This morning I thought I’d be over dressed for fishing. I started my day south of the Big Gunpowder in 50+ weather and ended at 34 degrees with rain and snow flakes. I know we just have to hang in there for a couple more weeks and we’ll be fishing in t-shirts. – Micah
For anglers, this is the time of the winter when cabin fever starts to take hold. Maybe it’s when we’re in the car in the mornings and we notice we now need sunglasses again rather than headlights. For the hardcore trout bums, perhaps they notice the dog is waiting for them to get up and get moving. Whatever it is, we know spring is coming. We just have to hold on!
If you didn’t make it to Somerset, NJ for The Fly Fishing Show, you’ve got another chance to get your fix. The crew is on their way to Lancaster, PA for the weekend of March 2nd/3rd. I’ll be there tying and telling even bigger fish stories (it’s been a long winter) and hope to see some of you there.
The next weekend, March 9th, is Lefty Kreh’s “Tie Fest” closer to home in Grasonville, MD with the gang from CCA Maryland. This one is going to be pretty cool. It’s the region’s best tiers and guides getting together to share what’s coming out the jaws of their vises. There’s even a bar so you can buy them a beer and try to get them to let go of a few secrets. I’ll be tying there too so be sure and stop in for an hour or two just to say hello.
Looking forward to these two events should help to ease the pain of winter. Last year the stoneflies were climbing out of the water by the second week of March so there’s an end in sight!
I tried hard to show off that fly but the fish were a little too hungry!
Armed with a new fly pattern, I set out to get a picture of it hanging from the corner of a fish’s mouth. I was sure it would work but who really knows when it comes to new flies. There were plenty of fish willing to hook themselves but nearly every one was hooked in a manner that wouldn’t allow for a photo of the fly. One large fish even broke off, stealing the fly I was trying to get shots of. It was laughable. How could I be angry that the fish were taking my fly? Years ago someone told me “you can fish, or take pictures, but it’s hard to do both.” That same person told me the old photographer’s joke “…if you want to take better pictures, get better looking friends.”
Of course, there were only 4 flies tied and that’s never enough if it’s the one that’s working. With 2 in the trees or on the bottom, and 1 in a fish, the rest of the afternoon was spent casting with less boldness. You can bet a dozen or two will get turned out at the vise this week. As for the photos, I may just have to settle for a picture of it in the vise.
Let’s go fishing!
Micah & The Knee Deep Team
The banks of the Big Gunpowder look a little different after the high water.
After Hurricane Sandy and the nearly 3,000cfs spike in flows, the banks of the Big gunpowder look a little different. While the high water changes the look of a river and can be hard on its aquatic life, these too-frequent epic-high-water events are a good chance to study the life of the river. Those of us who spend a lot of time on the water are familiar with its banks and the contours of its runs. There’s nothing like walking and wading your favorite stretches and discovering new runs and log-jams if you’ve been bitten hard by the fishing bug.
Some insect sampling revealed lots of caddis and mayflies holding tight to the rocks and a few midges. One thing we discovered is a lot of olive mayflies. We’ve always fished dark brown and olive Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ears and treating yourself to an olive hare’s mask would be $5 well spent if you tie your own. The midges that were netted were more cream and green than any of the red or black varieties. Super tiny and active in a sampling bin, they were hard to photograph. We shot a few through some stacked lenses and will think skinnier and longer in the future. A size 16 curved hook with tan thread will be in the box this winter.
We netted a few midges and quite a few snails!
Headed out this week? Think deep and set the hook every time your strike indicator stalls even for a moment.
Keep your boots clean,
The Knee Deep Team
With Hurricane Sandy on the way, if you can skip work and hit the water Friday and Saturday, you won’t regret it. The forecast is for 40mph winds and heavy rain. The fall foliage will soon be gone but this will speed things up.
Stoneflies and caddis larve in the riffles will produce and streamers on the seams and near downfalls are a good bet. When your indicator rig tangles, it’s worth tying on a streamer and making a few swings before you re-tie your rig. The fish below fell for a big tan steamer after countless drifts with nymphs couldn’t lure him out from his log.
Get your feet in the water this weekend!
The Knee Deep Team
Low sun but great fall colors await before Sandy hits!
This fish took a big streamer after rejecting a number of nymphs.
The girls ALWAYS out-fish the guys.
Don’t miss out on Fall’s changing colors! The leaves are changing and they won’t last long after this dry summer we’ve had. Take advantage of the low temps and crisp fall air by spending some time on the water. Knee Deep Fly Fishing is here to help get you out and catching fish.
In the last week we’ve seen water flows level out on the Big Gunpowder Falls and the fishing had picked up. We’re lucky to have shared the water with some great folks and had some fun streamside picnics. Last weekend Micah spent the day fishing with Adam Franceschini, head guide from Housatonic River Outfitters, Inc., and his girlfriend Jennifer – a first rate angler herself – through Backwater Angler. The weather was picture perfect and we shared a lot of laughs all while proving that the girls always out-fish the guys. The proof is in the photo above. It was a treat to watch Adam cast to some fish feeding on midges late in the day and, as surface action is always sweet, it was a great way to end the day. Big Thanks to Theaux and his team at Backwater.
It took everything from caddis, tiny hare’s ear and pheasant-tail nymphs, to tiny midges on the surface but we pulled up a bunch of fish. We saw a lot of young fish offering plenty of encouragement for seasons to come. If you’re headed out this week, watch those river gauges and the weather forecast. If they call for high winds, leaves could make it tough but Fall is the time to get your line wet. If you’re just starting out, Kne Deep Fly Fishing is ready to show you how to un-complicate fly fishing. Give us a call and get on the calendar this fall.
Don’t forget to check out the flows before you hit the water this weekend. Conditions should be great for chucking big streamers.
We hope we see you on the water!
The Knee Deep Team
Fall is here and it feels great. Cooler temps make for some more comfortable fishing and, while temps haven’t caused the leaves to turn yet, the insects are changing. The caddis are out but you’ll see larger October caddis and a range of others (carry a few sizes) and tricos in the mornings. Don’t be afraid to fish your caddis “wet” and don’t overlook the edges of the stream. Fall storms bringing much needed rain are giving Gunpowder anglers fluctuating flows and an opportunity to throw streamers when the water is high. Be sure and check the guages before you hit the road. We didn’t see any tubers last week in the C&R sections and most of the crowds are back in school or working now that Labor Day has passed.
Last week’s fishing provided a mixed bag of insects and lower water made presentation more important than ever. The weather was nice but, as is often the case, good company makes the day. While I had a chance to take a friend fishing last week, we ran into a fly fishing legend. You’ll have to LIKE Knee Deep Fly Fishing on Facebook to see who. I’ll say he’s one of the greatest ambassadors for fly fishing and an all-around great guy.
We’ll see you on the water!
The Knee Deep Team
Soaking up early Fall
Got ants in your pants? Maybe you hadn’t noticed but ants are everywhere this time of year. Sure, beetles and hoppers are cool and get lots of attention but ants are small and, when you find them, you find lots of them.
Last week I found myself and a guest fishing on the Big Gunpowder Falls hunting fish in the shade of overhanging trees. We had one of those “Cast it in there like this” moments and as the fly hit the water it was crashed by a nice brown trout that was watching for food in the trees.
As necessity breeds creation, I’ve come up with a fast and durable foam ant pattern that I can tie lots of in a short time. You can get a PDF with step by step tying instructions HERE. I recommend tying a good number of them so the trees can have a few without it ruining your day.
Put some ants in your pocket!
A welcome, rainy, break from the heat
The weather is cooling down a bit and there was even some fishing in the rain last week. It felt strange to put on waders, rather than wet wade, and even put on a wading jacket. I’d almost forgotten what it was like to have my polarized glasses covered in drops of rain. After weeks of dry weather and record high temperatures, it was a welcome change.
The day was an exercise in applying technology to fly fishing long before we hit the stream. I found myself loading gear into a hotel room the previous evening around 9:30pm in a heavy rain shower. Of course, by the time I’d finished unloading everything, the rain had reduced itself to a light mist. Not enough rain to raise the Gunpowder any noticeable amount. I gobbled down some salty fast food while anxiously starting up my laptop and logging into the weather radar for the region. Lines of storms seemed to be passing us over with only one large clump of Doppler-green hours away. A quick check of the river gauges confirmed the rain had made no change in the flows. With rain forecasted for the over-night hours, the morning’s fishing was at risk of becoming a long casting class and a trip to the pub.
Thunder woke me up at some point in the early morning hours. I laid in my hotel bed listening to the heavy rain blow against the windows and waited for thunder to follow up faint flashes of lightning. A look at the clock confirmed that it was still an hour when I should have been logging some sleep. Fading in and out of consciousness for another few hours, I found out the hard way that the previous occupant had set the alarm clock for 6:00am.
I stumbled into the oddly large kitchen and made a tiny pot of no-name coffee. With the news on TV and my laptop going, the time it took for the USGS river gauge pages to load seemed to take forever. With my first sips of some of the worst coffee I’d ever had, my nerves were slightly calmed by the tiny blue graphs confirming little had changed in the river’s flows overnight. A look at the weather radar showed that the rain would pass over mid-morning and it looked like we’d stay fairly dry after that. There was no lightning in the forecast and the day was a go.
Waiting in a parking lot for my day’s fishing companions, the clouds gave it everything they had, and I still felt a little nervous about the day. While we geared up in the parking lot next to the river, getting waders on and sealing up in jackets was the first order of business. I kept reminding myself of the clear, rain-free, window of weather I’d seen on-line before leaving the hotel. Everyone was smiling as we headed out for a quick casting lesson and the amount of attention I was devoting to the rain seemed to dwindle. An hour into the day, the sun began to fight its way through the clouds and I thought about how far we’ve come in predicting weather. The ability to check river gauges, water temps, and weather radar on-the-go has changed the way we live and fish. I can’t wait to see where we go from here.