Thursday, June 26, 2014

2014 National Youth Fly Fishing Championships

The 2014 US Youth Fly Fishing Team National Championship will be held this coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday, June 27-29, 2014, on a handfull of rivers near Syracuse, NY. 

Our good friend, Douglas, and his fellow US Youth Team members will be fishing hard this weekend, so let's wish all of them the best of conditions and luck in their efforts.


If you are interested in learning more about this event, click here: LINK

Sharpen your hooks, buddy!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Feedback From A Reader

We received this email earlier today about Vinnie's Isonychia nymph:

Just some feedback , and I'm not gonna tell you dub wrong .Here's a nice brown taken from the upper Mainstem of the Delaware . Took Vinnie's iso nymph in a shallow riffle , its probably about 17in .
Thank you, Mr. Warner, that's one nice fish! Vinnie came up with a really good one and those of you that fish Eastern flows may want to tie some up and fish them.  Here's the video on how to tie this great fly.

Sharpen your hooks.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Music of the Night - A Contrast of Seasons

Several short months ago, in mid-February, with temperatures in the low teens with  a couple of feet of snow on the ground and ice on the tree limbs, I opened the back door late one night to check out the darkness and cold beyond the walls of my home.  The quiet was disarming but not unpleasant, the air was dry and cold on my face, and the only sound was the faint crackling of ice contracting and shifting in the darkness on the tree limbs above. Nothing stirred anywhere within earshot; it was as if all life had left the blackness that filled my eyes. Turning my head and sight upwards, the dark sky was speckled with the pale blue sparkling of distant stars and planets framed by the stark branches of trees gone bare.  I stood and listened to the nothingness and let the crisp air that fell on my face convey the peacefulness of the still winter night to my senses.
Fast forward to last evening, the first day of summer.  When I turned out the lights after a couple of hours tying flies and writing, I was struck at how my senses were filled with the life outside my open windows and I recalled that winter night so many months ago.  I went to the back door, opened it slowly, walked out onto teh deck and listened, felt and marveled at how in a few short months the world had awakened.  The frogs in the pond sang their summer songs; deep, uneven and emphatic.  Crickets and other nocturnal insects chirped and sang, the sounds coming at me from every angle and direction, the number of which too high to estimate. The silhouettes of moths, craneflies and other flying insects attracted to the lights inside the house clung to the window panes like lost lovers departing on a train.  Looking up, I could see patches of dark sky through the thick canopy of hardwood tree leaves.  This time though, I stood and listened to the life around me and let the warm, humid air and  miracle of renewed life brighten the otherwise deep shade of the night.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Why Did the Bear Cross the River?

My friend Kevin Browne sent me this photo he took recently while fishing in the Ken Lockwood Gorge section of the South Branch of the Raritan River.  The gorge is about 3 miles from my home, and while we regularly see bears about the homestead, I have never seen one while fishing, let alone 15 yards upstream of where I was wading.  As you can see by the picture, the bear was quite large, and had no trouble navigating the river.  He or she continued on their merry way, and Kevin continued to fish, albeit with one eye on the water and the other on the woods.    

Sharpen your hooks and beware the bear!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Mike Valla On His Book - The Founding Flies

Here's Mike talking about his latest book, The Founding Flies - 43 American Masters: Their Patterns and Influences. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

At Least I Didn't Break My Rod

Life has been nothing short of crazy since I started the new job.  Today was no different, but that's not why I am here. I'm here because I feel a little lost if I go too many days without posting something here.  Tuesday I took the day off from the office to fish a couple of creeks deep in the Poconos of N.E. Pennsylvania, with friends Jim and Bill.  These streams run cool, stained bronze from the organic matter that is borne of Hemlocks and hardwoods, and of which almost any artificial fly properly fished is a potential meal; hatches can be sparse, so the trout tend to take what they can get.  Green dominates the landscape as far and as high as the eye can see.  Stepping through the forest along the stream bank is dreamlike; the sound of flowing water, birds and nothing else, places fishing far down on the totem pole of what is important at the moment. Often, I had my rod in hand as I walked deep into the forest, but my mind was free of the need to do anything, let alone cast a line or disturb a trout.  The calm of the thick forest envelopes one in springtime much like a good wood fire bathes one in total warmth in the dead of winter.        

(Click photos to enlarge)

In the morning we fished a fast flowing, rock strewn stream with short, deep pools separated by fast pocket water dropping through large, scattered flat rocks so typical of the Pocono region.  The trout were mostly uncooperative except for a couple of rainbows and a nice brown that took a Walt's Worm fished through the slowest water in a narrow pool.  And of those large, flat rocks strewn everywhere, there was one that didn't like my stepping it, and I took a nasty spill down its face and into the edge of the fast water.  My right leg lead the way, taking the brunt of my weight.  After crawling up out of the drink, it was clear my morning was over - my right leg was screaming at my misfortune. Fortunately, my favorite rod was undamaged, as the hand I might have used to slow my fall, instinctively held the rod high and out of the way. I made my way back to the car, filled my wading socks with ice and got them on the sorest bumps and cleaned up my shin, and then we headed to lunch.

After a great lunch of soup and a burger, we headed out to another stream that flows through a relatively flat forested area whose floor was covered with ferns and saplings growing beneath tall Hemlocks, White Pines, Ash, Maple and Oak trees.  Deer quietly moved through the under brush at a safe distance, small fawns following, their heads barely above the fiddle heads.  Although my leg was unhappy with its owner, the flat terrain made walking tolerable; it helps, too, that fishing has a way of submerging discomfort without fail.  When I got to a spot I wanted to fish, I simply sat down on the moss and pine needles lining the bank and fished from down low.

And the fishing was really good on this creek.  The rainbows, browns and brookies took our flies like they hadn't seen food in years.  Most of mine were taken on Walt's Worms and LaFontaine Sparkle emergers. We even got a few on dries, and Jim caught a hog rainbow on a big, size #8, Bitch Creek nymph.  Here's a nice brown I took from a deep, slow run just off a submerged rock ledge along the opposite bank.

As evening approached and called it a day, we were tired and one of us was very sore, and after a quick snack and a cold beer we left the quiet of the woods to the deer, bears and birds that call it home.  

Sharpen your hooks!        

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Tying Marinaro's Thorax Dun

After some prodding from Tim, I finally sat down this past weekend and tied the fly that Vincent Marinaro developed for the ultra-tough trout residing in the limestone spring creeks of the Cumberland Valley, just west of Harrisburg, PA.  Tying most of the fly is fairly straightforward as you can see here in the video; its the the winding of the crisscrossed hackle that sends most tiers running for the hills.  The key is the dubbing around the wing/thorax - it has to be dubbed so that the hackle stem can be caught in it as it is wound at an angle (the stem has to cut into the dubbing or it will slip).   I don't tie many this way, but those I do, I reserve for those tough risers that the fly was meant for.          

Vincent C. Marinaro wrote two classic books on fly fishing for trout - Ring of the Rise, and Modern Dry Fly Code.  Both books are classics and well worth the read for any angler.

Thanks to Tim and Joan Flagler for another wonderfully produced video.

Sharpen your hooks!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Sulphurs Are On!

This year we are experiencing very good hatches of Sulphurs on New Jersey, PA and NY, rivers and streams.  The flies currently range in size from size #14 down to #18, most being the larger sizes.  As the days pass, the average size of the flies will decrease until most are #18's, and even 20's.  The hatches are happening very late in the day, near dusk and after, so be prepared to be out on the water after dark.  Carry a good lamp or flashlight for safety.  The other night I fished the SBR, and just as the sun's light was vanishing, the air over the river was filled with the little yellow mayflies, and the river began to boil with trout rising to the hatching insects. We caught some nice fish, all on Sulphur Usuals. Now that the hatch has been on, be sure to carry spinner imitations in addition to dun patterns.

So when the skies start to look like this....

Fish these, or another of your favorite Sulphur patterns....

And sharpen your hooks.