June 2004 Report
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2003 Reports
Please browse our previous year's reports to find out what the action was like in years past.

June 25, 2004 - Lehigh and Susquehanna

Fly Fish PA would to extend a thank you to the Great Swamp Rod & Gun Club for allowing us to speak to them about the fantastic Lehigh River fishery. On the topic list was an overview of hatches, flows and how to interpret them and the effective means to fish the river. During the Q&A we went into some detail about all the barriers that are currently in place, which prevent the Lehigh below FEW to become, in our minds, a world-class fishery - unlike anything on the East Coast!

Feel free to email us if you would like to learn more about the issues at hand. Just think…a big brawling western style river with potentially 40 miles of cold-water.

You know as of posting - the West Branch of the Delaware at Hancock is running 21.2c, meanwhile, the Lehigh below FEW, with just 30-40 feet of water being held, is running 19.8c. Cannonsville is more than 100 feet deep! And which one is the $30+ million industry? Go figure!!!

Changing gears - Finally after how many months?? - the Susquehanna is slowly coming down to wadeable levels and fly fishing friendly flows. At the Harrisburg gage the height is at 4.10'. We still got a little more to go, but from what I understand the west shore is clear to greenish in color. So if we can get the weather to cooperate a bit we are getting close.

Be sure to BOOK now if you are interested in a Susquehanna smallie trip. Look for us to hit the water in early July.

June 24, 2004 - UPDATE

Steve posing with a very nice Lehigh smallie.

On Monday Dean had out father and son, Rod and Steve on the Lehigh. The trip was a father's day gift from Steve to his father. You could not ask for better conditions for an evening float! Temps were perfect with low humidity. From what Dean reported they started out with buggers which produced a really nice 14 inch rainbow for Steve. The fish really had some spunk to it and was in great condition. They continued to miss a few more fish fish on buggers and then Rod and Steve started to hit a few bass. At one point they had double-header. Size of the smallies ranged from 10-13 inches - which is a size that can really put a bend in the rod!

Toward the take-out and lower light conditions there were a lot of targets, however the fish rose with little consistency and were extremely finicky. Not a large quantity of bugs hatching, but quite a variety. BWOs (#18), caddis (#16), Iso's (#12), micro caddis (#24) and light cahills (#14). Water temp was 69 degrees.

An extremely heathly looking Lehigh rainbow.

On Sunday Dean took a little Father's Day float with his Dad. He reports that the action was slow by Lehigh standards. There was not too much bug activity - just a few caddis hatching here and there. Dean's dad got off the skunk of the back first with a decent brown caught by blind casting a dry fly. That was the only trout for the AM. Dean proceeded to connect with three smallmouth on wooly buggers. One smallie topped out at the 15" mark and was extremely fat. Water temp at 9AM was 62 degrees and at 1pm was 64 degrees. Great weather made the special day even better!

Lex is giving this one the once over!

June 20, 2004 - Lehigh River

On Saturday we had out Bob and Karl for an evening trip on the Lehigh. Both of these guys are well versed in casting technique so it was more a matter of a good presentation. The first hour or so was spent tossing buggers along the banks and in the deeper pools.

Right before our first rapid Bob hooked up with a beefy fish that we never saw. It went from one side of the boat, under the boat and out the other side. His 5wt was maxed out!! Then the hook pulled and that was all she wrote, except for the big fish stories that followed. Not long after Bob hooked-up again with a really nice brown in the 16-18" range that also pulled the hook.

Light cahill

At about 7:30 or so we ran into some rising fish. They seemed to be on Cahills, but there were also some olives on the water as well. With the stiff north wind casting west on the compass was tough for the righties. It didn't seem to matter though since Karl made a really nice cast and landed a colored-up rainbow.

From there it was a slow pic. The surface action seemed to wane and the winds began to howl! It turned into a really cool - almost summer-solstice eve.

June 19, 2004 - Lehigh River Blowout!

Lately we have been having some issues with the weather. It seems that whenever we have a Lehigh float, we get hammered the night before by one of the sultry downpours we have been having.Yesterday was no different…. so with the Lehigh running stained we headed over to the Pohopoco.

If you have never fished this textbook tailwater - then do yourself a favor and hit it up. There is certainly nothing better than a heavy 3-5pm-sulphur hatch and lots of rising fish to boot. Flows were perfect and the water was downright cold!! The action was reminiscent of the West Branch, but without all the baggage.

Mid-day there was some caddis action. We had success with your standard elk hair and a nitro dropper. But as soon as the sulphurs started the fish were on them big time! Either an emerger or a dun would do the trick. Go with a pattern that is very yellow or borderline orange - check out the pics to the right. Just imagine if FEW and the lower Lehigh were managed similarly to Beltzville Reservoir and the Pohopoco tailwater…. now is the time for change!!!!!

Pohopoco Sulphurs - 06.18.04

June 13, 2004 - Lehigh River
On Saturday Jake had out Ed - who is simply an awesome fly tier and a very accomplished fly angler! When it came to dry fly time we were covered due to his arsenal!! When all was said and done Ed finished just about at double digits. As the day went on the action definitely picked up, but during the daytime hours it was tough. We had a few bumps and a follow as we worked streamers.

There is currently a good amount of large olives - #14 - during the late afternoon/evening - followed-up with some cahills. A few large stones were also about. Highlight was an all-out micro-caddis (#22) hatch right at dark. THICK!!!!

Saw three other drift boats along the way…otherwise we had the river to ourselves. Just upstream from us it was chaos due to the whitewater release this weekend.

River temps were great - right around 65 for the entire day...this is water coming from a depth of only 30-40'! Think what it would be like at a depth of 150'!!

Ed with an avgerage size 'bow.

This one made the drag sing!

Tulpehocken Creek

Dan about to let one go.

Also on Saturday Dean had out father and son duo, Dan and son Colin. Both are relatively new to the sport and were looking to refine their skills. Much to Colin's dislike, dad dragged him out of bed to meet up at the Red Bridge Park by 8 am. We worked on some casting techniques and went over some literature before hitting the water.

At about 9 am the green body caddis (14-18) started hatching in fair numbers. The hatch was not as heavy as it has been the past few weeks, but it still brought up a fair amount of fish. Within the first 1/2 hour Colin was the first to hook-up, but the fish threw the hook after a 40 second battle. Then Dan hooked up and landed with a nice, spirited 12" 'bow. After a few more minutes Colin had a take from a brown that was likely in the 15" range. Still being a little groggy from the early morning wake-up-call, the hook-set was a bit late. Then around 10 am, the caddis shut down and fishing got really tough. We moved upstream to the "road-to-nowhere" bridge. Dan proceeded to miss a couple of fish on a dry/dropper rig. All the while Colin's energy level was beginning to fade rapidly and he had trouble pulling up a fish.

Weather was superb to say the least, just wish the bugs and fish cooperated a bit more. Hopefully the learning experience of having time on the Water will help them on future outings. Actually, the fishing was just a bonus for Colin's dad, the morning together made it a successful trip.

June 9, 2004 - Martha's Vineyard

As usual the Vineyard does not disappoint. We got into lots of fish, but they certainly lacked the size that we have seen in years past. Most fish were in and around the 18-22" range. All the usual spots produced out on Chappy - but it was just a matter of figuring out which tide was best. The wind was not the best over the time frame we were there, but we made the most of it. Biggest bass on the fly went 28" and most blues were in the 3-7 pound range. At night though we did stick some pigs, but were unable to move them outta the current.

Now on the other hand - the fishing out in the rips by boat has been SICK!!! Lots of squid around and they were marking many fish - all of them were big. Numerous fish in the 20#+ range…. so if you are heading on up that way, you should see some great fishing. Most of the up-island spots should be producing well. It is really a shame this trip goes by in such a blur!

As for PA - the Lehigh continues to have very good water temps, along with decent flows. The cool shot of air over the weekend really did wonders, and it looks like once we get by the heat on Wednesday, we should once again drop or at least hold the water temps steady. Actually, it is hard to believe that as of writing, the West Branch of the Delaware is 70 degrees at Hale Eddy, meanwhile the Lehigh is running in the low to mid-60s.. Lets hope the planned talks by TPTB (ACE, PFBC, DCNR) take place and a better fisheries management plan can be put into place. FYI - this weekend is a whitewater release.

Check here for FEW water release temps.

As the summer progresses look for us to start hitting the Susquehanna. Lets hope it not a repeat of last summer, where it was essentially a wash. Mid-July on into August can be a really great time on the 'hanna.

An average size bass.

Nighttime blue.

Great Black-backed Gull
(Larus marinus)

June 2, 2004 - Penns Creek!

Penns right now is blowing up with bugs!!! The drakes are over except in the extreme upper reaches, but the coffins are still around. On top of that we've been seeing caddis, cahills, isonychias, olives, stonflies, grey fox spinners and sulphurs. Look for the latter to be sizes 14-18 - dorthea, invaria and rotunda. The sulphur spinners are also out. Conditions are perfect right now and this past weekend saw lots of dry fly action. Penns may not be the easiest stream...you gotta put in your time!

Light cahill

The HUGE coffin fly

Sulphurs and an iso spinner

FYI...the reports are gonna take a hiatus until the middle of next week due to a Martha's Vineyard Trip.