Well, it’s late January and just about every one of our favorite fly fishing spots is either frozen or too dangerous to wade. Brave the streams if you must, but we suggest taking this opportunity to tie flies, clean your tackle and assess your gadgets and gear for the coming spring. But keep an eye on the forecast, cause you never know when that thermometer is going to enter the comfort zone of the 40s and award you with a winter fishing opportunity. In such cases we recommend fishing buggers, big nymphs and even egg patterns on streams such as the Little Schuylkill, Little Lehigh, Clarks Creek and Pohopoco Creek. Also, dates are filling up fast for our popular April Lehigh Upper Gorge float trips - book now so you have something to dream about through February and March!
January 24, 2011
July 12, 2010
The temps are all checking out now, at least they’re within a reasonable range of variance, so who knows. I emailed the USGS, don’t know if they’ll reply or take it seriously but at least the hot weather has broken for a few days. I hit the Water Works this evening because the Little Schuylkill is still too warm. I arrived at 6:00pm, water temp 64, skies clear and bright, water low and clear. I met an angler named Tom who was fishing about 120ft below the gauge block so I took up position upstream of him. It was a bad spot to get a decent drift but there were a good number of fish rising and I’m always up for a little challenge. #16 Tan Cdc Caddis was immediately productive, lots of “false takes” but there was a fish on the fly every few casts. It took a while to get the fish to actually take it instead of slash at it but I was using 6x, I would have been fishing 5x if I had any, which was good because I even broke off two big fish on that. I switched to my Tully Pupa(#16 Tan) and got three hookups within 5 minutes. Not a lot of fish landed but the action was good. I tagged a nice fish with the #16 Tan CDC Caddis at dark and also had a fish hooked up with a #14 Black Foam Beetle. Consider Fluoro tippets at this time, you can fish a larger tippet size and get away with it more often. I’ve been wrenching on a good number of fish with 5x Mirage on the Tully lately and I have some good fights where I was thankful for the extra strength, if the drift is extra tricky though you may have to switch back to nylon tippet to get a better drift. All in all I probably had 30 “false takes”(or whatever you like to call it when the fish attacks your fly but no hookup), 10 hookups, and 2 landed with dries in about 2-3 hours.
July 8, 2010
Since my last report some colder water has been flowing from Blue Marsh but the USGS reports and avrious internet reports need to be taken with a grain of salt as there have been moderate disparities in water temps between the Army Corps and USGS data. I took a temp tonight at the Stilling Basin of 66 degrees, which is reasonably close to the Army Corps number of 65.3 degrees, yet the Waterworks gauge is reading 59 degrees. I didn’t take the temp at the WW but I find it hard to believe that the water is cooling 7-8 degrees by the time it gets down to the WW. I had waded down about 3/4 of a mile from the Stilling Basin parking area and got a water temp of 69. Bottom line the USGS gauge is not reading correctly and only temps taken in person should be relied upon.
As for the fishing, it wasn’t bad. For my long initial wading period I didn’t see a fish rise, not even a bass or sunny. I was wading back up river when I thought I saw a nice fish rise. Then I saw it again. I got in position and tied on a foam beetle but nothing even looked at it. There were no real hatches though I saw a few Sulphurs and Cahills. Against my better judgement I tied on a Sulphur and missed one or two fish with it before slaying a few sunnies. They were all over it. I could see trout rising but still no bugs. I saw a few spent caddis and tried an imitation but no dice. For whatever reason I decided to tie on a #16 CDC Tan Caddis despite the fact that there were none hatching. Well, these fish must be imprinted on it because for half an hour I don’t think I needed to make more than three casts to a fish before the fish took the CDC Caddis. In 45 minutes I landed a bunch of nice fish including a 16″ bow that was just gorgeous. I should have netted it because the fish got loos in front of me while I was digging for a camera.
So the Tully is fishing well but please check the temps and do not rely upon USGS data at this time. Hopefully Mother Nature will help us out soon but the outlook is not good.
June 23, 2010
Unfortunately the time to check thermometers religiously has come. Besides working on our new raft today, I had some time to check out some local water and monitor quality. It’s not good. The Little Schuylkill should not be targeted for trout at this time below Tamaqua, and care should be taken in the upper stretches.The lower Lehigh should also not be targeted for trout right now. The release from Blue Marsh was 72 degrees tonight, with an evening low temp of 72 degrees, so the Tully is a bust as well, that’s the dam release temp NOT the Waterworks gauge. It’s time to look for cooler water. The temptation to fish for aggressive rising fish can be strong but the reality is these fish are stressed and if you’re going to fish on these streams you might as well take a stringer because even most of the fish that swim away will not survive. Spring Creeks such as the Little Lehigh are a much better choice at this time.
June 13, 2010
I arrived at the Waterworks late, around 6:30 pm. As expected, there were a few people around, four guys from the steps to the deadfall and a few below that so I waded up above the concrete gauge block. Water temp was 65 and there were light caddis, emerald green #16-18. I tied on a cream cdc caddis emerger and landed a small brown within a few casts, then three more within the hour. Some tan caddis began hatching and I saw a few fish take adults, I tied on a tan cdc caddis and missed a few fish and got a bunch of refusals. All fish landed on 6x, no need for 7x at this time. I didn’t have any ants or beetles, thoise patterns usually work wel on the Tully at this time of year. I saw one Slate Drake hatch and drift safely for quite a distance before flying away which is pretty normal for larger mayflies on the Tully. I left when the thunderstrom rolled in so I was only there for an hour and a half. Lots of fish around and they’re not too tough right now. If you’re getting refusals with a pattern, stick with it for a while, repetition and patience play a big role with being successful on this stream. Biggest fish landed was about 14″ so no piggies but all of the fish put up a good fight, one brown was heavily scarred from a heron but seemed healthy otherwise.
August 31, 2009
Temp was about 70˚ at the Waterworks. Insect activity was very sparse. Lots of small fish boiling the water above the gauge block. A few fish were rising below and there were a few tricos in the air and a caddis would hatch about every ten fifteen minutes. Managed to land a few in trico spinners and had a few looks with a foam beetle but no takers. Today was a bust for bugs! Broke off a brute right iin front of the deadfall and lost another nice fish in that area.
July 28, 2009
I(Tim) hit the Tully at the Waterworks this evening for a few hours. The fishing was excellent tonight, well it was until I lost all of my good caddis in fish and trees. #18 Light Green Caddis were hatching and the fish were on them. A #18 Cream Sparkle Pupa with a CDC wing was a big hit until I lost it on a Sycamore overhang aside of the gauge block. I hooked a few fish and broke them off and landed one more on a #18 Light Green CDC Caddis but it was tough as they were eating #20 spent caddis at that point. Two fish hooked up on a #16 Para Ant but came unbuttoned.
July 22, 2009
Brent and I(Tim) hit the Tully at the Waterworks this morning. We arrived late, about 7am, but still I was able to hook a few fish with Tricos and there were plenty on the water with some females still hatching. A simple #24 hackle wing spinner did the trick earning a few hook ups but only one landed fish. Brent fished caddis the entire outing and landed a few fish. #18-20 Light Green Caddis were the predominate hatching caddis and the fish wouldn’t pay attention to anything larger which is not a surprise. Water temp was 67˚ and the flow was 200cfs which was great for fishing and all of the fish seemed healthy. No pics today.