We decided to write this blog as a way of sharing some of our stories from past experiences fishing, tying flies, guiding, and traveling. Most of which are completely 100% true except for the names of people, some stories are slightly embellished and some are mostly made up. It's really for you to figure it out and for us to have some fun writing down some of the truly good memories we have had while immersed in fly fishing.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Flats Trip

As we were getting ready to close down the store today one of the flats guides came in, Captain James Koch, and asked us if we wanted to go fishing for a couple hours? Of course I answered yes! We closed up shop headed to his boat and went to fish! It wasn't long before we were on a couple of schools of tarpon, and I mean huge tarpon. Unfortunately I couldn't get a strike... We moved on to a new spot and I got another two shots at a moving school and nothing, and thats when the clouds rolled in and blinded us to moving fish. This fishery is so different to me because it relies so much on the sun. If the sun is behind a cloud your ability to see fish is cut drastically. Sometimes so bad you don't see fish until they are right on top of you! It was a blast and James worked hard for us putting us on fish it was just tough to see them. Someday here real soon I'll have pictures of more than just the scenery and the captain, but for now that's all I have! Enjoy! 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Orvis Learning Center

"Phil Monahan posted about this today.  I've started watching the videos, and am impressed.  They're informative and hardly intimidating.  Thought you guys might like them!"

-Kyle Hoover

My brother sent me an e-mail last week notifying me of this great video resource.  I hope you enjoy this resource and with the water levels being up around Central Pennsylvania it'd be a good time to tie some flies and watch excellent video.  You'd most likely be able to catch fish but if you aren't headed to the stream it's worth a view!  

Listed below is what Orvis has posted on their website:

"For better or worse, videos are the way many of us learn these days. Of course, there are plenty of fly-fishing videos on YouTube, but they are of uneven quality and may not be reliable tools for learning. Now there's something better.
The new interactive Orvis Learning Center is a video-based resource that’s free to anyone and available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, to answer your fly-fishing questions.

The meat of the Learning Center is the video lessons, hosted by me and Pete Kutzer. Eventually, there will be 13 different chapters available (the first 7 are up now), each containing about 24 minutes of video, and the chapters include:"

  1. The Basics of Fly Fishing
  2. Fly Rod Bass Fishing
  3. Fly Fishing for Pike
  4. Basic Stream Skills
  5. Wet Flies and Nymphs
  6. Dry Flies
  7. Streamers
  8. Reading the Water
  9. Stillwater Trout Fishing
  10. Steelhead and Salmon Fishing
  11. All About Flies and How to Match Prey
  12. Inshore Saltwater Fly Fishing
  13. Offshore and Near-Shore Saltwater Fly Fishing.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Attack of the Brown Drakes!

I witnessed am impressive Brown Drake spinner fall with my father last weekend that was nothing short of incredible!  Here are a few shots of what we witnessed and a nice fly recipe that should catch you some fish!

By Arnie Wiese, Lincoln, NE, USA
Photos By Jim Birkholm
Hook: Dai-Riki #270, Size 10 or 12.
Thread: Brown 3/0 or 6/0.
Tail: Brown Speckled Hen saddle fibers.
Wing: Dun Poly-yarn or Float-Vis.
Rib: Brown Floss.
Abdomen: Tan Antron blend dubbing.
Thorax: Brown nymph dubbing.
Hackle: Brown and Grizzly mixed.

Monday, May 28, 2012

"Treat" of the Week

This weeks "treat" comes through as one of the toughest clients I have ever had. It really wasn't because he was a bad fisherman or even a bad guy. This was one of the nicest guys I've ever guided and he caught a lot of fish too. 

The real problem I had to deal with was that this particular client had Alzheimer's. 

This made my job tough for a number of reasons. The obvious of course was that he couldn't remember me all the time or why I was there. He had trouble remembering where he was, or where he was going.  The toughest was that he couldn't remember how the fishing was that day. Since, he didn't remember what he caught he told all his friends every day that the fishing sucked even when he spent the entire day landing fish! I had to remind him, remember that fish through that run and show him a picture or two. This was day in day out for an entire week. I felt bad for the guy but it was unbelievably frustrating to have to convince him that he was having a great trip! 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Fly Spotlight

This week we decided to bring you a fly from the north east and a fly from the south east! I am bring to the public a very new fly I recently created. It has hooked a bonefish and landed several barracuda and not to mention I think it looks pretty damn cool! I call it the shrimp-opotamus check it out!

Shrimp-opotamus at work!
Hook: TMC 811S 1/0
Thread: GSP 200 denier Red
Eyes: Lead painted red medium
Body: Krystal Hackle bonefish tan
Tail/ Belly: Ginger rabbit strip with 6-8 strands of krystal flash
Legs: Sili Legs Pumpkin barred

Green Drakes have been all over a variety of waters in Central Pennsylvania so the buzz has created a lot of fly-fisherman to spend a night on the stream.  Here is a fly that I enjoy going to once the Green Drakes are on the water.  I've used this fly on Penns Creek, Fishing Creek and the Little Juniata and had great success on all of those streams.  

Another cool pattern that I've learned how to tie recently is the Foam Extended Body Green Drake Spinner.  I've always picked up the extended bodied flies at fly shops to look and see how they were tied but when the Green Drake hatch was approaching I thought it was a good time to learn the pattern. There is a great video posted on YouTube that showed me just how to tie the Foam Extended Body Green Drake Spinner pattern.  Click the link to view and enjoy!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Airport Flat!

Today I finally had a real day off. No working as a mate, no traveling to Nashville for a wedding. It was truly just a day off to relax kick back... and hit the flats. I went to what the local guides refer to as the "airport flat," and as I'm figuring out here nothing is what your mind leads you to believe. The flat was rocky and weedy and because of the low sun and the wind I couldn't see a fish to save my life. Danielle was out there with me to help take pictures, soak up the sun, and grab my fly boxes to help pick out new flies. I went the first hour or so just blind casting to nothing, then I walked up on this shipwreck you see in the picture below and on my way I threw a blind cast hooking into what I can only assume to be a bonefish or a big fish because it went for a ruuuuuuun, but unfortunately I lost it. After that I hooked about a dozen barracuda and landed 5. Below are two of the smaller ones, I lost a ton of flies holding them up for pictures and having them shake their head and sever the line right in half. 

Today was awesome. I didn't land the big one, but that's what keeps us all fishing "the big one that got away." I did see a sizable shark by sizable I mean between 3 and 5 feet long which was crazy because I didn't see it until it was 10 feet away from us and it saw us and bolted.. Still awesome, saltwater fishing is crazy but I'm learning to love it. Time to tie up some flies to make up for all the ones I lost today to the razor sharp 'cuda teeth.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sulpurs Still Going Strong!

So those of you who had the time to fish the Drakes on Penns, I'm very jealous, but I hope to get a chance to fish it this weekend!  For those of us who don't have enough time to get down to Penns, I made the trek to Spring Creek.  The water was moving significantly faster then the last few weeks but the fish were just as active!  

Most of my fishing was done in eddies, behind rocks and other seems where the slower water met the faster water.  One specific eddy I caught close to 10 fish all ranging from 12 - 15 inches.  It was fun to see multiple fish bumping into one another while chasing my parachute sulphur.  

Penns/Pine Creek is the place to be right now, but if you don't have time to get there, Spring Creek will do!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

First Peacock on the Fly!

Today I was supposed to hit the flats after work and due to some rain showers in the early afternoon and a conflict with the captain we had to take a rain check. However, the idea of hitting the flats and picking up a tarpon or anything got my blood pumping and I had the itch. I didn't have my gear with me because the captain said he would take care of it, so I had no choice but to race back to my house and get my stuff. Along the way I was seeing some fish boil in the canals, and some mullet jumping out of the water. So, I grabbed my stuff and headed to a canal that appeared off the beaten path. I rigged up the 10 wt. not really sure what to expect and just walked the bank.. Sure enough there were peacock bass just cruising the banks. It took me a while to find what they liked but it ended up being a chartreuse shrimp pattern I had tied up before I came down here. It's a crazy looking thing with krystal chenille and rubber legs but it had awesome action and they loved it! I only ended up landing a couple and getting a picture of this one but I had a blast doing it. I also hooked and lost my entire rig on an alligator gar, which was awesome! Anyway take a look at my first peacock bass!

In a different note. I watched a guy catch a turtle on a live fish. I helped him land it and release it... and now I really wish I would have taken a picture. It was kind of hilarious.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Go Pro Version 2.0!

I was out fishing on Sunday and recorded some footage of a nice brown trout taking a chocolate dun on Spruce Creek!  The weather was beautiful and the stream was a bit discolored but this unsuspecting brown trout took my dry fly.

Later on that day my dad and I went to Pine Creek and got to witness the amazing Brown Drake and Green Drake spinner fall.  We finished up fishing around 10:00PM and I took my light out to wade back across the stream and my shirt was covered in Brown Drakes.  Literally, I had to shake out my shirt because I had Brown Drakes crawling all over me after my light attracted the drakes.

I will not forget that night on the stream for some time to come and it was highlighted by my father hooking into a near 2-foot brown trout.  We didn't take any pictures of the fish because as we were about to net the fish, the fly popped out!  

Regardless, it's always fun to be able to listen to great fish taking huge mayflies and fish by using your ears.  If you get a chance, make the trip!  The flies were amazing to watch and it was even more humbling to cast at so many fish working on top.  You literally are required to present the perfect drag free drift to have a fish take your fly!  Incredibly challenging, but highly rewarding when you hook up!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Fly Spotlight

Mike Mercer's Poxyback Green Drake Nymph

HOOK: TMC 200R, sizes 10-12
TAIL: Three grouse or hen saddle fibers, or microfibbets dark dun
BACK: Dark golden brown turkey
RIB: Copper wire
ABDOMEN: Dark brown-olive Antron
WINGCASE: Dark turkey. When fly is completed, put one drop of 5-minute expoxy on top of the wingcase and let it dry while the fly is upright.
LEGS: Grouse tied flat over thorax
THORAX: Same as abdomen. Pick out dubbing so it's fuzzy.
HEAD: Same as abdomen

It seems like there is a lot going into this fly but after you tie a couple it's really a pretty simple pattern. It should be lights out right about now dropping this guy on a tandem nymph rig or even below a big attractor fly like a klinkhammer. Hit up Penns Creek in two days when it gets down and the 500's and be prepared to pull out a couple of lunkers on this fly!

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Penns Creek is still well above its normal flow.  Spring Creek is a little above normal and most of the streams west of State College did not receive as much rain, so those streams will be result in better fishing.  I'm going to keep this post short and sweet.  It's going to be another beautiful day tomorrow.....GET OFFLINE AND GO FISH!

Need a reason, here is a few shots of a big brown that my father sent me from a recent fishing trip with one of his friends!  Another fisherman commented from upstream, "I think he's hooked into a tuna!"


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Alaska - A Day to Remember

The season is about to begin on all of the fisheries around Lake Iliamna, Alaska.  I was looking through a bunch of pictures that I have from my seasons guiding for Cusack's Alaska Lodge and the next few pictures reminded me of a great day that we had fishing the Gibraltar River.  We only went out for an half day of fishing because our two guests had to be back at the lodge to catch their Air Taxi flight to Anchorage, AK to get their flights home.  

We were using a variety of trout beads and egg patterns and we were catching large trout after large trout.  In a sequence of about thirty minutes both guests caught the largest trout of their lives, had a close view of a very large brown bear!  

Either way I thought it would be fun to post something about Alaska since the season is about to open up within the next several weeks!

The weather looks like it is going to continue to cooperate this weekend, so get out and fish!

Tight lines!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Handy Hatch Guide - Plant Phenology

Gregory Hoover co-authored a book with Charlie Meck entitled "Great Rivers, Great Hatches."  Below is a segment about how plants and insects interact in a term known to entomologists as plant phenology.  Think about this while you are driving/fishing and it can give you an idea of when a hatch may be expected to start on some of your favorite streams.  

"How is plant information useful to you as a fly-fisherman? By recognizing plants or flowers along your favorite river or the one you plan to fly fish, you too can take advantage of phenology.  We've included a chart of some of the more important hatches for your reference so that you can get started.  Within a couple years you will be able to adapt these to observations you make on your own favorite trout fisheries.

East and Midwest

Common Name
Flowers appearing when the hatch appears
Quill Gordon
Forsythia just opening
Blue Quill
Forsythia just opening
Forsythia in full bloom
Lilac in first bloom
Gray Fox
Dame’s rocket just opening
Green Drake
Black locust in full bloom
Slate Drake
Oxeye daisy first bloom
Yellow Drake
Chickory and elderberry first bloom
Queen Anne’s lace first blooming or spotted knapweed just opening
White Fly
New England aster just opening


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Weekly Fishing Report

I may not live there anymore but I still have contacts to let me know what's going on in those rivers in central PA. Most important news that everyone should take note of. The green drakes are starting! Seriously, this is traditionally a hatch that happens around memorial day weekend or even the first week of June, and it's starting now. I don't know what to tell you other than tie some green drake nymphs and some adults and seriously pay close attention because any day now it could break into full bore and you will miss it. Things to think about when fishing the "shad" hatch:

1. You don't have to fish only green drakes, sulphurs, march browns, caddisflies will all work leading up to and through the hatch. 
2. Fish subsurface before and during the green drakes. 80% of fish feeding happens subsurface drake nymphs and other traditional nymphs will work well when everyone else is struggling to match the 8 million flies on the surface
3. Fish the coffin fly, just before it gets black dark tie on a coffin fly and fish that instead of your drake I have always had more luck with the coffin fly plus it's white so you can see if with the shine of the moon. 

Now for whats going on, on the rest rivers in our area!

Spring Creek

Water levels are elevated and flowing at 235cfs and normally the flows are 124cfs.  The good thing about Spring Creek is that the water levels drop quickly in comparison to the other local streams.  The dry fly fishing has remained great (prior to the rainfall) with sulphurs, cahills, crane flies, and tan caddis.

Sulphur size 14 - 18
Light Cahill size 12 - 16
Tan Caddis size 14 - 16
Crane Flies size 16 - 20

Hot Fly-
Orange Sulphur Sparkle Dun size 14
Yellow Parachute Sulphur size 14
Pheasant Tail size 14 - 18

Fishing Creek

The rain has pushed up the water levels a decent amount and it's probably a little high and off color. Think about giving it a day or two and head out there looking for fish feeding on sulphurs and in a week or two the drakes will be there as well!

Sulphurs size 14 - 16
Tan Caddis size 14
Black Midges size 24
Some stoneflies lingering around too. 

Hot Fly- 
Sulphur Sparkle Dun size 14

Penns Creek

Penns Creek has near perfect conditions for throwing streamers through the day and hitting some big fish on dries through the evening bite. Of course the drakes are starting but the sulphurs are still in full swing. I would focus on that with a side of slump busters because they always catch fish on Penns when the water is up and off color. 
Sulphurs size 14 - 16
Tan and green caddis size 14
Orange craneflies size 16
March Browns size 10

Hot Fly-
Green Drake Nymph size 10

Little Juniata/Spruce Creek

The Little Juniata and Spruce Creek have not received the amount of rain compared to the other Central Pennsylvania Streams and it has continued to drop close to normal levels.  If you have time go and fish go to the Little Juniata.  

Sulphur size 14 - 16
Gray Fox size 12 - 14
Light Cahill size 12 - 14
Crane Fly size 16 - 20

Hot Fly-

Orange Sulphur Comparadun/Sparkle Dun size 14
Yellow Parachute Sulphur size 14
Pheasant Tail size 14 - 18

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Another PA Secret Stream!

Today Eric Bohnenblust shared with us a a few awesome fish from a secret stretch of his. Well Eric someday maybe you will share that stretch with us.. But, until then keep hammering fish and sending us some pics! Keep up the good work!

Hey guys,
Like the blog, its nice to see what other people are doing and catching in the area.  Anyhow, I figured I would share a sample of my last couple weeks of awesome fishing. 
To say things have been good is probably the understatement of the year, I had excellent years the last two, but this year is making those look bad!  It started slow for me, but I started getting out around the regular opener and man did things on stream XXX (named for the amount of fish porn it is providing me, and I apologize but I just 
cannot in good conscience name this stream) in Central PA get awesome fast.  I haven't been hitting numbers but I just seem to be catching bruiser after bruiser and have stopped taking pics of anything less than 3 lbs unless it is unique! WHAT A PROBLEM TO HAVE!!  Anyhow I hit the first two browns on sulphur dries, talk about big trout, and man these were just stunningly gorgeous, I have seen a lot of browns, but never fish with colors like these two and oh yeah they were only 19" and 18" not even the all elusive 20".  Then last Saturday I landed the rainbow, what an absolute brute, estimated at nearly 7 lb!  It did not take a dry, but that doesn't make a difference with a fish like this!  I am looking forward to drakes coming up in the next couple days, can it really get any better?


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Phenomenal Fishing this past Week!

This past week offered amazing nymphing and dry fly fishing on the streams.  To top it off, it ended on Sunday with us getting some much needed rainfall (The heaviest rainfall happened well after the hatches were over).  Sure the stream levels on Penns, the Little J and Spruce are flowing above normal, but it will all pay off throughout the summer months.  

The Sulphurs continue to be heavy on most of the streams and I am seeing a varying number of Light Cahills on Spring Creek on a nightly basis.  I caught close to 35 fish using a parachute Light Cahill and the following night in Milesburg I caught a majority of the fish on a yellow Sulphur comparadun.  Sunday night there was a larger spinner fall and I switched to using an orange Sparkle Dun.  It's been a lot of fun tying a variety of Sulphur/Light Cahill/Crane Fly patterns and putting them to use the following fishing trips.  If you have a variety of those flies tied you should have adequate ammo to cast to a majority of the rising trout.  

It looks like the rainfall is to continue through Wednesday and let up on Thursday so you can have some luck throwing cone head Olive Slumpbusters depending on the water levels.  Either way a rainy day on the streams beats a bad day at the office!

Tight lines! 

It was raining, sorry for the blurriness!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Reefing it in the Keys

Today was my first opportunity to really hit the water since I have been down here and it was through dumb luck and working at Orvis that made it happen. I was working on Saturday and one of the captains came into the store and said his 1st mate never showed up today and was looking for someone to replace him for a trip tomorrow. "I CAN GO!" I'm sure I yelled across the store haha. 

It was an awesome day on the Patch Man Do and captain John really took care of me and our customers. It was a hell of a way to break into mating on the open seas with a near six foot barracuda to start the day... Awesome! The pictures below are what came next for the rest of the morning trip to the reef. 

Leaving the Ocean Reef Club behind

Stepano with a little blue runner

Don't be afraid to wave the jolly roger

Fighting a grouper!

Black grouper

After a morning on the boat I went looking, blindly, for bones... until next time.