Nothing like a little do-it-yourself project that saves money and time. Here’s a method for taking fly line of the reel quickly and inexpensively.
Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc. (PHWFF) is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans through fly fishing and associated activities including education and outings. PHWFF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is dependent on tax-deductible, charitable donations and the help of numerous volunteers to meet the educational, equipment, transportation, and related needs of its participants. PHWFF began in 2005 serving wounded military service members at Walter Reed Army Medical Center returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since then, PHWFF has expanded nationwide, establishing over 200 highly successful programs in Department of Defense hospitals, Warrior Transition Units, and Veterans Affairs Medical Centers and clinics.
The PHWFF Pittsburgh Program will be holding two new Fly Tying sessions for disabled veterans. One will be held at Upper St. Clair’s McLaughlin Run Recreation Center the 4th Wednesday of the month. The other will be held at The Stephen Foster Center in Lawrenceville every other Wednesday night. We tie flies and build rods at the Aspinwall VA every Monday, and host fishing outings year round.
All veterans or active duty military with a disability are eligible to participate at no cost. For more information or to sign up, please contact Amanda Thompson at: email@example.com
I was looking at an old keepsake fly that resides on my bookshelf and it reminded me of a great day on Yellow Creek, in Bedford Pennsylvania. This was years before the water below the public access became off limits to only the rich who pay to play for hatchery pigs. Usually big dumb rainbows.
Continue reading Pop-up Timer Nymph
This streamer pattern is my attempt to sort of imitate early spring trout fry. In this case a rainbow trout. It’s a lot more flashy but that is intentional. The key aspects: translucent materials, flash, and eyes.
Holy Mackerel I am finally getting some of my artwork published! I hope you enjoy this as much as I did creating it.
This image is on both sides of the mug.
Dishwasher and microwave safe.
This sturdy mug is perfect for your morning coffee, afternoon tea, or whatever beverage you enjoy. It’s glossy white and retains its quality when dish-washed and microwaved.
I recently fished with a friend on a local stream. He worked the stream very quickly, bouncing from one section to another. A quick cast and drift then on his way to another spot. It occurred to me that covering a lot of water has its place and time. I have written about this before. Contrastingly, working a section slowly and meticulously also has its application.
So what makes sense and when? When is the appropriate time to use these contrasting methods? Let’s step back and look at some basic code cracking factors. By code cracking I’m using the analogy of cracking a safe by guessing the lock’s code combination. This starts with making a hypothesis about the situation at hand. Fine, but how to start?
Continue reading Breaking down fly fishing for trout through basic deduction.
Those who protect our great nation are truly heroes. We owe so much to them that it’s hard to know where to start. This year I volunteered my time and talents to work with military veterans through Project Healing Waters. Once again, I am humbled to work with men and women who have put their lives on the line to provide me with the freedom to pursue hobbies like fly fishing.
We had a great day on Yellow Creek. All the folks caught fish, shared stories, and made new friends. The soldier I worked with told me numerous times that he would go back to military service again, and it was hard to let go.
We worked on casting, as you know my most favorite subject, and managed to catch a one on a dry fly. Sweet!
I’m looking forward to working again with these brave heroes. With God’s blessing I will.
Take a moment to visit the Project Healing Waters website. I know you too will find a way to honor these men and women.
1. Fish all day. Until the mornings get really cold. Cooler temperatures combined with trout bulking up for the winter make productive fishing all day. Take advantage of it because the feeding window becomes smaller and smaller as winter sets in.
2. Long leaders for wary trout. Most often water flows will be at their lowest through the autumn months. This means that you will need to make longer casts with finer tippets. Six and seven X rule the day for dry fly fishing. Nymphing quiet waters will require long tippets too.
3. Soft bobbers. Nymphing is always a good tactic; it just requires some tweaking for fall conditions. Use a curly-q, or one of my favorites New Zealand wool indicators.
Beginner’s Guide to Fly Fishing for Trout
Have you ever wished you could look over the shoulder of a fly fishing guide to learn how to become a proficient angler?
This book flattens the learning curve by taking a simplified practical approach. It is aimed at getting you up-and-running quickly so you can enjoy fly fishing and catch fish.
As written before, midges are an important part of a trout’s diet. This is even more important in lakes and ponds. Another great nymph for still water is the damsel fly. As adults, they are the flies that kind of resemble a dragonfly, but are smaller and more delicate. An easy way to identify them is by their black wings and fluttering flight. Also, they rest with their wings folded over their body, unlike the dragonfly. Most often anglers focus on using the nymph version because adults do not rest on the water. The damsel nymph crawls toward the shore or weeds to emerge. This is a great opportunity for fish to feed on them and for anglers to imitate them. The nymph has a slender body and swims by darting around. A twitched or slowly hand-retrieved nymph is the perfect bait in many lakes and ponds.
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BUFF Original Multifunctional Headwear
Scientific Anglers Sonar Titan Clr Tip Weight Fwd Fly Fishing Line
Continue reading Featured Gear: COOL CAPSULE, BUFF Original Multifunctional Headwear, Scientific Anglers Sonar Titan Clr Tip Weight Fwd Fly Fishing Line
“The Stonycreek River Gorge: This is a place that you have to want to fish.”
I have written about the Stonycreek River before. My interview with Len Lichvar was a genuine pleasure. Len is the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commissioner for the Fourth District and a passionate conservation steward for the Stonycreek River as well as many other waters located in southwestern Pennsylvania.
Our discussion occurred in 2013 so a few things might have changed, for example, I do not know if the fingerling program is still active. The opportunity to talk with Len is beyond educational. Len gives us glimpses without the usual PR speak to a richer understanding of watershed issues and common sense approaches to solving them. Continue reading Audio Interview with Len Lichvar (Part 1)
Up to 12,000 strikes from thick 5/16″ (8mm) ferrocerium rod.
Sparks shower at 5,500º F (3,000º C) to ignite a fire in any weather (even wet), at any altitude.
Premium 100% hardwood handle is handmade, and provides natural textured grip.
Includes fire rod, scraper, and mil spec 550 paracord lanyard long enough for neck carry.
Perfect for Bushcraft, Firecraft, Backpacking, Hiking, Camping, Hunting, Fishing, Bugout, Boy Scouts, EDC / Every Day Carry, Emergency, Survival, Campfire, BBQ, Gas Camp Stoves, etc.
Goal Zero Torch 250 Flashlight with Integrated Solar Panel
Leatherman – Tread Bracelet, The Travel Friendly Wearable Multi-Tool, Stainless Steel (FFP)
Continue reading Featured Gear; Überleben Zünden Traditional Bushcraft Fire Steel, Goal Zero Torch 250 Flashlight, Leatherman – Tread Bracelet
As you probably know, I love fly fishing the Little Juniata river. I believe it is one of the very best in the eastern United states.
I recently had a nice chat about the Little Junita River with Peter Turcik: https://www.findyourchesapeake.com/trip-ideas/article/leo-vensel
Thanks Peter for the opportunity to share my passion!
Peter is a media specialist with the Chesapeake Conservancy. He has a journalism and writing background that includes work with Trib Total Media, the U.S. House of Representatives, National Geographic Society, and the National Park Service.
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Ephemeroptera (Mayflies)
Species guttulata (Green Drake)
One of the most famous mayfly hatches in Pennsylvania and throughout the eastern United States is the Green Drake. We can speculate that it has to do with its large size. When hatching occurs, every fish small and large will feed on the surface for these big bugs.
In fact even the alpha trout that have converted to a diet of fish and crustaceans will feed on the Green Drake because the bugs are so big. Combine big bugs and low light for a winning combination that brings the entire fishery to symphony of feeding activity.
Yeah that’s why we like it. Continue reading Green Drake Fly FIshing in Pennsylvania
You have finally honed in your casting skills. Double haul, no problem. You can mend line in your sleep. Dialing in the proper amount of weight when nymph fishing – got it. Your are extremely literate in reading water. You see the micro currents and adjust without a hitch. You can identify most insect emergences simply by watching trout rise forms. Yet you still experience low number catch days. Why are you not catching more trout? Continue reading Shuffle your feet and move your seat.
Our fly fishing schools have something for everyone. Whether you are just starting to learn how to fly fish or interested in advancing your knowledge and skills. Join us this spring and learn basic and advanced fly fishing skills. Beginner courses are designed to take an absolute beginner and have them successfully fly fishing by the end of the day. The advanced courses take you to the next level and beyond. Classes are intentionally planned for early spring in order to provide you with the skills to fish successfully through this year’s prime season.
It goes without question that early season trout fishing in Pennsylvania means crowded streams. All of the open stocked waters are filled with happy hatchery trout and it’s a great to see families, and friends out for a fish.
I have written about stocked trout and fishing for them a few times. Including good early season flies. Through the years I have gone the spectrum from sleeping in my car waiting for the opening day bonanza to sneaking out to small native runs and finding my own bit of nirvana.
Continue reading Off the beaten path for Opening Day of Trout Season in Southwestern Pennsylvania
• Base leader never affected by tippet changes
• Tippet rings stronger than knots
• Enables transition from widely varying diameters
• Will float if greased
Traditionally, fishing leaders end with a final section called tippet. This final portion is where the fly is tied to the end. Tippet serves many purposes beyond just a final piece of leader material that fits through the hook eye. For example, it makes for a smooth transfer of energy transmitted from the fly line, leader butt, and finally to the fly. Also, it serves as a means for creating slack to offer drag free presentations. These two primary examples demonstrate the critical role that tippet serves. Continue reading Tippet ring, oh tippet ring how I love thee
Nymphing rules to live by:
– On bottom
– Detect strike
– Right speed
– Best fly
To catch trout successfully using a nymph you must adhere to the above rules. Much of this is solved by using the correct leader combined with the appropriate tactic. My first lesson came from reading Joe Humprey’s “Trout Tactics” where he explains that a “flat leader” is the ultimate leader for nymph fishing.
Does this mean using a four pound test length of leader is all we need for nymphing? Yes, actually that is correct. In fact this or some variation is what I use for high-sticking, and Czech nymphing. This approach works fine when you have enough weight to reach your casting distance and get down to the strike zone effectively. Getting down is often solved by adding weight to the leader in the form of split shot or using a heavier fly. Where this fails is when heavier weight cannot be utilized. Maybe you are following FIPs Mouche competitive rules, or cannot add an a heavier weighted fly, or believe split shot is not an effective nymphing tactic. Maybe the flat leader is not turned-over easily.
Continue reading The important role of a fly fishing leader for nymph fishing
Swinging flies is a blast and when I find the right situation it’s game on. Typical Spey fly patterns are way too big for Pennsylvania trout. So I have been working out some trout sized patterns with the same lifelike qualities as their big brother steelhead and salmon patterns. As you can see in this photo, my latest creation the M1 mini spey is pulling out some hunkered down winter trout.
Continue reading Winter Micro Spey for Trout
The Pheasant Tail nymph is a staple in most every fly box. Inventor Frank Sawyer, river keeper of the River Wiltshire Avon used this fly to fool the most challenging trout. The Pheasant Tail nymph, routinely called ‘PT’ nymph has evolved to include beadhead, tinsel, rubber legs and other added materials. But Sawyer’s ingenuity is what gives the pattern such effectiveness.
Continue reading Pheasant Tail Nymph Modified
Easy to follow steps for waterproofing and revitalizing your rain jacket.
If you are like me I hate to give up technical apparel just because it a bit worn. I have a Patagonia Rain Jacket that is near and dear to my heart. Its keep me warm and dry on many adventures.
The laminate has begun to wear off in areas. In this video I show how to waterproof and repair using UV waterproofing gel, and waterproofing solution.
1. Wash jacket
2. Damp dry
3. Apply waterproof spray
4. Tumble dry jacket low heat
5. Gently rub off tattered laminate
6. Apply UV waterproof gel using putty knife
7. Cure UV with UV light
8. Go outdoors and explore
Stormy Kromer The Rancher Cap
The Rancher is a seriously warm cap for seriously cold conditions – over four times warmer than the Original. Made premium wool/nylon blend, then lined with 200 gram Thinsulate® to ramp up the heat. To that add two extra inches of fleece-filled comfort on the earband, creating the mother of all head protection systems.
Continue reading Featured Gear: Stormy Kromer The Rancher Cap, Orvis Abel Nipper And Lanyard, NRS Men’s HydroSkin® Long-Sleeve Shirt
If you ever tried casting large wind resistant flies using a typical trout fly line taper you probably found it difficult. Some of the reason has to do with how the fly line itself is shaped. Fly line shape is called its taper. It is how the diameter of the fly line changes from end to end.
Point – The portion of fly line in front of the front taper approximately six inches often including a welded loop made at the factory.
Front Taper – The portion of fly line in between the belly and the point. Changing in diameter from thick to thin from the belly to point respectively.
Continue reading What does a tapered fly line do?
There’s nothing more frustrating than guides that get constantly clogged with ice; keep them clear with Stanley’s Ice Off Paste from Loon. The non-toxic paste can be applied to your guides and line to prevent icing, so you can actually make some casts when winter midges start to hatch.
Stuck fly fishing rod sections… Not good.
I have broken fishing rods by trying to get the stuck sections apart. Breakage is usually due to bending and over stressing the sections. The easiest remedy is to have a buddy help you pull it apart. This is accomplished by each person placing one hand on opposing sections and their other hand on the sections closest to them. Next, have only one participant pull while the other holds steady. This approach helps even the pressure and reduce stress on the rod sections.
Continue reading How to get stuck fishing rods sections apart.
There are so many great little streams along the Pine creek canyon in northcentral Pennsylvania. Nestled near the village of Cedar Run, beginning just north of White Horse hollow along Cedar Mountain road and ending south of Oxbow hollow beneath the overpass of Route 414 is the beautifully rugged trout stream named Cedar Run. The twin of Slate Run, Cedar run has all the characteristics of a north central Pennsylvania freestone stream. It runs cold throughout the year, holds a variety of aquatic insects, and plenty of wild trout.
More information about Cedar Run
This bendable, all-terrain tripod stabilizes your smartphone on flat or uneven surfaces for shake-free shots, wherever inspiration strikes.
We enjoy sharing with you the wonderful rivers and streams Pennsylvania offers for fly fishing. So it’s nice to see the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources launch a contest aimed at publicizing Pennsylvania natural recreation.
Of course many visitors to paflyguide focus on fly fishing the contest aims to reach many interests, such as boaters, hikers, and overall outdoors enthusiasts. Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers (POWR), an affiliate of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, in cooperation with DCNR, oversee the selection of public voting choices.
Voting begins Monday, Nov. 14, and concludes 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 19.
Visit 2017 River of the Year Nominees to vote and learn about the nominated waterways and the River of the Year program.
Tucked away in the Pine Creek Valley is a gem of a trout stream named Slate Run. It is located near the southwestern side of Tioga county and flows downstream through the northwestern side of Lycoming county. Slate Run is a classic Pennsylvania freestone stream. Benefitting from spring seeps, deep undercuts, and heavy tree canopy Slate Run remains relatively cold year-round.
Its headwaters originate from the Francis and Cushman branches. Both branches hold healthy populations of wild Brown trout. The headwaters ranges from approximately 3 to 8 feet wide and is small but has a good pool to riffle ratio.
Slate Run changes in character through the mid-section and downstream of Manor Falls. The pools are deeper and you will find more cliffs as it cuts through the steep mountains. This combined with large fallen timber make for great cover and challenging fishing.
More information about Slate Run
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When fly casting, the rod must bend and unbend. This sounds simple and actually is if you incorporate the fundamentals properly. With spin or bait casting it is the weight if the lure that greatly assists bending (loading) the rod. With fly fishing it is the weight of the fly line that does the job. In order to utilize the complete weight of the fly line, the caster must eliminate all slack in the line before and during the casting motion.
Continue reading Fly casting effectively through eliminating slack and maintaining tension
In search of cold water fisheries.
Although Labor Day marks the end of summer for many activities when it comes to trout fishing we are usually waiting for cooler weather to start up our pursuit. Like most fly fisherman I let trout survive the hot summer months and concentrate my efforts on other species, but there are waters that remain healthy with temperatures that are safe and very productive.
Many streams in Pennsylvania are Freestone. Which mean they are generated from water flowing over the surface of the land and depend on rainfall as their primary source of water. Therefore fluctuating in water volume, temperature and oxygen level. Yes trout do live in these waters year-round. Although, during the hot summer months they are doing everything they can to survive. In these types of conditions if trout are caught it often means death. The stress is just too much for the fish to overcome.
Continue reading Where to Fly Fish for Trout on Labor Day weekend in Pennsylvania
Enter your best fly fishing photo for a chance to win a 25.00 Orvis Gift Card!
It’s easy to qualify.
We will select potential winners by random drawing made among all entries with at least 20 votes.
There is no doubt sooner or later you’re going to be on the water fly fishing when disaster strikes. With a little forethought you can turn around a near disaster to an epic day.
Just like a wilderness survival kit, your Fly Fishing Emergency Kit must include one in each critical category:
Continue reading Fly Fishing Emergency Kit
Fly fishing for trout in the summer can be challenging. This is why so many of us switch to more logical pursuits such as bass, carp and other warm water species. If I chase trout during the summer it usually takes place through a narrow bite window; early morning, late evening, or middle of the night. Of course as mentioned so many times before there are tons of exceptions; combine that with your schedule, and you may find yourself fishing in the hot mid-day sun. Which brings me to the emphasis of this post. Continue reading Plop goes the beetle
Learning to become a proficient fly fisher is not easy. Some anglers luck out on their first outing and bag a bunch of fish but for most it’s a tough slog day after skunky day. I kind of feel sorry for the lucky ones that do have early successes because they may perceive that every outing will be filled with non-stop rod bending action. Boy will they be disappointed when reality rears it’s ugly head.
As with many great endeavors, you have to really love the entire process in order to progress. The fair weather fisherman is just like a fair weather friend; you only see them on good days and bail when the going gets tough. The complication is there are so many exceptions that it’s hard to decipher the good days. It is the angler that truly loves all aspects of the sport that witness great days and more frequently. They love the sport so much that it doesn’t matter if they catch fish nearly as much as just being out there trying. It is the old adage “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?… Practice.”
Continue reading Advice to novice fly fishers
|Common Name (Hook Size)||FEB||MAR||APR||MAY||JUN||JUL||AUG||SEP||OCT|
|Blue Quill (16-18)||Black Caddis (16)|
|Blue-Winged Olive (14-22)|
|Quill Gordon (12 – 14)|
|Green Caddis (14)|
|Sulphur (14 -16)|
|Tan Caddis (14- 16)|
|Green Drake (8-10)|
|Brown Drake (8-10)|
|Slate Drake (12-14)|
|Trico (22 – 24)|
|White Mayfly (14 – 16)|
The Little Juniata River flows south from Tyrone to Petersburg. Upriver from Tyrone, the river can seem marginal at best. The only exception to this is where the main stem of the river picks up productive tributaries, such as Tipton and Bells Gap. Downriver from Tyrone, the river narrows and becomes surrounded by large limestone cliffs. Past this point, the river becomes a limestone river, with at least ten limestone springs being added to the river as it flows. These increase the insect population and make for a large trout population. Limestone helps to keep the flow of the river moderate, and provides moderate temperatures.
If you want to fish the river from Barree to Spruce Creek, the only access is on foot. On this section of the river, which is four miles long, there are 15-foot deep pools, heavy hatches and productive riffles and lots of wild trout. From Barree to Petersburg, the river is wider and contains fewer trout. Be careful wading in the lower end on this section, because pools can be deep.
Casting a virtually weightless fly to the target requires skill. But it is not beyond anyone’s ability. If you can throw a ball then you can throw a fly. Just as throwing a ball, the farther your target the more every part of the action must be perfect. This is why some anglers have trouble at distances. One must understand and utilize fundamental casting principles for it to work. Continue reading Accelerate through the casting stroke.
For most fly fishing trouters, mayfly fishing is the foundation of our game but from a strictly numbers point of view the caddis fly is much more abundant on most trout waters. They are hardy warriors that can withstand pollution better the most mayflies. If you asked me years ago I would have said Caddis flies were useless. Because I was repeatedly getting beat up on the famed Pine Creek, in north central Pennsylvnia. There I was watching thousands of egg laying caddis in the air while throwing my arm off with an Elk Hair pattern without even a nibble. Then while dazing off, my elk hair skittered below me on the surface. Blasto!! Fish on!
Continue reading Caddis flies, top shelf insects for fly fishing
We’re sure most of you get pretty busy during the spring fly fishing season. Just like us we all have the best intentions to get out and fish with of our friends that we meet along the way but who has time for all of them before it’s over? Or maybe you’ve been meaning to meet a couple like-minded anglers because you are sure you’re not the only one that chases the dog around the house to get that special color dubbing.
Continue reading Are you interested in joining us for a fly fishing gathering?
We recently helped The Little Juniata River Association (LJRA) with their annual spring river clean-up. I can tell you that it is with great pride to give a back to this watershed. If you think about how much enjoyment we get by having a healthy environment then it goes without much convincing to help keep it that way and further improve it.
Continue reading The Little Juniata River, clean, full of trout, and fragile
What’s the most effective method of fly fishing for trout? Nymph fishing. So I have done a lot of it and will continue to do so. If you are strictly after numbers of fish caught then nymph fishing trumps all. Of course this is a generalization and one should always choose the best tactic for the conditions at hand. But most often nymph fishing is more productive, even during a hatch with rising trout.
Continue reading Wet fly fishing: What’s old is new again.
Learn how to fly fish using easy to follow steps. This clinic covers the essential topics. No experience required.
Been toying around trying to improve the gold Stren style sight indicator that I have been using for years. Basically what the improvement consists of is using a blood knot coated with day-glo nail polish for visibility. This has kind of evolved. First I improved it by leaving small tags from the knot rather than clipping them neatly. This helped but in certain light they were still hard to see. Also it would pick-up debris even as much as I tried to keep it out the water. Next I added a small drop of day-glo colored nail polish which really helped. Finally I have added a coat of UV goo, like Loon or Clear Cure Goo.
Continue reading Handy sighter indicator for fly fishing for trout
For many the spring season starts with going to their favorite water to try and catch a few recently stocked fish. I have written about this in the past a few times. I have many great memories of opening days with my friends and I believe it’s a nice way to learn the game.
Often beginning fly anglers have difficulty putting together a fly box for opening day trout season but unless you are specifically looking to fish over hatches you only need a handful of productive patterns to get you through the day. These are some of the best flies for fishing in Pennsylvania.
Pheasant Tail Nymph (size 16 – 12)
Originated by Frank Sawyer the Pheasant Tail nymph has evolved since he first developed the pattern without using tying thread. Now many patterns incorporate a beadhead and hot spot. This pattern is typically fished near the bottom but floating version work extremely well during a hatch.
Buy your Pheasant Tail Nymphs here >>
Prince Nymph (size 16 – 10)
The materials used for the Prince Nymph make it one of the all-time best flies to represent many aquatic insects. Peacock herl represents everything from a cased caddis to bubbles being released during emergence. The tail and body shape suggest a stonefly. The contrasting color used for the biot wing case helps attract fish in a naturally shaped manner.
Buy your Prince Nymphs here >>
Team USA champion Lance Egan knows what works. This fly has been a staple on the team for many years.
Buy your Rainbow Warriors here >>
I get a bit geeky when it comes to formulating fly fishing leaders, unfortunately only to hack them up when adding new droppers. This usually happens after a few fly changes on the dropper and left with a stub. instead of cutting your main leader, try this nifty way to add a new dropper.
Be it a blood knot, surgeons knot, or whatever, leaving the existing knot is key to the process. Tie the new dropper above the existing knot by using a Uni-knot then slide it down against the existing knot.
That’s it – you’re good to go!