Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Kettle to Ourselves

No Buggers (part3)
Here are the links to the first two Parts, found on my blog, to this adventure.

The Kettle to Ourselves

I awoke early and was already tying flies before Jeff rolled out of the back of his truck. I wanted to tie up some more brown spinners and a few more March Browns and such for the last day on the Kettle. Jeff started making coffee and poured himself a bowl of cereal. I was sippin on my hot tea and had feather clipping scattered around my temporary fly tying station in our little parking area. After breakfast Jeff started to clean up camp but didn’t mind if I continued to tie until it was time to bring down the tarp. After breaking camp, I handed Jeff a few of the fresh flies I tied and we headed for the FFO project area, on the Kettle, a ways up from the bridge.

 We pulled into the parking area and found we were the first there. We later found we wouldn’t have any company during our morning fishing either, We had the creek to ourselves!
 We both decided to work our way down stream. I started pretty much where we entered the creek as Jeff disappeared down the path. I found a few fish sipping on something atop the water I couldn’t get an eye on. I tried my small midge patterns and a few small caddis but nothing was interested in them in the gin clear water. After about a half hour of getting casting exercise I decided to walk downstream to the first deep hole.
 Foam and bubbles floated upon the rippling water of the deep pool caused by the rushing narrower shallow riffles above. I knew the hole was deep and had erratic cross currents below the surface. I watched the surface area for any rises and found a fish feeding near the far bank down below a rooted snag in the milder current flow. I kept the tan caddis on in hopes of coaxing him to take. It took a couple of casts and mends to get the fly to drift, drag free, in his holding area. On my third perfect drift he rose to the fly. I was quick enough to get enough tension on the long length of line to set the hook. The fish dove deep heading towards the back of the pool. My 5wt Kettle Creek rod bowed towards the fighting fish. I let some line slip through my fingers until I felt I had a good grasp of the size and fight of the trout. With a fine struggle on my 6x tippet I brought an 11” brown to me feet.
 After releasing him I noticed another fish rising in the same area. My first cast to the far bank came up short and I wasn’t pleased with the distance from the bank where my fly fell. I lifted the rod and in turn the fly line rose from the water skirting the caddis across the rough water before lift off. To my surprise a surface splash appeared, behind my moving fly, from a fish attempting to take my imitation. Of course he missed it as I was already into my lifting back cast with a swift pull. I attempted to coax him to the surface again but he was aware something was wrong.
 I then tied on a couple of different dries and cast them out into the riffling water but no fish were interested. Soon I got a glimpse of a brown trout suspended just below the surface sipping on midges of some sort below the bubbling foam. I looked down into the water but couldn’t see any form of fly or bug drifting by. I tried every small fly I had in my fly box from size #20 to #14 mayflies and caddis. He would glance at a few, which brought a little hope, but never got the nerve to try one out.

 Meanwhile Jeff was having a field day below the first rocky falls down creek. I didn’t even notice he was down there until he called to me with his fly rod bent. When I acknowledged his calling, by looking towards him, he yelled back to the effect he was having a field day catching trout below the falls.
“What are you using?” I called back
“Those small brown spinners”, “They’re hammering them” he added
“Those ones with the double split moose main tails?” I asked.
“Ya, the ones you gave me” he answered.
“I guess the fish can’t count after all” I called back
He got a grin on his face before he turned and stooped down to take care of the fish attached to his line.

(You see the day before I tied up some small brown spinners to his shade of color he suggested. I used two moose hairs on each side of a split tail. He told me that the spinners he sees and ties only had one tail on each side. I assured him, when I tied them, that fish can’t count!)

 I turned back to my fishing the deep pool. After more frustration, of not being able to catch the darn teasing surface sipping brown, I started to make my way downstream. Under an overhanging leafy tree I coaxed a rainbow to take a small Adam’s parachute. He took it quick and aggressively and his fight was just as aggressive. He must have churned up enough commotion that no other trout wanted my offering in the area.
 Just above the first rocky falls I seen a few sipping rises. Again I looked into the water and found nothing floating. I drifted the parachute Adam directly down stream to one. The fish swirled at it and I lifted the rod to set the hook. Nothing, not even an inkling of resistance was felt. About three fish continued to sip no-see-ums instead of any of my midges I tried. I finally fished my way downstream to where I caught up with Jeff down around the bend. He looked frustrated and told me fish have been rising in the wide run but he couldn’t hook up. I tried, with long casts, across the run to the rising fish on the other side. I had one quick surface splash at my fly but didn’t connect with it. It got pretty frustrating watching fish after fish sporadically surfacing to something atop the slower pool of water, on the other side of the faster run, but not to ours. I finally went upstream and crossed the creek to get to the other side where the fish were. Slowly I waded, ankle deep, and stood upstream from the deep slow pool. I again tried every small midge and spinner I had with no effect. Looking into the water I now saw what they were sipping on. Tiny olive spinners were on the surface and slowly drifting down stream. They were all over the place with a few tiny olives still fanning their wings before being taken under by one of those hungry trout. I had neither a tiny olive spinner nor a #28 BWO in my fly box.
 The heat started to rise and the black flies began to find us. We started to head back to the vehicles for lunch. Just below, where we parked the vehicles, I stopped and fished the slow stretch that I fished in the morn. There wasn’t any fish rising but I tried a couple of offerings any how. For some unknown reason I tied on a #10 March Brown and tossed it upstream in the choppy water running towards me. The first drift towards me a fish rose and attacked that #10 like a shark attack. I had too much slack in the line and missed the take.
 I continued tossing out the #10 upon the fast current and let it drift my way. Sporadically a fish would attack it bobbing on the choppy water. It was tough getting a good hook set, being downstream, but I finally hooked into one. The big rainbow bucked like a rodeo bull beneath and atop the riffling run. I knew he wouldn’t swim upstream into the shallow pebble run so I kept my rod horizontal to the water. In this way if he turned towards me I was ready to lift the rod quickly to keep tension on my line. I got him to my feet but he was still aggressive enough that the hook came out before I was able to hold him in my hand. Evidently the fish had moved into the riffling run to feed or to just get out of the glowing sun. I drifted the #10 down a few more times but didn’t get any responses and besides that the black flies had found me again and were rioting around me.
 I gave it up and walked up the bank to the vehicles. Jeff was already sitting in a lawn chair starting to enjoy a sandwich, beer and chips. I took out my cooler and made myself a sandwich.

“How about hitting Young Womans Creek after lunch and before we head home? I asked
“Suits me fine” he replied after washing down a bite of sandwich with a beer.
 We sat in the shade enjoying lunch and the peace and quiet. Just before leaving I put away the 5wt. Kettle Creek rod and assembled my 3wt Hardy rod for the evening rise at Young Womans Creek.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ice Follies!

Ice Follies!

 The lack of fishing finally got to me and I was looking for something to do to ease my urge. Snow was piled up outside but it looked like the sun might penetrate through the cold white clouds. Being that the steelhead cricks and lake were frozen I had been stuck in the house. I was so depressed I actually thought about ice fishing, which I‘ve never done before. I didn’t have an auger but I figured I should be able to find some unused previous cut out holes that I can chop open with my axe. What I heard is all I’ll need are any small fly or jig tipped with a maggot that should catch fish. I thought hard on this and then bundled up to brave the cold.
 I gathered up my latex caddis and small egg patterns and put them in my winter coat. I grabbed two short rods, my hatchet and put on my Pac-boots. After stopping to buy hand warmers and maggots I headed to the local lake to try and catch some perch or whatever else was out there.

 I pulled into the parking lot, among the other vehicles, and glanced out over the frozen water. A few shanties were scattered about but I noticed there were a few loners or couples braving the cold outdoors upon the ice. I put on my wool tossel cap and gloves, flipped my coat collar up, grabbed my bucket of gear and headed out onto the ice.
 I noticed one guy, in a brown camo coat, was doing well with a dozen or so perch on the ice. A few others were sitting on plastic buckets or beach chairs huddled around their holes. I walked passed the guy with all the perch and nodded a greeting. I didn’t need to walk very far out when I came across a few neglected holes in the ice. There was just a thin layer of surface ice in two of the holes about 15 feet apart. I chipped out the ice and put a small orange soccer cone next to each of the holes to mark my claim. About another 30 feet I found another hole. The surface ice looked a little thicker and it took a little longer to chip through it. I was going to give up but I didn’t want to look like a quitter. Chipping the ice brought a warm sweat under my 5 layers of clothes, enough that I unzipped my heavy winter coat and unbuttoned my insulated flannel shirt. I felt sweat on my brow and even took my cap off until I hit water. I put my last orange cone on the pile of snow and ice and was ready to get this ice fishing thing started.
 I walked back about 12 yards from the holes putting them, in a semi-circle, the same distance from me. I assembled my 8’ Cortland fly rod and strung it up. I knotted the #14 latex caddis, which wasn’t easy with cold fingers, to the tippet and stuck a maggot behind the barb of the hook. I pulled out line and false casted enough line above to finally get a good smooth stroke of movement in my stiff casting arm. My first drop was a foot shy of the watery hole. I tried a roll cast but found that wasn’t going to work well. With a heave back and then forward I put the maggot and latex caddis dead center of the hole. I wasn’t sure how deep it was going to drop but I was satisfied with the cast that I felt I’d wait a little before another attempt.

So there I stood, on the ice with my 8’ fly rod gripped in my gloved hands watching the fly line and ice hole some 12 yards away. I glanced around and a couple of dudes looked at me like I was goofy or something. “Hey“, I thought to myself, I get looks like that often when I’m in the middle of a bunch of bait casters. I imagine with my long hair, gruffy beard, I could see why I get funny looks.

 After a few minutes I wondered if I should add some weight and maybe an indicator to detect the slightest strikes. After a snort of Yukon Jack, from my flask, I took in line to re-rig. I added a strip of lead and another maggot to the hook bend. I attached an indicator about 15 inches from the hook. I wasn’t sure how deep the water was but I noticed the guy with all the fish was about the same depth with his tip-ups.
 I missed the hole with my next two casts but my caddis landed just beyond the hole on my third. I slowly took in line until the lead weight fell into the water. This forced the caddis to follow into the hole and then followed by the indicator. Again I stood and waited.
 This got to be pretty darn boring. I than realized why ice fishermen bring two rods. I made a stick sculpture out of the loose snow and leaned my Cortland rod in the crook. I assembled my short Powel fly rod and strung it up. I knotted on an egg pattern complete with another maggot and indicator. I overhand cast to the third hole and on the second cast I got the egg into the water. I took another snort of Yukon, for my accomplishment, and lit up a stogie. I then tipped over my bucket and sat down relaxing. I was concentrating, watching my indicators, when I practically fell off my bucket when someone surprised me from behind.

“You know what yer doin?” some bundled up, only eyes and mouth showing through a ski masked, gentleman asked me.
“Well sure” I answered “I’ve been fly fishing for years!”
He looked at me puzzled.
“You ain’t gonna catch anything that way” he assured me.
"Whatever” I said and turned my attention to my fishing.
'Non-fly fishermen' I thought, 'they think they know everything!'
I took another snort and was more determined to catch a fish.

 I brought in line and added a dropper about 12 inches below my latex caddis. I cast out towards the hole and the caddis fell short about a foot from the hole. I propped the rod shaft up again and walked over and dropped the tandem rig in the water. I set the indicator on a little snow mound aside the hole. I walked back to the bucket and wondered why I ever came out here for anyway. I’m a catch-n-release guy. Just don’t seem to be much fun sitting on a bucket in cold, cold weather on ice and watching two motionless fly rods.
 The guy in the camo stood up and reeled another perch in. He unhooked it and laid it onto his pile of fish. It flipped about a bit until it slid off the pile onto the freezing ice. He sat the rod down, took his last swallow of his quart of beer and than looked around. I knew just what he was wanting to do. About 40 yards off was the edge of the lake where the tall bare trees stood within the snow fall. He set the empty bottle down and proceeded in that direction.
 I looked behind me and noticed no one was paying any attention to me. I took in line until the indicator slid off the snow mound. I stood up and continued to take in line until the tandem rig laid upon the ice with no line slack. I heaved back the rod and my indicator and tandem rig followed. With a slight turn I changed direction of the rod tip and shot the line towards the mound of perch the camo guy had just left. My indicator landed in between the pile. I pulled the line towards me and watched as my tandem rig slid across the ice and entered into the pile of fish. I quickly side-armed the rod to my right and bingo! Not just one but two fish slid out of the pile. I quickly brought them in, unhooked them and slid them under my bucket. The camo guy just got to the bank and was proceeding up through the snow towards the first big tree to relieve himself. I did my best to get line out, false cast and laid the tandem rig again in the pile of fish. Quickly I ripped the rod tip back and a fresh perch came flipping out of the pile. That darn fish flipped and flopped all the way back to me as I reeled it in. I unhooked the hook from its tail and slid it under the bucket. I looked up and the camo guy was starting to walk out of the woods towards the lake. I made my next cast towards my hole and sat on my bucket as if nothing happened.
 When he got back to his claim I picked up my flask, saluted to him, and took a snort. He shook his head and reached down into a backpack he had laying on the ice. He took from it another quart of beer, twisted it open, and saluted back. After I watched him set up his tip-ups and sit back down, I sat there contemplating. His back was towards me and a few of his fish, lying on the ice, were out of his vision. I couldn’t resist!
 I brought in my one line and knotted on a #8 white woolly bugger. Just above the hook I clamped on a heavy split shot. I looked around and no one was paying me no mind. I single hauled a back cast and whipped the bugger towards the unguarded fish. The bugger fell near them with a thud. I expected the camo guy to turn to see what the noise was but just than I seen his ice rod tip pop up. He stood at that very moment to retrieve his hooked fish. I hurriedly back-cast for fear of getting caught. A perch came whirling threw the air following my leader and fly line towards me. I leaned to my right just in time to let the fish pass by my ear. I turned toward it and watched it slide across the ice finally coming to a stop. I slid the fish towards me and slid it under the bucket.

After that I felt I had enough. I gathered up all my gear and put my 4 fish in the bucket. I took one last snort of Yukon and walked over to the camo guy. Hearing me, he turned and looked up at me.
“Catch anything with that set up?” he jokingly chuckled.
“Sure” I said.
He got a puzzled look on his face.
“Here” I said dumping the four fish into his pile of fish.
“I don’t keep’em,” “ catch and release guy” I murmured to him.
He just stared in disbelief.
“White Wooly Buggers and Latex Caddis” I said as I turned and walked away.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Last Trout of 2010?

Last Trout of 2010?

 After scouting out the area and checking my deer stand, the day before deer season opened, I had time to do a little trout fishing. I was in the vicinity of a small Fly Fishing Only creek I knew well but don’t get out that way much to fish it. It’s just a small narrow creek mostly and if there are other vehicles in the area I consider it crowded and look elsewhere.

 I drove down the semi-secluded lane and found myself alone in the parking area. I felt like a young teenager with a pocket full of tokens in a vacant mall arcade. I had the creek to myself and the time spent fishing would only be limited by the darkness to come.
 I put together my 7’ 3wt. Hardy Demon rod, being I was planning on using streamer type flies. I attached my Quest reel with 15 yards of DT3F line. I had cut the line in half being that I would not be casting very far in small streams and put the other half of line back in its original box for future use. To the 7 ½’ of tapered leader I knotted on a short piece of fluorocarbon tippet and a small Quick-Snap so I can change streamers with ease in the coldness.

 At the creek I noticed it was flowing higher than normal this time of year which made it perfect. From the bridge I looked down into the cold clear water and already noticed skittish fish moving from my presence to take cover elsewhere. I walked downstream to the first long stretch of mild moving water. A small school of trout caught my movement and darted upstream. From the bank I graciously cast a triple threat out towards the far side, not wanting to draw attention to any quick arm movements. I let the streamer swing and slowly stripped it in keeping it from snagging the stony and now leafy bottom. Though the water was clear the overhanging shade trees kept my vision, through dark polarized lenses, limited. Nothing wanted my offering in the long stretch so I continued working my way down creek casting quite a distance in front of me.
 Fishing downstream I immediately noticed stream improvements made by the Oil Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited. The placement of logs and boulders, protruding from the banks, made for good cover and deep pockets of the once shallow sections of the creek. Behind one of the barriers I surprised an unwary trout as much as he surprised me at taking my phantom triple threat pattern. I had him hooked but he darted straight for me and, with my pinched barbed hook, I didn’t keep enough tension on the line and he got himself freed. After that I fished a long stretch of water without any takers or followers. I wasn’t sure if someone had fished the area earlier but I would have thought I would have caught at least one more throughout.
 I came to a good pool of water around a bend off the beaten trail. If there were hungry unsuspicious trout, this should be where to find them. A stream of water riffled from midstream flowing with good force towards the far bank and beyond. It leveled out in a large pool that eventually flowed over a wider, shallower, stony section below. I wasn’t sure how deep the pool was because of the shadows of the pines and hardwood tree cover. I kept a low profile, though, upstream from where I was planning on casting.
 My first roll cast was to the middle of the creek and I short mended the line upstream to give the triple threat time to sink some before traveling down. I continued working my streamer towards the far bank with each consecutive roll cast. I got a quick strike as the streamer swung just shy of the far bank in the headwater of the pool. I pinched my fly line and tipped up the rod for a quick hook set. The fish fought towards the tail end and after feeling him tire I forced him to my side of the creek with the bent 3 weight. At my hip boots I bent down, unhooked the streamer from the rainbow and watched him dart out of vision. I missed another on the next cast but just after that it was like the area went dead. I knew there had to be more trout in the water before me so I selected a different triple threat pattern. With a sparse black top layer, orange sides and a white belly I felt this pattern should produce since they didn’t want the lighter shade pattern I was using.

The first cast towards the far bank produced a violent strike but I was unprepared with the suddenness of it all. It took only three more casts and short strips to entice another trout and a good hook set. The rainbow shook the 3 weight with good action as I brought him to hand.

 I hooked into 2 or three more and missed some short strikes before moving on down creek for newer scenery.

 Down below the tunnel water rushed over the cement wall, churning and bubbling as it entered the widened pool. Dead center, of the creek, was where the main current of water combined to make a nice riffling effect, smoothing out the further it flowed. On each edge the water turned back towards the bank and wall in slow, almost dead current topside. I climbed down the rocky ledge and stood in ankle deep water that suddenly dropped within a few feet off shore. The sloping dirt bank behind me and a few extended drooping branches made it difficult to cast. Roll casting the triple threat with a short rod wasn’t very easy to get much distance out but I did my best. Time and again I tried to get the triple out into the rippling water but it fell short. I found that the undercurrent, in the calmer water before me, was tricky and forced my streamer back, upstream, towards the falls in a slow drift. I worked the pool, from the bank, but couldn’t buy a bite in the slower back eddy. Finally, and forcefully, I false cast parallel with the creek flow and arced my rod tip above me and then wrist it towards the middle. The triple threat followed, in the tight arc, and shot above the water into the riffling surface water. I thought the triple would sink sharply and swing downstream with the creek flow but it didn’t. Instead, after sinking some and drifting shortly downstream, it again turned beneath and followed the undercurrent towards the falls.
 Somehow I had to get the streamer deeper and beneath the faster run of water. I added a little weight about 12” or so above my streamer in hopes of not hampering its action in the water. I knew the sandy bottom was covered with boulders and snags and knew enough not to let the streamer, or lead weight, drag the creek bed. I thought about the cross-current beneath and pictured what I wanted to accomplish in my head.
 Casting out again, into the middle of the rough riffling water, I quickly threw a loop of fly line down stream. This gave time for the streamer to sink some as it drifted while the fly line was atop the calmer water. Once my fly line was pulled under some, I lifted the rod and moved my rod tip in front of me to take up as much slack a possible in the arced fly line as the triple threat changed direction below, now drifting upstream. It was if the triple got hung up for a second below when I noticed the arc in the fly line straighten from a tight leader. I yanked a good hook set to get the arced fly line to pull sharply and I felt the resistance of a tug on the other end. I knew big fish lurked in the deep pool so I played him carefully as the 3 weight flexed, dampening the quick sudden pulls, with each turn of the hooked fish below. Fishing with a pinched barb I knew I had to keep good tension and a flexed rod on the fish as he took on different depths. I managed to get the rainbow to my hand safely after a wily battle. It wasn’t a lunker but any frisky fish in double digit length are always quite exciting on the short 3 weight.

 With the same technique I managed two more trout, one being a brown, before calling it a day due to the fading natural light source.

 I now sit here, before my computer, typing this past outing. Glancing out the window, into the moonlit night, white flakes swirl and eventually accumulate on the few inches of snow, on the ground already. The wooden attic door flutters with each heavy gust of wind that blows against the old house. Occasionally I hear the Penn Dot truck roaring down the road like a heavy blacktop roller trucking at 30 MPH, with its blade scraping against dry pavement. I sip on a glass of Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum and Coke mix as the aroma of deer jerky enters the room from the downstairs kitchen dehydrator. I heard that the creeks up in Erie are slushing up and the forecasters predict more snow and the freezing weather to continue. Looks like this past journey to a trout stream might be my last one for the year.

Might be time to start my Christmas shopping being I’ll have more time on my hands ‘till Christmas.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Caught on Thanksgiving

Caught on Thanksgiving
(From 2009)

 I told her, Thanksgiving morning, I was going to sight the rifles in and then go scouting for deer in the big woods.

 This year my 12 year old grandson will be hunting with me and my son is coming up from Florida to hunt also. This was a good excuse to get out of the house while she’s preparing Thanksgiving dinner for 5:00. Who could argue with my excuse to get out of the house?
 After sighting in the two rifles I returned and we had blueberry muffins and bacon for breakfast before I ventured out again.

The first place I checked out had posted signs all the way to the dirt road that I turned down to on the right. From there the posted signs went on forever, further than where I was willing to drive. I than headed towards Marienville up rte. 899 to where my son and I have hunted in the past. After parking I got some warm cloths on and I took the 22 along just in case I seen a squirrel. Roaming the woods for a couple of hours I came across used game trails and found deer tracks in the soft dirt along a small mountain stream that flowed between the pines. I left the area around 12:00 and headed east of Sigel towards Clear Creek State Forest. I traveled down dirt roads here and there checking out the area.

 One dirt road, through the forest, took me across a small brook stream. Stopping along the road I couldn’t resist on checking out the water. Standing along shore I watched the pure easy rippling water flow over and around shiny smooth rocks, under green leafed laurel and drop over wooden barriers. My trout minded brain was already pointing out nice brook trout hiding areas. I got back in the van and headed toward the main black top road. The digital clock radio showed 2:45. I was about an hour away from home!
 Before the main road I pulled off into a gravel parking area for hikers, bird watchers and other nature lovers. I walked down to the flowing water and a trout darted from my side of the bank across stream. I couldn’t resist!!
 At the van I hurriedly put on my hip boots, fly vest and c&r net just in case. I pieced together my 3 wt. Diamondglass rod and tied on a foot and a half of 7x tippet and to this a black foam beetle, all the time reminding myself I had about 1 hour to fish. Oh, and I brought a clip on watch with me.
 I casted beneath bare branched limbs and overhanging green laurel leaves. Nothing wanted the beetle. I tried another dry fly and a latex caddis but still nothing. Time was ticking away with nothing interested in my offerings. ‘Just one’ I thought.
 I checked the time at 3:45. I tied on my last imitation for the last 15 minutes of fishing. Below a water falling deep pool I looped the small orange egg pattern across and let it sink. The surface current pushed my dry fly line down towards the end of the pool. I mended upstream letting the egg pattern drop even deeper as again my fly line drifted to my right. The tip started to sink without drifting and I wrist set the hook. I felt the little guy tussle all the way through the line between my thumb and forefinger. The tip of the fiberglass rod wiggled with the small trout’s every movement. After a picture on a wet rock I released the brookie back into the deep pool.

 Not wanting to look at the watch I quickly tried for another but failed. I walked down stream and drifted the egg under some laurel but nothing wanted to bite. Relentlessly I walked to the van and placed the rod and vest on the floor. 4:05, I had to hurry to get back by 5:00.

 I pulled onto the exit ramp, off the interstate, and turned towards Clarion. Checking I had enough time to get back into my hunting cloths so as to not let her know I was late because I was fishing. I pulled off the side of the road and changed back into my hunting boots, dismantled my rod and cased it. I hung up my fishing vest and hip boots on the back cloths rail.
 I pulled into the drive at 4:58. As I opened the side door the smell of roasted turkey and biscuits aroused my sense of smell and hungry stomach.

“It sure smells good in here” I said with a smile as I entered the kitchen.
Whipping up the potatoes and without looking at me she asked “did you see any deer?”
I told her the few places I had scouted out and was satisfied with the results.
As I turned to leave the kitchen she asked me
“Why are you wearing your fishing net?”


Wednesday, November 17, 2010



 Sunday I decided to fish for leftovers. These are the fish that survived the onslaught of fishermen during the spring and summer. Fishing waters that are open to the general public and all types of fishing throughout the year. The ones that are wary of a sudden unexplained shadow or sudden change of undercurrent. These fish I consider are more of a challenge than those in State Project areas or private stocked waters. These fish aren’t usually ones to brag about in size but the challenge is rewarding non-the-less in my opinion!

 After going fishless at Salmon Creek, in the early morn, I decided to fish a small trout creek that meanders under pines and laurel in the ANF. An out-of-the-way creek where skinny water flows over exposed rocks and timber in an array of constant hazards and trout cover. A creek you have to believe the trout are there and fish it methodically and with patience.

 Midmorning I arrive and find the creek is running clear and shallow for the most part. The few trout should be holding near the banks under cover from birds of prey. They may also be holding in the deeper riffles waiting for a quick meal to pass by before traveling to a safer unexposed place beneath cover. I wade my way downstream making long distant casts with a 9’ foot leader so my fly line doesn’t alert the fish. My subconscious keeps aware of my footing upon the pebbled and stony creek bed. My main concentration is on placing my shortened triple threat minnow imitation where it needs to be. My casting stroke is delicate, with my three weight short Hardy rod, wanting my imitation to land softly upon the water.
 Near a down bank-side log I drop the triple threat along side it. It swings further downstream and into the tail end of the streamlined riffles. I feel a quick strike and wrist set the hook. I work the trout through the shallow choppy water. A slim leftover rainbow comes to hand.

 Within a half hour sprinkles start to fall from the bright but overcast sky above. I decide to not go back and get my raingear but instead rough it and hope my layer of clothes keep me dry and warm enough for a good while. Soon the raindrops get larger and I hear them tapping on the dry leaves that lay upon the forest floor. I concentrate on my fishing again as the raindrops become second nature harmonizing with the riffling of creek water through narrow passages and splashing of water falling over surfaced limbs.

 Against the far bank a rocky ledge extends out about a foot above the water. A pine bough hangs low just upstream preventing a sidearm cast beneath or into it’s dark shadow. I can only hope a near enough drift will entice an unsuspicious trout out from the safe shelter and into more open water. I delicately cast upstream from the shadows and as the triple draws near I jerk the rod tip a few times to give my minnow imitation more action. I catch a glimpse of a trout flash out from beneath the rock ledge but miss my offering. My imitation drifts downstream as I watch for any movement beneath the clear rippling of water. I feel the trout entered the shallow riffles in hopes that another minnow passes by. I flip the triple threat out of the water towards me and reel in some to shorten my line for my next presentation. I flip cast beyond the riffles and let it drift to the slower water below. Slowly I strip in the imitation until I feel it is within sight of the trout beneath the riffles. As I let the triple threat waver below the surface current I see the sensitive rod tip flex slightly. I wrist back the cork handle and feel the jerky tugs of the brook trout fighting the rod strength and current. I win the battle and a slender leftover brook trout surfaces.

 I continue on with my peaceful endeavor for another hour or so as the drops of rain begin to absorb into my insulated flannel shirt. I can feel the dampness now on my LLBean cap but feel I can last another ½ hour or so before becoming drenched through.
 In a narrow shallow run I feel a peck at the tail of my shortened triple and see enough of a flash to know what’s below. I bring the leader in and knot on a latex caddis. Holding the rod high, I let the caddis drift through the seam and into the slower water. The second drift through I see my exposed leader straighten and lift the rod tip with just enough force to easily set the hook. A small wild brookie fights furiously towards me.

By now I reach my limit as I know the walk back to the mini-van will be a wet one. I wade out of the ankle deep water of the stony creek bed and onto the sandy bank. I follow the widened ATV trail up creek stopping only momentarily to light a Fuente Deluxe. Drops of water now fall from my cap bill being unable to absorb any more wetness of the rain. I can feel the weight of the absorbed water in my flannel shirt. By the time I get to the lane, which leads up to my van, the rain has lessened. I decide to hold off and walk down to the deep pool that’s at the bottom of the lane.

 Water flows over a man made log jam, integrated with rocks, and into the large pool area. I decide to tie on a heavier weighted triple threat and cast far and near in the wide deep water. I work the triple threat with slow than fast retrieves. I don’t feel any strikes or see any trout following it as it comes within my vision.
 The sky turns dark and the rain begins to fall again. Standing in the open now I start to feel the coldness of rain water through my Duo-fold and medium weight Polypropylene shirt. I still don’t want to call it quits as the quietness and solitude is so relaxing even though I’m pretty much wet clean through.
 I walk up, the small grade, above the log jam. I see the water is slightly discolored like a Kalua and Cream mixed drink. Earlier a few trout were holding ¾ a way cross stream just before an overhanging branch. I had tried for them but, in the clear water, they avoided any offering I showed them. With the water discolored now I have the advantage and decided to give it a try. I tie on a white bunny leech for my first cast. I conjure up the image of the creek bed from my earlier experience.
 Three quarter the way down stream the trout were holding in front of or to the far side of a flat sturdy rock. A couple of feet from the flat rock, towards me, is a 3 inch limb stuck fast to the bottom. With the tinted water I can no longer see anything below the chocolate water. My first cast is towards the unseen flat rock. I stop my forward cast and I figure my leech falls just to the right of the flat rock. I also figure I’m out of range of the 3” limb so I let the leech drop a little deeper before starting to short strip it in. Within a few feet, out from my rod tip, I catch a flash and my line straightens with the strike. I instantly wrist set the hook and I feel the trout, head shake and tries to pull away beneath the water. I let some tensioned line out as I raise the rod. The fish tries to fight across the creek but I force it to swim upstream following my bent rod. I force him to surface and I gently scoop him up in my net. Looking closer I am surprised to see I caught a leftover brown trout. I release him back into the chocolaty water.

 I cast again around the same area before daring to cast beyond the unseen danger of the 3” limb. I concentrate and back cast, behind my left shoulder, with my right rod hand. As I feel the rod load behind I begin my forward cast and stop briefly pointing the rod tip to where I want the bunny leech to fall. As the loop straightens in front of me I angle the rod slightly downward towards the water surface. The leech pattern falls to the surface like a big raindrop falling from above. I lift the rod tip up some and let excess fly line flow through the rod guides as the leech begins its drift downstream. I pinch the line with my fingers and my offering shifts, drifting towards the hidden flat rock that I hope the trout are still holding near. The leader stops its drift on the surface current for a second. There is no time to decipher whether it is a trout or the limb holding the line back. I jerk the rod tip up with my right hand while pinching the fly line with my left. I feel the resistance and see the top section of my rod flex downward. Suddenly I feel the jolt. My rod bows into the middle and I have to let fly line slip though my fingers by the force being pulled by the fish on the other end. I feel him headshake beneath and than he darts across and upstream, my three weight dampens the sudden surge as it flexes deeper towards the butt. I know I have a ’good’ fish on and I want this one badly. I keep my rod tip high letting him flex the rod shaft with his energetic turns and jolts. He turns downstream again and as I feel him slowing I move the rod tip upstream keeping tension on the line. He resists with another head shake but than gradually fights his way towards me. He surfaces a couple of yards away and I see his spotted, darkish olive upper body and faint pinkish splotch along his side and gill plate. I let him swim down to my right and than I tilt my rod horizontal with the water with the fly line now pinched against the wet cork grip. I pull out my spring net, from its holster, with my left hand and get ready to net the thick rainbow. Lifting the rod the ’bow’ draws nearer with a few more weak head shakes and I guide him upstream to my net. He sinks into the net and I feel I am justly rewarded for my lengthy day’s effort in the rain. The rainbow sweeps his tail fin firmly and I release my grip and watch him swim away and finally disappear within the cloudy water.

 Two more casts and sure enough I catch the limb. After breaking my leader I call it a day and head to the van.

 Back at the van I snip off the lit end of the cigar and change into dry clothes. After wiping dry my rod and putting it in its tubular case I grab a jug of Mississippi Mud and take a long swig. The ’Black & Tan’ goes down smooth and hits the spot!! I sit in the driver’s seat as the heater warms while eating the leftover half of a Subway spicy Italian and finishing my jug of beer. Time tics away as raindrops continue to fall while I relax in my warm dry van.

 On my drive towards Cooks Forest I put the short stub of the cigar to my lips and lite it up. It turned out to be a nice day for leftovers!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

November Handfuls

November Handfuls

The radio DJ, during the blue grass segment, said it was 34 degrees in Clarion and surrounding areas. I drove across the Toby Bridge and up Miola road; it was about 6:00 am. I was to meet Danny around 7:30am at the old Pigeon Loft Hotel for some trout fishing this past Saturday. I had the mini-van packed with my fishing gear, hunting gear and warm extra clothe, all crowded upon the day tripper floor. Boy, I missed my conversion van!!

 I didn’t feel I was out of the rat race until I was north of Marienville. No towns or rows of houses. No morning work traffic or semi’s passing-by cluttering the roadways with noisy engines or horn blowing. Now, I was in the National Forest, right where I wanted to be.
 One or two room camps were becoming visible through the morning bare forest of fall. Timeless outhouses showed their age withstanding the weather as they stood apart yards away from any other dwellings. Smoke rose from stone chimneys or smoke stacks that protruded through roof tops. The strong smell of burning hardwood captured my senses, as the aroma of summertime vegetation and wild flowers now cease to exist. Brown to tan decaying leaves now covered the forest floor hiding the green ferns or patches of tea berries. Only the young beech trees shown signs of life as their thin leaves flutter in the lightest of breezes. Green pines are now more prominent among bare hardwoods of the once colorful forest.

  At 7:10 am I pulled into the gravel parking lot of the Pigeon Hotel. I attempt to get a little more rest before Danny shows. I tilt back the driver’s seat and put my traveling pillow on the headrest. I try lying on my back, I try lying on my side, and it’s all too uncomfortable. I look at the jammed pack gear on the mini-van floor, boy I miss my conversion van!!
 I was resting my eyes when I heard a vehicle approach and headlights pass through the front windows. Danny found me. Time to go fishing!

 The morning air was brisk but calm and the overcast sky made for low light conditions. We put on our waders and lined our fly rods. We talked as we put on our fishing gear for the day. I handed him a few of my ties and told him to try them out. Before walking upstream we walked to the bridge to observe the water. We found the water was a bit stained hiding any bottom holding trout from vision. Scraggly branches overhung the water way with brushy banks making the creek intimidating. I’m sure many newbie’s to fly fishing would have nightmares about fishing such a creek. Others wouldn’t even attempt to wade the creek and opt for their spinning rods. I was hoping this wasn’t going to discourage Danny being he’s only been fly fishing since spring. That’s the way it is in the Alleghany National Forest. Like it or not, if you want to fly fish the small streams and creeks you got to be prepared. To me it forces you to become a better caster and the importance of it. It also makes you more aware of your surroundings!
 We walked through the knee high brush avoiding the rip causing jagger branches. We slipped into the cold water trying not to disturb it too much to attract attention of our presence. I point out areas to Dan and where I have caught trout before. I let him know that if using buggers or streamers to keep them moving slow within the cold waters. The surface water was slow moving and the undercurrent not much faster, as I was sure the trout would be holding close to shore under cover or in the deepest of pools throughout the creek. We found buggers, triple threats and bunny leeches were to be the most productive. We tied on our choice flies and began our attempts to produce some fish.
 Throughout the morning we would see the flash of a trout turning to strike our slow moving streamers. We had to be ready at all times to set the hook whether the trout struck on a long belly line swing or a slow strip in. At times the rainbows would strike hard nearly setting the hook themselves but most of the times it was slow gulps of the slow moving offering that the first sign of a fly line tip sinking or a flash that we had better be ready to set the hook.
 I helped Danny refine his roll casting and he got a real feel for fishing in close quarters. Within a couple of hours we each caught beautiful colored rainbow trout. Except for the one wild brookie, native to the creek that Danny hooked into, all the fish we caught thus far were no smaller than 11”. The red to maroon lateral line of the fish almost glowed through the water as we brought them to hand. Being cold they weren’t the lively jumping rainbows of spring but they all gave a good thrill and their girth filled our palms with gratifying achievement.
 By noon we found ourselves downstream fishing a deep pool catching lazy rainbows when something like an Arctic blast blew over. Small balls of packed snow fell sporadically around us. The air turned frigid enough to instantly stiffen our fingers and face in coldness. We decided to head back to the vehicles so we exited the creek and took the horse trail back to the road.
 After warming up and getting a bite to eat I asked Danny if he wanted to fish some more. He didn’t even hesitate about saying sure. We drove upstream and started all over again.

 I wanted to give Dan the more brush free side of the creek as I took to the more confined side. It just so happened that the fish were lying towards my side of the submerged limb out in the middle of the water. After I hooked up to three within several minutes I had Dan come over and try for any other remaining trout.
 I stuck around a couple of minutes then continued my fishing slowly wading along the bank. I easily roll cast my line across the creek towards the far bank of half submerged tree cover. The big circular loop unrolled upon the surface as the fly line straightened behind the on going loop. Out from the end of the fly line my triple threat fell to the water, several feet away, with a subtle splash, noiselessly. Instantly the few small arcs in the fly line straightened with a pull and I strip set the hook as I lifted the rod tip. The fish fought beneath in quick short jerking runs. My five weight was too much for the fish as I reeled in the fighting trout. To my surprise a nice sleek shiny brook trout came to hand. Within two more casts I hooked into a good fighting rainbow and decided to continue on downstream.
 At a small falls that ran the width of the creek I worked my triple threat beneath like a wounded minnow. Long slow drifts, while twitching the rod tip, enticed a violent strike beneath the choppy water. Again another fight in quick jerks produced another fine looking brookie. I neglected to fish anymore, wanting to save this pool for Dan. I waded to the bank and walked up the trail towards my fishing buddy for the day. He claimed he caught a rainbow and missed another near the submerged tree limb. I convinced him to continue down stream and told him of my success. I walked the trail, from above, scouting the water as he fished below. At the small falls he hooked into a nice rainbow on a white woolly bugger.
 I than let him work a long stretch of water without me interfering. I finally slid into the creek when he got through the long stretch. We fished side by side for awhile casting into the far side of the creek. I hooked up with a few more rainbows and watched Dan catch a couple of rainbows before I left him and continued around the bend. I made it to the bridge without another strike and with that climbed the grade to the road.
 Back through the knee high brush I came to where Dan was trying to coax another trout to take his offering. All of a sudden the sky opened and snow fell in bunches. An arctic blast instantly turned the air frigid again. After I took a quick picture I asked him if he had enough. He agreed and we walked out, back to the vehicles.

 At the vehicles I gave him some pointers of tying his own flies as we enjoyed a cold brew. He thanked me and the feeling was mutual as he got in his Escape and drove off towards Bradford, with a big smile!

 It was another good day on trout waters with another friend learning a little more and being successful!


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Trick'n & Treat'n

Trick’n & Treat’n

 Jokerball met rippinlip and I in the hotel parking lot early Sunday morning. We drank hotel brewed coffee with blue berry muffins. We chatted a bit to let the morning thaw out some before traveling to the creek for some steelhead trick’n and hopefully be treated well.

 When our trucks turned the corner we found 20 other vehicles parked along the roadside. We thought the crowd of trick or treat’rs was going to make our visit much more crowded but we didn’t have an alternate plan. We dressed into our costumes for the day, grabbed our gear and headed down to the creek.
 Jokerball was dressed as a homey complete with a hoodie and dark reflective shades. Rippinlip looked like a long time bush pilot in his camo coat, unshaven face and even had a cigarette hanging from his lips. With my camel colored Eddie Bauer fishing jacket, LLBean cap and Orvis sling pack I probably looked like a long haired floor model for name brand fishing gear wear.

 When we got to the water we found there was only a few trick or treat’rs at the first watery hole. I selected to take the guys downstream to another neighborhood to do some trick’n. When we made the next bend there stood Deetz, looking like Capt. America in red, white and blue wardrobe. Bingsbait came over to greet us looking like an Everglade guide in his neoprene wet suite looking hip waders and Australian top hat. We didn’t waste much time chatting as there was trick’n & treat’n to do. Deetz and Bings mentioned they had a few hook-ups earlier and were planning on heading downstream in a short. We were anxious to get started and with visible steel in front of us we proceeded to try a few of our tricks to get them to bite. Deetz and Bings headed downstream after a bit and we stayed put for some time trying to coax the steelhead.
 Jokerball got treated first and the steel gave him a good tussle. He had the steel close to shore when it turned for one last surge and escaped right before our eyes. I hooked up next with one of my ghost triple threat patterns. The silver took me around the block with tight turns and lightning speed. I kept my cool and got him to hand and a hero shot. He wasn’t a huge steel but the silver put up a great fight and I was satisfied with my treat. At the end of the pool Jokerball hooked up again. He played this one like a homey that owned the neighborhood. This steel couldn’t find a way out of Jokerball’s grasp and finally succumbed to the feet of the master.
 While Jokerball and Rippinlip continued to work the pool over I ventured downstream for a new environment. I slowly fished my way casting in every available pocket I thought I could find a treat in. My patterns weren’t tricking any fish just yet but I wasn’t getting discouraged so early in the morn. Two fishermen were working the next big pool I came across with signs of experience. As I walked behind one of the fellows he turned and looked me straight in the face as if he knew me. After I said hello, he recognized me in fishing this same creek a few weeks ago in high and muddy conditions. I confirmed his accusation that I was here. I felt my costume failed to disguise my identity.

 Wading through the shallower riffles of water I kept my vision towards the far bank where a faster stream of water flowed. A few dark fish gave up their positions behind submerged rocks with the swatting of their tail fins to hold them in the current. I felt the triple threat would swing too fast in the quick current and decided on a golden sucker spawn for more visibility. Within a few casts and drifts I got a good read on the current and finally got a good drift towards the holding fish with an upstream mend. I guided the spawn towards them as I followed the fly line with the tip of my rod. They didn’t take the trick as I watched the sucker spawn drift by them and down into a semi-deep pool as the current flowed towards a big uprooted tree trunk. From there, the water rushed up against the uproot in violent turmoil and then emptied into a big deep pool a couple of other fishermen were fishing. As I pulled the sucker spawn out of the water a light colored male steelhead took up residence beside the other two in less current and greater visibility. I made an upstream roll cast that landed the sucker spawn near the far bank. With a quick upstream mend and pulling line towards me I felt I had the spawn drifting in the location of the new comer. I followed behind the spawn with my rod tip letting my treat sink deeper with the flow. My fly line tumbled above and I lost sight of my golden sucker spawn. A quick lift of the rod and it flexed downward with the hook set. The unsuspecting fish slashed at the first feel of the hook point penetrating into the corner of his jaw. It turned down toward the uproot and I quickly swung my rod downstream, horizontal with the water, and toward my side of the creek. The instant pressure kept him from the uproot but he kept his surge and swam with the fast undercurrent into the deeper pool.
“FISH ON” I called out to let the other guys know the steelhead was going to disrupt their fishing momentarily. I fought the fish well and he gave me a real treat for my effort. I got the fish to shore, unhooked him, and watched him swim away into the darkness of the deep pool.
 I tried for the other two but came up empty. I looked upstream and the two fellows that knew me were still fishing the pool with long drifts. I walked up creek from them and tied on my ghost pattern. With a cast to the far shoreline I lifted the rod some and let the triple threat swing like a dying minnow. It didn’t take long for a heavy silver to take the ghost pattern. She slashed upon the water with each lift of my rod during the fighting ordeal. After each slashing and splashing she used her weight and power to muscle the rod and line out further up creek. I had to give her line a couple of times while palming the spool. After I felt her slowing down I double clicked the drag tighter and put more pressure on the spool the next time she tried to pull away. I stood my ground and planted my feet. With my strength I worked the rod against her will and finally won out. The female steelhead came to hand and than swam off healthily upon my release.

When I got back to my trick’n & treat partners they had said they both had a few more hook ups. Rippinlip had a real nice steelhead roped to take back home to his boss. Before we called it a day they took time to dislodge quite a few flies, indicators and angling hooks from overhanging branches.

 Back at the vehicles we took off our costumes and relaxed with a beer and cheese and smoked meats that Jokerball had brought. We talked a bit before Jokerball headed toward the other side of town. Rippinlip took the wheel and we jumped on I90 heading towards our Rte 8 exit ramp. Rippinlip lit up another cigarette and I finished smoking my left over stogie I snuffed out before the munchies Jokerball brought.

 Though the bite was slow we all got some action for the time we spent. We all had a good day fighting the fish we were able to trick and were satisfied with the outcome of our treats!


Capt. America

the bush pilot

Jokerball in action

Everglade Guide

a couple of my catches

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Morning with Shakespeare

A Morning with Shakespeare

Water flows the gradient
‘round logs, rocks and over stone
Trickling ’tween narrow passages
with poetic unadulterated tone
Undressed trees stand abreast
their wears litter the brook
In ambers, orange and yellows, they lay
in vibrant elegant look
Shakespeare and I dawn the morn
to pleasure ourselves before
this scenic piece of pleasant earth
'long cool waters and autumn shore

Like Cotton, Barker or Ritz
I now swing my timeworn fly-stick
In search of aquatic life within
this subtle forest crick
Fur and fiber sway beneath
a shadow appears below
I hook and play the foolish fish
Shakespeare and I retrieve the ‘bow’
We fish the morn in shallow water
in concealment and with ease
We’re justly rewarded by our patience
and thus justly pleased
The ‘brooks’ we land we cherish
from the quaint cool water drink
They are just as vibrant as
the leaves stacked upon the brink

As morn passes pleasantly
the fish be it known we're present
I cast one last, without a take
my Wonderod now silenced

As rays of sun filter softly
through firs that shade the banks
I turn my back from the gratifying affair
Upon quietly leaving, I give thanks


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Slower Pace

 I met up with a couple of friends last sunday for some trout fishing on oil creek. Hans doesn't get to trout fish much and just got a new custom made 2wt. rod from Mill Creek Custom Rods he wanted to try out. Kevin joined us on the stream and got to toss some nymphs and dries with his Orvis Super Fine rod. I used my newly acquired bamboo rod and my new G2 Scott rod. It was a relaxing day with the creek practicaly to ourselves.
 Here is the story coming from Han's point of view.
A Slower Pace
 Eagerly wanting to try out my new 2wt I set out on my journey to Oil Creek. Upon arriving I found DoubleTaper all ready waiting in the parking lot. We BSed a little as he rummaged through boxes gathering his assortment of offerings. By now the sun was starting to climb into the sky lighting up the beautiful fall colors of the mountainside.
 We set off towards the creek as the chilly night air still lingered heavy within the valley. Standing in the stream the mist wafted as the sun continued to climb higher in the sky.

Fumbling through my assortment of flies and tying on what looked to be a good trout breakfast. I began working the moderate swift water in search of a slight tug.

By the time the mist had lifted neither of us had latched into anything more than a passing leaf or the occasional stone.
 After numerous changes I finally found an offering that was to the trouts likings.
 I set the hook as my line came to a rest in the current. A few quick shakes and the fish came into sight from the murky bottom. I had waited for some time to feel my new rod bend. After a short battle the fish was to hand, a fine first fish for this rod.

Soon after it was DT's turn to flex the new boo.

 As we worked the deep pool a familiar face appeared along the shoreline. Kevin had arrived to join us in the peaceful stream. As we stood fishing and bsed DT put on a show with the old cane stick.

 As the day wore on we moved around seeking new fish picking at a few here and there. Before we took a break for lunch I had noticed several fish rising. After grabbing a quick bite we set back out in search of some top water action. After a few tips I had managed to get the hang of slamming 4-6" creek chubs on dries.
 After a couple of clean misses on trout DT put one to hand. As the wind began to pick up we ventured back downstream to our starting point. Clouds now dimming the water, DT put another bend to his rod. However this one was differant something new from the stream. To our surprised he had pulled a nice little smallie.

We lingered around for a while longer as the sun started its decline in the sky we called it a day and headed out. My peaceful day had come to an end. As I drove home the only thing I could remember hearing was the haunting sound of the locomotive bellowing down through the creekbed and the sound trout poping bugs from the surface of the stream. A nice relaxing slower pace.  ~Hans

Hans in his fishing state of mind

 After Hans drove off back to Erie I cased my two fly rods and put away the rest of my gear. I straightened up the back of the van I've been living in for the past two days and drove out of the parking lot. Up on the bridge, over Oil Creek, I stopped to have one more look over the water.

The evening sun shined down upon the slow moving water and colorful trees that lined the creek. It was definitely a slower pace of fishing.
 A Fuente Curly Head Deluxe Maduro, for the way home, put a fitting touch to a peaceful outing with friends, fish and fall foliage! 

 Hans is a streamside guide with 'A Day Away Fishing Adventures' for steelhead fishing in Erie, PA. He grew up and lives there still. I highly recommend him if you want to enjoy a steelhead outing.