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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Orvis Helios Fly Rod

It was almost three months ago that Tom Rosenbauer sent me a prototype rod simply called the "whisper" rod. Nothing fancy about the prototype. From its plain looks it could easily have been a mid priced rod for the budget conscious angler (the rods that will make it to the consumer are anything but plain!). I initially cast it with the expectation that I indeed held a mid priced rod in my hand. Immediately after the first cast I knew this rod was truly something special, a rod for the serious caster who appreciates the finest tool ever made to ply his craft.

The more I fished the rod, the more I liked it. I put it into as many of my clients hands that I could and found one simple common denominator; everyone who cast it not only liked it, but they cast better with it than with the rod they were currently using.

The extreme light weight and delicate feel of this rod is in stark contrast to the swift power this rod generates to buck the sometimes windy conditions that surround big water trout fishing. The rod I have is a mid flex 8'6" 5 weight that feels like something less in my hand, yet casts like something more. Fighting and playing fish with this rod is incredible. I've used this rod's sensitive tip to protect delicate 7X tippets against twenty inch class brown and rainbow trout while the rods backbone easily handled bringing big fish in fast water to the net. It's hard to believe that such a light rod can do so much.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Steelhead Fishing in Pennsylvania

Steelhead Fishing in Pennsylvania

With the colder nights and that first frost brings forth the beginning of steelhead season in Pennsylvania. For many anglers the arrival of the steelhead in creeks like Walnut, Elk, and 20 Mile brings a sense of excitement that is unmatched by other forms of fishing in the state. Steelhead Salmon are an extremely powerful fish that can make the drag on a reel scream and push your rod to it's limits.

Now how do you go about fishing for these silver bullets? There are several techniques but the most common forms in Pennsylvania are fly fishing and drift fishing. In this article we'll go into detail on how to fish for steelhead in the Pennsylvania streams and what streams to fish in Pennsylvania.

Fly Fishing

First, lets talk about fly fishing and what type of gear you will need to have to tackle these fish. The following is a list of commonly used fly fishing equipment for fishing for steelhead in the PA streams.


Fly Rod = 7 to 8 weight rod from 9 to 10 foot

Fly Reel = Any fly reel with a good drag. Large arbor fly reels are preferred, they pick up the fly line a lot faster and tend to have a better drag system.

Fly Line = 7 to 9 weight forward floating fly line

Leader = Taper leader from 20 to 15 to 10 pound test leader material then connect 8 to 6 pound fluorocarbon as a tippet. If water is clear use 6 then 4 pound fluorocarbon as tippet.


Egg Patterns = Sucker Spawn, Blood Dots, Crystal Meth Flies, Estez Eggs

Sizes - 12, 14, 16 size nymph hooks 2X strong or 8 or 10 live bait (egg hook)

Streamers = Egg Sucking Leech, Wooly Buggers, Crystal Buggers

Sizes - 2, 4, 8, 10 salmon hooks or streamer hooks

Nymphs = Stone Flies, Prince Nymphs, Hairs Ears Nymphs

Sizes - 10, 12, 14 size nymph hooks 2X strong

Fly Fishing Techniques

Dead drifting with an indicator - To dead drift with a indicator simply put on a indicator or small trout bobber about 6 foot up the leader then attach some weight 2 BB sinkers or 1 3/0 sinker about a foot above the fly. You will need to move your indicator up and down your leader to find the depth of the water. To get a true dead drift your indicator should stand straight up and down and not have the appearance of dragging the bottom. (This is easier said then done; there are all types of indicators to help with getting a true dead drift)

Dead Drifting without an indicator - This is my favorite way to fish for steelhead! I use this method on the larger streams of Pennsylvania and New York with great success and you can't beat the strike you get when a steelhead slams your fly while it is swinging or at the end of the drift. You can use this technique whether you are fishing egg patterns, streamers, or nymphs and is extremely versatile in any type of water depth or current.

First, You need to have a leader and tippet any where from 10 to 15 feet depending on the size of the creek you are fishing. If fishing Elk Creek or Walnut creek in Erie, PA you will want to keep your leader around 10 to 11 feet. Next, depending on the depth of the water you want to put a sinker any where from 3 feet to 6 feet up your line. The sinker should be a single 3/0, 7, or 5 depending on the depth and speed of the water. Finally, you should cast your fly upstream at about 1 to 2 o'clock then mend your line upstream immediately then get your fly rod high in the air then let it drift and then swing through to the end of the drift. Don't pull the fly out of the water to quickly to cast again let it hang for a few seconds. Some of the most incredible hits are at the end of the drift. If you prefect this technique you will have some of the most fun days you have ever had fishing for steelhead.

Spin Fishing with a Drift Rod

An effective techniques of fishing the tributaries of Lake Erie is fishing with bait and a dead drift rod. I have seen more fish caught on skein, egg sacs, and minnows than any other technique. Fishing with bait you can consistently catch steelhead and 20 plus fish days are not uncommon when the fish are running.


8 to 12 foot spinning rod or 11 to 15 foot Canadian style drift rod. (Canadian style drift rod requires a center pin reel)ReelSpinning - Good spinning reel with a front drag that generally holds 140 yds of 8lb test is standard.Center Pin - Okuma makes a affordable center pin reel that will allow you to get started with this method. Some Center Pin reels will empty your pocket book.Line4 to 8 lb fluorocarbonIndicator / BobberSteelhead style drift bobber (Blackbird and Drennan make excellent floats)

Size 4 Salmon or Steelhead hook will work for most circumstances, or a size 8 octopus style.

Split Shot . You will need a variety of split shot from BB to 5's depending on depth and current

Egg Sacs, Skein, Single Salmon Eggs, Minnows, Shiners, and Worms

How to Rig

First put your drift bobber on first, generally you float will be anywhere from 4 feet to 7 feet depending on depth from your bait. Next stagger your split shots about 12 inches above your bait to 15 inches above your bait. Space your split shots anywhere from 2 to 2 inches apart. Next, tie on a salmon hook or octopus style hook. If fishing skein or egg sacs, use a size 4 hook to hold the skein on the hook. If you are fishing clear water and using single eggs use a 12 to 14 size hook.

Where to fish

Elk Creek - Is the largest creek of the Erie PA streams, I would have to say that I prefer Elk creek to all the other creeks because of it's size and the ability to do some hiking to in the woods to find a place to fish. There are many well-known holes on Elk Creek, including the mouth Elk Creek Access Area, the Legion Hole, and the Conrail Tubes on the lower sections of the creek and Foley's End and Streuchen Flats on the upper end of the creek. At the beginning of the season focus your attention on the lower sections of the creek due to fish not being able to make it to the upper sections. Then in the spring focus on the upper sections where the steelhead will spawn.

Walnut Creek - Is the second largest creek in the Erie PA region most if not all the fishing at Walnut Creek is done at or just above the Walnut Creek Marina. This creek is full of steelhead and fishermen! It is a small stream that runs right beside the parking lot of Walnut Creek Marina and is a great place to take kids and is accessible for all people.

Twenty Mile - Is the largest of the Eastern mile streams to fish Twenty mile you will need to park along route 5 and walk to mouth. Fishing at Twenty Mile can be great when Walnut and Elk creeks are to high and muddy to fish.

Route 5 Streams - There a number of small streams that you can access by using route 5 as your guide these streams include Raccoon, Godfrey, Trout, Cascade, Four Mile, Seven Mile, Twelve Mile, and Sixteen Mile.

Steelhead fishing is one of the most exciting fishing opportunities we have in Pennsylvania plus you have the opportunity to catch a fish that often goes over 10 pounds and fights like no other species of fish known to Pennsylvania waters. My only warning to all those thinking of going steelhead fishing is be prepared to catch the bug then spend endless hours thinking, tying flies, preparing bait and for the next chance to land that silver bullet.

Author Bio

Owner of Penns Ads www.pennsads.com/community which is a community guide for all of central Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Goodby to Graphite?

"A Scottish company has joined a Las Vegas firm to make fishing rods from carrots.

E21, the American company, is applying the same technology in an attempt to develop golf club shafts that would reduce tendonitis and drive a golf ball farther and straighter than conventional materials would.

Carrot Stix, the veggie-based fishing rods, won the best-in-show award at the American Sportfishing Association’s international trade show..."

The company behind this innovation is CelluComp

Read the whole story at: http://www.projo.com/sports/to....html

The Top Five Smallmouth Bass Rivers

In their July, 2007 issue, Field & Stream Magazine named the Adroscoggin River, Upper Mississippi River, New River, John Day River and the Upper Delaware River as their picks for the best smallmouth bass rivers in the US.

I'm not sure about four of the five, but the Upper Delaware is something I've known about all along. There's about 60 miles of outstanding smallmouth water on this stretch of river holding more than enough fish to provide great fun on fly or light tackle.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Best Fish of Summer - Smallmouth Bass!

Too many fly fishermen, and spin fishermen for that matter, hang up their rods at the end of each Spring and lament the passing of another fishing season. What many don't realize is the end of trout season is the beginning of another exciting, challenging and rewarding fishing season. It's smallmouth time.

For the trout fisherman this should be a natural progression as these fish live in streams and rivers too warm to hold trout, yet they share many of the same habitat preferences except for water temperature.

There's been a lot written about smallmouth bass, so I'm not going to get into it too deep here. A quick search on the web will yield much information or better yet, reading through one of the many books on the subject

Keep your skills honed, your tackle from getting dusty and most of all, enjoy the great fun these hard fighters will provide through the summer and fall.

Some suggested reading: Fly-Fishing for Smallmouth
Fly Fishing for Smallmouth Bass
Smallmouth Strategies for the Fly Rod
How to Catch Smallmouth Bass

Monday, April 02, 2007

Pennsylvania's Wild Trout

This is brought to you from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission...

Pennsylvania’s trout anglers have high catch rates and high release rates, according to two surveys released last year by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and Penn State University. The studies found that most trout caught in the state were released by anglers, in turn extending and improving fishing opportunities for other anglers.
Anglers fishing stocked trout streams in the spring caught, on average, slightly more than one trout per hour fished; 63.1% of those fish were subsequently released. During the course of the legal fishing season on wild trout waters, average catch rates varied from around one fish every two hours for brook and brown trout on large streams to nearly two brook trout per hour on small streams. An amazing 92.7% of wild trout were released.
The PFBC collected angler data through on-the-water interviews and creel surveys. Penn State processed and analyzed the data as well as using an economic model to determine the fiscal benefits associated with Pennsylvania trout fishing. The studies were conducted independently of each other. Data collection for wild trout fishing was collected through the spring and summer of 2004. The stocked trout study focused on stocked streams during the opening weekend of the season and eight subsequent weeks in 2005. Fall and winter fishing for stocked trout and fishing in trout-stocked lakes were not examined in this effort. Pennsylvania stocks about 20% of its adult trout into lakes each year.
An estimated total of 80,098 angler trips were made on Pennsylvania’s wild trout streams during the regular trout season in 2004. By stream size, 57.5% of the angler trips were made on large streams and 42.5% of the angler trips were made on small streams. Over the course of the survey period angler effort averaged 239 angler hours per mile on large streams and 44 hours per mile on small streams.
PFBC sampling work indicates there are approximately 600,000 legal-size wild trout in Pennsylvania waters. Anglers caught an estimated total of 343,240 trout on wild trout streams and released 92.7%. Only about 25,000 trout were harvested on all wild trout streams during the 2004 survey period. Anglers harvested a very small number (9 per mile) of the legal size trout available on wild trout streams (221 per mile).
Both the complete wild trout fishery use study and the entire study on the spring stocked trout fishery use are available on the PFBC’s web site at www.fishandboat.com.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Delaware River System Post Flood Fishing Season

The flood of June, 2006 was devastating to the local communities and the fishing industry on the Delaware. For several weeks the system was unfishable and the personal and the business losses were extreme to everyone in the community.
By the end of July things began to change. There was a tremendous amount of bait washed into the river from the reservoir and the tributaries. As the water receded we found many large and very hungry brown trout in the river more than willing to crush streamers. There were days when you could watch fish slash and boil on bait fish, throw your fly at the "blitz" and hook up to a very nice brown.
It took longer for the insects to come around and seemingly longer for the fish to get on them, but as the season progressed flying ants, olives, isonychias, hebes, and cahills were back on the menu.
Was it as good as normal? Mostly not. It is obvious that the fishery took a hit from the flood, but it is far from destroyed. The changes in the river have rearranged some of the riffles, created others where there weren't any before, and all in all caused a new learning experience for fishermen.
There are still many awesome wild trout in the Delaware system. From the number of small fish around this summer and fall it looks like we'll be okay. I wouldn't expect the banner Spring like we had this past year ( ...who knows?), but you can be sure there are still trout in the river. True, many tributaries have been damaged by the flood and time will tell if the damage will definitely affect future recruitment. I was fearful that we lost a year class of rainbows, but seeing a decent number of baby 'bows in the river has eased that fear some.
As far as next years hatches go, this is something that time will tell. As long as the fish are there they will still have to eat, just what they eat might change. I think we'll see bugs, just not as many as we're used to.
All in all, the resiliency of a wild fishery will prove itself superior to one dependant of domesticated trout.

By the way, the smallmouth bass fishing this summer and fall was truly incredible. Anything less than a thirty fish day was lousy. The fish were big and plentiful and more than willing to eat flies and lures.

Find out more about this fishery at Cross Current Guide Service & Outfitters

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

VHS Threat to Fisheries

If you have been fishing in the Great Lakes Basin, which includes all tributaries to the Great Lakes, it is important that you clean your equipment, especially waders and watercraft, before you enter any other water bodies.

Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) virus is a real and current threat to fresh and salt water fisheries. All anglers should be concerned about this danger that, so far, has been isolated to the Great Lakes Basin in freshwater environments. In saltwater, the virus has been found in the Pacific Northwest and in the North Atlantic.

Here are a few websites where you can get more information about this fish killing virus:

USDA Emerging Disease Notice
Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia in the Great Lakes Region
NOAA VHS Factsheet
Michigan DNR Factsheet

I'd like to thank Chuck Murray, Fisheries Biologist, Pennsylvania Fish nad Boat Commission's Lake Erie Resarch Unit who has provided some of the links above and has kept me updated on this disease.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Wading Tips For The Modern Fly Fisher By Stanley Stanton

A certain amount of physical conditioning is needed to do any kind of serious wading. You will need do those 45-minute morning walks three or four times a week to get in shape. Wading in rivers is not the same as walking down to the corner store for the morning paper. For your own safety and enjoyment it pays to be fit.

For most fly-fishing situations, stocking foot type waders are the best because they are lightweight, easy to get on and off, and give better flexibility and comfort. The breathable type wader is the best for most wading situations. They are cool in the warmer months of the year and warm in colder water conditions when used with the proper wading underwear. However, I prefer neoprene type waders during the winter and late fall months given the cold weather and water conditions here in Oregon. Neoprene also gives the user the added benefit of flotation should you happen to fall in that icy cold water. It is also a very good idea to wear a float coat or some type life jacket just to be on the safe side during the colder months of the year.

Why are waders better than hip boots? Simply put, waders keep your back side dry when it rains, and there are those special times when fly fishing that the waders will allow you to get out farther from shore line. Many times waders will allow you to move to a better position so you can cast to that special place that holds fish.

Good quality wading shoes with felt soles are a very good investment. Better yet, felt soles wading shoes with studs or cleats are even better and a must when wading bedrock rivers, or rivers with large round rocks. Felts with studs or cleats will also help you avoid lower back pain caused by slipping and sliding around those smooth slimy rocks during a long day of fishing. Take my word for it; you do not want to spoil a destination fishing trip by being stove-up with lower back pain. So spend the extra bucks and invest in a good pair of wading shoes with felt soles and studs. If you now have wading shoes with only felt soles, you can purchase studded sandals or have a shoe shop replace your present felts with studded felts.

Did you know that most people fall down wading when they first enter the water? I learned this when I was a kid and my uncle did just that every time he took me fishing. He only had hip boots, and he always fell in just as soon as he entered the water. I couldn't understand why he even wore boots; they were always half full of water.

Here are a few wading tips my uncle could have used: When starting out, take your time and get the feel for the conditions of the river bottom, the flow of the current and water clarity.

After several minutes in the water you may need to adjust your wading boot strings or sandal bindings. You don't want your feet slipping back and forth inside your wading boots; you need a solid firm footing while wading.

When you first enter the water, your steps should be about half the distance they would be if you were walking on dry solid ground. Keeping your feet apart about the width of your shoulders will also help you to maintain balance while in the water.

When you need to move down stream, side-step and keep your body parallel to the flow of the current.

Do not try to back out of the river, you must turn around and walk out just like you walked into the river. For example, if you are in the river and the current is flowing from your left to right, make your turn on your right foot, using it as a pivot point and let the current help make the turn with the left foot. Just do the opposite if the current is flowing from your right to left. Never try to turn into the current flow to make a turn.

Always take your time and be careful, if you are uncertain about your wading abilities be sure to wear a flotation device.

If you feel uneasy about wading for any reason, consider using a wading staff. They are inexpensive and will give you that needed third leg when you need it. You might even try making one out of that old golf club or ski pole you have gathering dust in the corner of the garage. Remember to wrap the wading staff tip with duct tape to prevent that clanging noise on the river bottom.

Please remember to be careful while you are on the river, do not harm our wonderful land, don’t litter, and please practice catch and release for the next generation.

Stanley Stanton is an Oregon Fly Fishing Guide and McKenzie River fishing guide, visit http://www.oregon-fly-fishing-with-stan.com For information about Fly-fishing for Rainbow Trout, Steelhead Fly fishing and salmon fishing in Oregon. Email: stan@oregon-fly-fishing-with-stan.com The above author authorizes distribution of this article with the provision that it be reprinted or Published in its entirety, including this resource box.

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