July 2003 Report

Reports Archive

Report - July 28, 2003

Hit up some Pokie (aka as the Poconos) brookie streams…some produced - some did not. When all was said and done we got more browns than brooks. Regardless what you get though all these fish look beautiful. Patterns were either a light colored caddis or a big wulff. Pretty much after a couple of casts if nothing produces it is on to the next hole. Water temps were in the high mid-to-high 50s. Did not see another sole. Why the state ever even proposed of putting a 7" max harvestable size on these beauties - blows me away.

Also managed to fit in a float of the lower D over the past few days. Still pretty dirty water - clarity was only a few feet. And of course the flow is above the norm, but we did manage to fool a few smallies. Streamers did the trick - letting them swing through the deeper runs and along the edges produced. Also, hitting up the shoreline structure is a good idea especially when water is up some and off color. In fact this can be productive way to fish for any species of fish that inhabits moving water when discolored, not just smallies.

Look for flows on the larger rivers to continue the slow (emphasis on slow) downward/clearing trend - that is if no heavy rain makes its way across the state. We are not complaining.

Update - July 24, 2003

Here is a great site to bookmark - USGS Flows for Pennsylvania - especially now, with all the rain some areas have been having. However, here in SE PA it looks like we have been spared the worst from this most recent influx of deep tropical moisture. Definitely can't say that about areas north and west. Look for those streams and rivers in that area to be the last to recede. Also somewhat high and discolored could be the larger streams that begin to our north and west. Amazingly enough many steams in the state have been above normal for just about all summer, if not all. With maybe the exception of a few tail waters - which are obviously not controlled by Mother Nature. Our hope is by the weekend with no more rain waters should be fishable. Not a bad way to have the flows for this time of year. Either way all this bodes well for the remainder of the summer. That is it…sum-sum-sum-summertime, enjoy the weekend.

Report - July 19, 2003 - Susquehanna River - Duncannon to Marysville

Hit the Susquehanna River for smallmouth for the first time this year. Had a father/son combo, George and Jeff, in the boat today. It was Jeff's Father's Day/Birthday gift to his dad. Couldn't have asked for better weather conditions, sunny, 83 degrees, light wind and low humidity. Water was slightly colored w/ 3-4 feet visibility with a temp of around 77 degrees. We met early to work on some casting techniques. George picked up the rod first and we had him throwing 30 feet of line in no time. Remembering how to do it consistently once on the boat was another story. ;^) Next time I'm wearing my Eagles helmet and putting sheet metal on the sides of the boat. Jeff picked up the rod next and was cranking out some really nice casts - especially for fly fishing for only about a year. After our little casting and "Bait 101" lesson we jumped in the boat to hit the river.

Floated from Duncannon to Marysville. Shuttle service for the trip was provided by Blue Mountain Outfitters - www.bluemountainoutfitters.net in Marysville. We were almost immediately into fish and proceeded to hit fish here and there along the way. Fish were not massive pigs but they really put a bend in George and Jeff's rods. We mostly threw a variation of Harry Murray's Madtom pattern and black wooly buggers. Jeff landed the biggest fish of around 14-15", but George was close on his heals with a fish of around 13". Caught plenty of dinks (10" range) too, even had some topwater action on poppers around 1pm. Lots a damselflies zipping around the water surface and some fish were actually jumping clear of the water to grab them. By the time we rolled into the take out, I think we boated around a dozen fish. We had probably two to three times as many fish hooked that threw the hook when they did a dance across the surface of the water. Next time guys I will tie on the flies that have hooks...sorry bout that.

Father and son prior to shoving off.

George with a Susky smallie.

The FFPA streamside lunch.

Jeff with a nice size Susky smallmouth.


Here is a really simple tie that is extremely effective this time or anytime of year in fact. A brown bugger is a sure-fire pattern in streams that have a high population of crayfish or other types of large bottom dwelling nymphs. We have had fantastic success with it on the Lehigh this year. Look to give it a try along with black buggers early on in the trout season when waters are running hard and cold. Give it a try! Oh yeah, olive works really well too.

Hook: 4-8 heavy wire, 3x streamer hooks (salmon hooks also work very well)
Cone: Gold (can be optional)
Thread: Brown 6/0
Tail: Brown or tan marabou and bronze/copper k-flash
Hackle: Brown
Body: Brown chenille
*Option: lead wire can be added

Tying Instructions:
1. Pinch the barb and slip the cone on.
2. Tie in your thread - 6/0 brown. Wrapping back toward the hook bend.
3. Tie in a marabou feather - either tan or brown.
4. Use about 6 strands of k-flash. A little trick is to cut about double the length of k-flash needed. In this case about 3" or so. Then fold the flash around the thread and tie in that way. As opposed to tying in by the ends of the k-flash.
6. Tie in two brown hackle - the hackle barble should be max - 1.5 times the hook gap.
7. Tie in the chenille and move the thread to the front - next to conehead. Wrap chenille forward - creating a nice smooth body. Consistency in the thickness is what you want. Tie off.
8. Palmer both hackles up through - not at the same time though. In succession. Tie both off.
9. Apply cement and you are done. Once you get the hang of it, you can crank these flies out.

Report - July 13, 2003 - Lehigh River - Bowmanstown to Walnutport

Beautiful day! And all kinds of fish smacking our flies. You name it - we caught it - brown, brook, rainbow, smallmouth, rock bass and pickeral. All pretty much on the same fly to - brown bugger. However, the browns actually took an emerger pattern. There were some small olives that began to appear in decent numbers toward the end of our float - along with caddis in all sizes throughout the day. Even saw a couple of trico spinnners on one stretch. More bows than browns. All the bows scrapped nicely and were caught in the deeper runs. Hardly saw another sole in the stretch we fished. No rafters to contend with either since we put in where they take out. Water temp ranged in the mid to high 60s and running a tad over 1,000cfs at the Lehighton gage. On the water shortly after 6am - off at 2pm.

Look for us to start hittin' the 'Hanna!


Blue Wing Olive

Swinging wets along the downstream edge of a gravel bar.


Report - July 8, 2003 - Lehigh River - Bowmanstown to Walnutport

Floated the river from Bowmanstown to Walnutport yesterday with Yen and Bob. It was was a little bit of everything and not a lot of one thing. Started at Bowmanstown around 10am. Water temp pushing 70 degrees and the weather was sunny and HOT!! Through on some wooly buggers and Bob hit some smallies in the first pool and missed a trout. Floated for a while and Yen caught a big panfish and both missed a couple more smallies. Hit the next pool and saw two trout working under the trees, but they were very spooky - didn't even get a cast to them. Continued our drift toward Palmerton when the sky grew dark and the heavens opened up, needless to say we got drenched, but it was actually quite refreshing. The weather finally cleared and gave us a beautiful evening. About a mile before Walnutport, Bob hooked up with a 14" rainbow that rocketed out of the water on the hook set. Yen finally hit a bow shortly after that was about 12". Cruized into Walnutport around 7pm still wet but was still a nice day to be on the river. Water temp 73 degrees at 7:30pm. This might do it for the LR, unless we get a dramatic change in the weather. The smallie rivers have rounded into fantastic form - clean and above average flows.

Nice one!

Kittatinny Ridge


July 4, 2003 - Lehigh River - Bowmanstown to Walnutport

The Lehigh River is running about 1,200cfs - perfect flow for floating. Enjoyed a beautiful day on the water with quite a few fish coming to net. Upwards to 15 trout (up to 16") and just as many smallies hit our buggers all day long - some to about 13" or so. With the lack of insects we threw streamers the entire time. Anchoring up in the riffs and hiting the banks while we floated were the ticket. The bugs we did see where caddis, some size 18 olives, stoneflies and a few cahills - no Isos. Below are just a few of the fish picked up throughout the day. More browns than bows. Look for this water to continue to warm with the summer weather mode we have moved into. Probably only a couple of more weeks of water temps that will permit trout fishing, however the LR can hold the fish due to the extremely high oxygen levels. Oh yeah, not one other fisherman seen during our float and just a couple of rafters/kayakers - and all this just a short drive from Philly.

Also, look for the Susquehanna to begin rounding into fine summertime fishing shape. Pound for pound smallies put a bend in your rod as much as any freshwater game fish. A 6wt and a handful of clousers, buggers and poppers is all you need. Great for beginners.


Update - July 3, 2003

As years go, we are having a banner year for water here in PA. You can safely say every steam is above normal. And the kicker is they are running clear and cold (as of writing) - all this, heading into the biggest holiday weekend of the summer. When was the last time this happened - and to this degree? pun intended.;^) We've got a couple of Lehigh River trips planned for the weekend…looking forward it - certainly has been a while. We really hope to see some of these guys struggling to the top. The nice thing about Isos is they sporatically come off thoughout the day. Due to this, trout are apt to eat them, even if there are not big numbers around.

Did stop by Valley and took the temp last week - not much of anything happening. Running 59 and a feeder was running 56 - gage showed 1.5 times above normal flow and running clear at my sample spot. Check this site out for info a PA stream flows. Feel free to shoot us an e if you ever have any questions interpreting the numbers.

Interesting note about the LR - currently the temp is about the same when it dumps into the Delaware, as when it leaves FE Walter. This shows the amount of cold water/feeder stream influence the LR has, once below FEW - a pretty good distance of 70 miles or so. You gotta wonder what it would be like with a cold-water release program?

Happy 4th! FFPA wishes you safe travels.