trout with articulating streamers. Yes, you heard that right, no wetflies.
Now at this time in my fly fishing career it's time to experience and excel at a new method. I can't believe how exciting it is to watch these fish chase down these flies and eat them. I can honestly say I haven't been this excited about a fly fishing method since I started fishing wetflies way back when. I can also say that this streamer fishing is not for everybody, it takes a lot of work to do this connective days in a row. One thing is the rewards are absolutely awesome when brought to the net. So I guess I'll be on my way to becoming a "Streamer Junkie".
As the month of May rolls in, the first couple of guide trips went very well. The flow on the J has been up and off color and a little tough to wade and swing wets. Decided to get the guys on Spring Cr which seemed to have the best flows and the best water clarity. Not much fly activity, only seeing a few tan caddis and a few sulphurs. But the action was great swing wets. Couple of good browns and a good rainbow were brought to the net. lots of rain
As we move into the second week of May. Mother nature just threw us a big curve ball with lots of rain and I mean lots of rain. Every stream in Central & Northcentral PA is very very high, I think I'll call it close to flood stage. Nice weather is coming next week and hopefully the streams will drop to a fishable level.
The middle of the month is finally starting to fish well. The flows are coming down to a good level after some big storms hit the central part of the state. Guide trips have been really good and all the anglers are bringing fish to the net.
I also got to spend a few days on the water on my own to explore some new areas that I never fished before. Water was a little off color but the flow was perfect. As soon as I saw the color I was wishing I would have brought the streamer gear. But it turned out to be a really good day swing size 12 wets.
My son John also had a great month of May chasing trout and turkeys in Potter County. He bagged a 21lb gobbler and landed plenty of trout on wet flies. But the really wild story is with this fawn in one of the pictures here. He told me he was driving down the dirt road when this doe jumped right in front of him and squatted down and dropped the fawn in the middle of the road. What are the chances of seeing that? All in all he had another great trip to the big woods.
Still been pretty busy guiding the first few weeks in June. Have had a few trips to Potter Co doing some wild trout trips. Kettle, Pine and the First Fork are starting to see some low water conditions now. Fishing on these streams are an early and evening game now. Surprisingly enough the tribs in the area are fishing great for wild browns and brook trout. Looks like I'll finish up guiding the first part of the season for trout after the third week in June. It'll be time to give those fish a break for the summer months. We'll be back on the water for trout in the fall.
The last week of June was time to start chasing smallmouths. We've been on the upper Juniata River and a few lakes and the smallmouths were coming to the nets. The weather has been decent with cool mornings and warm afternoons. The water on the upper Juniata has been at a good flow and warming up nicely and the lakes have been warming nicely too. Fish are starting to turn on.
On July 1st I finally got to fulfill a three year quest to fly fish for giant brook trout and big pike. Back in 2019 at the Edison Fly Fishing Show eight of us anglers booked a remote fly-in trip to Igloo Lake Lodge in Labrador. But then COVID hit and delayed our trip until 2022.
Finally the borders were open and traveling was somewhat open for business again.
I would like to say everything went according to plan, but it didn't especially for me. It all started with two canceled flights out of Pittsburgh and having to drive three hours to Cleveland to catch a flight to Toronto. From Toronto to Goose Bay was smooth sailing, well not quite. As I went to get my luggage at Goose Bay it wasn't on the plane. All of my clothes, flies and reels were in my luggage thank god I carried my rods on the plane. My first two days was borrowing gear from the anglers I was with and waders from one of the guides at Igloo Lake Lodge. Then on Monday afternoon my bag arrived by float plane with some other things for the guides and the cooks. It was great to put some clean clothes on and get in my own waders and use my own fly gear, then the game was on. The fishing was,well the photos will tell the story.
The hospitality was awesome. All of the guides were great and the cooks prepared great meals for us. You could tell that they all had been doing these trips for a while. We had breakfast, lunch and dinner every day and right after each meal you had about thirty minutes to get geared up and hit the water again. You had the opportunity to fish the lake by trolling the shore line and casting to the shore line or walking through the woods to fish the river.
The definite draw to this trip was the world class brook trout fishing which averaged three to eight pounders. But what surprised me was no one was talking too much about the big pike that were in the lake and the river. This trip to me was all about the PIKE and man did I put a hurt-in on them with big streamers. I did manage to land a few seven pound brook trout and a few smaller ones if you want to call three to five pounders small.
It definitely was a bucket list trip that I won't forget for a while. A big thanks goes out to Rick Nyles of Sky Blue Outfitters for coordinating this trip. It also was great spending time on the water with Dave,Steve,Greg,Ted,Steve and Ray the other anglers on this trip. Last but not least thank you to all the staff at Igloo Lake Lodge and a special thanks to Ed Dominey (Head Guide) who I think I spent the most time on the water with. Ed netted quite a few pikes for me and nicknamed me the Pike Slayer. All I can say is Wow what an awesome trip. If you're looking for that great bucket list trip check out www.igloolake.com.
O' yea, the return flight home sucked too. Got home at 2:30am Monday and got up at 5:00am and went to work. What a dedicated employee I am.
It's getting towards the end of summer now and the river is in great shape, talking about the Big Juniata River. Water levels are a little on the low side, but it is still pretty floatable with the raft. The weather as far as the heat goes, its has been tolerable and only two trips we were caught in the rain.
The smallmouths seem to be hanging out in different areas of the river on every trip. So it takes a little bit of hunting out those different sections of water to figure out where they're holding during the day. The subsurface flies meaning the Murdich Minnows have been the top searching pattern and bring quite a few fish to the boat. On our last trip we started throwing some top water poppers and the fish liked what hit the water. Just a little bit of rain would be nice to keep the flows up and take us right into early fall.