(Scroll down for NEW Blog posts)
(Click on pictures to enlarge)
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.
Finally starting to see some cool weather in the mornings and eightyish in the afternoons. Trips out on the lakes have been absolutely fishing great. Right now, most of the lake trips are done in the afternoon to early evening which gives us about four an half hours on the water. The top water bite has been really good from six o-clock to eight forty-five. Most of the fish coming to the boat are largemouths and the areas we've been concentrating on is where there is lots of vegetation. Crappies are on in a number of locations and subsurface flies have been putting quite a few in the boat. Just kept a few for a couple of fish sandwiches and released the rest to fight another day. The top water flies for largemouths have been producing well Clouser Floating Minnows, Gurglers and Slider Poppers in a multitude of colors.
Floats on the upper Juniata River have been hit and miss. It just seems like every time we want float the river a storm rolls through the area and blows the river out for a few days. We have a couple of floats scheduled this month hopefully mother nature will cut us a little break on the rain.
Through the middle of the month the crappies had turned on like we've never seen before. We've been hitting twenty-five to thirty in a school. Not sure if it's the water temperature or we've been just getting lucky. Also noticed the largemouth bite has been somewhat slow off the banks. But we're still taking some good fish in the lily pads. Thinking the warm water has pushed them a little deeper.
September has come and gone and the fishing on the lakes and rivers was still decent throughout the whole month. The lake seemed to be hit and miss day to day. The largemouths seemed to move out to a little bit deeper water and getting the flies down to them was challenging. We managed to take a few pickerel in the shallows and missed a couple of pikes. The crappies were still off the drops and were a little tougher to locate on the big lake.
Floating the Juniata for smallmouths was more than challenging. Mother Nature would just not cut us a break. It seemed every time we were preparing for a float trip the skies would open up and dump a lot of rain and in turn blew the river out for days. We did manage to get a few trips in and they were so so.
It's now time to get the skiff and bass equipment clean up and put away for the season. It definitely was a blast chasing warm water fish with large flies throughout the summer months. Really looking forward to next year.
October, November, December
It's time to break out the Streamer Gear. Fall brown trout are on the hunt for a big meal. In my opinion this is the best time of the season to land a good one. During this time streams are at a good flow and water temperatures are ideal. This is when brown trout get very aggressive. As most know, this is the time of the season for them to spawn too and be careful where you are wading. During the pre-spawn and the post spawn is the best time to be on the water. At these two specific times big brown trout will let their guard down and chase big streamers. Another thing about this part of the season is our waters are not pressured much by other anglers,at least in the waters that I am fishing. Most anglers have their fishing gear put away for the season and switched up for a bow or gun. Pretty much on any given day you'll have the stream to yourself. So if you're looking to put a good one in the net. Get out there now.
Here are a few decent ones that made it to the net.