September 2007 Report

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September 24, 2007 - Salt Report

The salt still remains kind of slow for our primary predator fish - bluefish and bass...but if you are looking for trash-fish, then IBSP was the place to be over the weekend. For a stretch it was close to a sea robin per cast kind-of-day. They must been staging for a migration or something because they were thick! With the gin clear water, you could actually see them follow your fly to the rocks, and lunge for it - most likely following it all the way in. At other times, it was a few strips and you were tight. Yeah, they are considered trash but when nothing else is happening, you can not complain about the hit and bend in the rod. In fact they were quite aggressive with numerous casts having multiple swings and missed on the retrieve.

One of the many sea robins that fell for a white deceiver at the the end of a 350 grain line.

Meanwhile back here in PA...we need rain! Everything is low - and sickly looking. Looking into the crystal ball, the extended forcast does not hold much in the way of a good soaker. Time will tell.

September 17, 2007 - Salt!

Talk about bait. Mullet galore!! Except for very little predators on them - cocktail blues were the only game in town, with just a few nipping at the heels of the mullet. It has been many years since such large ocean-bound rafts of mullet have been seen. Does this bode-well for the fall?? Time will tell.

September 15, 2007 - Walter Drawdown

So long summer pool. The Corps has begun their draw down of Walter to its 'winter pool level' of 1,300' above sea level. Sometime in mid-October the process should be complete. Along the way we will continue to see whitewater releases...prolly to the tune of 1,000cfs each day of the every-other-weekend event. In fact there is whitewater this weekend -- Sept 15-16.

The chart to the right shows the draw down of Francis E Walter Reservoir. Look for a sharper and larger drop in the level after this weekend due to a whitewater event. Also remember that volume of water per foot decreases as the lake gets lower. At 1,310' one foot of water is approx .04 billion gallons. At 1,365' one foot of water is approx .18 billion gallons.

This chart is taken from the USGS site.

The Salt...word is the salt-front is on an up-tick. The first bait migrations of the year have begun with lots of mullet and spearing being seen beachfront. Now is the time to roll-the-dice for some seriously sick action. There is nothing like a saltwater feeding frenzy. Shoot us an e to find out more! We hope to hit it in the near future.

September 10, 2007 - Lehigh Gorge Wade

Over the weekend FFPA tried to do a bit of Lehigh River sampling, where it flows through the Lehigh River Gorge. Unfortunately the water was on the warm side - lower-70s at mid-afternoon - and the weather did not cooperate much at all. An intense tropical-like rainstorm moved in at about 5pm and sent us hustling back to the vehicle. We even witnessed a bit of hail. Despite the cut-short outing we were able to fish some really impressive trout water. Structure-wise the Lehigh Gorge is trout paradise. The fish did not disappoint either. We managed to pull one trout, which was brought to hand quickly. A bunch of smallmouth were also hooked and landed. By far the bug of choice in this stretch is the stonefly. The shucks are everywhere! All the smallies took a brown bugger.

Treacherous wading.

Roadless area upstream of Rockport.

Wild brown ate a wired stone.

September 6, 2007 - Respect Wild Trout

Just because we are in September, and the nights are bit longer and the low-temps are somewhat sleep-friendly, it does not mean that our trout waters are not at stressful levels. For instance streams like Penns and Valley are critically low-levels, and are probably at lethal levels for hooked-and-played-and-released trout. Just take a look at what has recently been done out in the Rocky Mountain States and all the closures that have occurred due to the bone-dry conditions and intense heat. The water temps out there easily reached levels comparable to what we are still experiencing here in PA. Now our PFBC won't close our waters, due to their belief that closing waters brings more un-needed publicity to them, but a little respect by us fisherman can insure most fish make it through these tough times. We politely urge you leave these waters alone until we get some consistently cooler weather and/or a decent shot of water-cooling precipitation. So stay away, and hit Spring or Big Fishing if you are in central-PA or one of the eastern PA tailwaters if you need to fish the eastern part of the state.

Big that is a stream that is always cold! A recent biz trip to the Carlisle area allowed just enough time to check out this legendary limestoner. Big Spring is still in recovery-mode after years of blatant abuse from our PFBC, but Mother Nature is one resilient character - - so in due time, and some TLC, Big Spring may one day return to the glory years. Probably the biggest issue with the stream right now is the lack of cover. There are extremely long stretches of barren featureless water...dead water. Trout need cover/habitat...this is the lifeblood of a stream...and Big Spring needs it. Maybe the PFBC and their new Habitat Department has some ideas up their sleeve on how to improve a water they played such a critical role in impacting.

As for the fish, they preferred a cdc caddis. A dropper may have also worked, but with so much success with the dry - why bother. It was pretty cool to watch the bows slowly rise off the bottom and suck in your fly. Talk about lots of fish....but not too much size. However, even though the big boys did not come out to play - you better believe they are in there. Big Spring is a neat fishery, worth checking out.

September 5, 2007 - West Branch D Report

You would think that with the higher water, the big subsurface stuff would have produced...but no, that was not the case. Actually, it very well might have been too much of a good thing - with a release this past holiday-weekend being the highest it has been all summer long. This in turn caused a rather significant drop in the water temps all the way down through the upper mainstem trouty water. Clarity was not that great either (west branch especially)...which you would think might help streamer fishing. Nope. Well, something put the fish off - as the positive reports were non existant. What was great though - was the weather. Cloudless skies, some wind Saturday, otherwise very little, and downright cool temps at night. Perfect! Probably too perfect!

On to the fishing...which it was on this trip....

The chart above shows the West Branch at Hale Eddy. Notice the flows - highest release this summer. This put the water up into the weeds,
adding some debris to already stained water.

For the most part the bug action was light and the feeding was less. There were some caddis on the West during the day along with some Stenos, sulphurs, olives and Isos. With the high water - rising fish was not happening. The Main had even less bugs...with just a few Isos. Iso drys, got a few look-sees, while subsurface flies fished as droppers - fished 20-30" off the back end of the dry - faired best on both rivers. Best bet - nitros, LaFontaine Deep Sparkle Pupas/Emergers, and flashback pheasant-tail nymphs.

The streamers that did get some attention were your standard white buggers, zonkers, deceivers, and marabou clousers. A sink tip line aided in getting the fly down in the water column. But despite a lot of focused stripping, swinging and dead-drifting, the streamer tactic just did not cut it.

Best advice going forward is to fish the best of the best-looking water, and pound it - the fish should be there. However, consistent is not the way to describe the D these days - so you are gonna have to work for your fish. This is challenging, but rewarding fishing. Oh yeah, water temps were in the 40s-50s-and low-60s throughout the system - down to say Lordville.

We hope to hit the Lehigh this coming weekend. Report to come. And be sure to check out our SALT TRIP. This is an annual client favorite. Be sure to inquire if you are interested.

This one taped at 19". Ate a LaFontaine Pupa.

Letting go a mainstem bow - it smacked a nitro dropper off an Iso dry.