It's been two months since I have posted anything on the Blog Page. Back in December I spoke about having a right shoulder replacement on January 24th. Well, here we are and it's March already. I wish I could say wow how time fly's, but that's the farthest thing from the truth at least for me. January and February were not two very good months for me by a long shot. I've spent the last month an a half pretty much in the house recuperating from my surgery, talk about cabin fever. It would have been somewhat nice if I could have tied flies or answered all the emails that was backing up on my computer, but I wasn't able to move my arm a whole lot. The surgery went very well and PT seems to be going very well too and I am healing up pretty quickly. It looks like I'll be off for two more weeks and then I'll be back to work and hopefully not long after that I'll be back on the water.
Now with some decent weather showing up the last couple of weeks I've been getting outside and doing some long walks and getting my legs in shape for the season. My goodness when have you seen it in the sixties and seventies in February. The whole time I am out there on those nice days all I can think about is boy I wish I was on the water. I am sure the fish on the J were gorging themselves
with little black stoneflies and BWO's. Of coarse I've been keeping a watchful eye on the water flows too on the USGS sites and they have been looking pretty good for some awesome fishing.
I was really sorry that I had to cancel on attending a few of the shows in January and February. I was really look forward to attending those shows over the winter months. I did get to make it to the Lancaster Show on March 4th & 5th. The show had a real good attendance. It seemed to come in waves of people all day long even on Sunday there was lots of anglers shopping and attending different seminars. All an all the show was pretty good and it was nice to get out.
Lastly, I would like to thank all of the anglers I have guided over the years and show friends that had sent me emails and phone calls wishing me a speedy recovery from my surgery. I can't begin to tell you how much that meant. So now I will continue getting ready for this season and of coarse getting back to work which will be next week. Hopefully I'll do my best to stay on top of getting the Blog back on track and posting twice a month as I have done in the past. So come back from time to time and check out the Blog and see what's happening on the waters we're fishing.
On March 11th I had the pleasure of spending the day with guide Taylor Helbig of Sky Blue Outfitters. Taylor was on a exploration trip in Central Pennsylvania getting more familiar with Penn's Creek and the Little J. His plan was to fish Penn's on Friday then make his way over to the Little Juniata River Lodge that evening and spend the night. On Saturday morning I was meeting him at the lodge to spend the day showing him some of the areas on the upper J. Of coarse mother nature threw us a curve ball for the weekend and a winter storm was coming Friday night. The forecast was a couple inches of snow with single digit temperatures on Saturday and Sunday. Go Figure.
Thank goodness the weatherman was just a little off on the forecast for the Tyrone, PA area. Not much snow hit the ground in the area, but the air temperatures were down right brutal. I was thinking thank god I am not going to be standing in that water today, but it didn't seem to bother Taylor. He fished one section on the upper river and landed a nice brown about 14'' and hooked another but lost it. Something that I haven't seen in quite few years was his rod and reel were totally frozen up and you couldn't pull the fly line off the reel, again thank goodness I wasn't in the water.
After lunch I dropped off Taylor at the lodge and before I left he told me he was going back out to get a few more hours in before dark. I remember when I was like that, I must be getting soft or should we call it wiser. That weather was just a little bit to cool for me. I told him good luck and I jumped into my warm vehicle and headed for home. He did send me an email Sunday morning stating he landed about a dozen browns that Saturday afternoon and this picture of a nice healthy J brown. And of coarse he couldn't thank me enough for spending the day with him showing him the Little J and it was my pleasure.
Taylor and I will be hosting a joint guide trip on the Little Juniata River on April 20-23, 2017 called Above & Below. This will be our second year of doing this trip together at The Little Juniata River Lodge and plans are being made to do a fall guide trip with some women fly fishers. This guide trip is an All Inclusive Guide Trip which includes all meals, guiding and lodging for $800.00 per angler. This trip is available to three anglers plus Taylor and I guiding them on the Little J. This trip is already SOLD OUT for the Spring and Fall of 2017. If you think you might be interested in this trip for 2018 email me or phone this year or early next year and we'll get you into one of those open spots. This trip is planed around the emergence of the grannoms so some great fly fishing can be had that's if mother nature cooperates with us. Check out the late April Blog I'll have a little write up and some pictures of the Spring trip.
Headed up to the big woods on April 8th to officially open up the camp for the season. Of coarse a few days before we were to head north. You guessed it, another day an a half of heavy rain. Looks like the rain that hit the area put Kettle Creek right on the edge of fishable or setting in camp drinking beer for the weekend. Then again it doesn't matter a whole lot to me because I am still babying my right shoulder. I guess I'll be content just drinking beer.
The water in the Kettle Creek Valley wasn't as bad as I thought it would be as we arrived at camp Fridaay evening. It was definitely a far cry from what it looked like last weekend according to my son. Kettle was still just a little on the high side but fishable. My son John spent the weekend fishing the fly project on Kettle and landed quite a few fish. The hot flies were the river mini and a picket pin.
This weekend being the Mentored Youth Trout Day should offer some of the young anglers a little bit of a challenge with the high water. Spent the day at camp hanging out with my dad. We drove around and stopped to watch a bunch of young anglers fishing some different sections on Kettle. Wasn't a bad day for the kids to be out they had pretty nice weather. It looked as though a good many of them were putting some fish in the net. We also headed down around the dam to check out the elk heard. Counted around thirty elk in one heard and they all looked to be in good shape. It was a great weekend, felt good to be back at camp. It beats setting at home and doing nothing. Looking forward to our next trip.
This year opening day of trout season got kicked off on Easter weekend and usually when this happens the streams are a little less crowded. To bad for me I had to work on the opener. My son John and my nephew made there way to the Kettle Cr Valley for opening day. They had great weather and a good flow on Kettle. The boys had an awesome couple of days on the water fishing Kettle in a number of sections. John landed a 21 1/2 rainbow and made the camp 20 inch club again. Top flies were micro buggers and the river mini. A few of Johns were also on Kettle and did pretty well.
Well I finally got the OK from the doctor to put the new shoulder to the test. On April 18th I made my way down to the Little J for the day. The plain was to just fish a few hours and not over due it the first time out. I can tell you that over doing it didn't even come into play. I fished from 10:00am till 7:30 pm. I guess I over did it a little, surprisingly I felt great the next day and pain free.
The day was just one of those days, right place at the right time. The grannoms were on the river and the fish were eating the pupa stage and my wet pupa was what they were hungry for on this day. This day I thanked God and my surgeon for making me well so I can continue doing what I love to do in the outdoors.
Looks like spring has finally arrived, well maybe. I always say April is the most unpredictable month of the season as far as weather and water flows go. It looks like the snowy weather has pretty much left Pennsylvania and here comes the rains. With in the last few weeks we've had some decent days. Cold mornings and afternoons into the fifties, but with a few days of rain. It seems when it rain it's not a shower it's a down pour and the next thing you know everything is blowed out for a few days.
On April 1st & 2nd my son and nephew made there first trip of the season to Potter Co to fish the projects on Kettle Cr and Big Pine Cr, but of coarse on Friday a rain storm blew in across the state and tracked north. As they arrived at camp it was a down pour and they found Kettle Cr to be blown out. At that point they new Big Pine would be just as bad if not worst. So the weekend was pretty much a bust as far as fishing goes, but the weekend wasn't a complete bust, which it never seems to be when your in the big woods. So there plain now was to do some scouting over in the Pine Creek Valley and the Kettle Creek Valley. Here's a few photos of the weekend.
As for myself, I stayed home and tied flies all weekend pretty much. It seems tying flies is good therapy for my shoulder that I had surgery on back in January. I am sure some fishing would help as well. I did take a little break from tying flies and headed down to the lodge on the Little J on the Sunday morning. Had to get a few things ready for the first angler that's coming and staying at the lodge next week. I also got to check out the J along RT 453 on the way down to the lodge. From what I seen it looked like it wasn't going to be fishable for a few days and O yea more rain is on the way for next week. So I am thinking she should be at a good flow just in time for the grannoms.
Got to talk to Kevin Compton owner of Performance Flies for a little while and catch up on what was happening on the J and over at the shop. He told me as of next week he'll have the shop open seven days a week. With the grannoms coming on in the next few weeks I am sure Kevin will be busy at the shop. For those not familiar where Kevin's shop is located, it is in the town of Spruce Creek right where the Spruce Creek Tavern is located. Just up the road from the White Church on the right. After finishing up down at the lodge on Sunday it was back home and to the fly tying desk for the rest of the day. Here's some pic's of what's coming from vice for Opening Day. There called bi colored micro buggers.
Boy, not sure what happened to those April showers, but we are sure getting some blown out stream conditions the beginning of May. Since May 1st till now all guide trips had to be rescheduled. When this happens I feel real bad for the anglers I am guiding. They all look forward to be coming to the area and then I have to make the call. Telling them the trip has to be postponed to a later date. A little cooperation from the weatherman at this point would be great, but as I sit here typing this out its raining again. Just as the streams were starting to recede it looked liked in two more days they would be fishable again.
Next week May 15 the weather looks like it will be great and hopefully the flows will be somewhat decent. I'll be doing a few guided trips into Potter Co on Kettle Cr and a few on the Little J. My son and a few of his buddies will be on a few of the streams in Potter Co for about two weeks and there saying the trout don't stand a chance. This is there annual trout fishing trip of the season. Hopefully they'll have good water and landed some nice fish, a good time should be had by all. Hopefully they'll send me some pic's to post.
It's back on the water now that the flows have finally dropped. Heading to the Kettle Creek Valley for three days of guiding. Just got a report from my son who has been up north for a few days already. He told me water is a little cold but the fish are eating and the flow is pretty good. There starting to see sulphurs and they seen a few fish working them. The water should warm up this week and the sulphurs should come on strong. I also spent a few days down on the Little J after leaving the Kettle Creek Valley. The flows on the J were great, but the fish didn't cooperate very well and that was just not coming from me. Talked to quite a few anglers and they were saying the same thing. Lots of flies and I mean lots of different species of flies. The fish just didn't seem to work them. We did take fish but we worked hard for everything we landed. The angling pressure was as expected at this time of the year with the sulphurs being present. Every parking area had vehicles in them. Can't what till that hatch is over and everyone goes home Ha Ha.
The first half of the season has been a busy one as far as guiding goes. I think I did more guide trips this year then any other year. Guided a lot of new anglers and a few that I have guided in the past and all were successful and had a great time. I also guided with the guys from Sky Blue Outfitters on a couple trips. Potter Co seemed to be the best early on. The water flows in the North Central part of the state pretty much stayed at good flows except for the first week in May. The Central area streams that's a different story. These streams took a beating all through May and June. It seemed every week we were getting hit with a storm and the streams were getting blowed out. We were pretty lucky dodging the weather and we only had to reschedule two guided trips. The flows now in Central PA are back to a good flow and it looks like fishing should be pretty good into July for some great terrestrial fishing.
We spent the last two weekends of June and the first weekend in July chasing trout on Kettle Cr, First Fork of the Sinnemahoning and one of our favorite brook trout streams in the North. Water flows and water temps have been great up north. Stoneflies and slate drakes are the game now. It seems that my wet stonefly has been the go to fly along with some small stimulators for the wild brook trout. My son John and nephew David and myself had some great trips on the area streams on those couple of weekends.
The summer fishing for me will be put on hold for a few months. I am having my left shoulder replacement surgery on July 3rd. This past January I had the right shoulder replaced and everything went great and I was back on water fishing by the seventh week. So hoping and praying that the recovery time is the same or if not sooner. I think I am starting to look like Frankenstein's son with all the scares I am accumulating. Again I would like to thank everyone that called and sent me emails wishing me a speedy recovery on the first surgery. I should be fully recovered by mid September just in time to start guiding for the fall part of the season.
At this point I am still healing up and going to therapy and feeling pretty good. Looking forward to getting back on the water. With the month of July upon us now most of the big freestone streams up north are getting pretty warm and the trout are moving to cooler water. With air temperatures reaching the mid eighties and water temps hitting close to seventy its time for us to give the trout a break on the big water. The feeder streams are still somewhat cool to fish for a couple of hour in the early morning but they'll be starting to drop in flow pretty quick.
Last weekend again the streams in Central Pa took on some more water to create a few non fishable days. It's been such a very crazy season for Central Pennsylvania. It seems at least every two weeks we are getting hit with flash flood conditions. Water temperatures on the Little J and Penn's are now hitting close to the seventy degree mark and no fishing will be done by us at this point. We'll now wait for the early fall temps to cool things back down then we'll get back on the water. If you must fish go chase some smallmouths. Talked to a few friends and there landing some nice smallies on flies.
Here's a few photo's of a wild trout trip earlier in the month on one of our favorite mountain streams.
My time off for my shoulder surgery is over and glad to be going back to work and getting back on the water. I've healed up pretty well thanks to my PT people that had worked with me for the last six weeks. And the biggest thanks goes out to my doctor, Dr Brandon Trale and of coarse my best friend George who works for Dr Trale. Fortunately I was able to get back on the water sooner then I thought to get some on the stream therapy. Both shoulders felt great with all the casting and line stripping that I did for a few days in a row. Now I'll be ready for the second half of the season. I am sure the fall will fish just as good as it did in the spring. We'll be hoping for a little less rain then we had in the spring for the fall. I guess we'll take what we get and still have some great fishing.
For the past few weekends we've been chasing smallmouths on Kettle Creek and Big Pine Creek and of coarse doing a little work at our place in Potter County. Water levels and water temperatures have been great for some good smallmouth fishing on those two streams. We've also been hitting the Bush Dam that's on Kettle Creek. The top water action at the dam has been pretty decent for some largemouths. My son John nephew David and my young protégée fly fishing buddy Jake and myself brought some nice smallies to hand in the past few trips. John and David threw bass plugs and Jake and I casted some big bass flies. We all landed some nice smallies.
I also received some nice pic's from my neighbor that has a camp next to me in Potter county with some awesome brown trout he's been catching. Sorry for not sharing his location, he'll kill me if I tell. We also have been seeing eagles, black bears, some nice white tail bucks and some big bull elk and o yea a few rattlesnakes too. John spent some time in the woods to set his new trail camera in a location where he has seen some good bear sign. He's hoping to bag another bear this season. Looks like the feed is going to be plentiful in the Kettle Creek Valley this season and should make for some great squirrel hunting this fall. We'll be looking forward to spending some time in the big woods this fall.