After several long months of withdrawal, I (Paul K.) was finally able to return to the Rockport area of the Upper Gorge for an afternoon of fly fishing. Conditions were perfect (at least I thought so) for some excellent afternoon mayfly activity. The 400 CFS release from FEW wasn’t quite indicative of the fishing conditions as the recent rains really had the tribs rolling. Cloudy, overcast skies with occasional drizzle, both water and air temps in the low 50’s. As usual during cold rainy non-release weekends, the Rockport parking lot was devoid of cars/people. I peddled upriver for a short distance and scaled my way down over the steep bank with much anticipation of large mayflies and rising fish. To say Ii was disappointed would be an understatement; virtually no bugs and definitely no targets. Deciding to make the best of it I put on a double nymph rig and to my surprise quickly landed a beautiful Brook Trout (pic below). Fished quite a while longer and finally saw a rising fish. A nice brown trout was eager to eat a #14 olive sparkle dun. With new hope I climbed back up to my bicycle and continued upstream to another proven location. Numerous targets rising steadily to a limited amount of #16 Blue winged Olives on river left. Successfully hooked and landed 6 Brown Trout from 11 - 17 inches in less than 1 hour. Decided, (mainly after hearing Joe D’s voice in the back of my head) that I didn’t need to catch anymore fish from this location and because my feet felt like cement blocks from wearing these great new “state of the art” studded wading shoes with stocking foot waders, to call it a day.
April 30, 2010
April 27, 2010
Joe and I(Tim S.) were invited to guide in the FUDR.org One Bug Tournament this weekend and were more than happy to help. I arrived a little early on friday(the 23rd) with intent to fish but arrived to find that my trailer plug had worked its way loose on the road somewhere, making repairs necessary. I talked to anglers at the friday night festivities and the consensus was that the massive clouds of caddis that I plowed through on my way up Rt. 191 were untouched by the Upper D trout which were focusing on Hendricksons instead.
Saturday(the 24th) was beautiful, the weather was perfect. Decent numbers of Hendricksons, BWOs, and Blue Quills hatched throughout the day. Joe and I were stationed on the Main Stem from Stockport to a private take-out at Equinunk Creek which proved to be tough from the heavy pressure that it has been receiving, I saw about 30+ anglers at Knight’s on friday and cars were parked at every access point on the Main. Nevertheless, fish were caught before the official start time(uncounted) and missed during the tourney. Long casts were critical as most fish shut down when the boat got within 50 feet of them. Lighter tippets(5x) produced fish but they broke off easily. Anglers above and below the three boats on the Stockport-Equinunk stretch reported better activity.
Sunday(the 25th) wasn’t much better on the same stretch for us.A nice fish was hooked below Buckingham but got loose after 10-15 seconds. Sam Decker landed a small bow with a Hendrickson dry near Equinunk and Joe had one trout landed in his boat for the day. Success was better above and below us again today. It was cold and wet and the bugs all came on in waves too short to generate consistent activity.
Monday(the 26th) I floated by myself. Some sluggishness from a few friends floating in another boat delayed my launch until late in the day, the float was Lordville to Long Eddy. I floated at least a mile before seeing any consistent activity. I put plenty of good drifts over risers with a P. Adams before switching to a Blue Quill Unusual which resulted in a landed fish very quickly, small fat bow about 14″. Another fish or two were missed on the same pattern within a half hour. Because of the cold and driving rain, the transition from drift boat oar to fly rod was rough, if I had someone to switch off with I would have expected better results from being able to spot risers quicker and get a better position on them and be able to cats better. I worked on another pod of fish in the early evening for a few minutes but had only misses, on the same Blue Quill Unusual. I tried several other flies and saw no reaction from the fish. Out of five hours on the water I probably spent at least three rowing.
A few March Browns, Grey Foxes, and little Dorothea Sulphurs were seen on the water throughout the weekend, it’s way too early for these hatches so don’t get too excited but I expect anglers will be reporting them in the coming days/weeks.
April 26, 2010
I (Jay W.) fished the lower stretch of the Delayed Harvest section of Little Schuylkill for about 2 and a half hours (4 - 6:30pm) Sunday night, hooking fish in nearly every spot I put some time into. Water temp was about 50 degrees, air temp was in the low 40’s. Water level was just about perfect, a little cloudy. A good mix of rainbows and browns took just about any nymph pattern drifted close to the bottom, with the bulk of success coming on prince nymphs and beadhead green weenies…yep, green weenies, the Little Schuylkill destroyer. Not much was hatching, a few scattered cream crane flies and some caddis but nothing to get fish near the surface. Right now the trout in the Little Schuylkill are very active and hungry. If you’re out there observing catch and release, please go barbless as I noticed on more than one fish, considerable damage to thier mouth from being hooked before.
April 21, 2010
66.6666666% of the Ski Patrol, Paul and Tim, hit the Lehigh on a scouting mission today. Air temp 66˚F , water temp 56˚F. Water clarity - too clear, skies light overcast.
Having thoroughly flogged virtually all of the water from White Haven to Walnutport, Paul had an itch to check out some new water so we floated from Walnutport to Treichlers. When we launched we had plenty of caddis, a decent amount of cream craneflies, and sporadic stoneflies and mayflies…. but no risers.
Having been ribbed constantly for weeks for pounding lead and sink tips into the water I(Tim) stuck it out with a dry fly for the entire float, this eventually paid off but there would certainly have been more hook ups if I had switched to an indicator rig and fished some pupa patterns to imitate the caddis and craneflies. About half way through our float we stared spotting some rising fish. I missed a fish with a #10 Adams Tilt Wing Dun while futzing with my fly line that was wrapped around my foot. That’s how it works, you accidentally put your fly in the perfect feeding lane and have your brain fall out of the back of your head and, voila, missed fish. We saw a few more one-time-risers before we finally found a few fish rising with some consistency. In short order I stuck, and landed, a small but very nice brown. No fin clip, perfect fins, fat and happy eating lots of bugs. Paul missed a fish after just a few casts with a #12 Cream/Tan Emergent Sparkle Pupa and then the pod just shut down.
As we began to drift through a long pool scouting for rises, a nice brown smashed the same Adams Tilt Wing Dun and came about three feet out of the water on the hook set. It wasn’t huge, 13-14″, but it was fat and put up a strong fight. Perfect fins, no clip, and thick. This fish was eating well this winter. A little while later I landed another brown that could have been the last fish’s twin. The fight was just as fierce, it will be an exciting year for anglers if the fish keep fighting like this. We spied a few more risers but the bug activity became more sporadic and the rises just as sporadic. The last third of our float went down like the first third, quiet. We expect this stretch will heat up as the water warms and the hatches last longer into the evening.
A few notes for boaters. The picnic table that was dragged into the river near Szokes Bros last year, and ended the year in the middle of the Ledges, is now wedged on a rock just upstream of the relic bridge abutments not too far downstream of the Walnutport boat ramp. It’s out of the way for now but who knows where it will migrate to next. Hopefully this discourage nitwits from dragging more picnic tables into the river in the future. Also, the Treichlers boat “ramp” is covered with nasty rusty nails, metal truss plates, and such - not just a few but a lot, it’s a mess so beware.
April 19, 2010
Air temp 48F - Water Temp 51F. Decided to brave the elements today and float from Bowmanstown to Walnutport. It was my (Paul K.) first trip behind the oars of the 2010 season and Nathan K. was my only anlgler. Once again, rising fish were found on river right in the ”Olive Garden”. The 20-30 mph winds (luckily blowing downstream) made casting to these risers quite difficult. However we were able to bring a few to the net. Blue quills were present in large enough numbers to produce enough targets to keep our spirits high. Fellow LCFA guide Jake M. also reported fair numbers of rising fish considering the conditions.
April 16, 2010
I had a few fly fishing schools this week and every person hooked at least one trout while learning techniques on the water. I was usually able to hook fish with little difficulty while demonstrating techniques. The water is dropping and various caddis, BWOs, stoneflies, Quill Gordons, and cream craneflies were hatching just about every day. The water was about 50˚F today and pretty clear, hopefully it doesn’t go back up with the rain tonight, but the Quill Gordons seem to prefer hatching when the water is a little up and off color. Streamer fishing has seen limited success but swinging wets, dry fly fishing, and indicator nymphing all turned up decent numbers of fish. Soft Hackles, GLF Sparkle Pupas, Prince Nymphs, Parachute Adams, and Klinkhamers have been the best producers. I just got my new Orvis Pro Guide Waders this afternoon so I was psyched to not have to wear neoprenes for the first time in a long while and they were so comfortable, the weather was awesome. The Little Schuylkill should produce well for the time being so get over here and fish!
As a parting note, I’d like to address something that has been bothering us for a bit - Treble Hooks. C’mon guys! A client hooked a fish today and after a very brief fight, about 10 seconds, half of it’s jaw came off. Another had a jaw that was just shredded and it wasn’t from Pheasant Tails. Nobody at Rivers has a problem with hardware but why not switch out to a single hook or convert your treble to a barbless double and stop ripping these fish apart? It’s pretty sad to see a fish with half of it face ripped off because of laziness. If you see someone on the stream fishing trebles, suggest to them converting them to a double and removing the barbs but please be courteous about it. We have found that with some polite education, many spin anglers are unaware of the damage that treble hooks can cause and are happy to find a less invasive way to have fun fishing.
Sunny 70F with light winds. Fished the long flat above the Aquashicola Creek from approx. 5-7pm. Caddis activity was fairly light at 5 pm with limited targets. Managed to hook a few smaller browns (10-12″) on a light brown elk hair caddis. No fin clips on any of these fish. Caddis activity continued to increase until clouds of caddis were present at 6:30 pm. Very limited surface activity and I was preparing to leave when directly in front of me three large fish began rising ferociously. Three browns from 16-18″ were hooked and brought to the net. I guess patience really does pay off.
Returned to the “Olive Garden” again today. Arrived at approx. 3 PM. Quill Gordons in fishable numbers with numerous targets. Couldn’t resist one 17″ brown that was agrressively rising at the tailout of the pool. Quickly worked my way downstream towards the old “low head” dam. Mayfly activity quickly ended but tan caddis were everywhere. 5-6 rainbows and browns from 12-15″ brought to the net quickly from the fast water.
April 14, 2010
Fished the often productive “Olive Garden” stretch late this afternoon. Once again, the Lehigh River did not disappoint. Arrived at 4PM, air temp 50 F with overcast skies and rain showers. Water Temp 52 F. Lehighton Gage 1080 CFS. Upon arrival at the bottom end of the pool, swallows were everywhere! This was a sure sign that the hatch was on. Quill Gordons and Blue Quills in large numbers drifting helplessly downstream. Numerous targets within easy wading/casting distance and even more reachable only by boat. Hooked approx. 10 non-selective browns between 10-17 inches with 6 brought to the net. Hatching activity abruptly ended at 5:30 PM. Anglers need to keep an eye on the flow gauges as ongoing concrete work at FEW is causing large (750 CFS) fluctuations in flow.
April 13, 2010
I conducted the on-stream portion of a fly fishing school today. Wayne was enthusiastic and eager to learn as much as possible. Dry fly fishing turned up only fallfish. Blue Winged Olives(#16-18), Cream Craneflies(#14), and a few Quill Gordons(#14) hatched variously throughout the day but no fish seemed to key in on any of them specifically. Indicator fishing with caddis larva patterns was the ticket, most of the fish hooked were fallfish but a few trout were hooked as well, I landed a few fish on a few consecutive casts so the active fish were eager to take caddis larva. Streamers did not move any fish, but swung wet flies and soft hackles drew strikes from a few trout and put a nice solid rainbow in the net despite the cold temps, the water was 47˚F. Bob Signorello stopped by to do some fishing and reported catching about two dozen fish with an #12 Adams and a nymph dropper, with many fish taking the Adams, Bob covered a lot of water during the day and was definitely rewarded for his effort.