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Fly fishing, is it really about catching?

I've been thinking of what to post since the last and this came to me yesterday. Reading comments on a friends instagram picture between him and a bait guy who has the typical opening day hero shot with a "trophy golden rainbow" on his insta. The bait guy was busting on my friend because he was on a 4 day trip and put a picture of one fish up and called it a success.  It got me thinking, what makes a trip like that a success. We've all been there, grinding away for hours on the stream and our efforts are fruitless.

I think back to the fall to my trip to the Delaware river, in the weeks leading up to it I was talking about how great of a trip it was gonna be and I was wanting to finally get that toad of the year. A lot of you know the outcome but needless to say, after a 12 hour drift I had one follow to talk about. Zero fish to hand and no hero shot with that big wild brown! Would I ever call that trip unsuccessful? Absoutley not! While I didn't get that fish I was after what I did get was the escape, those few days getting away from the headaches of everyday life. I wasn't worried about the bills that needed paid or what was needing to happen at the farm. It was for those few days I was free, I had a lot of laughs with a good friend and had a great trip despite the fact I didn't have a fish to show for it. 

What I'm trying to get at here is the next time your out there and getting your butt kicked, reel up and sit down for 10 or 15 minutes and just take it in and look at what the good lord has in front of you. Think about a day or two earlier, you were probably day dereaming at work of being right where your sitting. Be glad your not day dreaming and then get back to it. I'd be willing to bet you would rather be out there getting beat up fishing than you would be working or dealing with the same old same old. 

Tight lines

Keep em wet!

I think its safe to say everyone in good old PA can take a big sigh of relief and watch spring start to bloom, trees are budding out and grass is getting green again...and the bugs are getting underway. While we still have some time before the sulphers get going plenty of early seasons hatches are kicking off. Bwos are taking fish on top and ive even witnessed a few grannom caddis fluttering. With the nicer weather come plenty of welcomed fisherman working runs and catching trout. Some of the forums and pages i like to follow have been showing alot of nice trout pictures and some that just, well, arent so nice to the trout. with this post im hoping to help spread the education of keeping trout wet and not flopping them on the bank for a quick picture.

While I'll admit I've done it in the past myself once I learned that it can really cause a lot of harm to wild trout I changed the way I take pictures of them. Please do NOT do this!

Setting a wild trout on the bank or any trout that is intended for release removes the protective slime coating off of the fish. While it may swim off strong and seem healthy when it's released it could cause the trout to get an infection of the skin or a parasite that the slime helped prevent. 

Truth be told handling any trout isn't good for them but what's the point in fishing if you can't touch it. To help the fish, keep it in the water until your ready to photograph it. Nets are the number one way in my book to do this. I know people that don't carry nets and manage to get amazing pictures without causing harm to fish, but a net just makes it so much simpler. 

With the magnetic releases they make, keeping a net on your back secured to your pack is super simple and readily available when the time comes. What I like to do is keep my phone (or camera in my chest pocket on my waders. It's waterproof if you take a spill and right in front of you. I keep te fish in the net under the water until I have my phone ready to go. If the fish gets out, no crying,  I know I didn't kill the fish just to get the picture which is a lot better feeling.

With my iPhone (droids could be the same I don't have one so I'm not sure) I can take videos, pause the video and slide through each frame and then screen shot each image I want. This makes for a great way to get some cool release pictures! Another thing you can do with the iPhone is set the phone on the bank with the screen camera active and take a video of yourself picking up the fish if it's to big to hold with one hand and take the picture with the other.
Practice this with smaller fish so when you get a pig you know what to do.

A net with a deep bag makes it nice to keep fish in safe captivity. They don't have to be elaborate or expensive although few things are as pretty as a custom made net such as this, my friend Chris of out of the riffle woodworks made for me. He is on Facebook, Instagram, and etsy and is a true craftsman.

Always wet your fish hand before you get it out of the net to help keep from taking the slime off of it.

I know what this post says is just a repeat of what others have said and preached, but if it changes the way one person handles wild trout, I will feel like I did my part in helping. I hope everyone has a great spring and can get into some good fishing.

Go barbless, catch and release wild trout, and as always tight lines everyone!


Early season smalljaws

"smallmouth bass the gentleman of the warm water species"
-Harry Murray

     Greetings fellow anglers Dennis here from the OMF fly co.  wanting to share a little advice on getting after some early season smalljaws. 
Now that old man winter has loosened his icy grip on our beloved suskie, its time to get after these smallmouth bass waking up from there winter slumber.
With warming waters and the upcoming spawn these bass start to go on a feeding spree.  Now is the time more than ever to throw 
meat and potatoes to these guys, you really can't go to big from larger clousers, double decievers to large articulated sculpins.   
These fish are looking for large meals.
     With that being said the next things to consider is how to fish/hunt for these warm water gentleman.  Early in the season from around the end of February to mid March I tend to fish a full sinking line with a short leader to help me get my fly down deeper in the runs and pools.  Once things warm up a little more I will switch back to my floating line and tend to hunt the shallows.  From Mid March until the end of April when the season closes here in Pa. for the spawn.  Once the water starts to warm I will focus my hunt on the the shallows, where the water will be warmer and speed up their metabolism.  In these shallows the bass are very aggressive and will take a fly with vengeance.  here is were I tend to have the most success.  Looking for areas  with darker bottoms and in direct sunlight will tend to warm the water a little quicker attract these pre spawn fish.
 Hopefully these tips will help you bring more bass to your net this season, but also please make sure to handle these fish a carefully as you can because they are getting ready to help bring in the next generation of smallies!
tight lines

The Fly Fishing Show: Lancaster PA, Feb. 28 & Mar.

There is a little less than a month to go until The Fly Fishing Show makes it annual stop at the Lancaster County Convention Center. This year I'll be set up there with some hackle and tying flies with Ty Loomis of www.keystoneflyfishing.blogspot.com we have some pretty big plans for a cool booth so stop by and check us out. You can check out the shows website here

We have been tying flies like crazy trying to get prepared and we still have a lot more to get wrapped up in the next month but well be ready. Ty is going to have a bunch of muskie flies and trout streamers, if you haven't seen his stuff yet you've been missing out.  His trout streamers compete with some of the best and his muskie flies...well lets just say they work.

I'm going to have a pile of traditional trout dry flys and nymphs along with a bunch of competition style nymphs, hydrostones and some streamers as well.

(I've put the hydrostone through a lot of product testing and it's really become a staple fly in my box in streams where big stoneflys are.)

 Ty, Clark, and I are looking to have a great time and put a bunch of names to faces and just make the most of the show networking. So by all means take that Saturday or Sunday, skip getting beat up with winter weather on the stream and come out to the show! Its always a great time and the last stop for the show for the year so all the companies that travel the circut selling gear seem to throw down some great deals on some stuff that they are wanting to move and not drag home so its always worth the trip!

A look back at 2014

It's really hard to believe that 2014 came and went so fast, but it definitely did! It was a great year for me and I was really able to get out and meet a lot of new folks and check out a pile of new water.

     (It's not always the size that counts)

From early on in the year, every chance I could get on the water I took and ran with it. Late winter was pretty ugly and we had plenty of snow and cold which made spring take forever to get here. 

But once it came we had great flows all spring and pocket water was a great bet until summer came around. With the cows and everything getting to fish a lot of hatches isn't always something that I get to do, but I did manage to see a few good ones. 

The Grannom Caddis are that bug-wise marker for me that means warmer weather is usually settled in.

I caught the grannoms with my cousin Nick, while the Caddis were dancing I hooked up with this guy on a stonefly nymph. What a great fight, he took me downstream quite aways before he ended up in the net. A few good pics and it was back in the stream and swimming.

I caught the tail end of the sulphurs and made the green drakes on a local limestoner and the major mayfly hatches were done for me for the year other than a few sporadic hatches.

Summer brought around the typical low water and wary fish that it usually does. 
We weren't the only ones looking for water this day! 

Summer is always kindof humdrum for me, especially when the rain just seems to stop. 

Turning leaves are always a welcome sign, dropping temperatures and pre-spawn colors get me all wound up

There's just always some magical feeling being out in the crisp fall weather. 50 and 60 degree days just seem like a big sigh of relief after temperatures in the 90s through August. 

Late fall was kind of a magical time for me, fish were getting in gear to spawn and I was finally able to break that magical 20" mark with a wild brown. 

Soon again the trees will bud up and trout will be rising again. Keep warm everyone and look for a lot more updates now that the site is fixed up!

Spring Is Upon Us

Saturday March 29 I met up with Ty at one of our favorite wild trout streams in the area. The south eastern part of the state held their annual opening day so we stayed out of that zoo and headed more towards the south central part of the state. The morning started out with us helping one of the older guys who love along the stream hook up his lawn roller. After about 20 minutes of bsing with him it was on to fishing. Ty started out fishing a dry dropper rig and I was czech nymphing. For this stream czech is the best method to catch fish and after my third fish Ty was still carrying the skunk and ready to change leaders. I got him rigged up while he fished my rod and had 3 fish to the net by the time I had his ready to go. It was about as steady as you could ask for throughout the day and we both passed the 20 fish mark by the time we left. We both caught nice browns and rainbows but nothing really huge was caught. It was nice to get out with Ty again, our schedules don't work out together as often as I would like.

A good day of winter fishing

On Sunday February 16 I had enough of cabin fever and met up with my friend Anthony who owns Almost Heaven Fly shop for a few hours on the water. Water temperatures weren't in our favor and never made it out of the high 30s. But we didn't let that stop us or the two and a half feet of snow we had to wade through to get to the stream. It ended up being about as good as you could ask for winter fishing to be, and I feel sure if we would have stayed for another hour or so we both would have made it to double digits. The stream we fished has loads of big stoneflys, making the anchor nymph choice easy. Droppers we caught fish on were bwo nymphs and midge larva. Highlights of the day were Anthony's 13/14" wild rainbow which was one of the prettiest fish I've ever seen personally. And I caught a nice 16/17" wild brown that put up an excellent fight for being the dead of winter. All in all it was great to get out and even better to get into some fish. Posts coming up will be on this coming weekends trip to the Lancaster show with Ty from over at keystoneflyfishing.blogspot.com we'll be stopping on the way home at what some call the country's hardest stream. And I'm having some streamers tied using my feathers by my good friend and fellow hackle rancher from out in Nevada, Kevin. Stay warm friends BWOS and sulphurs are right around the corner!

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