Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Prepare for Glory.

Only one more day until Adam and I embark on our first journey north to the Lake Ontario tributaries and massive lake run steelhead and brown trout. We have planned this trip for over a month and the anticipation has occupied our minds for much longer than it should have. The ability to focus on any task albeit school or listening to someone talk has been pushed aside and replaced by images of monstrous brown trout at the ends of our fly lines. I cannot believe that these images are about to be reality. I cannot wait.

Standing on the Edge
Erie, PA
Adam & Matt

Having only fished for steelhead one other time, we are going to be put to the test. Unfamiliar waters, frigid weather, and the strongest fish we have ever fought are what we are up against. Not to mention the thousands of other anglers we will have to contend with. We are going to try and abandon the crowds and the combat fishing to search for less crowded water smaller streams teeming with fish. Of course, this is all wishful thinking, but we will have four long days on the water to find our little slice of heaven. Speaking of heaven, sleeping in the bed of a pickup truck, outside in a Walmart parking lot, in sub-freezing temperatures is a lot what heaven is going to feel like.

Lake Erie Hen on the 5wt.

Adam & Steelhead

My 5wt orvis clearwater is not going to be able to handle these fish like it did on the Lake Erie tributaries last year. I upgraded and am hoping to slay some beasts on my Loop AEG 966-4 and Multi Reel. Adam is gonna go hardcore and fish his brandnew HELIOS tipflex 5wt and Loop Opti Dryfly reel. Of course he has his 8wt Zero G to always fall back on. We also have been building an arsenal of flies. Egg patterns, streamers, and large nymphs are gonna be on the menu up in New York in all manner of colors. One of these flies is going to own and we both know it.




Black Estaz Stone


Veiled Otters Soft Egg

100% Grade A Ownage

One more day... and to quote Dumb and Dumber... "we're there man"

Monday, October 20, 2008

Green Drakes.

The first "major" hatch I ever witnessed occured at Penns Creek, PA during the annual May-June Green Drake Fest. I fished the area exactly a year before but my buddy and I were off the water before the spinner fall. We had fished since 6 a.m. and caught plenty of fish, and it was interesting to see the looks of fellow fisherman who had just arrived as we made our way back to our van. We feasted on peanut butter and jelly, our first meal of the day, while other fisherman fished for rising brown trout yards away. I don't know what we were thinking but our time would come.

A Male Resting Before the Big Show

Our time came exactly a year later. We arrived at Penns in the afternoon and promptly got on the river near a one of its larger tributaries. We walked and fished our way downstream until finally we reached a spot that looked worthy. Some older fisherman were already hunkered down, so we settled for the tail end of one of the larger pools. We were still miles upstream from the main stem of the hatch and thousands of other visiting anglers. However, the action would still be intense as evidenced by the amount of Drakes buzzing like hummingbirds all along the streamside. While we waited for the action to begin, photography time was in session.


A Close Up Encounter.

Graphite Weave.

This female's tails were four inches long.

Around 7:30 p.m. the Drakes began emerging from their hideouts and hovered, gliding up and down near the tree tops. They looked like mini-helicopters coming in to land, only to decide that something wasn't right, and pull up at the last minute. As the time passed, their descents became lower and lower and males and females converged dancing the tango above our heads. Around this time, the trout emerged from their lairs in the deep water and began rising all around us to Sulphers. Some rose mere feet away, seemingly oblivious to our existence. We simply picked a riser and hoped that our imitation would suffice. Surprisingly, it took us awhile before the action picked up. As dusk settled in, we started to have some luck. We missed several nice fish due to our increased excitement and nerves. The trout were feasting as the first Green Drakes began to hit the water.

A Superfine Female.


With the action increasing I zeroed in on a feeding fish along the bank. Their was a ball of roots protruding into the water at the base of the bank. This fish was inches from the shore. I had no idea if it was a trout, chub, or rock bass but I decided to give her a try. After several near takes, the fish rose and gently took my fly. Setting the hook, the fish arched into the current and peeled off yards of line. This was a trout, and a nice one at that. After several deep runs, the trout came to hand. The hen was a thick sixteen inches, the largest trout I ever caught out of Penns and my first during the epic Green Drake hatch. Several more trout would come to hand before darkness settled in, none matching the elegance or strength of the first.

Cork Lust.


With darkness setting in, a sound approached in the distance. It resembled a howling wind and the tapping of rain on a window pane. Having never witnessed it before, I was shocked to discover its origin. Shining my headlamp over the stream, the main swarm of Drakes made its way upstream releasing their eggs as they went. The sheer numbers infront of us cannot truly be described with words. Every fly fisherman needs to experience it in order to fully appreciate it. However, the moment could not last. The Drakes soon perished, falling to their watery grave and the mercy of hungry trout. Others, clung on to my clothing and face possibly attracted to the light at the end of the tunnel. It made for some interesting pictures as we listened to the trout gorge themselves on the dead spinners on the water. It was calming to stand in the darkness and listen to the sound of water running between your legs. The walk back to the truck ended my first Green Drake experience on Penns and marked the beginning of a new era and respect for the wonders found on this truly magnificent stream.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Spot.

Every fly fisherman has a favorite spot that encompasses everything they have come to love about the sport of fly fishing. My favorite haunt happens to be the type of stream that I cherish most. The small stream that is chalk full of beautiful trout eager to take your fly. The stream is wonderfully clear and is an entomologists dream for its diverse aquatic life. Inch long caddis pupa and large stoneflies inhabit its riffles and runs.

Taking it all in.

Hoping for the best.

It fishes as well during highwater in the winter as it does in the summer when the water is unreasonably low. In the fall, it is a site to behold as the leaves change and larger trout from a nearby tailwater migrate up it to spawn. These trout, when on the move, are a true challenge in the tight quarters of this stream. Did I mention it was small? Some areas are no more than five feet wide and in the summer the vegetation creates a tunnel, limiting the fishable areas and your ability to sneak up on fish.

A Winter Brown

Winter Wonderland

There are a variety of pools, riffles, and pocket water that hold trout. Around each bend, the stream offers a different opportunity to try your chances against brown, brook, rainbow, and even native tiger trout. These are the types of characteristics that every fly fisherman comes to admire about a stream. Fortunately I have found my dream spot and I only hope that it remains pristine so that future generations can enjoy its bounty.

A Summer Brown

Summer Tunnels

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Beginning.

When I was younger, I sucked at fishing. I was the kid who would go to the local stream on opening day with my father and brother and not catch a thing. I would be sandwiched in between other sons, using the exact same bait and watch as they would pull their limit out. I would sit there and not even receive a bite. I usually took it in stride and sat back and enjoyed the time with my family. I particularly enjoyed having my dad or grandfather untangle the atrocities that my brother and I somehow created at the end of our lines. Little did I know that one day this situation would be reversed.

Hooking into a Pohopoco
I discovered fly fishing at the tender age of 12 when most teenagers have other things in mind. My friend Adam and I always explored the local woods catching various species pretending that we had our own tv show. One particular day ended up changing our lives. While exploring a local small stream that was barely four feet wide Adam busted out his fathers brand new fly fishing outfit to see if we could catch some fish. Settled in at one of the few fishable holes, we experimented with a 9ft 6wt early generation cabelas outfit that probably weighed over a pound. It was ideally suited for the tight quarters we were in and the overhanging branches we had to cast under. I believe we tied a prince nymph to the end of probably 20 pound straight mono and preceded to make the best out of the situation. Adam preceded to share his knowledge of the sport since he was a proud owner of an eagle claw outfit and had caught some fishes before. After Adam caught several "chubs" it was my turn. My first few casts can only be descibed as "chuck and duck". Luckily it was only a prince nymph and not a conehead wooly bugger or else I would have caught something other than a fish. My first fish on a fly rod was sadly not a trout, nor the annoying stream chub, it was a sucker.

A Morning on the Little Lehigh

This sucker, in all its glorious six inches went on to revolutionize my life and fish catching abilities. For my 13th birthday I received a Orvis Clearwater Outfit and as they say the rest is history. Now at the age of 22, fly fishing has become my passion. It is my anti-drug and I am horribly addicted. It is as my friend once said, "a disease". This disease has taken me places that I never would have gone before. It has led to many friendships and brought me closer to my brother and father. It has also led to many a night where schoolwork has been put aside to tie flies or read the new Drake. It will continue to have an exponential role in my life and I hope to share my experiences and more importantly the fish with all fellow fish bums.

A Penns Creek Brown