It’s not you, it’s me!

It’s not that we don’t love talking about fishing it’s just that sitting down in front of the computer is hard when we could actually be fishing or tying flies or casting in the yard with the kids.

Now at this point I don’t even know where to begin to get you caught up. I do know that “Downtown Abby” has started again (or someone is getting caught up…I really don’t know) so I’ll be sure to get more updates in here this summer at night.

I had the pleasure of spending the 4th with my better-half’s family up in Erie, PA this past week. I’ve been fortunate enough to make a lot of friends doing this guiding thing and some of my pals up north are the most hospitable of all. My pals Mark and Steve broke me out of the house one night and we hit Presque Isle for an evening. This is one of the coolest parks I’ve ever been to…for Jersey people, think Island Beach State park but with better rock piles and fresh water. Bring a bicycle and canoe or surf board if you have one. Well, any time I get together with friends up there I just never know what to expect. I’ve managed to get my travel game tightened up to one plastic tub and a big rod case now that I’m married with kids. Fishing and family travel don’t generally mix but fishing is a religion in our house so we pack it everywhere. I seem to be able to pack the essentials into a tub – a dozen fly boxes, waders, an old rain jacket, cigars, fireworks – even a dry pair of boxers just in case. There I was standing in a bay on the peninsula with Steve and Mark and a group of guys from the Gem City Fly Tiers (check them out some time) and we were dragging up weeds by the pound. As the crew started to dwindle in number (each fishermen being replaced by a thousand additional mosquitoes) I noticed the weed line dropped out of sight at one point. The three of us made our way to what turned out to be a busy boat channel.

Each boat that passed us by was filled with bewildered pleasure-boat aficionados all questioning each other about what these 3 middle aged guys were doing out there hooting and hollering and waving around these fairy-sticks. It turns out there was magic in the blue outboard smoke wafting from the rear of each rum runner that bubbled past us and, as the wake would roll into the weeds in front of us, the bait fish would scatter and a couple schools of white bass would blow up on the surface. The best part was, if one of us could hook into a fish and hold it tight long enough another could cast a fly right in there and the school, following its companion, would turn its attention to the fresh fly. It was quite a sight to see for sure. A good night of fishing should involve a lot of laughing and there was no shortage of that – I only hope the folks on the other shore couldn’t hear the jokes.

I already miss my pals and can’t wait to see everyone again in the fall.

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So what’s going on back here at home? Well, to recharge after all that fishing, I needed to go fishing. I’ve spent a lot of time this summer NOT packing a camera and just fishing. Remember when it was just fishing? …me too! Turns out, it’s about the fishing.

I spent Tuesday afternoon with Gene from Backwater Angler up on the Big Gunpowder Falls stalking fish in the lower flows. I love it when the southern heat-machine fires up and wet wading in the 55 degree water finally seems sane. This was just what the doctor ordered as we found ourselves sight fishing midge larvae to some clear water tippet inspectors. I hadn’t had that much fun in a week – thanks for the company Gene! It was a great time but I had to go right about the time the sulfurs finally started coming off. I definitely had dreams about the spinner fall that I surely missed that night.

We’re focusing mainly on trout this summer with all the extra water this year it’s the logical place to be. If you’re looking to get out on the weekend, we’re booking about 4 to 5 weeks out at this point. Shoot in an email or call to get on the calendar and plan to stay till dark. We’ll bring coffee for your ride home!

As we dig into July it’s got me thinking how hot it’s been all June. While there was a lot of sweat I was fortunate enough to see a lot of fish go into the net (and back in the water). With temps in the mid 90’s I joked today that “it’s been hotter!” Maybe we’re all just adjusting but it could be the 50 to 52 degree water.

In any case, there are lots of happy fish in that cold, oxygen rich, water. I spent one afternoon with two great anglers from our pals at Backwater angler. One of them landed this beautiful rainbow. I’m not going to lie, I haven’t hooked a rainbow all summer so I was excited but a little jealous.

A nice healthy wild rainbow

A nice healthy wild rainbow

If you’re headed out, don’t forget those midges and the fluorocarbon tippet. If you need a little more help, don’t hesitate to shoot us an e-mail. We’re happy to help and we’d love to take you and your fishing partners out on the water for the day. It’s the perfect time of year for some fishing and a streamside lunch to help you forget about that long winter we had.

Keep your tip on the water,

Micah and the Knee Deep Fly Fishing Team

Why Wets?

 A refill for my box and enough to get me through a few days of guiding.

A refill for my box and enough to get me through a few days of guiding.

Fly selection is a funny thing. I love to share tips and swap flies in the parking lot with my pals. Sometimes, it’s the most basic flies that catch fish. I can remember fishing the Claremont Stretch with my friend John when I was a teenager and him insisting that wet flies were the ticket. Now as I spend my time on the Gunpowder, I find myself swinging wet flies more and more.

Part of why I chose wets is past performance and the other is faith in a particular pattern or two. When a method produces fish, anglers are a hard lot to change. If it worked last time in these conditions, why not this time. I often find myself starting the day with a dry-dropper combo but later swinging wets. If it keeps working, I’ll never change!

My faith in a few simple flies contributes to my style of fishing as well. I tie a few simple soft hackle and caddis patterns that I believe in. My “Fast Caddis” is a winner when swung in tandem and the simple orange or yellow bodied fly with a light colored hackle is a go-to for the sulfur hatch. I believe that having faith in the fly on the end of your line enables you to catch more fish. If you believe in that fly, you’ll work harder to present it to the fish, making sure it drifts or swings perfectly though the strike zone, and taking your time while wading and not getting distracted by “walking” during the swing or by a good cigar that’s threatening to shorten your mustache. If you think the fly will catch fish, and you give it an earnest attempt, you’ll hook up more.

Assembling a box full of tried-and-true flies that you believe in can ensure that you catch fish. Spending the day with a guide who knows the water is a great way to see what secrets are in his box. I bet you’ll be surprised at what you find in there!

Tight lines,

Micah

PS

The fishing is hot!

 

A First Trout & A Fishing Report

 

There’s nothing like that first trout on a fly!

I had the pleasure of guiding two wonderful young ladies last week and introducing them to fly fishing for the first time. It was a great day on the water and the perfect picnic weather. I had to post a few pictures and say “Thank You” to the Sitar Art’s Center for connecting us. For those of you who don’t know about “sitar”, it’s a wonderful organization that’s putting art and music in the hands of DC’s kids. I can’t think of a tool that’s more powerful than creativity to help propel them into the future. Check them out and think about getting involved. It’s a remarkable place filled with some great folks.

 

Not a bad day for a steamside lunch!

With Spring dragging its feet and the air temps making wild swings, the Hendricksons have been slow to show themselves and hot/cold depending on the day. Fortunately there are still a few stoneflies buzzing around the Big Gunpowder Falls to keep anglers out of trouble. Grey comparaduns (think #12 & 14) have been working on rising fish feeding on emerges. A pocket full of midges can save an evening. Last night was no exception to that rule. Finally, there have been a few sulfurs popping out of the water here and there.  Get you snow-shoe patterns and your Frog’s Fanny ready!

Not sure about where to start on The Big Gunpowder? Give Knee Deep Fly Fishing a call (or e-mail) and we’ll help outfit you and get you started right.

We’ll see you on the water!

Micah

It rained, it snowed, we fished

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

…on new flies

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

Scenes From the Banks

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

Fall is The New Spring!

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

Cold Water and Happy Fish

While the hot weather eases-up occasionally, it never seems to go away this July. Knee Deep Fly Fishing is here to help you cool off. Right now is the perfect time to ditch the waders and sport those wading-boots with a pair of neoprene booties and get cool in a tail-water like The Big Gunpowder.  While your fishing friends may be driving north to New England the water is running in the 50’s here in Maryland.

Staying cool and getting her hands wet!

Outings in the last few weeks have required a lot of patience later in the day (see article about tubing here) but a great assortment of trout-feed has the fish looking up. Caddis, Tricos, beetles and grasshoppers have all fooled trout while anglers kept cool. Big terrestrials fished with a “Fast Caddis” for a dropper have been a winning combo in the riffles. We’ve seen lots of anglers catch their first fly-rod trout in the last few weeks and had quite a few laughs at the tubers floating by. While a few days topped out around 100 degrees, time on the water has been time well spent. 

Give Knee Deep Fly Fishing, LLC a call and we can help you find the fish and escape the heat of the city!

Proof that trout make people smile!

March Comes In Like A Stonefly

Wrapping up the weekend here at Knee Deep Headquarters, I’m reflecting on a busy few weeks. The Fly Fishing Show in Lancaster, PA was a great time and a god chance to catch up with old friends and make a lot of new ones. Putting faces with lots of names and shaking hands with folks you’ve only traded emails with makes the world a little smaller. As a newbie on the show circuit I was impressed with my fellow fly tiers who really made me feel welcome and supported. I couldn’t have done the show without my go-to instructor, and brother, Mark. One of these days he’ll give up on the 9 to 5 life and fish full time, I know it.

After that, I had a few days to recover and unpack, then I tagged along with my wife to London. While she was working hard, I made sure to eat everything in sight and stop in a lot of pubs along the way while touring the city. I didn’t get out of the city to explore fishing options but I sure feel like I can check off the major sights. I kept the staff of the hotel laughing as I asked for directions every morning. While I can appreciate a nice hotel, the concierge “dudes” were joking with me that I was like Crocodile Dundee. Big Ben, the Tower of London, the Prime Meridian…I saw it all. It was more tiring than a day on the water.

Sometimes Micah gets to fish!

Speaking of the water, I was out on Friday and things are warming up. The air temps are starting to turn around and the water temps can’t be far behind. The wind was cranking and, at a few points, casting had to be paused while the gusts made their way down the river. I was lucky enough to have a friend along who actually snapped a rare picture of me with a fish. I love showing people around my local haunts and Friday was full of good joking around and relaxing. We had a few minutes when the sun burned through the clouds and the wind paused long enough for the stoneflies to take off from the grass and make a large cloud over the river before being blow away again. If you’re headed out in the next week pack heavy streamers and stick them close to the banks. 4x fluorocarbon and a loop knot will get you deep and help you pull the fish out of the undercut banks that the winter’s high flows have carved out.

The April schedule is filling up fast. If you’ve been putting off booking an outing for spring,don’t wait. Time is flying by. If this week’s weather forecast is true we should see Spring really showing it’s colors around the Gunpowder. Give us a call or e-mail and we’ll help you use up those fresh 2012 sick days!