If you haven’t fished the Lower Big Meadow beat on Yellow Creek recently, you might be missing out on a great opportunity to fish “new water”. Thanks to a stream project at the Lower Big Meadow during the summer of 2015, there is plenty of “new water” to experience.
Members that have fished the LBM in the past can recall favorite spots such as the pool by the willow tree, or the riffle by the picnic table. Not to worry, many of the best holding spots on the beat were relatively unchanged, and fish similar to how they have in the past.
The stream project created many new riffles, runs, and pools in places that previously were not very productive water. For example, can you remember the long silted flat at the bottom of the beat where we park? Instead, that section is now comprised of several riffled pools with rock and log deflectors.
If you haven’t ever fished the Lower Big Meadow, there is no better time to start. If you haven’t fished the Lower Big Meadow since the stream project, come take advantage of fishing “new water”. Thus far, the Meadow has received rave reviews from both members and guides.
Lately we have more than our fair share of beautiful weather and the fishing has been great. If you need some time on the water, talk to Joel and he can help you get your “fix”.
Rising fish will quickly remind anglers the importance of having a fly that floats well. It’s very hard to keep a dry fly floating on the water without the use of fly floatant.
Since I’m often asked about which type of fly floatant I use for dry fly fishing, I thought it would be appropriate to discuss that answer here on the HomeWaters Blog. Especially with all the dry fly fishing that will take place this spring and summer.
There are many different products available in today’s world of fly fishing that could be used to help a dry fly float. When it comes to fly floatant, I keep things simple by only carrying Gink and Frog’s Fanny.
Gink is a light paste gel that is meant to be dabbed and rubbed gently to dress a dry fly in order to help keep the fly from getting wet. Frog’s Fanny is a powder that is a dessicate for drying flies, and is worked into a fly with an applicator brush.
On flies that are tied with CDC I exclusively use Frog’s Fanny to keep them dry. On flies that are not made of CDC, I apply Gink to the fly prior to making a cast. After the fly sinks from fishing awhile, or catching a fish, I will then use Frog’s Fanny to dry out the fly so it floats well again.
By having both Gink and Frog’s Fanny it will be possible to keep any dry fly floating. The next time you need a dry fly to catch rising fish you will be glad you are well prepared with fly floatant.
If you are in need of fly floatant, or some time on the water, talk to Joel in the fly shop.
Our section of water on Clover Creek can often be overlooked. If you like to fish unguided, you will definitely be interested in fishing this unique beat that is “guide optional.” The creek runs through a beautiful piece of property that is quietly tucked out of the way.
I know that some of you are reading along while thinking back to memorable days spent here on the water. For those of you that do not know, Clover Creek is a smaller body of water compared to the other watersheds within HomeWaters. A relative comparison would be that it is a bit smaller in width than our water on Penns Creek.
In terms of water type, there are a variety of pockets, pools, riffles and runs. Whether you prefer slow, fast, shallow, or deep water, the Clover Creek beat pretty much offers it all. I’ll admit, it is a really neat piece of water that I enjoy fishing.
Smaller creek width, well-kept ground, and little to no wading make Clover Creek very user friendly. A shaded pavilion with a picnic table provides a great spot to eat a sandwich or sit down for a bit.
While Clover Creek is not as close by as Spruce Creek or the Little J, travel time is only a little over 20 minutes from HomeWaters. Close proximity makes it easy to fish Clover Creek for a half or full day during your stay.
If you have never fished Clover Creek, consider giving it a try during your next day fishing unguided.
This is a topic that is rarely written or talked about, but it should be! It really is fairly simple, and it can make the difference between a slow day and a great day.
Most of the time, trout are likely to be hanging out at the bottom of a stream or river. Probably the most important reason for this is because the bottom is where most of the food is, but it also offers safety from predators. Aquatic insects live amongst the rocks and gravel on the bottom, and on occasion they become dislodged and drift with the current while they struggle to get back to the safety of the rocks. One exception would be when there is a large enough hatch of insects that are emerging towards the surface; in this case, trout can be found suspended in the water column chasing emergers.
Whenever we are fishing a nymph rig, we want to make sure that our flies are getting down to the bottom. However, there is a fine line between having too much weight and not enough weight.
So, if we have the correct amount of weight, we should be getting hung up on every 3-4 drifts, roughly speaking. It is very crucial to have the correct amount of weight when we are nymph fishing, or we might as well be playing golf!
Keep in mind, whenever you are casting to a new location, or if you move even just a few feet up or down stream, you may need to adjust your weights. The amount of weight you need depends on two main conditions; the depth of the water where you are drifting, and the speed of the current. The deeper the water, and the faster the current, the more weight you will need.
Every day of the year, all around the world, anglers of all ability levels head out on the water with a professional fly fishing guide. One thing that remains true, no matter where you are in the world, is that nothing beats local knowledge!
The basics of fly fishing are pretty much the same wherever you are:
I am not downplaying the importance of the basics, as they are critical to your success, and you should not hesitate to ask your guide for advice whenever you are not sure if you are doing the correct thing. However, your guide brings an essential element to the game that only a fool would overlook.
Allow me to share a personal experience that will help me make my point…
Early in my guiding career, I was fortunate enough to participate in a charity fly fishing tournament in Colorado that brought fly fishing celebrities from around the country to our neck of the woods.
The celebrities were paired up with folks who made donations to the charity. In my case, I desperately wanted to be paired up with a celebrity from Central PA who I worshipped from a young age (I am a PA native). By the way, I basically taught myself fly fishing by wearing the cover off one of the celebrities books on fly fishing.
Our client was a beginner fly fishermen from Miami, not exactly trout central. For reasons unknown to me, I had the confidence in my young abilities to suggest that I should be the one to guide our client, and the celebrity reluctantly agreed. At first, the celebrity looked at my rig and made a couple of questioning comments about the size and pattern of flies that I was using.
After the first couple hours of the first day, our beginner client was outfishing the celebrity by about 10 fish to one! Much to the celebrity’s credit, he pretty quickly realized that the river we were fishing was finicky, and the methods he was using were not likely to produce a lot of fish to the net. So, he quietly pulled me aside and said something to effect of, “you have any more of those da*% little flies? I should know better than to question a man on his home river.”
Of course I had more of those little flies, which I gave him (I should say traded him for some of his flies that are prized possessions of mine to this day), and over the course of the next couple days, we proceeded to have a wonderful time. We all became friends, and the celebrity never questioned my knowledge again.
His comment about not questioning a man on his home river has rung loud and true to me ever since, and I hear him saying it in my mind whenever I am on a new piece of water.
So, what does this mean to folks who are paying for a guide?
I truly believe that it means you should trust your guide no matter how unorthodox or odd a particular rig, method or location may seem to you. Your guide wants you to catch fish and have a great day… trust me on this. Any true professional guide should be able and willing to teach the basics of fly fishing. What you are really and truly paying for, is the guides local knowledge of his home rivers, flats, lakes, streams or ocean.
If you want to maximize your day fishing with a guide, always have faith that they know the water they are guiding on and use the tactics, methods and flies that they suggest without hesitation. You may have some hesitation at times, but why not let the fish decide if you are doing the right thing!
Often when I am tying up a nymph rig, it consists of two flies. While there are certain days that one fly pattern works best, there are many more days that a number of different flies will catch fish. The easiest way to try multiple flies is to fish multiple at once.
When choosing flies for a two fly nymph rig, I will usually select two patterns that are different from each other. For example:
I think you get the idea.
What’s that old saying? “Variety is the spice of life?”
Fishing a variety of different flies on nymph rigs can also be the key to catching a couple extra fish.
Do two fly rigs tangle easier? Well, maybe a little bit. Although, most anglers would not notice a difference in tangles. A lot of the time a tangle is a tangle, it doesn’t matter how many flies are attached. I do not hesitate to fish two fly rigs.
Like many other situational aspects in fly fishing, there are times when I will choose to fish one fly rigs. That sounds like a good discussion for another day.
The spring is a great time to nymph with two fly rigs. The next time you are on the water give some thought to nymphing with a two fly rig. Consider which two flies you choose to fish. If you need to get some time on the water, talk to Joel and he can help you out.
In the world of fly fishing, there are now an endless number of gadgets available to perform just about any task. So where does an angler even start when deciding which gadgets are necessary?
Here are four gadgets that I feel are worth carrying for nearly everyday spent on the water.
If it’s time to add a few gadgets to your arsenal in preparation for a day on the water, talk to Joel in the fly shop and he can get you set up.
Fish can get away when a strike is missed. Fish can get away when they wrap themselves around logs and rocks. Fish can get away when they jumped through the air out of control. Fish can get away if a hook bends, line tangles, or tippet breaks. Fish get away when they jump out of the net before the picture is taken.
I think you get the idea, sometimes fish get away. A lot of anglers think that guides are just being nice when they say, “Bummer man, but sometimes they just get away. You didn’t do anything wrong.”
While your guide is being nice for saying that, the truth is sometimes the fish win too. In my opinion, the fact that the fish can win is part of what makes fly fishing a sport that anglers can become so passionate about.
As many of you know, I spent way more days on the water than off. I have a lot of fond stories of fish that anglers have caught. I also have a lot of memories of fish that got away. The fish that got away make pretty good stories for another day as well.
It’s the fish that have gotten away that really keep me awake at night. There’s no doubt that landing nice fish, and having great days on the water keep anglers coming back. But, I think the fish that get away keep anglers coming back as well.
My advice. When a fish gets away, just remember they have to win sometimes too. The fish that get away will keep anglers coming back, and make great stories for another day. Having fish get away helps us cherish the ones where everything works out.
If you’re in need of time on the water, talk to Joel so can help you set something up.
If you have spent any time talking with me about times of the year to fish, it’s no secret that March is one of my favorite months.
Part of this could be the angler in me that is thrilled to be back on the water after winter, but it’s also for good reason. March is a great month to get the season kicked off and get rid of cabin fever.
The weather in March can still be a bit chilly, but it’s not uncommon to have a strong mixture of warmer, mild weather as well. As winter weather breaks, the fish start to turn back on for the spring making March a great month to fish. In addition, our streams are typically full of water and in great shape during the early spring.
It’s also not uncommon for anglers to catch big fish that are eager to eat again after slowing down for the winter. While it is possible to catch a big fish just about any day on the water, the month of March tends to give up a few extra big fish for those able to get on the water.
While March is not usually the first month talked about when discussing “hatch season,” it can offer solid bugs. During a normal year, Blue Winged Olives usually start hatching towards the last half March. If you happen to be on the water for a BWO hatch in March, it can be a lot of fun.
If you are ready to get the season started with one of my favorite months to fish, talk to Joel and he can get you fixed up.