Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Scenic Tionesta Creek

Scenic Tionesta Creek
April 25th, 26th, 2015

 To think that on the opening day of trout fishing, April 18th,  in Pennsylvania I had my Harley packed with fishing gear and took off to fish trout waters all day. The weather was beautiful and warm. This past Sunday the weatherman said it should be up in the 50’s but it never looked promising. Besides that, wading in 42 degree water wasn’t going to warm me much even if the air temperature did hit 50 degrees with sunshine.
 I met my friend Jeff on the North Fork of Redbank Creek Saturday morning. We caught a couple trout but the bait fishermen were doing a lot better with the fresh stocked fish. We decided to go over and fish Tionesta Creek in the afternoon and also on Sunday.
 Saturday I caught a couple of trout in the section we fished but the trout just weren’t too active. Sunday we tried a couple of sections and again I caught a few on nymphs but Jeff just wasn’t having a good trout catching day. We departed and went our separate ways about 2:00pm. He was headed to Oil Creek on his way back to Pittsburgh as I figure I’d still try another section of the Tionesta Creek up stream a few miles. I did a lot better hooking up, much better than I expected to, with stoneflies and Picket Pins.
 The daily weather was as unpredictable as the trout bite. Besides being overcast and maybe 50 degrees the wind would kick up and brought along with it a gust of colder air. Standing in 42 degree creek water kept my feet practically numb as my body chilled. I kept thinking about the shrimp on crushed ice at the seafood bar at a Chinese Buffet. For some reason that had to be about the same temperature I was wading in. If it wasn’t I was catching trout, so often, in the evening I would have left a couple of hours sooner than I did. I got out of the water about 4:00pm and was heading home by 5:00. I just couldn’t take the chilled water anymore and besides I was getting worn down being that I had been fishing since 7:00am.

 Here are a few of the pictures of the scenic Tionesta Creek, trout and bald eagle I happen to get photos of.

Lynch 4/25/15
A couple brook trout

Mayburg 4/26/15

 Bald Eagle at Mayburg

Tionesta Creek up from Lynch Bridge

 Tionesta Stonefly

Tionesta Picket Pin

Tionessta 'bow' with a hook already stuck in his lip

Tionesta thirst quencher 



Friday, April 3, 2015

Deadly Combination

Deadly Combination

  It’s Thursday, forecast to be near 60 degrees and sunny, at least till late afternoon. After a few morning chores I was off to the North Fork of Redbank Creek for some warmer weather trout fishing. I had plans to head north to the Erie Tribs for steelhead but the snow melt had been keeping the tribs high and cloudy so I decided to stick around my area.
 By the time I got to the creek there were already early birds casting lines in the cold catch and release trout waters. I parked in the lot and got my fly gear on and strung up the 8’6” 5wt SAS rod. The temperature had to be near 50 by now as the sun was shining down like a flood light in an open warehouse.
 I headed down creek away from the crowds for the first hour. It was more like practicing casting without ever getting a strike. I searched, with a Woolly Bugger, in the fast and slower current but maybe the water was still too cold and the fish weren’t that hungry to chase it yet. After some of the fishermen cleared out upstream I ventured upstream and found some room to wet a line.
 Of course I started combing the area with a Woolly Bugger. I got one strike and was bringing a trout in when some how he managed to unhook himself. For the next 15 minutes or so I felt I combed the area long enough and without another strike decided to resort to nymph fishing. With still a few fishermen about I wasn’t going to relinquish my spot to hope and find a better one. I only seen one other fellow catching trout and he wasn’t going to give up his lucky spot either.
 The water couldn’t be more than 45 degrees I’d say. It was running fast with wavy surface water midstream. Right in front of me there was a good seam this side of the wavy current that looked to be good depth. Closer yet was slower current that flowed towards the tail out with maybe a slight flow towards the shoreline and much shallower but deep enough to keep a trout hidden.
 I knotted on a San Juan worm and dropped a Pheasant tail below it. It took a little time adjusting my extra weight and indicator to get a reasonable depth that I felt was dragging bottom where the trout should be. I caught one brook trout on the PT within the first 15 minutes or so but I felt I could do better and proceeded to look for another combination.
 With the sun creeping up over the far bank side trees brought warmth and clarity to the water before me. I started to notice a few small black stoneflies fluttering atop the water here and there. There were also some tiny midges about also. I decided to knot on a bead head BWO emerger with a small stonefly for a dropper. On my next few casts you would have thought I added a touch of some magic dust to the combination. All of a sudden I was picking up trout like a kid at a carnival at the magnetic fishing pond booth.
 The combination I had offered was evidently too buggy looking to refuse for too long. I was catching trout on both imitations. What was interesting was I was catching the brown trout on the emerger pattern and most of the brook trout on the stonefly. I stood my ground, with numbness in my lower extremities, from the coldness of the creek water, for hours.
 One thing I learned early about fly fishing local well fished trout waters is fly fishermen don’t usually give their catching patterns too easily as if at all. If they are catching trout when no one else seems to be they don’t care to share the info. The other thing is it’s hard to give in and ask another, who is catching trout, what they are using. It’s as if it’s demoralizing to ask another for the ‘fly of the day’ unless maybe if he is leaving. This doesn’t happen so much in a wide river or creek with plenty of room to fish about away from a town or in the wilderness. In the local trout streams in a small town without much room to spread out is usually quiet as far as talk goes unless you have a few buddies along.
 Well I must have been pretty impressive cause I got asked a few times “what I was catching the trout on” or “what are they hitting on now?” It was just one of those days I was the one that knew the deadly combination and other fishermen were willing into conceding and ask me my successful patterns. I even caught an eye of a few guys watching me catching trout as they stood up on the bank. I’m not one to have my head swell and hold my head up like I’m some kind of great nymph fishermen in these situations, because I’ve been on the other side of the fence, but it is nice to have the spotlight now and then.
 It wasn’t until the rain and wind started that I knew it was time for me to depart. I did catch plenty of trout and I seen no reason to stick around and get wet. The wind was getting fierce at times and brought coldness along with it. By now the sun disappeared above the clouds and the raindrops were getting heavier. I cast out a Woolly Bugger for the last 20 minutes or so and was able to get one last trout to the net in the rain before I left at around 2:30pm. Wasn’t bad for about a 4 hour outing.


Some of my earnings for the day

The Deadly Duo

Monday, March 30, 2015

Fishing with Rich and Brandy

Fishing With Rich and Brandy

When someone asks to tag along when I’m going fly fishing up this way I don’t mind at all. When he says he’ll bring lunch and home made brandy, well that’s just dandy. You’re more than welcomed.

 Rich had already been fishing when I pulled in the parking lot about 10:00am. I messaged him earlier that there would be no hurry to get here being it wasn’t going to get above freezing temps till 11:00am or so. I found him up creek a bit, on the bank chipping ice off his fly line and rod eyes. I was surprised as there were about 5 other vehicles in the parking area and three other guys in the extreme cold weather in the water.
 We both walked back to the vehicles in which he gave me a quick sample of the cranberry brandy and apple brandy he had made. It wasn’t too potent but a quick wake up call. The cranberry was much smoother than the apple but both were very drinkable and appealing.
 I got my fishing gear on and with other fishermen fishing in front of the parking area we decided to go down creek some.
 The water was a perfect color as far as I was concerned with a touch of a greenish tint. It was a little higher than I would have liked and flowing a bit strong mid stream but there was no doubt the fish shouldn’t have any problem seeing our offerings. As I stepped into the water I had a bit of doubt for the morning catch though. The state stocked this catch and release area Thursday but with the frigid temperature I was feeling against my legs I felt the trout might be a bit sluggish and not to responsive this early. Maybe once the water warmed up it might get better.
 I lit a Cohiba Pequenos just about a half hour into the cold morning of fishing. We spent a few hours searching for a hungry trout but it wasn’t going to happen before noon. We seen a couple of guys catch one or two but the majority of us were just wetting lines and still searching.
 Rich and I moved around the creek searching in new areas for responsive fish for sometime. After the crowd thinned out some we had more areas to fish to ourselves. The sun was warming the creek water and air temperature and I was hoping that would get the trout a little more active. Rich finally hooked into a couple down creek from where I was fishing and waved me over. It appeared the trout were hanging in small schools so once we found a few takers we stuck around and had some fun with them. We were catching them on woolly buggers though I had many more bumps and swats without a hook up than I did with getting one to the net. Rich was having fun catching trout also and I was happy he was hooking up. Here’s a few. 

 A few fish Rich caught

 After having some catching fun and needing to warm up we headed to the vehicles to get something to eat and I was in the mood for more home made brandy with some cheese and crackers.
 After a filling lunch with venison meets ball sandwiches, cheese, crackers and more brandy we were ready to fish a couple more hours. I lit up another Cohiba and we headed down to the water. 

 We started again where we left off but the trout weren’t too responsive. While Rich stayed at it I moved around searching for another school of trout with my offerings. We were practically the only ones on the creek by now as the sun was fading and the air was getting cold again. I found some hungry fish upstream from Rich and called him over. We caught a few more fish on an assortment of streamers, nymphs and egg patterns before we called it quits. My feet felt heavy as iron bars as I stepped out of the water. I couldn’t feel them bend at the ankles from standing in the cold water for so long.
 Back at the vehicles I changed out of my fishing gear as the van warmed up. Rich and I exchanged a grateful handshake for the enjoyable fishing outing we had and he headed south towards the Burgh. Pulling out of the empty lot I lit up a Pequenos and enjoyed the smooth Cameroon tobacco flavor during the drive home. It was good to have the feeling back into my legs and feet as well as the warmth of the heat!!

Rich getting ready to net another 

My last two of the evening


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Between the Raindrops

Between the Raindrops

 I finally got the chance to take a day and fish a Pennsylvania trout stream. Two days after getting back from North Carolina, in early March, I came down with flu like symptoms that lasted a good couple of weeks. The creeks were frozen over and it had been cold most of the time anyhow so I’ve been nursing my sickness and tying flies. I was getting the itch, and it wasn’t from being ill, I just needed time on the water. With the warmer daytime weather the past week or so melted plenty of snow which brought water levels up and cloudy. I’ve been checking the weather reports daily and it looked like Wednesday would be my best bet. It was suppose to be near 50* with occasional showers. I was pretty sure the water level of the Big N Creek would be ok but I wasn’t too sure of the color. It didn’t matter I posted on face book “I’m going fish'n tomorrow. Not sure where but I will be in the water with fly rod in hand!!” And that was my goal.

 The predicted showers showed up earlier than I expected as I drove the 50+ miles to the creek. Crossing the bridge, over the creek, the water appeared with a greenish tint, good flow and not too deep not to wade in. The excitement of getting a line wet was becoming overbearing but I stopped at the fly shop, as I always do, along the creek to say hi to the owner and I always purchase something. It didn’t take long before I was in my van dressing for the fishing engagement.

 Near 50?, bull. It was down right cold. The rain fell in small droplets as I entered the creek. The coldness of the water was quickly felt around my calves. My starting point was just above the shop hole in the wavy current. There was one other fisherman downstream fishing the deep hole. I watched him enough to know he was nymph fishing. I mostly always start out with a woolly bugger. This is not only my favorite streamer but it also stretches the arm muscles and gets the stiffness out of the fly line quicker. With a little extra weight I started to cast the bugger out getting a feel for the SAS 5weight rod. Within the first 5 minutes I got a bump and soon I had a fish struggling on the end of the line in the wavy current. Once he came to the surface the hook gave way and he disappeared below the surface. At least I knew that the trout were willing to take a Woolly Bugger in the cold water and weren’t just lying dormant.
 I kept at it with the bugger and soon I got my first trout to the net. The rain was still falling so I didn’t dare take the camera out of the zip lock bag in my raincoat pocket but it was a nice brown trout about 12” or so. With that I took out a fat Gurkha stogie and lit it up just in case the rain started to fall in bunches.
 As I slowly made my way towards the big, slower current hole, I switched colors of buggers tempting those trout who wanted to exert some energy and grab the drifting/swimming bugger. It wasn’t long before I was able to hook and net a nice trout.

 A sheet of rain blew across the water just after the catch with a chilling breeze. My fingers were stiffening. The water that flowed against my thighs was a constant reminder of how cold the creek really was. Still it was going to take a lightning storm to get me to quit.
 The other fisherman had pulled out a couple of trout so I decided to resort to nymph fishing. With a San Juan worm and a PT nymph for a dropper, under an indicator, I was soon in the monotonous routine of systematized nymph fishing.

 The roll cast looped the indicator up stream and my two imitations followed, for about the umpteenth time. I gave a mend up creek to be sure the indicator didn’t put an unneeded drag on the nymphs. As the indicator passed before me it dropped just enough below the surface that my instinct set the hook. The trout pulled away with a tug and forceful burst of speed. My wet cold hand held the wet cork firmly as my line hand tensioned the line as needed. He put up a good struggle and run before he tired out and I got him to the net successfully. I was able to catch another but the boredom of nymphing the same small area was getting to me and I just had to get some excitement and blood flow through my body. I knotted on a Woolly Bugger and proceeded to entertain myself downstream.
 My casts were across creek, long and well placed where I knew the bugger would drift near boulders, seams and small pocket waters. The water I was now fishing was wide, a little shallower and the visibility was fair. The fish around shouldn’t have any problem seeing the buggers I put before them. I changed colors often and was rewarded with a couple more trout.
 As the afternoon turned into evening my legs were just about numb from being in the water so long. I waded out of the creek and walked my way along the path back to where I started. There were a few more anglers about trying there luck. I stepped in the creek again and tied on a tandem offering. The guy upstream was doing pretty well hooking up to fish so I was hoping it wasn’t going to take too long for myself to get a hook up. Every few casts I would gradually change the depth of my nymph presentation. I changed nymphs a couple of times and knotted on a Dark Hare’s ear. I was hoping the brighter gold tinsel might bring some flash and curiosity to the bottom hugging trout.

 The indicator passed me and I gave the line a short upstream mend not disturbing the indicator. As my presentation drifted further down creek the sudden drop, of the pulled indicator, lifted my spirits as well as the rod tip. The trout took off, surfaced with splashing remarks and dove deep. The 5 weight rod flexed with enjoyment as I cautiously brought the trout near with my line hand. Holding the rod high with one hand I scooped the nice rainbow from the water.
  After about another half hour I didn’t see anyone catching anything and the fellow fishermen were starting to move to different locations. I tied on a Wooly Bugger, having more room to fish, and slowly fished my way down to the bridge which was only about 30 yards away. I didn’t get any strikes so I turned back to the bank and walked back up creek. I was about ready to leave, after getting a bad tangle in my tandem set up but took a break and put on a fresh tapered leader.
 A few more fishermen showed up so I figured it had to be getting around 4:00 or so. I entered way up in the faster water and began to present my Woolly Bugger in the faster current. My legs began to feel the coldness a lot quicker than they took earlier. The sun came out and it did make it a more pleasant evening of fishing. I might have got a bump or two before I got to the slower current beyond the riffles but it was hard to distinguish with the rocky strewn riffles.
 I was getting impatient and hungry but I wanted just one more catch before I left. Maybe I looked funny casting out and using a Wooly Bugger in the slow current hole to those nymph fishermen but I didn’t care. I had already hooked up 4 times on them and was hoping for one more.
 I was casting the bugger covering as much territory as my cast would allow. I felt a bump just before the line straightened out and I was sure it was a fish. I concentrated on the fish and was determined to hook into it. I pulsated the bugger at times as well as let it dead drift. I tried all sorts of maneuvers to get the bugger with tempting action. Every once in awhile I felt a bump but it just wouldn’t grab it. I had thoughts about clipping the marabou tail but I thought it might not have the same effect. It was a case of who had more patience to keep on teasing each other.
 Just at the end of one drift I twitched the rod tip to give the bugger more action. Maybe it was coincidence that the trout struck at the same time of one of my twitches or maybe he just had enough and decided to gobble it up. Anyhow the rod flexed good and with a short jolt I set the hook. The trout stayed deep with fierce tugs and pulls. I kept the rod up as he began to swim up creek before me. He scooted further out but lost his energy in the coldness of the water quickly. I netted the fine brown trout that looked as if he’s been around for awhile.

 With a smile on my face I hooked the bugger into the hook keeper on my rod and waded out.

 It was a cold but well needed fishing adventure that I needed to take the edge off of the long cold winter. Trout fishing one of my favorite creeks that I used to fish with my grandfather before it became a delayed harvest area brought back memories.

 After changing clothes I ate a couple of Girl Scout cookies and washed them down with lemon flavored water. Before leaving the parking lot I lit up a fine Alec Bradley Prensado for the relaxing drive home.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Egg Sucking Leech Tute

                                                           Egg Sucking Leeches

 I wanted a thinner profile of the leech pattern than a typical Woolly Bugger. I only used one hank of marabou, with long strands, for the tail as well as palmering the rib with ostrich herl.
 I use chenille for the egg and tied it down between the body and egg. I thought that this was best so there is no thread visible just behind the hook eye.

Hook; #8 4x long streamer
Thread; black 3/0
Weight; .020 lead wire
Tail; black marabou, 1 hank with strands
Rib; 2 strands of black ostrich herl, palmered
Body; black chenille
Egg; pink, orange or fuschia chenille

1. Thread base shank of hook with thread stopped at hook point

 2. From this starting point counter wrap lead wire forward.
Wind a few thread wraps over lead and bring thread back to bend

3. Tie in 1 hank of marabou trimming off just behind lead coils and secure.

4. Tie in two ostrich herls by the tips.

5. Tie in body chenille at bend and extending behind eye of hook over lead wire as shown.

6. Wrap body chenille in tight wraps to just in front of lead wire. Leave plenty of room behind eye.

7. Palmer ostrich herl over body and secure in front of lead wire.

 8. Tie in egg chenille extending over body of leech. Notice I finish by bringing the thread behind and between the egg chenille and body.

9. Wrap the egg chenille forward behind eye than back to body creating a ball.

10. With the chenille behind the thread, and angling back, bring thread up and through the gap. On the other side catch the chenille with thread between the egg and body. Secure with three to four wraps of thread.

12. Trim off loose chenille, whip finish behind egg and I add head cement to thread.

I tie some of these in white, ribbed with gray ostrich herl also.