A big thank you to Brian McElroy for inviting me to come to Delco Manning TU's monthly meeting last night. I had a great time speaking to the group and hope that they enjoyed my presentation. Thank you to everyone that picked up a copy of "Keystone Fly Fishing" too. Tight lines!
This discussion was previously posted on Facebook prior to the Summit:
With the first Pennsylvania Wild Trout Summit scheduled this coming Saturday, August 26, I look to this gathering of people, opinions and values with a mixture of thought. By nature, I’m an optimist and it’s what drives me to do whatever I do each day. Because of that I carry an abundant dose of hope and enthusiasm that isn’t easily derailed. I guess it’s my Scottish bloodline or perhaps an outright stubbornness that can never allow myself go at things without the excitement to see it through or retain the belief that something can be done. Skepticism and anxiety fill in a very small corner in the back of my mind to keep me somewhat grounded and maybe a little closer to realistic expectations about matters in life. In the end, it’s the optimism that always wins. I can only imagine that Dale Carnegie is smiling from a perch somewhere.
What’s the connection with my personal hope and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s Wild Trout Summit? It’s very simple, at least in my mind. When I think about the Summit and the future of trout fishing in Pennsylvania, wild trout and other matters, my mind keeps tossing one word around over, and over again: Potential
As an adjective, it is defined as “having or showing the capacity to become or develop into something in the future.”
I see potential in a number of different areas. Let me explain …….
First; the potential within our state. Pennsylvania has over 86,000 miles of streams and rivers within its borders. While a number of those streams and rivers were never capable of holding wild trout, a majority of them can and many of them do. We have so much more water than most states do, and many of those waters held wild trout in the past. It could happen again. We’ve healed so many streams since the passage of the Clean Water Act and unless the current political and economic drivers in our country alter that course the potential is there to do more. While there are valid reasons to stock trout, there are places where they do not fit. Some streams close to population centers afford an opportunity for children to catch a fish, learn the sport and hopefully learn to respect and protect it. Some streams simply cannot hold trout throughout the summer, which presents opportunities for put and take fishing.
The potential of revised fisheries management. Every year I try to scrounge up money to travel to the west to experience wild trout in a wilder environment. I marvel at the way that states like Montana and Idaho choose to manage their fisheries, which is purely driven by economics too. Why would I travel to Idaho to fish for stocked fish? How many others would? Managing the fisheries as a resource has allowed them to create a destination fishery that many of us dream of visiting and enjoying. Small towns across the west derive so much of their income from fishing. Why can’t we have that here? Our Fish & Boat Commission is financially driven too, and it’s foolish to think that they shouldn’t be. How can they exist as an organization without working capital? When most of the revenue stream (no pun intended) comes from license sales and the trout stocking program that drives those license sales, it will be a major paradigm shift in philosophy to alter that business model from recreation based to resource based. They provide a service that is driven by angler expectation. That’s where we come into the picture.
The potential of anglers to embrace a different view. As a boy, I seldom saw fly fisherman unless our travels took us to a stream that was famous for fly fishing. Anglers carried creels and catch and release was a foreign concept to most. Today we see fly fisherman everywhere and they are fishing for fish species they didn’t pursue 40 years ago. Catch and release is so much more prevalent today, but there’s still a lot of work to do. The last driver to seeing the kind of fishing we experience on better rivers east or west is to rethink what we want. If we expect our streams to be filled with artificial populations of fish, the Fish Commission will be obligated to produce them for us. If we are looking for a different fishing experience, the door opens to other potential management solutions to provide that experience. In the end this is our call.
The potential of the fish. Wild trout have the genetics and instincts to survive and only need to be managed in a manner that allows nature to what nature does, on their own and given the time to do so. We just need to provide them with protection and the opportunity to realize their own natural potential. We need to ensure that they are unaffected by fishing regulations that hinder that potential or an angler driven desire to have stocked fish wherever someone can back up a truck, carry a bucket or float stock trout.
There’s a lot of potential here.
This past Saturday I tied flies and presented at the Ned Smith Nature & Art Festival in Millersburg, Pennsylvania. Most Pennsylvania outdoors enthusiasts are most likely familiar with Ned and his artwork and love of nature. One of the most talented and humble people the Keystone State ever produced. I always enjoy going to the show, even though there are only a small number of people there with a strong interest in fly fishing, I like to talk to those who are and those that just have a curiousity about our sport. I also usually see a few close friends that I see only once a year; and it's always a treat to tie flies with Ken Calnon, another great human being. If you've never attended, plan to come next year, a great way to spend a day outdoor!
I just got back from a few days visiting some old haunts in Potter and Clinton counties in northern Pennsylvania. I camped on Hammersley Fork, a stream where I caught my first wild brook trout many years ago. I also spent some time on Cross Fork creek and the Little Kettle; places that hold a lot of great memories for me, and remind me of old friends that have moved on to even better streams. There's something therapeutic about a headwater stream, a smooth bamboo rod and the bright colors of those wild fish that is just good for the soul. I shot a number of images for my new presentations for 2018, more to follow on that later. Till then .....
A few new things, a few old things. First off I gave a program last week at the Pennsylvania Rivers Conservation Camp for kids held every year in Boiling springs, Pennsylvania. It's so important to bring young people into our sport! I've been struggling to decide what to talk about in my presentations in 2018, but have finally pulled that together and have been busy collecting the images I'll need to make an interesting and informative program. I enjoy doing these and hope to make something that people will enjoy. A few new mayfly specie images have been added to the archive; including this weeks post of an Anthopotamus distinctus spinner, as well as a few others I'll roll out in future posts. Till next time ......
This past Saturday I was at the Pennsylvania Fly Fishing Museum Association's annual "Heritage Day" event is Carlisle, Pa.. This year's event moved to a new venue along the banks of the legendary Letort Spring Run. It was a really great event and it was good to see so many friends in one place. If you've never been to a Heritage Day event, be sure to come next June! The museum itself has moved to a new venue as well and is a great tribute to Pennsylvania's fly fishing heritage and the people that have shaped and told it's story.
It's amazing what can happen when a person gets really busy ..... in my case I just realized it's been months since I last posted on here. What's been going on? A ton of fly tying work, a list of presentations at clubs and TU chapters, a trip to some rivers in Utah, fishing some familiar and special places and exploring some new ones. It seems that my FaceBook page has become the "blog" and I've neglected posting on here. I also finished a new article that will appear in "Eastern Fly Fishing" this fall on a very special mountain stream I enjoy and am in the process of collecting the material and images to develop my presentation for next years show and speaking engagement calendar. A partial list of stream visits so far: Green and Provo rivers in Utah, Sherman creek, Laurel Run, Conococheague creek, Lackawanna River, Brodheads, Little Bushkill, Pohopoco creek, Pocono creek, Martins creek and a bunch of others. Stay tuned, Lord willing there will be a few more. Till then ........
A big thank you to Christine and the staff at The Sporting Gentleman for inviting me to do a presentation and a fly tying demo at their shop in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania this weekend. So good to see so many friends there and make a few new ones! Thank you to everyone that picked up a copy of "Keystone Fly Fishing" or "Matching Major Eastern Hatches". I had a blast and hope we can something at the shop again. If your travels find you in the Philadelphia area be sure to stop by and visit their fly shop!
A really big thank you to Andrew, Nancy Moy and Brian of Tight Lines Fly Shop in Parsippany, New Jersey for inviting me to present and demonstrate at their store and to everyone that stopped in yesterday. So good to see so many friends there and to make some new ones. Thank you to everyone that picked up a copy of Keystone Fly Fishing too! For those of you who have never heard of Tight Lines, they have one of the best selections of quality fly tying materials, flies and accessories around and one of coolest rod racks I've ever seen. If you are in the area stop in and see for yourself of check them out at www.tightlinesflyfishing.com
This week has been a whirlwind week for me; beginning with the annual Sky Blue Outfitters "Get Ready" event this past Saturday. Last night was a packed room for my presentation at Cumberland Valley TU's monthly meeting in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania, followed by another standing room only crowd at my presentation at the monthly Main Line Fly Tyers meeting in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania. This coming Saturday will be a book signing event at TCO Outfitters in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania. I am truly honored to be able to take the simple love of a hobby and bring it to people at these events, to meet so many great people that share the passion of fly fishing and to be a part of a remarkable book project like "Keystone Fly Fishing". Thank you to all of the folks that have attended these events!
After three long years in the works "Keystone Fly Fishing" has been released and I can say that all of the time invested has certainly been worth it. The reviews so far have been highly positive and everyday I'm dropping copies in the mail to customers. The schedule is really stacking up more than I ever dreamed, and my "Appearances" page is getting revised a few times each week with new speaking engagements and demonstrations. I'm getting really excited about the start of the show season and looking forward to seeing friends there and making some new ones. Till then .......
A huge thank you to the members of the Angler's Club of Philadelphia that came to my presentation today at the Philadelphia Racquet Club. This was the first presentation of "Eastern Pennsylvania Hatches & Streams". A great group of people and an honor to speak there today!
A big thank you to all of the members of Mid-Hudson Trout Unlimited that came out to my presentation last night titled "Terrestrials, Patterns and Tactics" in Poughkeepsie, New York. I had a great time and hope that the members did too. A big thank you to Doug Mershimer for inviting me to speak to the group!
A big thank you to Charles Griffen for inviting me to present to his group at Eye Fly Fish at the historic River Edge Inn in Alexandria, Pa. A very good and enthusiastic group of eye doctors with an infectious passion for fly fishing. Thank you for inviting me to speak to the group!
A big thank you to Jake and dusty at the TCO Boiling Springs store for having me out last Saturday and to everyone that stopped by for my tying demo and presentation on Terrestrials!
I've been off the grid for a bit now; and just returned from what I would describe as an odyssey, visiting some favorite streams and rivers and sharing them with some great friends along the way. Where did I fish? The West and East Branches of the Delaware River, the Main Stem of the Delaware, Slate Run, Cedar Run, Pine creek, Spring creek, Big Fishing creek and the Little Juniata River. Over the next few weeks I'll be posting some images from that road trip and hope that you enjoy them. Till then ......
Last night I gave a presentation titled "Terrestrials, Patterns and Tactics" at Donegal Spring Trout Unlimited. I had a great time speaking to a very enthusiastic group of people who have done a remarkable job rehabilitating their home stream. A big thank you to Derek Eberly for inviting me to speak to the group.
Today was a very well spent day shooting images on the stream with Jay Nichols of Headwater Books. Perfect lighting for most of the day and some great shots for a new book project due to release next year. We've been working on this one for the past few years and it promises to be well worth the wait. Stay tuned .....
A big thank you to the members of the Delaware Valley Fly Fishers that came to my presentation "Matching Major Eastern Hatches" last night. A special thank you to Wayne Radel for inviting me to speak to the group. I had a great time and hope that everyone enjoyed themselves and the presentation. Thank you
Yesterday I was invited to do a tying demonstration at the new TCO Fly Shop in Boiling Springs, Pa. Tony Gehman has done a remarkable job of bringing this great shop back to it's former glory. A big thank you to Jake Villwock for inviting me to tie there. A really nice way to spend the day!
I just got back from a few days at the Henryville Fly Fishers Club. A really great time and some very nice fish on Quill Gordons and Blue Quills. One really boss brown at the Pines Pool. Really great to fish with Peter and John Leibundgut and Jeff German and always a treat to fish this legendary club. Today it's back to the vise to try to get caught up on fly orders and process images from the trip. Till next time ...
What will I be covering in "Eastern Fly Fishing" magazine. The Summer Issue will feature an article on Pennsylvania's Trout Town, Carlisle, Pa. with an overview of fishing opportunities that the streams of the Cumberland Valley. Future articles will discuss streams that I fish here in the east, fly patterns, and hopefully a lot of good images of aquatic insects that readers will enjoy. Stay tuned ....
I posted on my weekly image post and on Facebook that I officially signed up as a contributing author and photographer for "Eastern Fly Fishing" magazine. I'm very honored to be asked to take on this role and truly blessed to have been able to turn an obsession into a part time vocation. I'm very thankful to have been invited by Editor-in-Chief John Schewey to work with him and for the support of Mike Valla and Jay Nichols to refer me for the work. The current issue has one of my images of a March Brown in the "Trout Foods" article and the upcoming Summer Issue will have my first feature article. Stay tuned for more to come .....
Thank you to everyone that came to the PFFMA Open House this past weekend. A great time and so good to see so many of my friends. Pennsylvania has a rich history in the world of fly fishing and the museum association has done a remarkable job of preserving this with the displays of memorabilia from so many of the sports contributors.
It's been forever since I've posted anything on here, so what have I been up to? A few shows, a little bit of fishing, a lot of fly tying, some writing and some new bug images that I'm really happy about. Here's where I see who reads this: News flash; I'm officially signed on as a contributing writer and photographer for Eastern Fly Fishing Magazine and the current issue has some of my photo work featured in it. I'm very stoked about this, and more to follow in my first feature article in the summer edition. I'll promise to try to be more vigilant and post more regularly than I have in the past six months, hang in there! Till then ........
I just got back from the Somerset Fly Fishing Show and had a really great time; it was so good to see so many friends and customers there and make a few new ones. Thank you to everyone who stopped by to talk, get a book signed or attend one of my presentations. A really great way to spend a weekend.
The past week has been a bit of a blur; last week on October 8 I gave a presentation at the Hacklebarney Chapter of Trout Unlimited in Whippany, New Jersey, Saturday the 10th at the Beaverkill Anglers 4th annual "Troutoberfest" event in Roscoe "Trout Town USA", New York, and today presented at the Anglers Club of Philadelphia. A busy stretch of road! In between that a little fishing time on the Main Stem and West Branch of the Delaware, where some big stresmers worked some magic. I'm hoping to get some fall brook trout fishing in next weekend and then it will be a lot of tying time between now and show season. A huge thank you to everyone who came to one of my presentations this past week!
Maintaining a full time job and life seem to occupy nearly all of time and unfortunately the "Currents" postings have been neglected for an entire month. I'll work on that. In the meantime here's a plea: I really love Matarelli bobbins and have been hitting a dead end trying to find more. Perhaps they are no longer made? If any of you are interesting in selling or trading any Matarelli boobins shoot me an email. I want to locate the model used for Pearsall's silk spools and the Midge model. Drop me a line if you are interested! Thank you
The past few weeks have been very busy and I finally have all of my fly orders complete and shipped. I've been fishing mostly small brook trout streams lately but the recent rainfall here in Pennsylvania will likely change the focus soon. This past Saturday I was at the Pennsylvania Fly Fishing Museum Associations annual Heritage Day and had a great time seeing many friends and customers and casting some sweet cane rods. Thank you to everyone who stopped by. A really great event!
I had the chance to fish Spring Creek for the first time in a few years yesterday and not at all afraid to report that it treated me well. While there were no bugs active at the time; a Sulphur nymph was something they really seemed to like, including a really nice brown that went 17". Wishing I could have stayed longer ...
A big thank you to all of the members of Spring Creek TU that came to my presentation "Matching Major Eastern Hatches" in State College, Pennsylvania. A really great group of people and an honor to speak in front of well known authors Greg Hoover and Dwight Landis. Thank you to Bob Vierck, Mark Pencak and all of the members who bought a copy of my book tonight!
With the early drought and elevated temperatures we are having here in eastern Pennsylvania many streams are warming up early and conditions seem more like late July. I've been focusing most of my fishing on small mountain streams for wild brook trout or "Natives" as they call them here. Not a bad alternative at all, but sure hoping that the rain that started last night continues for another day or so to get stream flows and temperatures back to a normal level for this time of year.
Brookies have always been my favorite fish to hunt and there's nothing more relaxing than carrying a short rod, a simple box of flies and exploring in those tangled places that have no paths or footprints. Here in Pennsylvania the people in Appalachia refer to them as "natives" which is most appropriate. I just spent most of the day on a new stream in central Pa. which was full of the "native" trout of the east. Not a bad way to spend a day .....
I spent most of the past few days on the water and had a great time fishing with a few friends. Friday was spent in central Pennsylvania with Eric Richard on a very special stream. The hatches weren't heavy, but enough to bring numbers of good fish up. Hendricksons, Caddis Emergers and big stonefly nymphs were the ticket and we had a number of fish up to 18". Saturday was spent fishing the Henryville Fly Fishers water in the Poconos with my friend Peter Leibundgut. Light hatches of Quill Gordons, Blue Quills and caddis. A beautiful 19" fish on the legendary Buttonwood Pool and a number of smaller fish on Pheasant Tail nymphs fished dry / dropper.
One of my favorite eastern bugs is the Hendricksons, and yesterday offered my first chance to fish this really amazing hatch and get my first fish of the season on top. I spent the day on Manatawny creek in southeastern Pennsylvania and had a good time fishing the hatch during the day and a light spinner fall in the evening. The hot fly was my CDC Thorax Dun in the pink female variation.
After missing a few months with the shoulder injury, I've most of my free time getting dug out of the backlog of fly orders. Today became a chance to do some fishing for the first time this year, so an early morning drive to the Poconos to first a really cool little stream, the Pohopoco. While there were a lot of Early Blue Quill spinners in the air, there were no rising fish. All of my fish today came on Pheasant Tail soft-hackle wets fished on the swing. A great way to spend a day, especially after being out of the game for a while.
I spent today at the 50th anniversary event of the Donegal Fish Conservation Association held in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania. Great to be able to attend, tie flies and see a lot of friends there. Thank you to everyone that stopped by to say hello. A very nice event!
I just returned from spending the weekend at The Fly Fishing Show held in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. A really great weekend and a good time seeing a lot of friends there. A big thank you to everyone that came to one of my presentations, everyone who bought a copy of "Matching Major Eastern Hatches" or stopped by to say hello. Thank you!
A big thank you to the members of the Delaware Valley Fly Fishers club that came to my presentation last night on the Sulphur hatch. A really great group of people and a very fun evening. A special thank you to Wayne Radel for inviting me to speak to the group, and thank you to everyone that bought a copy of "Matching Major Eastern Hatches" of brought a copy to get signed. Thank you!
Four weeks after two fractures in my right shoulder things are starting to look up. Things are still limited but range of motion is constantly improving and I hope to be tying flies again any day. Until then a few speaking engagements: Delaware Vally Fly Fishers will be hosting me for a talk on the Sulphur hatch on February 25. February 28 to March 1 I'll be at the Fly Fishing Show in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and will be giving a presentation each day on Terrestrial Techniques and Patterns. Hope to see some of you there!
Sunday morning eastern Pennsylvania got hit with an ice storm that caused a number of accidents. I took a pretty good spill and will be laid up for a while with a broken shoulder. Needless to say I will not be able to do any tying for a while until this can heal. My apologies to customers. Hopefully this heals quickly and I can get back in the game. I will be at the shows in Somerset and Lancaster and will be doing talks at clubs. Check my "Appearances" page for my schedule. Till next time ....
This week I've posted a few gift ideas for that fly fisher in your life that "has it all". Signed copies of my book which can be personally inscribed, doubled matted and signed insect images and signature pattern flies with a signature card for mounting and framing or collecting. Check it out on Ebay!
Today was likely the last day of the season for me, a blustery and chilly November afternoon guiding a client. It's always fun for me to work with someone to help them with their game, improving their casting technique, line management, presentation or reading the water. Thank you Sean for a nice afternoon on the stream. Back inside to thaw the frozen feet, get some feeling back in the fingers and get back to the vise to re-supply for next season.......
A big thank you to the members of Hacklebarney TU that came out to my presentation "Matching Major Eastern Hatches" last night in Whippany, New Jersey. A really great group and a lot of fun. Thank you to Rich Tullo for inviting me to speak to the group and a big thank you to Mike Sankowich for his hospitality!
I don't normally express my political views outside of my immediate circle of friends, but have to confess my elation with the results of the Pennsylvania Governors election results. So glad to see Tom Corbett get the results he's earned by his performance on the job over the past four years. His blatant arrogance and complete disregard for Pennsylvania's streams and environment has made so many of us sick. Fracking is such a frightening process and whether you call yourself an environmentalist or not, his policies have set the stage for a train wreck that will affect all of us overtime. So glad to see a Governor who hasn't give a shit about Pennsylvania get the boot in the ass he deserves. He can't leave Harrisburg fast enough!
I did a fly tying demonstration and my presentation "Matching Major Eastern Hatches" tonight at Mid Hudson Trout Unlimited. A really good time and a great bunch of people that came to this event. A big thank you to Doug Mershimer for inviting me to speak to the group!
Thank you to everyone from Stanley Cooper Trout Unlimited in Kingston, Pa. for having me as a speaker last night! A really great group of people that came out to see my presentation on Terrestrials. A big thank you to Joe Gruszkiewicz, Chapter President for inviting me to speak to the members!
I just got back from a trip to the Catskills, a great place that has given me some great memories and a place of great rivers and streams. At an event I saw a push on the new Zen "Tenkara" and keep asking myself the question "Why"? Like why limit yourself to fishing like people did before they invented the reel? Seems stupid at best unless you are fishing for sunnies with a child and playing it simple. How fast can you run in waders to chase a Delaware rainbow? Craziness ................ why?
October 11 and 12 is the 3rd annual "Troutoberfest" at the Beaverkill Angler in Roscoe "Trout Town USA", New York. Check out their website for details. I will be doing a tying demo followed by a presentation on Saturday, the 11th. This is a great fly shop and a really great event! I hope to see you there.
The Pennsylvania Fly Fishing Museum association will be holding it's annual banquet on October 4 in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania. This year Lefty Kreh and Ed Jaworoski will be inducted into the Pennsylvania Fly Fishing Hall of Fame. The banquet will have a fundraising auction will feature a number of interesting items. I'll be offering a day on the Tulpehocken Creek for two anglers for auction. A great event and a great cause!
A solid question! The manuscript I've been working on is finally finished and off to the editor. I'll keep you posted when timelines and such come into focus. Trust me it will be worth your wait. What else is going on? I'm writing a new presentation on terrestrial insects, imitations and tactics which is already booked for the Somerset, NJ and Lancaster, Pa. Fly Fishing Shows. Getting ready to tie the commemorative flies for the Pennsylvania Fly Fishing Museums annual banquet on October 4. A day on the stream with yours truly will be offered at auction to raise money for the museum. A few orders finally out the door and getting a few Iso and Baetis patterns in my own fly boxes. Till next time ......
People often ask one another the question and the answer from me lately is a multitude of things. I'm on the homestretch of my part of a new book manuscript which will likely see publication next year. I can't spill it all out here, but trust me you will probably enjoy it. I've spent a lot of time scouring and scouting new streams and finding some remarkable places and some beautiful fish. For the upcoming show season a new presentation is in process and you will see it at some of those shows....... more to follow. What's in the vise now? A few of my favorite bugs; ants, hoppers and beetles which I love to tie and fish. Stayed tuned, until then ............... go fish!
The Isonychia article in Fly Fisherman Magazine just came out last week and I've been overwhelmed by all of the responses I've received from this and glad to hear that people enjoyed it. Thank you to everyone that's called or emailed and thank you to Ross Purnell and the people at Intermedia for giving me the chance to be in the magazine again and for the great work they did with the layout.
I spent this morning on Cedar Creek near Allentown,
Pa. Cedar is a little gem of a limestone stream that has a very healthy population of wild browns. A very good morning with Letort Crickets, Foam Beetles and scud patterns working some nice magic. Cedar is blessed with beautiful wild fish but unfortunately someone is stocking this over-sized hatchery stockers in the water directly below Dorney Park among the wild fish that exist there. I caught a few of these pigs and while most anglers wouldn't complain about catching a 22" brown,or a few more in the 18 to 20" class, this is not in the best interest of the streams native fish.
What's been going on here lately? I've been working on another writing project which I hope people enjoy when it is complete and published. I've been traveling to visit some streams and in the course of that have found some streams that were completely new to me and some streams that have a remarkable story to tell. More about that later. Where have I fished in the past two weeks? The upper Little Schuykill River, Lizard creek, Muddy Creek and the North Branch of the same, Northkill creek and Tom's Run. Some very interesting water and in every case some beautiful wild trout and in most cases, no one else on the water. Yesterday I did a photo shoot on a few streams with Jay Nichols of Stackpole Books and really had a great time.
Life is a fickle thing and the past three months can only be characterized as a fickle thing. A series of personal issues has kept me out of the game, out of the water and off of most peoples radar. Life sometimes just happens ............. Things have changed and I'm slowly trying to make up some lost time. What have I done lately? I'm nearly through a crazy backlog of fly orders, finding some time to fish again and starting to do some writing again. Fly fishing is really my center amid everything that goes on in a busy life and I'm working hard to get back to my center. Look for the August-September issue of Fly Fisherman Magazine and you will find a new article on my killer "Swimming Isonychia" nymph. Super stoked about that and hope everyone enjoys it! More to follow soon ............
I just got home from spending a few really fun days with the members of the White Clay Fly Fishers club. Friday we had a fly tying class at the London Tract Meeting House in the White Clay Creek Preserve with 15 club members participating. Yesterday I was treated to a tour of the Stroud Water Research Center, a well respected facility with a very impressive aquatic entomology department. The club held their annual banquet that evening in Hokessin and I gave a presentation titled "Matching Major Eastern Hatches". A very nice weekend with a really great group of people! A big thank you to Doug Janiec, Dick Prettyman, Will Milliken, Ken Prager and Joe and Barbara Allison for their hospitality.
I just got back from the Lancaster, Pa. Fly Show and had a really good time there. A big thank you to Ben Furimski for having me there and to everyone that came to one of my presentations or stopped to have their book signed. I really nice event and a great way to spend a weekend. Thank you!
Last night I gave a presentation at the Anglers Club of Philadelphia's monthly dinner meeting. The talk was held at the Philadelphia Racquet Club which was a beautiful venue. A big thank you to all of the club members that were in attendance and a big thank you to Chuck Cutshall for inviting me to be there. A very fun group of people and a very nice evening!
One of the challenges in a busy life is striving to find a balance. Easier said than done right? Work, play, fishing, writing, photography, fly tying.... just a few of the loves in my life. The last year has turned up the heat on some of these more than past experience and forced me to make a few changes. Reluctantly the first of these is to no longer sell flies through MyFlies.com. This was a very good experience for me and I truly enjoyed selling my work there, but the challenge of keeping up with the orders was increasing difficult. Effective immediately I will no longer offer flies from there. Another book project just finished which took much of my time and a new contract just signed to shoot photos for another book. Most likely I will need to limit the amount of fly tying I do going forward for my other customers. More to follow on this................
A big thank you to everyone that came to my presentations, book signings or stopped by to say hello at the Somerset show this past weekend. A great show this year and a really good time seeing so many friends there. Thank you to everyone who bought a copy of the book, we actually sold out on Saturday morning! Keep an eye on the schedule page for the next show or presentation.
Yesterday I did a tying class with a group from the Anglers Club of Philadelphia. A great way to spend a nasty January day of freezing rain and dense fog, tying flies, teaching techniques and tricks with materials with a really fun group of people. We tied a number of CDC patterns including the Thorax Dun, the CDC Adult Caddis, DOA Cripple, the Half & Half Emerger, DNA Spinners and Parachute Ants. Thank you to the club for inviting me to do the class and thank you to Betsy Miralgia for hosting it.
A Happy 2014 and all of the best to all of my friends and customers. This looks to have the makings of a year filled with some fun things, some new projects and of course a lot of fishing. Looking forward to seeing people at the upcoming shows this year.
The schedule for 2014 is starting to fill up pretty quickly with a number of presentations and tying classes booked. If you are interested in booking a presentation at your club or Trout Unlimited chapter event shoot me an email of give me a call. I have a number of slide shows that your members will enjoy.
The Christmas season is quickly approaching and there is so much to do and it seems like so little time to bring it all together. If there's someone on your shopping list that you just don't know what to get for them think about a copy of "Matching Major Eastern Hatches" signed and personally inscribed for them. $24.95 plus $3.00 shipping gets a copy in the mail to you and takes one thing of your list! Shoot me an email and I will get one headed your way.
It's a very cold and windy Thanksgiving Day morning where I'm sitting. putting the last touches on another book project and reminding myself how long my fly tying backlog is and really glad not to be spending another 10 hour day at the office today. Its too easy at times to get caught up in all of the demands that life and work throw in front of us and fail to understand how blessed we are to have those types of issues. Today I'm reminding myself to be thankful that I have those kinds of problems, and most importantly to be thankful for the people in my life. To all of my friends, family and customers a most Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!
The book project I'm working on now will discuss a lot of streams in Pennsylvania, many of which were new to me or streams I hadn't fished in years. An amazing thing with that is the comparison between how things are and how things used to be. We often say that "things aren't what they used to be" right? In the case of trout streams I would say "thank God they aren't". nature is an amazingly resilient if we just stop messing with it, offer some protection and show it some love. many streams are in the best shape they've been in many years thanks to the Clean Water Act and people that care; Trout Unlimited Chapters, Watershed Associations and others that invest their energies to make a difference. To that I say "Thank you", it really makes a difference....................
I said good bye to a man I knew as the "Old Man" 26 years ago. He wasn't my father but he was more of a father to me than my own and I learned a lot from him, still miss the hell out of him and often think of him when I fish. One of his loves was fishing for wild brookies which he always called "natives". Today I felt like going back to one of the places he loved and did what he would have done. I took a long hike through the beeches and oaks with a short bamboo rod, to a quiet little thread of water and did catch some of those "natives". They looked like little jewels with their bright spots and orange fins and I smiled to myself as I walked back out of the forest, feeling like I had fished with an old friend again. Thanks Hen.......
My new book project has me visiting a lot of streams for the first time and some of them have been pleasant surprises. One of those was a stream I fished for the first time today; Saucon Creek near Hellertown, Pa. A beautiful limestone stream with a very healthy population of wild browns. A pretty solid hatch of Blue Wing Olives and a decent Trico spinner fall in the after noon made for some very good fishing. Most of today's fish came on my Parachute Ants in the Black and the Red-Headed variations and others on a light olive CDC Compara Dun. A great day on some new water.... I'll be back!
An interesting question...... writing a lot lately and squeezing in enough fishing to keep my smile on most of the time. I spent a morning last week on the upper Tulpehocken Creek above Blue Marsh Dam with Kris Hepler shooting pictures and exploring, fished yesterday with Rob Lepcyzk on the Codorus in southern York County, Pa. chasing some wild browns. A lot of cool things in the mill for 2014, so stay tuned!
This morning I said goodbye to the Catskills for the year. The wind on the West Branch howled and the temp felt like it dropped 30 degrees overnight. The Gamelands was pretty dead, but a few casts upriver in Deposit brought two nice browns to the net, one just a hair over 18" in dressed in bright October colors. It's hard to say goodbye to the river, but I'll dream about it all winter while I sit hunkered over the vise cranking out Hendricksons and thinking about spring. Till then...................
I spent yesterday at the Beaverkill Angler in "Trout Town USA"; Roscoe, New York for their second "Troutober Fest" celebration. A big thank you to Matt and Evan for having me there and to everyone that stopped in to say hello. For everyone attending today keep the votes coming on the bugger contest and be sure to vote for the articulated "Micro Bugger"!
A little evening time was spent on one of my favorite Catskill streams; the Willowemoc and the evening was capped off with a beautiful brown in its best autumn colors. A really great way to spend a day in October.
I just realized that it's been a while since I've posted anything on here and it's certainly not for a lack of inspiration but a lack of time. Here's the long story short:
I've been pounding away on the new book project like a man possessed, and now that stream temperatures have come back down fishing like it's my last season. Where have I fished? Tulpehocken Creek, Lititz Run, Monocacy Creek, the Little Lehigh, Donegal Creek, Quittapahilla Creek, Schuykill River, Hay Creek, Little Schuykill River, Bear Creek.......... yeah you get the picture right? Good flies? A few of those too........ Letort Hoppers and Crickets, CDC Beetles, my killer Parachute Ants in Red Head, Black and Cinnamon, CDC Adult Caddis, Trico Spinners and an array of midge pupa patterns like the Primrose and Pearl, Mercury Midge and Al's Rat. A ton of fish, hundreds of pictures to keep you entertained all winter and hopefully some good copy for the book. The season for next year is taking shape and already some pretty cool speaking engagements book and a good show schedule. Stay tuned for more! Till then .........
Today I taught a Beginner Fly Fishing School on the Tulpehocken Creek which was a lot of fun in spite of the rain in the middle of the day. Thank you to Justin, Barney, Ben, Elley and Greg for a fun experience and the best of luck to all of you with your fishing in the future. I really enjoy teaching these classes and enjoyed this group of people who were good students and fun people. Thank you.................
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania carries a reputation of farms, produce stands and Amish and Mennonites. One of it's secrets is some beautiful trout streams. This past weekend I had the chance to fish the Octoraro which is a beautiful little gem of a stream that seems totally out of place in this part of Pa. Thank you Charlie H. for a really nice morning on this little creek. It was a lot of fun and we will do it again!
This has indeed been a crazy year for me; a lot of things going on with my full time work, the fly fishing biz and the weather. Lately it's been more about the rain. I took a dare and a short rod for a walk yesterday and drifted some flies in a small stream close to home that is colored up from all of the rain just because it felt like the right thing to do. The fish agreed and rolled out the welcome mat for me, and a bunch of chunky little wild browns were a much needed break from all of the other distractions in life, and of course the rain.
On another note it's America's birthday today. A Happy 4th of July to everyone!
We all have people in our lives that have been influential of inspiring in some way, shape or form. One person that really taught me much over the years about fly tying materials, blending, dieing and bleaching was Jack Mickievicz. Jack was the inventor of the spring wire bobbin, helped develop the Renzetti Vise and was the first real producer of dubbing blends that were tailored to match natural insects. Jack is a walking encyclopedia of knowledge that very few in the industry have, and it was nice to visit an old friend. Thanks Jack!
A very Happy Father's Day to everyone. Mine started off today fishing with one of my friends on Valley Creek in Valley Forge Park. A very cool little stream and some beautifully colored wild fish that said hello. Delivered some flies that are on their way to Idaho and the Henry's Fork and spent the rest of the evening relaxing and enjoying my kids. A great day all around.
A crazy busy stretch of road over the next week. Today I tied at the Pennsylvania Fly Fishing Museum Associations annual Heritage Day event and did a presentation on fishing the Trico hatch. Tuesday it's back to Allenberry Resort to do a class at the Youth Conservation Camp for kids and then off to Great Feathers Fly Shop in Sparks, Maryland for a tying class and presentation. Not getting bored these days!
I had a chance to spend another weekend at the Henryville Club this past weekend and had a wonderful time there again. The rain on Friday made the Paradise Branch un-fishable until Saturday evening so we spent the morning on Cranberry Run, a beautiful little mountain stream that fished very well and a bunch of browns that gave us great sport. The evening saw a clear stream and some really good fishing topped off by an 18" brown that really made me work hard. Sunday morning was the best fishing I've experienced here with a number of really good fish. A big thank you to Peter L. and Jeff G. for having me there again, it was a great trip.
I recently accepted a promotion at work and thought the time was never better to treat myself to something as a reward. I received a shiny metal tube in the mail a few days ago which safely stores a 1969 vintage Orvis Superfine cane rod. A beautiful little 6 1/2' wand, perfect for smaller streams. It saw it's first action with me yesterday on the Tulpehocken creek and made a day a good one. I finally got a chance to fish with one of the best people and best fisherman I know who I call G3. we had a great time, the little rod felt wonderful and in the end it was a great way to spend a morning.
I wish I could report that my trip to the Catskills was a great one filled with tales of prolific hatches and dances with great fish, but hopefully the next trip! The weather on Saturday was cold with a lot of wind and light rain that kept the upper West really quiet and relatively uneventful. No bugs, no fish. Sunday morning started with a bang with a beautiful rainbow on the Main Stem in the morning in between the gusts of high wind that made in nearly impossible to make a cast. Mid day I went to look at the Willowemoc which was running high. The evening was spent on the East Branch which didn't light up with bugs, but lit up with a few nice fish. A scattered hatch of March Browns and Green Drakes and the best fish I've ever had on the East that felt like a truck when I set the hook. I didn't get him to the net, but having a bruiser on like that is incredible enough. An evening not measured by quantity but by incredible quality. I'll be back.......
I finally got to fish for a while today after a stretch of work that didn't permit any time to do anything else this week. One of those overcast days today that keeps glare and shadows at bay and keeps the bugs guessing the time of day. A continuous hatch of caddisflies, sulphurs and cahills all evening and an enthusiastic pool of brown that really enjoyed my favorite CDC Caddis pattern.
I taught a beginner fly fishing class today on the Tulpehocken creek through TCO Fly Shop. A really great group of guys today that made it all a fun day. I will be doing one more group class this year. These are a really great and inexpensive way to shorten your learning curve and get help with your casting technique. Check it out on the "Appearances" page.
I got to spend the weekend fishing the Henryville Fly Fishers club water and had a really great trip. There is a lull between the hatches, so it wasn't on fire, but still a really nice trip. A bunch of fish up to 18" and a few of those big guys that I hooked up with briefly. A big thank you to Peter Leibundgut for having me there as his guest! A very special place to be.
Priorities are a part of life; but certainly a difficult part, especially when it's springtime and the hatches are really getting going. There's work, then there's fly tying work, there's yard work and then there's fishing. The struggle has been the balance and this week the work; as in my full time work, has been the clear winner. The fly tying has suffered and the fishing has suffered even more. My apologies for posting my weekly image four days later than normal, but it's been one of those. I hope those of you that read this are enjoying yourself on the stream and the flies are working their magic for you. Drop me an email and let me know how your season is going and enjoy that time you get on the water!
I should be in the Catskills right now and should be talking about Hendricksons and fishing on the Main Stem and getting reading for the Catskill Fly Tyers Rendezvous in Roscoe tomorrow, but issues at home will keep me from attending the show and sending that fishing report. I shipped three fly orders earlier today and want to say thank you to everyone that's ordered flies so far this year. I really do appreciate your business!
Yesterday was a really cool opportunity, a day off! I finished a fly order early in the morning and agreed to meet the customer on the stream to deliver them. It turned out to be a really great day on a fun stream with a really solid mid day hatch of Hendricksons and a bunch of nice brown trout that stopped by to say hello and approve of the flies I showed them. Thanks Dave, it was fun. We will have to do that again soon!
Today was the grand opening of the Pennsylvania Fly Fishing Museum Association's new display at the Allenberry Resort in Boiling Springs. I was really blown away by the exhibits in the new museum and it was great to finally be able to see the memorabilia from the collections of Vince Marinaro. Charlie Fox, Jim Bashline, George Harvey, Chauncy Lively and so many other legends in the sport. Congrats to the association for this exhibit! It was a fun day of tying flies and talking to friends too. A big thank you to Jerry Kerstetter for allowing me to photograph some of the Marinaro Thorax Duns in his collection. Afterwards, I caught a little fishing time on the Yellow Breeches and a thank you to a couple nice brown trout that took my Hendrickson Thorax Duns and gave me my first dry fly fish of the year. Not at bad way to spend a day.
Tonight I gave my presentation at the Fly Fisher's Club of Harrisburg. A well attended event and a lot of old friends in attendance. I am truly honored to have the opportunity to have been the speaker at this event and extend a big thank you to Rich Shires and Bill Skilton for inviting me to be there. Thank you!
This Friday evening I'll be the guest speaker at the Fly Fisher's Club of Harrisburg's 66th Annual Dinner. I will be giving a presentation on my favorite mayfly hatch, the Sulphurs. This is really an honor and I'm flattered by the opportunity to be there. I'm also looking forward to seeing many of my friends in the fly fishing world there. The following day I will be at the Allenberry Resort of the grand opening of the PFFMA's new exhibit tying flies and signing book. This should be a very exciting weekend!
Today is Easter Sunday and the past week has been non-stop tying in an attempt to get my nose above the waterline of fly orders. I know there is light at the end of the tunnel, and hopefully a stream and a little time to spend enjoying it. Springtime is a great time of re-birth and renewal. The animals of the forest that have been quiet all winter begin to stir and the wildflowers begin to show themselves again. It's about the water of life, it's the real story behind Easter. Happy Easter to you and your family.
I gave a talk last night at the Cumberland Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimiteds monthly meeting. The Cumberland Valley and it's difficult streams have been a tremendous influence in the history of our great sport. The challenges posed by fish on these limestone streams altered the way that we approach tying flies and fishing in a very significant way; so it was an honor to speak about that influence in my own thoughts on fly designs. A big thank you to Tom Balz for inviting me to be there. A great group of guys there last night!
Well, it's official, my last day at TCO Fly Shop for a while will be March 24. It wasn't the easiest of decisions to make, but one none the less that had to be made. I've made a lot of friends working there but a new project will need my complete attention for a while. I signed a contract with Headwater Books to co-author a new book! Stay tuned on that one. I will still be booking guided trips through the shop and doing classes, but really need time to do my best writing. A very exciting opportunity!
The next stop on my schedule is at next weeks meeting of the Cumberland Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited. One of my favorite areas in Pennsylvania. I will be giving a talk on some of my favorite patterns from my book. Looking forward to this event!
I did a presentation last night at the monthly meeting of the Pike-Wayne Chapter of Trout Unlimited in Hawley, Pa. A really nice group of people and a lot of fun. I'm very anxious to go back and fish the Lackawaxen when the Sulphurs start hatching. A big thank you to chapter President Matt Wishneski for inviting me to be there!
Day two of the Lancaster show was a great time. My morning started off with a nice conversation with bamboo legend Hoagy Carmichael. I spent most of the weekend with Paul Weamer and Charlie Meck signing books and tying flies. I got to meet a few people in person for the first time; Rich Strolis who is an ace tyer and Pat Cohen who is an incredible artist with deer hair flies. If you've never seen his work you should check out his website at www.rusuperfly.com. Also scored on a few prime Hebert Miner saddles in bronze dun (my favorite hackle)and a really nice Golden Plover skin to keep my soft hackle fly people happy. A nice way to spend a weekend.
Day one of the Lancaster, Pa. show is in the books. A very good time today, seeing a lot of customers and friends there. The IF4 Film Festival was really great this year and I really enjoyed the film "The Last Salmon Forest" and "A Deliberate Life". Great stories and super camera work. If you haven't had a chance to see this year's festival you are missing something very cool.
Working hard on getting flies ready for the Lancaster show this coming weekend and listening to some good music by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. Not at all a bad way to spend an evening eh? Boxing up some fly assortments and filling some of the holes in the stock boxes, well at least trying hard. Hope to see a lot of friends this weekend. Till then .....
This coming weekend is the next stop on the Fly Fishing Show tour, the Lancaster Show which is held at the Lancaster Convention Center. A very nice show and a great place to work on your cabin fever, try out a new rod and watch some of the best in the industry. It's also a great opportunity to connect with old friends and make some new ones. I will be at the TCO Fly Shop booth, so stop by and say hello and enjoy the show!
I did a presentation last night at the monthly meeting of the South Jersey Fly Fishers on fishing and imitating the Sulphur hatches. A really great group of people. A special thank you to Joe Rutala for inviting me to be there, it was a very fun evening. Thank you to everyone who came to the meeting!
Tomorrow evening I will be giving a presentation at the South Jersey Fly Fishers on my favorite hatch; the Sulphurs, and a bunch of the other bugs we often mistake as being Sulphurs on the stream. Looking forward to this and the others I have booked this spring. A nice order went out yesterday to one of my really good customers George K. (Thanks bud!). Working my way down the list of fly orders and getting ready for the Lancaster, Pennsylvania show in 10 days.
I just realized that I haven't posted anything new on here which doesn't mean that I don't have anything to say, more so a case of having little time to say anything. I've burned up a lot of feathers in the past week and put a lot of flies in the mail. I took part of the day Friday to do a little bird hunting and put some new feathers in the inventory as well as some meat in the freezer. The schedule is really starting to fill up (check out the Appearances page)for postings. This coming week I will be at the South Jersey Fly Fishers doing a presentation on fishing the Sulphur Hatch.
We didn't get all of the crazy snow we were forecast to get, but it was cold and windy enough in my part of Pennsylvania to make it a great day to stay in and bang out flies. I've had a ton of fly orders to work on so it's been a bunch of Baetis duns and emergers and some good background music from my man Neil Young and Government Mule for motivation. A good day none the less!
Well the dance card for this year is starting to fill up with some pretty exciting events already booked and a few more in the works. Now that the Somerset show is in the history book, a lot of really cool smaller shows and engagements on the schedule. Check out the "Appearances" page on here to see what's going on and be sure to contact me if you're interested in having me do something at your club or fly shop.
I had an absolutely great time at the Somerset show this weekend and it was great to spend some time with so many of my friends and to make some new ones too. A big thank you to Tony at TCO Fly Shop for having me at his booth and to my my friends Jay and Trish at Stackpole Books for having me at their booth too. To everyone that stopped by to visit a huge thank you!
The Fly Fishing Show in Somerset, New Jersey is right around the corner. This is the "Daddy of 'em All" and is always a great time. I'm really cranked up and looking forward to seeing so many of my friends there. I will be at TCO Fly Shops booth most of the time and spending part of each day at the Stackpole Books booth. Be sure to stop by and say hello! Till then ......
To all of the Anglers Club members who came to my presentation tonight thank you! A special thank you to Chuck Cutshall for inviting me to speak at the dinner meeting. I had a great time and truly appreciate every ones comments, questions and compliments. I hope you learned a few new things about approaching the Sulphur hatches that will improve your understanding of these mayflies and more importantly improve your success on the stream. Again, thank you. HR
This coming Tuesday, January 15 I'll be giving a presentation at the Anglers Club of Philadelphia's Dinner Meeting at the Guard House Inn in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania. This presentation will talk about my favorite mayfly hatch, the "Sulphurs", and how to identify, imitate and successfully fish the hatch. I'm available to present at your club or TU Chapter on this and other topics. Email me at email@example.com to discuss fees and scheduling.
Just in case you didn't notice, there is a new webpage added to Ramsay Flies titled "Tip of the Month" Each month will be a featured tip or technique that I hope you find useful in your own fly tying. I hope you will stop by each month to see what's new and as always I welcome your questions and comments! HR
Hello to a New Year and to a new list of things at Ramsay Flies. First off, get ready for some revisions to the site. In the next few days there will be a new page titled "Tip of the Month" which will be a discussion of some tying tips which I hope you find useful. The "Insect Image" page will be getting a facelift with a new format and additional content from the western side of the country. Another new thing will be some changes in fly prices. I've kept my prices the same now for a few years, and while I hate to do it, it is becoming a necessity. Most fly shops are charging the same money that I do, but for a fly tied in a Third World fly factory instead of a domestically tied fly. I hope everyone understands this. Thanks again to everyone for a really great 2012, and the best to all for an even better 2013! HR.
Today I decided to play hooky from my fly tying and do something different; which was to go bird hunting with a friend. A beautiful afternoon spent walking snowy fields in the Lehigh Valley with my buddy G3 and his springer. 10 birds up, 7 birds down and a fresh crop of pretty pheasant and partridge feathers to spin more flies with. To you and yours, a great and prosperous 2013. Happy New Year to all!
It's 10:45 PM and I decided to call it quits for the evening. I just finished the last of a 15 dozen custom fly order for a MyFlies.com customer and this boy is about beat up. A loooong day at the vise and my eyes are getting blurry and the neck and shoulders are ready for a break. Thanks for the order John!
Sitting here this morning looking out the window at some nice snow that fell yesterday and working on another huge fly order for a new customer. Almost 15 dozen flies this time, and the bulk of them my killer Half & Half Emergers. The pile of flies sitting here looks like a pallet of mayflies in all their eastern shades. Whew! Tying to the White Stripes today, really great tying music. I know Jack White fly fishes. I don't know if he ties, but he sure as hell plays music like he does. It's working for me today. Later ...........
I've been sitting here all Christmas Eve morning spinning out next years flies and listening to Warren Haynes playing some sweet blues. A nice combination. I should be wrapping tomorrows gifts, but the day is still young and I'll get on that when the #18 Sulphur Spinner supply in my stock box looks a little better. I know I'll knot on more than one of these little beauty's next year, and put more than a few more in the mail this coming spring. To everyone that tunes in to this every week I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. However you celebrate that enjoy your time with your family and friends. Remember what Christmas really means and smile about that. For God so loved the world............ It is the reason for the season!
The past week or so has been a frantic place to be with a ton of fly orders to bang out for some of my customers. Forty plus dozen flies shipped out in time to make their way under some Christmas trees and this is one grateful, but tired assed Santa. Thanks al ot folks....... enjoy.
The February / March issue of Fly Fisherman Magazine just came out and I was fortunate to have another image published in this issue. A cool shot of a Quill Gordon (Epeorus pleuralis)Dun was used in an article by Harry Murray titled "Spring Surprises" which talks about fishing in the Shenandoah National Park. Thanks to Ross at FFM for using my work!
This year has been a great one so far and it's starting to wind down. I've been thinking a lot about the upcoming year and making some cool plans. This site is going to undergo a few changes; the "Insect Image" page is going to get a serious facelift as well as the home page. A few other things to roll out and hopefully a few things you will enjoy. Till then.........
Today was such a nice day staying at the office was not even an option. I jammed a days work into a few and made the run out to Newville to fish Big Spring creek, one of our famous limestoners. A lot of really big and terribly spooky fish, but a couple of wild rainbows that liked my Blood Midge Larva made it all worth the trip.
Tis the Christmas shopping season and a good time to think about a nice gift for the people on your list. A few things to think about:
"Matching Major Eastern Hatches" a signed copy for one of your favorite fly tying friends. Only $25
An assortment of my favorite signature fly patterns for your non-tying friends. $28
For the fly fishing friend that has just about everything, how about a signed and matted print of a mayfly, caddis or stonefly? 5X7" prints for $20, or an 8x10" for $25
Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or give me a call at 610.582.6822 and I'll help you with that gift list!
I just finished updating a few things on here, the image of the week, the archive page and the appearances schedule. I will be hosting two beginner fly fishing schools this year. Trust me they are a great value and will help you improve your casting and your fly presentation among other things. A great opportunity for those totally new to the sport or those that are frustrated and ready to bring their game up a notch.
I freely tell people I'm just about the luckiest man I know. There are a lot of reasons behind that. My health is very good, I have a great job and a great cast of people I call friends. I've been able to spend more time traveling to new places and in the process met some very good people and yes caught some very nice fish. ramsayflies.com has been a great experience to, so in the spirit of this holiday and all of the things it represents a huge thank you to all of you, and a Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families! HR
Today felt a little like Christmas. I'm still a lot like a little kid at times; especially when things come in the mail, and a package or envelope usually winds me up just like Christmas morning. Today was an envelope from my friend "Catskill John" Bonasera with of all things, some biots from Kori Bustard which are so cool because they are in some cases over two inches in length and can tie some really large and incredibly sweet stonefly patterns. The size flies I can tie from goose or turkey is certainly limited by comparison. John is an ace fly tier, and today a great Santa! Thanks bud!
Today was a really cool experience for me. I had the privilege of taking a new client named David and his son Charlie out on the stream. The fishing was very tough and the water was running cold, but it was a beautiful day to be out. It was also Charlies 14th birthday today. It was a treat to teach him a few things to help him with his fishing game, but even cooler to watch him catch his first trout on a fly. All of us recall our first fish; an experience we never forget, and it was an honor to be a part of that. I'm not totally sure if he hooked that fish or the fish caught him; but to see the smile on his face and the pride on his fathers was a great moment, and so much a big part of why I enjoy guiding. Thank you David and Happy Birthday Charlie!
Some days you need to careful of what you wish for, after all you may wind up getting it. I've been at it hot and hard getting ready for this weekend. Kicking it off with a tying demo / class at the GALA Conference in Harrisburg, Pa. Pack it all up and motor north to Danbury, Connecticut for the Arts of the Angler Show, then back home for a guide trip on Monday. Yes I am a very fortunate man and a very busy one too! One of the best parts of all of this is the friendships I make a long the way. Hope to see some of you over the weekend!
Now that hurricane Sandy has passed, electricity, phone and internet service has been restored it's time to get back in the regular groove. This coming weekend I'll be attending the "Arts of the Angler Show" in Danbury, Ct. and busy preparing for that. A very nice show by the Catskill Fly Fishing Museum and a good time. Make sure to stop by and say hello. I'll have some really cool photos for sale from this years travels and as always some great flies to get you thinking about springtime.
I know this is supposed to be a fly fishing blog, but the wind outside tells me the fishing isn't really that important at the moment. It's almost 10PM as I'm writing this and the wind outside is shrieking through the trees in a very ominous and frightening way. I spent most of my day today tying flies, watching weather updates online, listening to the rain and now the high winds of this hurricane and wondering what I will wake up to in the morning. One of the worst storms in recent memory. My sincere hopes and prayers for all of you out there in the path of this storm for your safety. Please take care and play it safe. HR
I grew up fishing the small streams, the ones that tumble over stones in the shade of Hemlocks and mountain Laurel. They are magic places and even though the fish they hold are usually smaller; they are wild, brightly and boldly marked, and eager. Small streams like that are special to me feel like home at times. They are the places I learned to fly fish on, and the places where I began this lifelong love affair. I took a short rod for a long walk this evening along one of those small streams that runs close to my home. It is a beautiful place, and yes it's small wild browns and brook trout were willing to come out to play for a while and keep me company. The leaves are at their brightest peak now, and the wild fish that came to the fly were as equally bright and colorful as the maples, beeches and birch that stand along the little streams banks. A great way to spend an October evening.
I gave a presentation at the Tulpehocken Chapter of Trout Unlimited last night on the Sulphur Hatch. The presentation talks about the mayfly we refer to as Sulphurs, but also a number of the mayflies that are often time misconstrued as Sulphurs. This is by far my favorite hatch of the year and a lot of fun to talk about. I have several presentations that are geared toward specific hatches. If your club would be interested in having me present one of these give me a call or an email to set it up.
On Saturday I attended the Pennsylvania Fly Fishing Museum Associations Annual Banquet and auction which was a really cool event. Don "Midge Magic" Holbrook tied the commemorative flies this year and I'm sitting here looking at a box of his patterns on my tying desk as I type this. I spent today with one of the cool guys in the world; Gavin "G3" Robinson floating a local lake and managed to shoot a few really good images which will make it on here sometime soon. A gorgeous October day with the leaves at their peak. Doesn't get a lot better than that! This Wednesday evening I'll be doing a presentation at the Tulpehocken Chapter of TU on one of my favorite bugs; the Sulphur hatch.
I wish I had a great report to share about fall season fishing but the rain locally isn't letting that happen, so on with plan B. My Plan B today was tying up my pet CDC Adult Caddis to re-arm my stock boxes. If you haven't tied or fished this pattern, your missing out on something great, no BS. This is one of the best patterns I've ever used. Simple and terribly effective. See chapter 13 of "Matching Major Eastern Hatches" for instructions and the list of pattern variations I use.
While the local fishing is falling off like the leaves on the trees a lot of other things are starting to heat up. This has by far been one of my best years with fly orders, and at times it's been very difficult to keep up. I was looking at my stock boxes and wow do they ever look in rough shape; so time to really get cracking on re-arming for the show season which starts up very soon. I've been at it hard like a Crazy man, tying up emergers for starters. When we meet at the shows this winter or you place your order at least I should have a running start!
Regal Engineering just added me as a new member of their Pro Staff, which is a very cool thing. I've had the opportunity to tie on a variety of vises over the years and find myself always pulled toward those that are simple to use and hold a wide range of hook sizes. For the past five years It's been a Regal Medallion series vise with stainless steel jaws. Thousands and thousands of flies later and no complaints. A big thank you to Mike McAuliffe from Regal!
Today was our program for kids at the Reading Museum. We had a good turn out and nice weather for the event. Each kid got the change to tie a fly, learn to cast a fly rod and learn about the aquatic life that inhabits a trout stream and how we imitate those organisms with the flies we tie. A big "Thank You" to Wendy Koller and Joel Weber at the museum, Tony from TCO who supplied equipment and materials and to my assistants: Chip Swarner, Jake Villwock and Emily Ramsay. I will post images from the event later this week. Thank you to the parents that brought their children. A very nice event!
I thought life would be easier once my kids got older but wow was I off on that one. Time is like a vacuum that just sucks other things into that area of time I thought would be play time. A lot going on here! Check the "Appearances" page which is filling up, a new image of the week, a fly for a contest at the Beaverkill Angler in Roscoe in this mornings mail. Writing a bio for a Pro Staff invitation and finishing the details for the kids program this coming weekend. Hoping to get some stream time in shortly.................
Next Saturday, October 6 I will be hosting a program at the Reading Public Museum with TCO Fly Shop titled "Discover Fly Fishing". the program is geared toward school age children to give them an introduction to the sport we all love and enjoy. The focus will be on a very basic level and the kids will get a chance to cast a fly rod, tie a fly and learn about the insects that live in our streams and provide the inspiration for the flies we tie. the program is FREE with paid admission to the museum. The program begins at noon and is sure to be a lot of fun, so bring your kids, or borrow your neighbors kids and bring them out!
I spent the day yesterday in the Poconos in one of my favorite places; Hickory Run State Park and explored one of the smaller streams there. I wish I could report a day of heavy fly hatches and a lot of wild fish but none of that was to be had. What was there though was an incredibly beautiful day, with the leaves starting to turn and better stream flows than we've seen in more than a month. The fall is great time of year to be outdoors even when the fish aren't on their game.
The weather here lately hasn't been very kind to my fishing habit, so I've taken advantage of the "time off" to try and get ahead by replenishing my stock fly boxes which look pretty beat up. One of the most popular fly patterns for my customers is the "Half & Half" Emerger which is a great pattern, so I've been busy tying these lately. A really nice level of order activity too through my affiliation with MyFlies.com has been keeping me busy. The rain earlier this week should help our streams get in better shape. Hopefully it all comes together and we have some good fishing this fall.
Our local "Sportsman's" club was just cited by the Pennsylvania DEP for of all things using a backhoe to build dams in a trout stream for hosting a fishing rodeo. The original fine was cited at $2,500 but was negotiated down to $1,500 which is bullshit! Forgive my rant here, but here's the issue the way I view it:
1.) Membership in a club that calls itself a "Sportsman's Club"does not make you a sportsman anymore than standing in the kitchen makes you a chef.
2.) A real fisherman does not require a captive fish population.... nuff said there.
3.) Putting your lust for dead trout ahead of protecting the habitat of a trout stream is tragic.
4.) Fishing rodeos for kids breeds a new generation of meat hog stocking truck followers than have no clue what a quality fishing experience is, and will probably grow up to think that the insanity of shoulder to shoulder pool hogging perpetrated by the fish commission is a normal and natural experience.
Like I said earlier forgive my rant, but jackasses like this should have been dealt with more severely. They said that it was only the bucket of the backhoe in the creek and not the machine. Effing idiots...........
The front that rolled in over the weekend brought some much needed rain to some thirsty streams and brought some nice cool weather as a bonus. I really love this time of the year, cooler nights mean cooler water which means we might get some hot fishing conditions again. I've been tying like a crazy man; hoping to get some of the Baetis Olive and Isonychia patterns in the water soon, and it's just a matter of time before that comes together. Gotta love Indian Summer!
I ran a shuttle for a buddy this morning who was running a float trip and decided to go on an explore and try a new section of the river. The Schuykill is a very unique river; flowing through some populated areas, but not easily accessible and much of it gets little fishing pressure. This mornings targets were small mouth bass, which I really enjoy fishing for because they are legit bad asses. They hit hard like they want to kill your fly and fight like crazy, harder than any other fish. Today's top patterns were a black Zuddler and a Meat Whistle in crayfish orange. If you haven't given these fish a try you are missing out on some really fun time on the water.
No, I'm not really in hot water; at least no more than usual, but there is some really warm water out there. My home stream is the Tulpehocken Creek and average daytime water temperatures have often been getting into the mid seventies the past few weeks which is super tough on our finned friends. Please be responsible with your fishing. Log onto the USGS website for stream readings or carry a thermometer and more importantly give the fish a break when you see elevated water temps. Find some bass or pickerel or something else to fish for; the water temps should be cooling off as we get into September.
Remember the opening line? Good morning Mr. Phelps, your mission should you accept it will be to ........... Yeah, I got one of those messages earlier this year to provide a long list of insect images for a book to be published next year. While I knew it would be a lot of work, it turned out to be more than a lot of work and the bugs that would seem to be easy to find were super challenging. Some required timing a trip out west to get certain insects during their emergences. Today the last one went in the can; a midge pupa. Finding a pupa is literally finding a needle in a haystack. Today I captured two pupa; both about a size 28 which is a bitch to photograph and to make it worse, one of them hatched by the time I got home. In the end it all came together and yeah I did get that killer tight shot of a tiny little bug to wrap this project up.
All of us have heroes in our lives, people we look up to, respect and hold in high esteem. For me I have a few I consider heroes, but one is also a good friend. He's a great fisherman, an ace tyer and more than anything the real deal. Today he emails me with something I've been trying to run down real hard with no success; an inchworm......, yeah sometimes it's the little things in life. I needed one badly for a photo project and a deadline that's almost due. So beside all of the things that make him legit, the sucker can catch elusive bugs in the clutch. "G3" earns hero status today...... thanks dude!
I just received my first shipment of Varivas hooks and will be offering these great hooks to you. I became very fond on their #988 Midge hook, which sadly became unavailable a few years ago which has since come back into the market. I'm sticking my toes in the water to test the market and will be offering two hook designs; the new #2200 Curved Shank in sizes 18, 20 and 22; and the great #2300 Ultra Midge in sizes 22 to 28. There are 30 hooks in a package and they will retail for $7 per pack. I will post a page on here in the next few weeks with images and a shopping cart menu. If you are interested please drop me a line. These are super hooks and if you are a serious midge fisherman you will certainly enjoy these!
Last night I got a little time in on the water and wanted to try some new beetles. Most of the modern patterns use foam which is super easy to tie, but I never really liked the way they float and they are hard to see. In spite of that they catch fish. I tied some Rene Harrop CDC Beetles which are very light and are tied in a "Bubble-Back" style which begins with tying a CDC feather in by the tip at the end of the hook shank. Dub a body and add a few long CDC fibers on each side for legs. Pull the CDC feather forward, then back it up to create an open "bubble" of fibers and tie down at the head. I added a sight post of bright yarn to help my old eyes find it and yeah, the fish liked it......really liked it. Try a few, a cool pattern for the hot days.......
This year I spent a lot of time behind my camera and picking bugs out of and off of the water. I get a lot of strange looks from people, but hey if they only knew what was going on right? I've had the chance to contribute to three book projects that will be published next year and yeah I'm pretty wound up about that. I just got the latest version of Photoshop which is a great tool for post processing and am in the process of sorting and working on these new images. This winter you will see a new page of insect images with a healthy dose of western hatches represented including Salmonflies, PMD's, Flavs, Callibaetis, Gray & Brown Drakes and more. Stay tuned in for that.....
With the weather we are having here the temps are high and the motivation to fish is at a low. I spent a few hours today working on a photo project and got some really cool images; the image of an aquatic worm which I needed and some good shots of leeches, crayfish, cranefly larva and stonefly nymphs. Still trying to run down that elusive inchworm I need. One of today's really scores was a caddis fly pupa nearly developed and just about ready to emerge from it's chrysalis. You can clearly see the details of the pupa through the casing which is a translucent amber color. Pretty cool. Now for an inchworm.............
Everything in life has a starting point. Remember the first time you did something? Yesterday I taught a beginner fly fishing class and made a few new friends Dave and John. We had a great time and they learned some new things which will hopefully launch a new level of skill with their fly fishing. I learned a few new words which is always cool; words like "protuberance" for example ..... crazy. I'll use it every now and then and people will wonder where I came from. It's always fun to watch people learn to cast and to see things begin to come together..... yeah it's cool to help people. If your at a place where you are getting frustrated with fly fishing sell your rods or give me a call. Fishing should be something fun so don't sell the rods yet! Let me help you out and get back to enjoying the sport...... it's just too cool!
"there aint no cure for the summer time blues"....... yes and no speaking for myself here. I've always thought I should pursue warm water fish more than I do but always seem to get bogged down, worn out and not as eager to spring out of bed on a weekend morning to chase down bass or pickerel as I would be for trout in April, May or June. One cool project I've been working on is a book project (not mine) involving a number of insect images and still in need of a few more...... a midge pupa, an aquatic worm, an inchworm and any chance to upgrade any of the images in the can already. Today I wiped a cicada image off of the list of things I needed to get. Thank you to "Ricardo" for running one down for me and yes I did get some great images for this project; some flies coming your way. More to come on this project story another time............. need to keep it under wraps for now. Later.
I will be at the Ned Smith Nature and Arts Festival this Saturday July 28 which is held at the Millersburg Gun and Conservation Club in Halifax, Pa. from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. I will be demonstrating tying throughout the day and giving a presentation at 1:15 titled "The Mayflies of Summer". This is a really great show with a relaxed family atmosphere on the banks of the Susquehanna River. Check their website at www.nedsmithcenter.org for details or call the Center at (717) 692-0977
In a perfect world every day on the water would be like Monday's action on the West Branch, but someone forgot to tell the fish on Tuesday to repeat the performance. An incredible day on Monday, and a bust day the next. Very few bugs at all on the water and very few risers, a few dinks that rose sporadically, but nothing consistent or regular. I did shoot some good bug shots of sowbugs, tricos, sulphurs and midge larva though, so it wasn't a completely wasted day. Hopefully there will be another trip to the Delaware before the summer is over.
I got up to the West Branch last night a had a little time to fish and stayed at West Branch Anglers. Three browns on an Isonychia emerger pattern. Today we met with our rep for Simms and had a preview of all of next years products - some really cool shirts and upgrades on waders. After the meeting we put a boat in at Stilesville and were hammered with a nasty storm with high winds, heavy rain and hail. Once it let up we floated to the Indian Country takeout. No BS we hammered fish. More than a dozen fish in the boat with Jake and Joe each nailing a big fish on streamers fished deep, and the streamer fishing was hot, but only for a brief stretch. Once the rain completely stopped the Sulphurs began to hatch and we had a great time with my new Sulphur emerger patterns taking a number of fish in the 16 to 20" class. Jake ended the day with a really nice brown that hit 20" on the sulphur just above the takeout. A really great evening on the West Branch! So far I've used only one fly; a new emerger pattern tied in two varieties; Sulphur and Iso. Till next time.............
I fished the Tulpehocken Creek this morning with two really good people; Bill and Adam M. from Maryland. Despite the threat of heavy rainfallin the forecast we made a stab at it and had a pretty good fall of Trico spinners, and only a brief shower in the morning. Adam had never fly fished before and it was fun to watch his casting improve as the day wore on and watch him connect for the first time. Bill landed a few nice rainbows and had a good time as well under tough fishing conditions. Glad both of them decided to make the drive north!
This week has really been about cranking out flies more than anything else. Time hasn't permitted getting out on the water during the week and a backlog of fly orders has kept me working inside instead which is a good kind of problem to have. Hoping to get caught up enough to head up to the Catskills for a few days next week which would be really good for the soul. I'll keep you posted if it works out that way.
Until then........ Yellow Stones, Sulphurs, CDC Caddis, Hedge Hogs, Chubby Chernobyls and 20 Inchers.
Tonight I thought I would change things up and get after one of my favorites, the other fish...... small mouths. I like small mouth because they are real bad asses and they know it. They slam a fly, fight like they really don't like you, and bring an attitude to the river that no other fish can match. Smallies are the Rocky Balboa's of the freshwater fish world and I like that trait in them. I was having a good time with the big meat and potatoes streamers while watching the sky turn a lot of colors from blue to gray to smokey black and I had a hard time walking away. When the lightning started I had second thoughts; knowing I was holding a nine foot lightning rod in my hand. We all know the stories about the blind guy that gets hit by lightning and can suddenly see, or the guy that can now do quantum physics; but my own life is a lot like Caddy Shack and I would likely be just a piece of burnt bacon floating down the Schuykill River. The rain opened up just before I got back to my car, but we will do this again. Till next time...............
I have to confess, the last few years of my life have been great and I've had the opportunity to fish in incredible places. Places in the west are especially captivating for me and no place has stolen my heart like the Henry's Fork; and yes two trips there and I'm madly in love, but back at home now I feel like I've been dumped by a beautiful woman. In my dreams I'm still standing along the river, looking for soft rises and laying out the best cast I can, but when I wake up I'm still in Pennsylvania. I'll snap out of it soon I hope and get back to fishing close to home with new enthusiasm. It reminds me of an old Stephen Stills song that if I re-worked the lyrics a little bit would say "if you can't be with the fish you love, love the fish your with". But it's a hard thing to grasp, a harder thing to catch than one of those big Ranch rainbows at Harriman. Rivers can run through your mind and your heart like blood pulsing through your veins, and while the HF is not everybody's idea of the perfect river, it got under my skin in a real bad way. Next year............. seems like such a long time away right now.
I went to the The Tulpehocken Creek this afternoon to try to shoot some images of caddis pupa which worked out really well. One angler was on the stream in mid day which was unusual for this time of year. He had been at it for a while and hadn't moved a fish. After finishing my bug shoot I went up to my car and suited up and caught a few fish almost immediately. The guy waded up to me and I gave him one of my parachute ants and a length of 7X tippet and yeah he did catch a nice rainbow in short order. I never asked his name nor offered mine, but it was really cool to see the stream light up for someone who had been having a tough day up to that point. If your having success be willing to share it. Time on the stream is just too scarce for most of us and helping another person enjoy their time is a really cool thing to do. Pass it on.................
I fished my home stream this morning before shooting some pictures. I did catch some nice fish on Hot Spot nymphs and a Primrose and Pearl midge which was fun but made a few observations. After a half hour of enjoying a nice pool to myself, three teen aged boys waded into the same pool and managed to get real close, yea too close. In front and on my left side and I could have bombed anyone of those shits with a 35 foot cast but kept my mouth shut. At least they weren't parked in front of a TV or a PC right? A little later an old geezer wades into the same pool and starts drifting a fly downstream on a fish I was casting to. The point? All of us that instruct, write, guide and give advise at the local shop have done a great job of teaching people to fish but we have collectively failed to advise people of proper stream etiquette and manners. The kids knew how to fish but didn't know anything about good behavior. The old Effer knew just as much as the kids and should have known better. The Pa. fish commission has done a grand job of turning trout fishing into a carnival atmosphere of stocking truck followers with spin rods and chain stringers that act like jack asses standing next to each other around a pool. I hope for better from fellow fly fishers, but some people haven't been taught better. If I ever write another book I'll try to include a section on ethics. I watched the old eff fish for a half hour before he gave up with his fly rod and went back to his truck to get his spinning rod. Nuff said.
I can't remember the last time I used 3X tippet in Pennsylvania except for steelhead. On the Madison that was the best medicine to use. So now it's back to my normal life which locally is 7X and 8X with size 24 and 26 tricos at 5:00 in the morning and maybe cheating that kind of work with 6X tippet on a hopper or nymph rig. I called a buddy the other day and told him I was going to box all of that stuff up and give it him and head back west where it doesn't fit into the scheme. Since that isn't going to happen anytime soon I guess I should hang onto it and break out my three weight rods and put away the 3X, but hey it never hurts to dream huh? The best fishing is the fishing you have so off to the tiny bugs and back to reality.
On a different note, today is America's birthday. Celebrate in the best way you can, but remember that as Americans we enjoy a tremendous level of freedom and that did not come easily, cheaply or by default. America was born with real courage, a vision for something better than the rest of the world, sacrifices that took many forms and a lot of peoples blood. Thank a vet, celebrate what genuine freedom is and have a great Fourth of July today!
I look at myself as one of the most fortunate men in the world. No I don't make a hell of a lot of money or live in a palace or drive a BMW, but I surely am a rich man. I had a great trip to Idaho and Montana, caught some beautiful fish including my best fish ever. I got the images I needed to collect for a project and had a great time in one of my favorite places in the world. A huge thank you to Rich Paini for squeezing me into a room during TroutHunters peak season. A big thank you to some other people that made my stay fun: Jon Stiehl, Millie Paini, Bryan Gregson, Kelly Galloup, Adam Finlay, Dan and Paul Barr, Carlos Chavez, John McDaniel, Sandpoint Greg, Whitefish Ed and everyone else I spent time with out there. Thank you!
Yesterday I visited a small stream on the west slope of the Tetons (no Carlos, I'm not going to drop the name here!) to go for some cutthroats. Dan Barr and I found them, but not quite as cooperative as I hoped they would be. I did take some on a Stimulator but not a lot of fish willing to rise. Hmmm........... what would my buddy G3 do? Every time we fish he will often end the day swimming a streamer; anything from tiny streamers to foot longs on musky water. I switched the game to a Slumpbuster and turned the switch on and had a lot of fun.
Dan and I spent the evening at the Wood Road section on the Henry's Fork which is tough water and I can't say that we raised hell with the fish. I did beat the shutout, but barely. Some real pigs feeding sporadically, a few bugs but an incredible place to be, even when it didn't light up. Yeah, the Henry's Fork gets under your skin, freshens your blood, and really makes you feel alive. It's a magical kind of place. Yeah, a river like this can keep you humble and remind you that you can't own a river or it's fish. If you think your a real badass with a fly rod, come out here and get a reality check. It will give you that too................ that's not a bad thing either.
Some days you eat the bear and some days the bear eats you! If it was easy it would be called catching instead of fishing right? A super tough day on the Fork yesterday with a lot of wind all day except for the last hour and a half. A light hatch of Flavs followed by a few spinners and some Oecetis caddis. I did not get a chance to work any of those pigs that the Ranch is famous for, they just weren't up on the Big Bend. I did manage a few smaller fish on a Flav Half & Half Emerger and a Flav Spinner but no hero on the Fork yesterday. On the flip side I fished with a new friend Dan from Salt Lake City who was a blast to fish with, and the elk were whistling all evening; the Sandhill Cranes sang along with them, I saw six White Pelicans together and enjoyed a great sunset. Yeah, this is a special place...... tough, beautiful, and a lot of great people. After hours a great time with Paul, Adam, Greg, Carlos, Dan and Whitefish Ed. Idaho is a cool place to be!
I fished the Madison River this morning at the mouth of Quake Lake and it was an incredible morning! While the Madison has a reputation of being a big fast water river more suitable to nymph fishing, I had to try some top water with adult stonefly patterns. It worked quite well and I caught a bunch of fish that averaged 19". The best fish of the morning was a hook jawed male brown that went 22", and a beautiful cutbow that went 20". Afterward I did go and check out Beaver Creek which is a beautiful little stream in the Gallatin National Forest and yes to be on the safe side I did take a friend along, a can of bear spray just for a little insurance. One nice rainbow there. Top flies this morning were the Chubby Chernobyl and a Hedge Hog in gold. Tonight it's back to the Harriman Ranch for hopefully another good Brown Drake spinner fall.
Last night was an epic night on the Henry's Fork, one of those nights you don't easily forget. I fished just below the channels on the Ranch and while there weren't as many fish up, the fish that were rising were healthy! Not as many Duns, but a good spinner fall that put a lot of quiet, pushy rises on the water. Three big rainbows last night from 18 to nearly 22 inches on my Brown Drake DNA Spinner with a parachute hackle. The last fish was as the guy fishing with me called a "toad" with a lot of color that just blew up when I hit him and almost went into the backing. A mature cow moose stopped by to visit and crashed across the river between us which was to cool to describe. Today it's off to Montana again and hopefully another good day there. I'm very curious about a small stream I saw that just looks like a cutthroat kind of stream. Hopefully so and hopefully no hungry bears in the area!
I got off of the water very late last night, so yesterdays news a day late. I fished the Henry's Fork last night below the channels on the Harriman water and caught a very heavy hatch of Brown Drakes followed by a light spinner fall. Some smaller fish on a Brown Drake emerger and a really good rainbow on a dun pattern.
This morning I fished the Madison between the lakes and caught a bunch of rainbows on a Pat's Rubberlegs nymph and a few on top with a Yellow Humpy. The word for the morning was I caught the best fish of my life which was a 25 1/2" brown, an absolute pig that made me say a few words that are best bleeped out when it rolled the first time. Thank God for having a six weight in hand and 3X tippet! I promise to post a pic when I get home. Had a very nice visit with Kelly Galloup and shot some nice pics of salmonflies. Will be back on the Fork tonight and hoping for a repeat of yesterdays action. Till next time.............
No, it's not Christmas but for me it surely feels like it. I'm off for a week in the west to visit some of my favorite places in the world, and yes checking to make sure everything on the "list" of things I need is packed up ready to go. Lord willing and internet access I will try my best to keep this post updated with info and news from this trip. The plan is a few days fishing in Montana to chase the salmon fly hatch on a few rivers and then head south to my favorite western river, the Henry's Fork and some Green Drake, Brown Drake and PMD hatches. Stay tuned! Till then ..........
I took a drive out to Dauphin County to fish Clarks and shoot some bug pictures. Got some really good damselfly images but did not get the inchworms that Clarks is famous for. Fished the upper water and caught a bunch of nice wild browns. Top fly for the day was my Little Yellow Stonefly. If you enjoy small streams Clarks is a pretty cool one.
All of us dream of things, set goals in life, and yeah work our asses off to try to get somewhere. Today I looked at something I never thought I would see, my first article published in Fly Fisherman magazine. The July / August issue contains an excerpt from my book on the "Little Yellow Stonefly" which was the first chapter of my book I wrote and my favorite. It tells the story of my first trip to Potter County and Kettle Creek many years ago; the yellow Isoperla stoneflies I found there and the development of the first original pattern I ever tied. Most important to me the story pays tribute to a special friend named Charlie who was a great fisherman that sadly passed away a few years ago. Every time I tie one of these flies on my leader I smile to myself and remember those days and a good friend. Tie a few and smile to yourself when you knot one on your leader.
I spent yesterday in Boiling Springs, Pa. at the Pennsylvania Fly Fishing Museum Associations 10th annual Heritage Day show. A really cool event held every year in mid June at Allenberry Resort along the Yellow Breeches creek. A very nice show with a relaxed atmosphere. If you've never been to this event you really should come out. A big thank you to all of my friends and customers that stopped by. This morning I got my Father's Day fishing time in on the Tulpehocken creek. Fish are starting to get on Trico's somewhat, but not really locked onto them quite yet. A few nice rainbows to wish me a Happy Father's Day, and to you the same if you are fortunate to be one.
I just got back from a few days fishing at one of fly fishings truly remarkable places, the Henryville Fly Fishers club in the Poconos. As a lifelong Ernie Schweibert fan, getting a chance to fish this legendary water was something I never thought I would get an opportunity to do. Ernie wrote passionately about this stream that he loved and the stories spoke of pools and runs and legendary anglers. An incredible thing to be able to fish those pools myself. A huge thank you to Peter L. and Jeff G. for inviting me to fish and to John L. and the other members I met that made me feel very welcome there.
I spent today in the Cumberland Valley; signing books and tying flies at Yellow Breeches Outfitters and enjoyed spending some time with Ed Shenk. Thank you to Roland Harrison for inviting me to be there. If you have not visited the shop since he took over you should. They have done a great job with it! Thank you to George, Jay, Tom, Trish, Chris, John and others that stopped by to say hello. Afterwards I fished the Letort and the Yellow Breeches with Jay Nichols and had a great time on both of those streams.
Yesterday I sat waiting along the Stilesville section of the West Branch for the sulphurs to show themselves. The previous day saw an incredible hatch of invaria sulphurs and it was fun until a huge storm chased me off the water. Just when things got started another storm front came through and shut them off, but a number of March Browns showed up and I wish I could report an epic day, but it wasn't. One brown on a Sulphur Thorax Dun, and very few rises for the rest of the afternoon. I did get to talk to a really cool older guy from Connecticut who livened up the day with sharp wit and great jokes. Nice to meet you Lloyd!
I started today off fishing the Junction Pool of the two branches. A really good spinner fall of what looked to be Attenella attenuata olives, and an Olive Brown DNA Spinner in size #16 worked the magic; some really nice fish and one bruiser brown that broke me off and broke my heart. In the afternoon a really heavy hatch of invaria sulphurs at Stilesville before a severe storm broke up the party. A few nice browns up there. I finished the evening at the junction pool with a light hatch of attenuata olives and dorothea sulphurs and a few rainbows. Top flies for the day today were DNA Spinners in olive brown, Attenuata Olive and Sulphur Thorax Duns. Another great day in the Catskills!
I left home this morning at 4:30 and made the run to the Catskills for a few days. While today was good and it was hot with no rain, it was still a rainbow kind of day; rainbow trout that is, starting with a nice rainbow on the main stem of the Delaware this morning and ending the day with a really nice rainbow on the East Branch this evening. Top fly for the day was a Pale Sulphur Thorax Dun, size #16. A really nice Sulphur hatch just before dark, and a really good rainbow that almost took me into the backing.
I spent last evening with a new client, Carl B. another good guy and a very good caster. We worked hard, I mean really hard for the fish he caught. The hatches were really shut off with little insect activity, and the fish not really turned on. In spite of all of that we both had a really nice evening and watched a mother wood duck with her brood, an osprey, herons and yes a handful of really pretty fish in the net. Some days are just like that........... and that's really not a bad thing. Thanks Carl
The world lost one of it's better people and the fly fishing world lost one of it's best with the passing of Greg Boyd, a great guide and great guy after a long fight with cancer. I've often wondered what kind of fishing there might be in heaven and know that when I get there myself many of my friends will have it scouted out in advance for me. My deepest condolences and prayers to Greg Jr. and to the rest of the Boyd family, please keep them in yours as well. God has taken one of the better people home, and is surely showing Greg one of the best rivers he's ever seen before.
I was invited to do a presentation last night at the Main Line Fly Tyers meeting in Plymouth Meeting, Pa. The topic for the evening was titled "Meeting and Matching the Sulphur Hatch", which involved a discussion and slide show about the mayflies we refer to as "Sulphurs" and many of the ones that fisherman often miss-identify as Sulphurs. The second part of the talk focused on the fly designs from "Matching Major Eastern Hatches" that I use to imitate them. A very fun evening with a great group of people! A special thank you to Steve Nack for inviting me to be there.
The past week has been a log jam of tying work which is a great problem to have, so a big thank you to everyone who has ordered flies. It has been a great year so far and I really do appreciate your business! Sitting at a desk tying for hours on end is a good time to relax and think about life and things that are really important and meaningful. Two friends in the fly fishing world in need of serious prayer are Ken who underwent rotator cuff surgery last week and Chris who is working through Chemo treatments. Think about of both of these guys and keep them in your prayers that they will be healed and be back on the water soon! Thank you
I spent this evening with Jerry Y. from San Francisco, California. A great client and a really good caster. We fished the Tulpehocken Creek and while an evening shower put the bugs down for the evening; the subsurface action was hot and Jerry landed two beautiful rainbows in the 18" class, and some really scrappy smaller fish on caddis larva patterns. A really good fish took him to the cleaners when it made a powerful run and fouled him in a dead fall. I guess that's why we call if fishing instead of catching? Anyway, thanks to Jerry for a fun evening on the water.
Spent this afternoon today with a new client; Randy S., a great guy and a good time working on the basics. Casting, fly presentations, line management and drift control. Why hire someone to instruct or guide you on the water? It's very simple; life is short and extra time for most of us is short as well, so when you find the time to fish why allow yourself to get frustrated. Fly fishing is about having fun, kicking back and enjoying yourself. Shorten your learning curve by hiring someone who can help you with the basics, help correct casting problems and improve the quality of your time on the water. Just Fish!
I just came off of the water with a new guide client; Fred R. We had a great evening on the Tulpehocken Creek with a lot of surface activity, and a bunch of fish on my CDC Adult Caddis pattern fished with a midge pupa dropper. A great combination rig on this stream. Also ran into friend and customer Jim "Woodsey Bugger" Woods who also had a great evening with his wife on the Tully. A beautiful evening, good people and good fishing!
One thing that I get crazy wound up about is a really great leader, why? It doesn't matter what you knot to the end of it if it doesn't lay out right. Super tough fish need to see a perfect drift or the game is over. I have tied my own for years because I never found tapered leaders from shops measuring up to what I want. This past weekend I used the Rene Harrop Signature leaders marketed by TroutHunter. Got to tell you that is one very fine leader! They are 14 feet and turn over perfectly and put the fly down nice and soft. Order a few and give them an honest try, they made a believer out of me.
My trip to the Catskills was awesome and as always entirely too short. Despite very low flows and bright skies, the fishing was very good.The mornings were spent on the Main Stem and the evenings on the West Branch. The mornings were mostly caddis fly hatches (Brachycentrus species)and the evenings had plenty of Hendricksons, Blue Quills, Yellow Sallies and a mix of caddis species. Check out the fish on the Image of the week page, the best of several bigger fish. Top flies were the "Ace in the Hole" Rusty DNA Spinner, CDC Adult Caddis and my Half & Half Emerger in Hendrickson Pink. I met some really great people too, a thank you to Jack Hess, Bill, Bud, Leslie, Cowboy Bill, Bill Hrinko, Riley, Catskill John, Ryan and others that I spent time with.
Remember what Christmas felt like when we were kids.....? I don't get the same pre-Christmas anticipation that I did years ago, but a road trip can bring it on hard, so... Lord willing I'm off to the Catskills for a very overdue escape and some casting to some big fish on the West Branch and Main Stem of the Delaware before the Hendricksons are done. Saturday I'll be tying at the Fly Tyer's Rendezvous in Roscoe, before running over to Marlboro to give a presentation at the Guarino Farms Earth Day Celebration dinner, and will be there doing a tying demonstration the next day. Been at it hot and hard cranking out Hendrickson and Blue Quill patterns and look forward to reporting back next week and showing off some grip and grin shots.
Took a ride yesterday to visit a stream that I've never fished before; Lititz Run. I wish I could report a great day filled with rising fish and blanket hatches, but sadly none of that. What I did find though is a really cool little stream flowing through some spectacular scenery in Pennsylvania's Lancaster County, and a few fish that stopped to welcome me there. Try it out, nice little stream.
I Spent Saturday floating the Lehigh River with one of my favorite fishing buddies; Gavin "G3" Robinson. A really great trip in spite of casting into the teeth of a gale most of the day, but when the wind would die down there were a lot of caddis on the water. We picked up some really nice fish up to 18 inches on top with CDC Caddis patterns. I would really recommend a day trip on this river with Gav. Why........? Because the dude is fun, great on the oars and he really knows the river and has a lot of experience on it. A great guide. After leaving Gav I had a little time to kill and went over to one of my favorite little streams; the Pohopoco. Caught a bunch of fish on small Tung Stones, but really iced the day with a thick 19 inch rainbow. Great day in the Poconos. Pics will be posted shortly. To discuss booking a float trip with Gavin email him at email@example.com
A friend sent me a link the other day with a bug pic that was grossly misidentified; no I'm not talking about a slip on the latin, in this case a free crawling caddis larva was identified and tagged as a stonefly nymph. Go figure.......A supposedly reputable shop in the Rockies none the less......? A really good website for bug ID's is www.troutnut.com Give it a shot when you need to get the right name. Fly Shops staffed with idiots or posers suck. Nuff said.
On the "Image of the Week" page is a cool shot of an early black stonefly. This is a very strange and early spring so far and it certainly seems like everything is likewise starting to hatch early. A lot of reports of fish rising readily to these little bugs.
For the past few nights we have been serenaded by spring peepers; which if your not from the east, is a small tree frog that sings rather loudly on spring evenings.... a legit and welcome sign of spring. It's been a strange year as far as the weather goes and it feels like we never really experienced winter...very little snow, but on the other hand we do get our worst storms in March so it could still happen and we're not totally out of the woods yet. Until springtime truly arrives I'll be at it hard cranking out flies. I've been swamped with fly tying work which is a pleasant problem so thank you to everyone who has bought flies. I really appreciate your business and hopefully the springtime hatches will be here shortly and we'll get to fish them.
A really cool update; I just signed on as a fly designer for Umpqua Feather Merchants! Look for a list of my best fly patterns to imitate the Sulphurs and Isonychia hatches in Umpqua's 2013 Fly Catalog.
Now that the early shows are behind me, its time to settle down and get to work on the tying class schedule. In the next month there will be four tying classes held at the TCO Reading and State College shops. Classes run 4 or so hours in length, and are a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon, and learn some new patterns, some new tricks with materials and have some fun.
Finally a new web page titled "The Fly Shop", offering you the opportunity to purchase flies on-line by credit card or Paypal. Shopping is simple and secure. For now a few selections of my favorite fly patterns with more to follow soon. If you are interested in something you do not see shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On a different note the next stop on the "Fly Fishing Show" tour stops in Lancaster, Pa. February 18 and 19. Stop by and say hello and stay for the IF4 Film Festival after the show. It will get you cranked and looking to spring. Till then.....
One thing that did not make the final cuts in "Matching
Major Eastern Hatches" was sources of tying materials that I use. A short list of some of my favorites:
TroutHunter (The best CDC feathers around, Harrop dubbings), Blue Ribbon Flies (Zelon and some of the nicest deer, elk and moose hair anywhere), TCO Fly Shops(general tying supplies). Good shops with great products!
Thank you to everyone that stopped by to say hello at Somerset! A great show and a good time. If you did not make it be sure to come to the Lancaster, Pa show in February and stay for the film festival. Awesome fishing videos that will certainly get you looking to spring.
The Fly Fishing Show in Somerset New Jersey begins in less than a week. I will be splitting my time there between booths for Stackpole Books, The Angling Book Store and TCO Fly Shop. Stop by and say hello. I look forward to seeing you there!
The next few months look to be busy with a number of show events and classes for fly tier's and beginning fly fisherman. Email me, call or stop by at one of the upcoming shows to discuss a class or just to say hello. Look forward to seeing you there!
Today is New Years Eve; and while this has been a busy holiday vacation for me, a lot of new things to kick off the New Year are in the works. First a new "Contact Us" form has been added to the website and another new page to debut shortly, featuring a collection of classic and artistic flies that I have back in my possession and will be making available for sale very soon so stay tuned in. Most importantly a wish for a great New Year to all of you! HR.