Tuesday, January 24, 2012

September 2011

gearing up for a trip

From September 17th- 22nd of 2011 I lived the dream of having nothing to do but fish. The plan seemed to come out of nowhere a week prior when I looked at the weather and decided that fall would soon be over. The summer workload had be absolutely brutal and I deserved some time off. I made a call to a buddy, BC, and he agreed to help start the trip with a day on the Little Juniata River. So after work on a Saturday I made the drive up to the town of Barre. BC was fast asleep when I rolled into the church campground but I got him up for a few cold beers. The next day came early.
Breakfast of an angler
car camping
The sluggish mind keep us from making a hasty decision as to the starting spot for the days fishing. We finally decided to head to find a spot where we had launched the boats a few summer back. I don't think we found the exact spot, but we found a good spot and got our feet wet.
nymphing in the sun
With no bug activity and perfect weather we took it easy until the afternoon when it was decided to head out in search of new water. BC made a turn that was in the right direction of the river. After a few turns, a train underpass, and a brick road we stopped before a bridge. Upon first glance at this new section the excitement started to build. Then it happened. A trout came up to the surface and ate an insect. Sulfur? Iso? Ant? Who cares. I clipped of my nymph rig and tied on a thorax style Isonychia dry fly. BC had a few hours left before heading back to Pittsburgh and took of down stream to the first riffle. He was on the board before I stepped in the water. The trout were tucked up against the back eating the occasional insect. A few casts over a riser gave me my first trout of the trip.
After a few fish, a beer, and a bunch of smiles it was time for BC to return to the rat race, leaving me alone to fish for a few days.
BC with a nice lunch
I stayed at that spot until dark before heading back to the church campground. Beers were cracked as the fire light up the night. As I climbed into the back of the truck for bed there was a sense of solitude that gave me great realization. I was alone for the next few days with nothing to do but fish.

The next day was spent again on the Little Juniata River. This time I spent all of the day up in the gorge casting Iso patterns to rising fish. That day was epic for a few reasons. Namely, because I was fishing an old bamboo fly rod. A Wright& McGill Granger -Victory.
hiking into the gorge
Little Juniata brown trout
yer pal, beer
Iso dry fly 
honey hole
The slight drizzle turned into rain about the same time my last beer was drank. It was time to head out. On the hike back I had the difficult task of deciding on tomorrows fishing destination. Stay another night? Check out some area small streams? Go to State College? New York?
last car in the lot
As I opened up the back of the truck it became clear that a proper bed would be nice. The Little J had served me well the past two days and it would be nice to try out another stream. So I booked it for my parents lake house in DuBios.
hard livin'
on the road
Treasure Lake

A hot shower and a few beers gave me the inspiration to plan an adventure up into Cameron and Potter Counties.

 I slept in and had a minor headache. So I had breakfast and took the usual trip to Spring Creek in Centre County.
clipped fin brown trout

After catching a nice amount of fish on Spring Creek I headed over to Bald Eagle State Forest to camp. I enjoyed a few beers before crashing early. The next day would hold the last adventure of the trip.

I spun the truck north west towards a campground in Sinnemahoning State Park. The drive was pleasurable, but seemed long. Within a few hours I was traveling on back roads looking for signs that did not exist. It was heaven.
limited maintenance- access road only
land of endless mountains
Autumn in PA

After the drive I found a stream.
and found these wild trout
wild brown trout
native brook trout

As the fishing day was ending I hiked back to the truck with a simple smile. I hadn't seen or heard a car or person in a half dozen hours. There were a few semi cool beers left in the cooler for the nights camping and a single can of soup for dinner. Driving to Sinnemahoning State Park I noticed a sign for an ATM. It was at a  closed tavern. The general store was open and the lady let me into the bar for cash. I also came out with a cup of cold Yeungling that I drank in the parking lot. The campground was quiet and I had a fire with damp sticks before bed. I stopped by a stream on my way out. A proper and fitting end to the trip.
this is beer trout


Monday, January 23, 2012

beer trout goes mobile

With the iPhone 4s. 8 megapixel camera and an endless supply of possibility.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Cheer Through Pics

A thread idea stolen from the Drake

Au Sable River, Michigan-2007

Pine Creek, Allegheny County, Pa-2011
Elk Creek, Erie Pa-2010
Au Sable River, Michigan-2010
Cameron County, PA-2011
Little Juniata River, PA-2011
Laurel Highland Mountains, PA-2011


Friday, January 13, 2012

Big Puterbaugh Caddis

With the recent snow storm hitting Western PA, I found myself daydreaming of rising trout. Cutthroat trout of Montana and Wyoming. Hoppers would work in the late summer, but caddis seems to be key out west.

The Puterbaugh pattern has been a favorite all across the county for matching caddis hatches.  Size and color can be changed for the different hatches.  Size 10 is pretty big but will no doubt work on lightly pressured trout throughout the summer.  The Puterbaugh floats well and is very durable, due to the usage of foam.  Know it's time to whip them up in a variety of sizes and colors.  I'm also thinking this pattern will be good in pink and yellow.

The Puterbaugh pattern

They are also stupid easy to tie.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Copper Wire

My grandfather was an electrician and avid fly fisherman. He is also a WWII Veteran, so that puts him in the area of the American Great Depression. His stories thus range from eating saltine crackers with butter to the Battle of the Bulge to that big trout that got away.

The other weekend I was telling him about my upcoming summer plans of Montana. He gave me a big thumbs up and some advice. Telling me to do it now before life takes hold. He took the cross country drive several times in his life. Trailering a popup camper, two kids and a wife, along with fishing tackle. Spinning gear produced so many cutthroat from Yellowstone Lake that he has giving them out to fellow campers.

As I started running down the list of flies that I was beginning to tie he stopped me at Copper Johns, stating he had spools of copper wire in his garage. I had recently purchase UTC wire in size large at about $2.50. When I started turning out flies it was easy to see that I needed more wire. So I took my grandfather up on his offer.

The bulk wire was not a shiny (something I like) and might have a slightly larger diameter.

In my eyes it is a major score. Changing the other features of the fly (legs, wingcase, thorax, tail, etc) while using this wire as the body will allow for several different patterns.

Can you tell the difference? I don't think the trout will mind.

Also, it feels pretty good to tie with some of grandpap's materials...


Monday, January 9, 2012

Hiking with a Fly Rod

Monday is my Sunday and I use this day to get out and explore. Today was a visit to an old locale that offers up great hiking with the prospect of catching wild brown trout. A place that has seen an increase in traffic with internet hot-spotting, yet still a very scenic wild place. It location is north of Pittsburgh. A place that I found on a hunch and advice from my grandfather. A man who has fished the area since the early 70's.

I have recently been working hard to get back into shape. Not a new years resolution, but a need for the upcoming summer travels. Hiking has become a great way for me to get exercise. It also gives me the opportunity to be in remote places that hold the natural beauty I so adore. The plan for today was to make the two mile hike to the main stream and then fish my way back upstream.

The hike in was nice with the ground still frozen from the night before. The sun was shinning through the trees as birds chirped at my presence. There were two cars parked in the lot. I was hopeful they were not out fishing.

"If a tree fell in the woods, and nobody was around....."

Then I had to go back for the camera.

It was easy to tell that someone else had been on the path before me. My heart sank as I made the turn down to the stream and found footprints. I held hope that maybe they just wanted a closer look at the stream. So I put together my rod and tied on a size 16 Adams dry fly. The water was crystal clear and cold. The fishing went well and the pools all looked promising. But someone had gone before me.


The fish? none. And for the first time ever fishing this stream I blame that on angling pressure. All it takes is one person to tromp up stream to spook the fish. I'm not sure how far back I was from the other person but it wasn't enough for this stream.

Still an amazing day. The walk back gave me time to clear my head and enjoy the moment.