Fall Stockings – Deer Creek

Another stockie Another stockie

Every fall, I find myself stretched thin, but I think it’s just seasonal. Sometimes I’ll lust for the sun-drenched warmth of the past few months. Simultaneously, I’ll ache for the steelhead fishing is just beyond the horizon. The cooler days bring my thoughts to pumpkin beers, holidays with family, orange leaves, and the solitude of a snowy day on the water. Iced-out-guides and all. That being said, I’m still pretty easily distracted by any trout in local water, and that makes the fall trout stockings, a pretty big event in my life. I’m lucky enough to find myself about 30 minutes from Deer Creek, PA which means I’m heading to the water pretty frequently this time of the year.

 

Yeah, this is clearly a 1st-world-problem, but the burden of choice is a significant one. Time that could be spent tying up some Senyo patterns has been burned streamside. The same could easily be said for rod-building (working on a cute 2-piece stick currently), or, I don’t know… hitting the gym, cleaning out the basement, cooking healthy meals, earning OT at work, or whatever.  And that can have me feeling, conflicted.

 

Sometimes though, I do feel conflicted about the fishing itself, as well. The water is low in the fall season, and the temperature isn’t fantastic, but there seem to be plenty of good holding water, in the creek. For whatever reason though, 90% of the stockies (rainbows) are stacked up in the same pool. Of course, I could be spout some bs about how the trout have been stacked up in one pool for their entire life… and I suppose I already have.  It’s the only feasible reason I could concoct. Either way, with all of the fish in one pool, all of the fishermen are too. Despite being a DHALO section (Delayed Harvest, Artificial Lures Only) I can see the litter from the night before. Coffee cups, a tin of nightcrawlers, and powerbait smeared across the nearby boulders. I guess my beef is that it’s a… less-than-natural experience. The ten-yard walk from the parking lot is less than a scenic one.

 

But on the brightside, the fish are beautiful. Most have been educated, but they’re willing with the proper presentation. One or two rainbows, about ten to twelve inches, even have a nymph or so stuck deep into their jaws. This is a good sign for anglers the same way frat guys probably love seeing a tramp stamp. If they were willing to make one mistake, maybe they’ll make another.

 

What I love most however is that it’s a great place to practice the mechanics. The ‘parking-lot-pool’ is pretty low flow, without much shade (honestly awful trout water). The trout are spooky, and presentation is key, but you’ll have plenty of opportunities. It’s a great way to work out those kinks, whether it’s lazy casting, a loose nymphing connection, or twitchy hookset. And if you’re looking for better scenery, you can always go downstream and chase those chubs and dace. I know I did.

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Fighting the Impulse Buy

Summer is retreating, and it’s taking all of our free fishing time with it. Of-course, if you’ve got some water or friends that are amenable to the night-time hours, this might be your favorite time of year… but count me out. Now that the autumnal equinox is in our rear-view, the sun is setting earlier every day. You’re likely working extra hours to squeeze it in before your holiday vacation. Nowadays, post-work-water seem like more of a memory than a possibility.

 

Either way, a waning ability to fish might have some plus-sides after all. Quieter nights can be spent on the couch with a solid book. Colder temps also point to the start of steelhead season which requires some prep, and is a great reason to sit down at the vise. (Speaking of vices, there’s always Whole Hog Pumpkin.) If winter fishing isn’t for you, it’s probably a great time to start prepping for next spring. Whatever I find myself doing at the end of the day, I’m constantly fighting off the impulse buys (#passionpurchase), and in the spirit of that fight, perhaps some elaboration here will quell the urge.

 

Senyo’s Fly Tying Materials

Ooooh! Colors!
Fusion Dub In the Easy Hareline Dispenser

So after taking a peak at Greg Senyo’s “Fusion Fly Tying,” I can’t wait to hit the vise. That being said, as the title implies, most patterns use a solid amount synthetic materials, a lot of which are specially designed and tested on the same Great Lakes tributaries that I’ll be fishing. Do I need them for the flies to work? Who knows. Is that a chance I really want to take? Probably not.

 

That means I’m looking at you, Senyo Fusion Dub and Senyo Laser Dub. Don’t worry predator wrap, I haven’t forgotten. What happens at the roll-top, stays at the roll-top. Wifey never has to know…

 

Epic 686 Blank

 

To be 100% honest, it’s probably Swift Fly Fishing’s newsletter that gets me in the most trouble. Every so often, I see the notification pop up on my phone, and the next thing I know I’m on their website in one browser tab with my bank account balance open in another. More often than not, I’m looking longingly at the Epic 686 Fastglass Blank, usually in olive. With praise coming from folks like Shane Gray, Cam Mortenson, and Zeb Tonkavich, I’m pretty sure that this guy lives up to the hype. And boy would it look purdy with some custom threadwork and maybe a deco-ring handle. It’s about time I spun one up anyway…

A solid choice for streamers next year?
Epic 686 Blank in Olive

Sideling Hill Hackle

 

With Swift Fly Fishing located in New Zealand, I’d definitely have to round out the list with some goodies from closer to home. After checking out a few posts on social media, I’ve definitely been keeping a keen eye on Sideling Hill Hackle and some of the varieties they’ve been featuring. The quality seems top-notch, it’s nice to check out some local talent, and with the prices, there doesn’t seem to be much comparison. Unfortunately, with Evan running a smaller-batch operation, it seems that I might have to wait a while before I get some. Perhaps I’ll just have to do some more searching.

 

Xi #4 10′ Czech Nymph Blank

 

I know, I know. A second rod blank on the list? You might think I’m just perpetuating my own lust, but as every fisherman knows, an angler needs exactly one more rod than they currently possess. That being said, I’m free to dream so get off my back. Especially after reading Dynamic Nymphing by George Daniel, I can really see the value in a stiffer rod with a bit of extra length. I find that my wading is sometimes-than-spectacular, so I can definitely use some distance between myself and the fish. More than that, I could throw a rock from my house to the fellows at Hook & Hackle, so it always feels good to lend some local support, even if it’s not to a brick-and-mortar establishment. Would I love to fish out the blank before building on it? Sure… but if it’s gonna be a specialty nymphing stick, I’m not looking for a silky-smooth cast either way. Add it to the list!

 

A Master’s Guide to Building a Bamboo Fly Rod

a-masters-guide-to-building-a-bamboo-fly-rod

Alright, so I’m being ambitious here, but it’s a classic. Not only that, I know next-to-nothing about bamboo rods, so why not use the best resource available. And with a section on refinishing and refurbishing older rods it seems like an excellent choice considering the bamboo I picked up from my brother-in-law after the wedding. Plus, with some of the price tags I’ve seen on bamboos at the local shops, it might be my best shot at ever fishing one.

 

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Hank Patterson 2017

Are you feeling extra exhausted today? Perhaps, inconsolable? Maybe you’re feeling let down, disappointed, or abandoned. Maybe these feelings have something to do with a television program you watched recently. Perhaps it was another reality television show. The characters acting in their usual fashion… squabbling and squawking. Bickering for the entirety of the 1.5 hour, limited-commercial-interruption, season premiere.

 

Maybe, for example, it aired on ABC from 9:00-10:30pm EST on September 26, 2016.

 

Hypothetically.

 

If you feel that way, then you aren’t alone. I feel pretty clever, in fact. Foreseeing this disappointment, I saved a queue of youtube videos to bring me out of the electoral enervation with a solid dose of flytying, and 40-CCs of humor, Hank Patterson style. It was a particular delight to see Hank address my malaise directly in his latest video, announcing his entrance into the ‘January 2017’ election. If you’re at work or with your kids, this might be ‘headphones’ material, but otherwise, it might be exactly what the doctor ordered.

Check it out.

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Cleaning Up Those Dirty Pictures

As someone who tries to share photos of flies on a regular basis, I definitely still struggle with the logistics of taking the photographs. With hair, wire, synthetics, dubbing, and thread packed within tight confines, it can be difficult. Overwings can cast shadows on the thorax of the fly, legs cause the fly to sit awkwardly on your table, and hackle can form a wall, preventing your hard work from being seen by the lens.

More often than not, the background can also distract from the photo. Dust and clippings from your fly tying desk can create a noisy background for your photos, oftentimes when they’re not even visible to the human eye. Luckily, I got a notification on my phone this weekend from “In The Riffle’s” recent post on youtube.

Accompanying most of their video tutorials is an impeccably clean photograph of the final fly against a white background, and here, the crew shows us how to achieve that effect.

Here, I’ve tried to work my own example with a messy version of the Snowhite Damsel I had lying on my tying desk. I didn’t use a light box, and my photoshop skills are lackluster at best… but hopefully you can see that the techniques definitely work. Feel free to judge the results for yourself.

Only took a few minutes
Snowhite Damsel before and after some photoshop magic
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Ostrander Lake

A sign at the trailhead Ostrander Lake

It started with a quick trip to REI. The wife and I are planning to explore a bit of Yosemite during our honeymoon so we were dropping in for some supplies. While she got her Osprey outfitted with a bladder, I had my eye on a beautiful topographic by NatGeo.

To be honest, I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for a solid topographic map. There’s something inherently natural about their contours, which wind back and fourth like a fingerprint or wood-grain. Perhaps though, I’m just charmed by the same nostalgia that draws all of us to fiberglass rods, or fishing dry flies, upstream, to rising trout: Essentially, the (sometimes spurious) belief that “old-fashioned” is also an assessment of quality.

Either way, topographic maps are excellent at locating those isolated spots we seek with such ferver. When you cross a contour line, whether losing elevation or gaining it, you move further and further from the crowds to which fishermen are often so averse. That’s essentially what drew us to Ostrander lake. The rumors of brookies didn’t hurt. With little under 2000 feet of elevation gain crammed into the latter half of a 6.2 mile hike, I was pretty sure we’d find the solitude we were looking for.

The hike was strenuous. As we inched forward, it seemed that the peak inched ahead faster. However, when we got to Ostrander Lake, the scenery was more than worthwhile. The brookies hid well, but our surroundings were more than an adequate reward.

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There’s a debate going on now regarding our pubic lands, specifically the sale/transfer of our federal lands to their respective states. No matter where you stand on this debate, hopefully these photos and our story can help you appreciate the beauty and value our public lands have to offer. I’m not an expert on anything, but I think that the threat of privatization, whether real or imagined, is something worth paying attention to.

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Fishporn Friday – Alpine Rises

At some point in the near future, I’ll have enough time to post about my hike up to Ostrander Lake in Yosemite National Park, but in the meantime, I suppose I’ll have to post the video that makes me miss my honeymoon with every ounce of my being.

Redington has been pushing out some solid fishporn with their “Find Your Water” series recently, and this latest entry is no exception. Ease into your weekend with this one… and if you’re not motivated to get out there chasing blue lines, I don’t know what to tell ya.

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2 Hours 52 Minutes

My Path to the Breeches My Path to the Breeches

I’m sitting in my living room, underneath my wife’s electrically heated blanket, sick from work. My mind begins to wander, and the next think I know, I realize I could be at Yellow Breeches Creek in exactly 2 hours 52 minutes.

Surely, there are other options. Oil Creek is about 1 hour 45 minutes North. Two hours could have me at just about any of the Lake Erie tributaries. The Youghiogheny tailwater is an even shorter drive. But the allure of a new creek is a strong one, and before I can think twice I came across a narrative stream report from the York Dispatch. That’s right. It looks like the White Fly hatch is on in full force.

A few minutes later and I’m submerged in Charles R. Meck’s “Trout Streams and Hatches of Pennsylvania” doing a little more recon on the water.

The white mayfly is an extremely dependable hatch on the Breeches. Once the hatch begins you can expect to see it continue every evening for at least two weeks.

So, at the end of the day, I’ll have to heal up a bit. And I may have a week of work to power through, one that will probably include a bit of OT. But at least I’ll have the thought of some large albino mayflies to pull myself through. And hopefully this weekend, I’ll be able to make a short drive East.

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Fish Packers

If you’ve got five minutes in your day for a quick read today, this story is worth it. Beautiful photography, beautiful scenery, and the true account of the lengths people will go to find trout in beautiful places.

​“The cool thing about these mountain lakes is they just don’t get the pressure,” Garren says. “It takes a special kind of angler to come up here.”

It’s a short one so I’m not going to give much away… but you’ll just have to trust that the guys at Hatch Mag nailed it once again. They did.

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Rio Fly Fishing Film Awards – #riofilmawards

#riofilmawards Rio film awards

I can’t speak for everyone, but I can admit it. Walking out of F3T or the Fly Fishing Film Festival every year, I can’t quite help but dreaming about how I’m going to start shooting my fishing trips. Certainly each trip would yield multiple hero shots, each showing a fiberglass rod bent over protecting 7x tippet from a surly, burly, brown as my reel screams. The trout is running toward the nearest cover and the water is shooting off my line in slow motion. Did I mention the brilliant orange sun setting behind me?

Yeah. Right.

Anyway, if you subscribe to the Rio Newsletter, you’ve undoubtedly heard that they’re hosting a fly fishing film contest for the rest of us. Ya know, just incase you aren’t expertly schooled in videography, cinematic concepts, and the latest camera technologies. Despite the simple concept, I can’t quite think of any similar competitions. Here is Rio’s official breakdown…

The RIO “Amateur Fly Fishing Film Awards” is an opportunity for amateur fly fishing film makers to showcase this wonderful sport by entering a short film into this online film competition. Your submission could be a short story, a documentary, a collection of awesome shots, or even a clip from your cellphone that you feel deserves to be seen. Let your creativity be your guide! Check out this teaser of the competition…

You can check out (and vote) for some of the entries here. Cinematic masterpieces or not, they definitely provide an opportunity to share something we all hold so dearly, and nobody can debate the merit in that.

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Science Vs – Some Thoughts

I’ve never been particularly reticent to discuss podcasts here, but usually there is some relationship to fly fishing. And technically, that’s still the case today, but I suppose that connection is slightly more tenuous, so… you’ve been warned.

Recently, I’ve been getting deeper and deeper entwined in the podcasts offered by Gimlet media, and “Science Vs” is no exception. Here’s the premise:

  1. Choose an issue (usually hotly debated).
  2. Find the most integral scientific claims relevant to that issue.
  3. Fact check those claims using ‘science,’ (studies, papers, etc.).

It seems vaguely reminiscent to “The Gist’s” recurring segment, ‘Is That Bull$#!t?’ with a dash of formality. This does pose some issues. For example, the format can often end up looking like a ‘look-what-I-proved wrong’ type of show, and even the choice of issues allows for bias introduction. Additionally, it’d be great to hear a lot more about who funded each study cited, as that unfortunately tends to influence the findings.

That being said, it’s not really fair to hold a podcast to the same academic rigor that a thesis might warrant. While some listeners, like myself, might love a delineation of funding sources for some collegiate study, the majority of listeners probably don’t. I get that. The listener is given enough information to take a deeper dive if they wish, so that’s about all I can ask for. Real issues are being explored in a serious, and seriously entertaining way. If you’re not listening already, you’re missing out.

Anyway… I promised a fishing/conservation tie-in, so here it is. Recently, there was a great episode on fracking (Science vs. Fracking) that cleared a ton of fog on the subject. As someone that has probably been unrighteously indignant about the practice in the past, I’m glad I’ve got arrows in the quiver now. Check it out here.

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