Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Nuff Said.

This is what happens

When you have three cats and forget to clean up your hackle after knocking out some buggers the night before.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, August 29, 2011

Tricos, Trout, and Tornado Warnings

Well, we've had an earthquake and a hurricane and I'm still standing. Sorry for the lack of updates, but it's been a pretty long week.

With the imminent danger of the hurricane, I decided to sneak in some fishing on Saturday morning. I got to the stream at 8am and there was barely any action. I found a few rising trout, but the bugs on the water and the in the air were extremely scarce. I also noticed that now that it's later in the season, the trout are more sketchy about trico patterns. The same flouro-fiber pattern that was killing them a few weeks back was no longer working. They'd constantly rise and refuse. After about 45 minutes of skunkville, I switched it up from a female with flouro wings to a male with white antron and sparkle organza wings. That did the trick. I brought two trout to hand in a matter of minutes. One was a beautiful little wild brown that put up a heck of a fight. The other was a slab stocked bow which pretty much gave up fighting as soon as he was hooked.

As soon as the second fish was landed, the rises just stopped. I think the trout got the memo about the incoming storm and got lockjaw. Or it could have just been the wind that was picking up. I tried for another half hour and then packed it in. I wanted to get home before mother nature started trying to destroy us all. I hadn't caught a trout in a few weeks so it felt good to go out and hit a few on some dry flies. I do feel bad for those trout. When I left the stream, it was running around 85 CFS, just slightly high. It crested at 8000 yesterday.

By the time I got home the weather started to get worse. Winds picked up. I spent the day like everyone else; glued to the TV and switching back and forth between the Weather Channel and the local news. By 8pm, the rain was coming down and the trees were bent sideways. I knew it would be a long night.

My wife and son went to bed around 11 and then the tornado warnings started. We had 3 or 4 of them from 11 until about 1:30 in the morning. I kept hanging by the windows and door, listening for a freight train approaching, ready to pull my family out of bed. Luckily, it didn't happen. It was definitely scary though. I dozed off around 2 and woke up at 4 to check the basement for flooding. Bone dry! Go sump pump. Luckily, we were one of the few I know that didn't lose power once for the entire storm. I couldnt sleep so I wound up just sitting there again, watching the news until they woke up around 7am.

Once 8am rolled around, the rain had tapered off to a drizzle, and the winds were only around 20mph. We had cabin fever so we decided to drive up the street to a diner for breakfast and to check out some of the damage. I noticed the creek behind our house had swelled up out of the woods and into the corn fields behind our neighbor's farm. After breakfast, I dropped off the wife and my son and drove to a few spots on the creek to get some video and pics. Here's some first hand images of the Irene carnage. Keep in mind that the normal size of this creek is 18-20 feet wide at the most in the areas where I took pictures.

I drove over it today and I was pretty amazed at how much the water receded. It might actually be fishable tomorrow. Now whether or not there's any fish left, who knows.

The skies cleared more and more throughout the day, and by 6pm the strong winds were almost gone and it actually turned sunny. Irene did say goodbye with one hell of a sunset.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Barely any fish, but still a nice weekend

I spent Friday afternoon alternating between and the USGS online water gauge for the Little Lehigh. There was a 40% chance of Thunderstorms/Flash Flooding, and of course, it happened. The stream was running around 68 all day, and then between 7 and 9pm it jumped up to 130. The last time I tried for tricos during high waters was a pointless trip, so I wasn't going to make the same mistake twice.

I decided that I was going to hit up a tailwater in the Poconos that's only about 20 minutes north of the Little Lehigh that I knew wouldn't be washed out. Luckily, Becker, one of the guys over on the PAFF forum that I met once on the LL lives right near the tailwater and offered to help put me on some fish. I wasn't going to say no to some top secret fishing holes!

Well, he did show me some nice water. We fish a deep pool with some braided water and a nice smooth tailout. I came across a giant swarm of tricos while I was waiting to meet up with him around 7am so I was hoping it would be a good day. When we got there, we saw all kinds of mayflies, even some blue quills, which I've never actually seen up close before. We fished for about 4 hours to some sporadic risers. Unfortunately, I got the skunk. I had quite a few takes, and had a couple on for a few seconds, but it just wasn't my morning. Becker brought in two, including a nice wild brown. All I've ever caught on that stream were 8 inch rainbows, so I was surprised at the bulk on this fish. My apologies in advance for the picture quality. I forgot my camera in the car and only had the i-phone with me.

Although I didn't land any fish, it was still a beautiful day on the water. I'll definitely be back to that stretch again. We also hiked downstream about half a mile and found some really nice holes that I can't wait to go back and hit again. I might try for next weekend.

Since I was out for a good part of the day yesterday, I decided to get some father and son time in this morning. I took Michael on his first trip to Cabelas. He had a blast. He got his first encounter with the toothy monster in the aquarium and couldn't stop looking at him.

We walked around for a while, and I picked up like $40 worth of tying material, but unfortunately, no grizzly hackle. I did manage to find some really nice dun colored elk hair. Expect some BWO comparaduns shortly! He had a good time and told me he wants to go back again to see the elephant :)

Speaking of grizzly hackle, if you want to know what to get me for Christmas, you can start with this:

This evening, I spent two hours organizing all my tying stuff. It looked like a flock of birds exploded at my desk. It was a total mess. I now have everything nice and organized. This will probably only last a week, but for now, I'll enjoy it.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011

No hackle needed

As we all know, hackle has been hard as hell to come by. I've been getting around it by tying very basic comparadun and spinner patterns. here's some basic hair comparaduns that have me covered for sulphurs, light cahills, and whatever the hell that bigger light colored mayfly is that I keep seeing coming off around 8:45pm that I have yet to identify. I call this one MFX (Mayfly X). I've pulled fish with it this month so I know for sure that it works.

Size 14-18 dry fly hook
Cream microfibbets
Spectrablend dubbing - pale yellow
Comparadun Elk Hair - bleached cream

I also whipped up some rusty spinners, but I have yet to fish these. I kept them very simple with a thread body. Dubbing the body seemed to make it look too bulky and natural spent mayflies always look thinner to me so I did without it. These can be tied in about 45 seconds once you get the hang of x-wrapping the wings.

Size 14-18 dry fly hook
Uni-thread 8/0 (rust)
Dun Microfibbets
White Antron Wings

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The hunt for Chrome is getting closer...

It's mid-august and I already have visions of fresh chrome steelhead on the end of my 8 weight. I saw a post on the PAFF forum asking for volunteers on a steelhead fly swap so I jumped in. Here's a sneak peak at the pattern I'm tying. This one is called simply "root beer". I learned it last fall on the Salmon River. The fish were taking natural nymphs patterns, and caddis. The brown nymph color combined with the caddis larva shape give you the best of both worlds, with just enough flash on the collar and glass bead to get their attention. Fish it in faster water where the fish don't have a chance to take a second look.

Size 8 Mustad 2x strong caddis hook
Lagartun French Mini-Flatbraid in olive brown (abdomen)
Petite Estaz in brown (collar)
Killer Caddis glass bead in pearl brown

I've also bee working on big stoneflies for Salmon, Steelhead and Browns. Here's one that I'm not quite happy with yet, but I like how it's starting. I'm calling it the Grandaddy stone because of all the grey hairs. Going to make a few tweaks to it. I'm digging the tiny bit of flash in the dubbing.

Saber Stonefly Nymph hook size 8
Black Goose Biots
Uni-stretch body material in black
Swiss Straw in black (wingcase)
Dubbing - Black Hare's ear plus mixed with some cut up Sparkle Organza

And I'm that note, I'm going to catch some sleep. I didn't get around to posting any more about the beach trip over the weekend because the fishing was awful. We did however find out that we're having another boy! Michael is excited to have a little brother. Still working on names though. If it was a girl, it would have been Brook (you can guess why!) but she shot down the names Grayling, Char, and Smallmouth so far. Any other suggestions?

Friday, August 12, 2011

It's a start...

More to come(hopefully....).

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, August 7, 2011

No fish, but lots of pictures

I decided yesterday that I was going to try to hit the trico fall on Sunday morning. The problem was, it was starting to rain yesterday afternoon while I was at my nephew's birthday party about 2 miles from the Little Lehigh (Happy Birthday Rowan!). I had invited Mike from Troutrageous along but then told him that it might be a wash out and probably wouldn't be good fishing. He decided to pass, which was the right move. I was going to go anyway, figuring worst case scenario, I nymph and streamer fish and work hard for one or two trout. I sat up last night tying tricos, caddis, and beetles until about 1am because the stream levels still appeared to not be too bad. I was up at 5am, and when I got to the stream around 6:30, I couldn't believe how bad it was. It was 100% blown out, and getting worse by the minute.

I drove all the way up there so I decided to fish anyway. I only saw one rise all morning, and the only hit I had was a small brown that took a streamer and then spit the hook on me 30 seconds later. There was a massive swarm of tricos falling and if the water was clearer, I'm certain that I would have one of the best days of dry fly fishing in my entire life. I just held the tip of my rod out over the water for 30 seconds and when I pulled it back in, it was covered with about 15 tricos that were about to perish.

There so many that they even showed up when I took some video footage. Here's it is, in all it's low def glory.

Oh well. I didn't catch anything, but I decided to just take a ton of pictures to make up for the lack of fish.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

My favorite fly of the year so far....

I've mentioned in quite a few posts that the AZ mini-hopper has been killing it for me. I'm serious. I've probably caught at least 200 fish so far this year on this fly. It's taken largemouth, smallmouth, bluegill, crappie, bows, and a brown. At first I had trouble with the bass on it. It was a little small for them. I decided to tweak the original to make it work. First, I double stacked the foam. This made it look like a bigger meal, and it floats much better this way. I also went bigger on the hook size. Bass started to get more peirced lips when I moved down to sizes 8-10 from the 12-14 I was doing well with for panfish and trout. Finally, I was watching Craven's video on tying the Charlie Boy Hopper and I liked how his hair stuck up high on the top of the fly. I started stacking the deer hair above the foam, also increasing the size of the fly. That's about all that was needed. The contrast of the orange foam and legs against the green ice dubbed body seems to work the best for me.

I'm not sure what the bass take it as, but it sure as hell does work. These are really easy to tie and since I primarily use them for bass, they can be sloppy.

Size 8 Mustad Standard Dry Fly Hook
2mm Craft Foam, stacked using spray adhesive
Orvis Caddis Green Ice Dubbing
Deer Hair
3/0 Brown Monocord

Thanks to Owl Jones

For getting his new awesome song stuck in my head. I've been walking around the house and slamming beers while whistling "this is a song about outdoor bloggerrrrrrrrrs".

Outdoor Blogger Song from Owl Jones on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Vacation, summed up in two words...BAD FISHING

Well, I got back from the beach on Saturday night and I was so swamped with over 1000 work emails and meetings, that this is the first time I've had to get a blog update going.

I had a great week at the beach. I spent lots of time with my son, wife, in-laws, and my sister's whole brood of kids. The weather was nice. The beer was cold. The only bad thing was the fishing. We got there during the heat wave when it was approaching 100 degrees. The weird thing was, the gulf stream shifted and the water temps were in the low 60s! I think it really stirred up the fish.

I did have a few highlights though. Shortly after by blog post about sitting in the pier with a beer in my hand, my rod almost shot off the dock into the water. I managed to grab it and set the hook. It was hands down the biggest fish I had ever hooked. After fighting this thing and having it run my line on my 10 foot surf spinning rod almost all the way out for a good 5-10 minutes, I finally got a look at it. It was a giant 6-7 foot brown shark. I got him to get to the surface one time and I think he then finally realized that something was wrong. He ran like hell and my 35 lb line couldn't do anything to stop him. He broke me off, but continued to cruise around the area for a good 10 minutes afterwards with his fin sticking out of the water. Needless to say, the swimmers along the docks of their houses in the bay quickly got the heck out of the water. I was in total shock but there's no way I could have landed that fish.

Later that night, I decided to stop by the same spot and take a look. I saw some bait fish busting the surface every few minutes along the edges of the shadows from the docked boats. I thought it might have been some blues so I quickly grabbed my 8 weight and threw on a gurgler. Three casts later I had a fish smash it. He really did not fight too much and I got him to the dock and it was a striper, around 18-20 inches. I was pretty high off the water so I was happy that he flipped in the air, spit the fly and swam away. The only bad thing was, I didn't get a pic. He was my first striper on a fly rod and I have nothing to show for it.

After that, it was days of NOTHING. No kingfish in the surf. No flounder in the bay. The only luck I was having were a few dogfish and one eel from the bay later at night on big chunks of bunker. The biggest of those was a 3 foot sandshark. I did get a picture of him.

That was about the extent of my fishing for the whole week, besides one short flounder in the bay one afternoon. Blah. At least Michael had a blast (Although he still loves to eat the sand!)

I was pretty happy to get home and get a chance at some freshwater fish who were actually around. I wet waded a mile long stretch of the creek behind my house on Sunday and I only brought one fly, the AZ mini-hopper. (You all need to tie some of these, they work on everything!) Even though I didn't find mommy or daddy, their 10-12 inch children were more than willing to com out and play. They still managed to put some bend in the 4 weight.

Before I got, I'd like to personally say thanks to DKile over at for the shoutout on his "Blogs of Summer" post. If you're new to the site, thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoy it and I promise that you'll see lots more tying going on once the fishing slows down in the fall.