Action Alert! Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Public Opinion Poll

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission just released a Public Opinion Poll to help them manage what the public wants.   The data they get back from it could be good for wild trout but with the amount of casual anglers in Pennsylvania that only follow the stocking truck I fear that may not be the case.  Currently the PFBC stocks trout over a lot of quality wild and native trout streams and that stocking does a lot of damage to the wild populations of those streams.

How bad is it you ask?  Well just a few short years ago a list of streams that were stocked to found to have Class A populations of wild trout.  That Class A designation is suppose to trigger the commission to remove those streams from the stocking list.  Well in the case of these streams (STREAMS DESIGNATED AS BOTH CLASS A WILD TROUT STREAMS AND STOCKED TROUT WATERS) they decided they need to still be stocked.  Yes I will give a pat on the back for giving the streams the class A designation and the extra protections that gives them with permitting and stream use.  The failure to to remove these streams from the stocking list was a failure to give the wild trout in them the protection they deserve!

But this is not Montana we don’t have that many wild trout?  Yes it is not  Montana in the sense PA does not have cold water that is feed by snow packs and PA is not mecca of trout fishing that Montana has become. But guess what Montana did not always have the quality of fishing it has today they were plagued by many of the stocking practices you see in PA that limited the caring capacity for wild trout in their streams by adding stocked trout to wild populations.  In the end Montana ending all stocking of trout and let nature take over.  In 1974 Montana stunned the angling world and quit stocking fish.  If you want to read more about it here is a good place to start.  Why Montana Went Wild

I am not saying that PA needs to stop stocking fish I enjoy fishing for stocked trout as much as the next guy.  They have there place and in many areas kids and new anglers would never have the chance to fish for trout.  What would work then?  Well one thing would simply be stop stocking over quality wild trout streams since PA uses and A,B,C, D rating I would suggest all high class C waters and higher should not be stocked over this would accomplish a few things.  One it would reduce the over all number of trout needed and save the PFBC money and help them solve there current budget issues.  Heck there is even a good chance it would free up extra fish still and allow them to be stocked in the streams closer to where people live and put more trout in streams they would be fished for.  What you get is more trout stocked in the season trout streams and lakes that receive the most pressure already.

Back to Streams with wild trout in PA. As you can see above on this map from the PFBC Online Trout Streams Map we have a good number of wild trout streams in PA.   Heck some of the best wild streams in PA became that due to pollution and that being the reason for no stocking.  Some Examples of this would be Spring Creek, Little Juniata River, Lakawanna River, and even the Clarion River.  These streams are now on the map as destination streams either for there large trout or large numbers of wild trout.  What do they all have in common well for the most part outside of some fingerling stockings in some of them they are largely were left to their own  devices and wild trout survived.  There are other streams like this out there that in all honestly the water quality improved that wild trout did there thing.  Imagine if we let wild trout do there thing without the competition of stocked trout in more streams!

Now I realize our wild trout streams can’t handle the pressure of having as many trout kept from them so they would also need better protection than they receive now.  Currently you can keep 5 trout over 7 inches from any stream that is stocked or wild a day.  Lets be honest most wild streams to really protect them for the future should be under catch and release only and this is especially for out native brook trout streams.  So why doesn’t the PFBC make a move to say stop the stocking of brook trout and make all brook trout catch and release only.  I know that would be a hard one to pull off but one can dream

 

The PFBC currently has there Sportsmen’s Forum Public Opinion Poll live on there homepage.  (PA Fish and Boat Commission Homepage) Head over the and we urge you to make the voice of wild and native trout heard.  If there is an increase in funding more of the funds need to go toward the protection of wild trout.   Look for the image below on their homepage to access the poll.

 

 

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TLbugs: Squirmie Worm 2.0 Fly Tying Tutorial

This one is not for the traditional fly angler but the Squirmie Worm 2.0 is a fish catching machine!

 

Yeah we know it has been awhile since we last posted a fly tying video we are hoping that changes as we have plans for more in the near future.   This fly is nothing new at this point but its a fly that flat out catches fish and is easy to tie.  The Squirmie Worm is this generations San Juan Worm on over drive!  This thing has one thing the San Juan Worm will never have lot and lots of action in the water and it makes a big difference with more fish taking this fly with confidence.  The fly tying guru David Hise is created with coming up with this fly and he sure did make a fish catcher.  We are calling this the 2.0 simply because we feel the TL Worm 2.0 material does hold up better and is stronger than some of the other companies out there that are selling this stuff.

With this fly we also sell a kit with all you need to get started tying up these bugs for spring.  Trust us when we say spring is really where this fly shines with high water and run off conditions trout feed heavily on worms.  With is well as this fly works we really don’t think they can tell the difference between it and real worms.  So head over to the TL store and pick up a Worm 2.0 kit today!

 

Get your kit here: Trout Legend Worm 2.0 Starters Kit

 

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Fish Head SuperPack – Super Deal!

These fly helmet style streamer heads have been all the rage the past few years.  Have you wanted to give them a try but just could not justify paying $6.50 for only eight heads?  Well  We have the deal for you!  With our Fish Head SuperPack! Two Sizes and two colors of the Sculpin Heads and our small size Fish Heads.  That is enough to tie 40 flies!  You get all that for the low price of $12!  Now that you read my made for TV style pitch lets put it this way.

The same amount of the other guys heads would but you pack $31.75.  You pay nearly 3 times more to get the same product with the other guys!  You save 75% that is a hard deal to pass up.  The sculpin flies with them are deadly!  So head over to the TL store and buy yourself some of the Fish Heads SuperPack now!

 

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Troutlegend UV Resin

I have been busy this winter tying.  With the recent cold weather and snow and ice to me there is no better way to spend the evening than at the fly thing bench filing boxes and sipping bourbon.  The bourbon side of this is for another post.  I have working on filling my saltwater boxes lately and with salt flies I have found I am using more UV Resin than I ever have before.   I have used mostly Loon resins with good success for years but when needing to resupply my standard thickness resin I decided to put the Troutlegend stuff to the test.

I must say I have been very pleased price is about the same as what I was used to paying until I realized I was actually getting 20  ml which is .60 ounces.  That is 20% more resin than the competition.  For those looking to give resin a try the kit is just the thing for you.  You get all you need to get started at a great discounted price for both.

The resin dries clear and hard in about 15 seconds.  I usually hit it with the light a bit longer just to be safe.  One tip if you notice your sure seems sticky or not hardening fast enough put new batteries in your light.  It is amazing how much this helps.  As you can see in the image at the top of the post the resin worked really well on the glass minnow’s heads.  It cured fast but was still thick enough to hold shape to form a good head on the streamers.  Here is one more picture to show what the resin can do.

This surf candy style streamer really put the resin to the test and it was up to the task.
TL Resin made quick work of the heads on these glass minnows.

It had no problem doing this bigger work with saltwater flies and it does work great with smaller jobs on euro nymphs with ease.  So if you are looking to buy some UV resin I suggest you give the Trout Legend brand a try.  Hurry over the store and get yourself a  Troutlegend UV Resin Kit. 

Currently you can get all TL UV Products for 20% off!!!!  That is by far the best deal around on UV Resin or a UV Resin Kit!

TroutLegend UV Resin Products 20% off!!

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Chasing Redfish!

It must have been back in mid October when my wife mentioned we had a chance to go to Hilton Head for vacation.  I am a self admitted trout snob in the fly fishing world and not much of a beach person at all.  I tend to hate heat and humidity and just really don’t do to well being out in it.  So basically my wife  who grew up in Mobile Alabama did her best to sell the idea too me with talk of fishing and staying right on the water near a small creek that last time they were there had lots of fish activity that she was not sure what it was but she did a decent sales pitch and I said fine but one day is dedicated to some time with a guide trying to catch Redfish.

I will admit my competitive preparation side took over pretty quick and by Thanksgiving I already had a respectable selection of flies tied for the trip.  By spring I had a guide trip booked with Mark Nutting of LoCo Fly  Charters I was official pumped to fish the salt for the first time.  I tried not to let this fact on too much to the wife since this was a family vacation.

I quickly figured out once I got to our condo that we were staying right on a pretty good fishing spot.  We had a small creek that feed into the sound that was just loaded with bait fish so I knew there had to be some fish in it.  I also quickly noticed the girls seemed interested in fishing so we headed to Walmart and got a cheap outfit and some bait to give it a go and for me it would let me know what was in there.   The first night the eldest and I caught a couple fish on shrimp and missed a bunch.  The next day our luck changed when at low tide we found a beat up old minnow trap that was washed up on shore.  This proved to be the difference maker!

Mark with a small redfish.
Bella with a flounder that really caught us by surprise!
A school of sea trout that entered the creek every day during incoming tide made for some fast action for an hour or so daily.

After we figured out the fishing behind the house some and I personally even got a low country slam (redfish, sea trout, and founder)  one morning.  I was ready for the guide trip.  I will admit it was fun and I learned a lot on the trip I only caught one lady fish but the views alone were worth the price of the trip.  I honestly did not realize how hard casting off the front of a flats boat is.  Being a bigger guy I never really felt all that steady up there and by the time I got my sea lags the tides had changed and the trip was over.   I missed a handful of redfish and that only served to get me wanting to catch one on the fly even more.

With only a couple day left and not much time with good tides and other family plans I knew my shots at them would be limited.  On Friday morning I woke up and headed out to see what was going on in the creek at low tide.  I was blown away when I noticed a half a dozen or so decent size redfish and ended up missing one that morning.  One looked to be in the high 20’s size wise so just getting them to check out my fly that morning was a rush.  After those misses and a few spooked fish I figured my chances were pretty slim to get a my redfish on the fly after that.

On Saturday morning the day we checked out I knew I had to get up early and give it one more shot with low tide when I could see the fish.   I took my rod out with a Kwan fly that I tied over the winter tied on and hoped to see more red’s in the creek.  Quickly I noticed one working the far bank 50′ feet down the creek.  It was a tough cast but I got close to it on the cast but noticed it was headed the opposite direction so it never noticed my fly.  After that I said ok might as well walk the short section of creek and see what else is in here now.  I did not get very fay maybe 10 feet when I spotted a pair of redfish cruising right toward me down the creek. I made a cast leading them by 7 feet or so and hoped for the best.  In an instant the lead redfish seemed to speed up and turned right toward my fly and inhaled it on the 3rd strip!  It was fish on!  Somehow during the fight I managed to call the wife on the cell phone so she could come out and help me land it.  That had to make for a comical scene to anyone watching I am sure.  The fish made a few good runs and tired out.  Once I had that fish in hand and the wife took a couple quick pictures I was on cloud 9 the rest of the day.  Sometimes the fish that you spent months thinking about and preparing for ends up being more magical than you imagined.  Other times you are disappointed.  In hind sight how I caught this fish could not have happened any other way.  It was fun to share the moment with family and it made the last day more memorial than just packing the car and heading home would have been alone. It was my last cast into the waters of South Carolina for this trip but it will not be my last cast for redfish.

First redfish on the fly was a great way to end a great vacation.
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Catching a Case Worth!

This past weekend was a good one.  I don’t get home to fish with my Dad as often as I would like to but when I do it is always a good time.  When I got there around 4:00 on Saturday afternoon my dad said we are going fishing on a stream we had not fished since I was in high-school.    It is not know as a great stream locally and over the years it has only been stocked once a year in mid May so we really did not expect to catch many but we knew the section we were going to fish also holds some natives so we figured we would catch something and see how the stream is doing now days.

We got there and the water looked pretty good and we split up some and fished.  To say the least it was slow other than the fast pace action on cubs and other minnows.  Right about the time I was about to head down stream to catch up with my dad and see how he was doing I noticed a good size fish moving up stream in the flat section right toward me.  I did a double take and it registered that is was a trout.  I wish I could say it was a tough one to catch or a heck of a fight.  Nope this trout was what I refer to as a suicide fish it moved 6 feet upstream to take my fly like it was its first meal on weeks!  I set the hook and fought it for maybe 30 seconds and then I had it in the night.  About this time my Dad was back in sight since I made some commotion hollering for him to come see this big fish.  Once he got they we noticed the tag in the fish.  We both were a bit puzzled at first but as we were taking a couple pictures I mentioned I bet it’s one of the trout Straub Brewery tagged.  We both figured well we better keep it and since its 7:15 we better head over the the brewery and find out!  Well long story short yep it was a Straub trout!  We have been fishing the streams in the area they put them in for 30 years I bet and never caught one.  My brother and I had seen a few caught by others and always talked about man I can’t believe we never caught one.  Mark this one of the list of life goals!  It is true free beer is always the best tasting and even more so when you earn is on the stream.  So cheers to Straub Brewery for putting these fish out there to make an fisherman’s day.

A cold Straub Lager makes a great end to any fishing trip.

 

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Fly Rod Chronicles Signature 9′ 5wt Fly Rod – Review

I have been fishing this rod for about 3 weeks now and I am getting a pretty good feel for the rod.  I was able to cast the 6wt versions of the rod before they were release and I already knew they were amazing casting rods.  Casting is important but in all honesty it is not the main reason I like this rod.

When it comes to a trout rod which is what I consider the 5wt for the most part I personally look for a rod that can get the job done in different situations.  So for this review I will break down each type of fishing I did with the rod and score it on a scale of one to 10.  I will also explain why I gave it that score.  I will give remarks for the overall quality of the blank and visual quality of the overall rod.

Overall Rod Quality and Craftsmanship: 9/10 –  The overall design and build of this rod is really  top notch.  I have a hard time ranking any rod in this category a 10 since there is always some subjective aspect that anyone can find wrong with a rod.  The build quality is on par with the big time rod makers in the US.  Honestly being made in the USA as this rod is give is some bonus points in this area.  I really like the attention to detail with the FRC logo etched into the reel seat and the logo is also on the blank.  The rod also comes with 3 stripper guides which is something you don’t see on many rods I am not sure if it helps improve the casting on the rod but I can say for sure it does not hurt the rod in that area.  The rod feels light in the hand and the grip fits better in my hand than most rods I have fished.

Aesthetics: 10/10 – Personally I love the look of this rod.  The blue color really pops and makes it unique that is for sure.  The rod case and bag being embroidered with a FRC logo is also a great extra touch.  That is something extra that you won’t find on a lot of rods out there.  Some that I have shown the rod to or let them cast it are not a fan of the blue rod color but others simply seem to love it.   This rod was surely built with pride and it shows in the finished product.

Fishing Performance:

Casting:  10/10 – If you need to cast 60 feet or more in the wind this rod will do it with ease.  It is described as extra fast and it really is a fast rod that many describe as a cannon.  I am pairing with Cortland 444 5wt DT fly line and it loads the rod well.  I do think I would get some more distance with a WF line but honestly I do not need it.  Earlier this week I was casting dry dropper rig to risers on a local pond and was hitting the spots and distances I wanted with much less effort than other rods I have used there.  50 to 60 feet with accuracy is easier with this rod for me.  Even those that are not as proficient casters say the rod feels easier to cast to them.  This rod would make a great western fly rod or is great for bigger water and longer cast.  Distance is what it may be designed for but this rod holds its own with close quarters in the 10 to 25 foot casting range where most fishing is done.  At this range I feel like I can put the fly exactly where I want it and the rod tracking is perfect here.  It really is a great roll casting rod to which is something I feel many of the other fast rods out there are not as good at.

Dry Fly Fishing:  10/10 – Dry applications is what this rod is made for if I had to pick what its best at.  It puts the fly where you want it with efficiency and that is what matters with dry fly fishing.  The quick loading of the rod also allows you to change direction and cast to different rising fish quickly and effortlessly.

Indicator Nymphing:  8/10 –  I Like a longer rod with most of my nymphing but this rod will get the job done well for most guys with no issues.  If this was a 10′ rod I would likely give it a 9 or 10 out of 10 here.

Streamer Fishing:  8/10 –  Again this is a product of a bit heavier rod just being a better tool for the job.  This rod will perform great with most streamer applications but the 6 and 7wt versions would be my pick for someone looking for a mostly streamer rod.

Tightline/Euro Nymphing:  7/10 –  Compared to other 9′ 5wt rods I have nymphed with this rod performed awesome.  It is sensitive enough to detect strikes well and did cast a long leader good enough to work.  I feel with the action of this fly rod the same blank in a 10’4wt or 10’3wt would be one heck of a nice euro rod.  It will get the job done here but it is not what this rod is built for.

Dry Dropper Fishing:  9/10  – Pretty much the same as the dry fly review with the fact that it is not a 10 foot rod making it impossible for me to give it a 10 here.  Overall it works awesome with dry dropper and its likely I personally with use it with this application most.

Fighting Fish:   10/10 –  I can hear it now from the comp guys yeah right a super-fast rod that is good at fighting fish and protecting light tippets?!!  This rod has a great flex to it when under pressure fighting fish of all sizes.  I was actually very surprised by this personally I it really makes me enjoy fishing this rod even more.  How this rod is able to handle fish so well and still be a cannon of a casting rod I do know know but really it is what puts this rod in a class all of its own here.   The main trout in the first picture fought like crazy on  7x tippet and this rod protected it and brought the fish to the net.

Overall (Average score): 9/10  Really you can’t get much better than this.  This rod is 100% in the class of quality and performance with any top rod makers out there right now I would love to do a side by side with the Sage X or Orvis Helios 2 rods just for fun and to be able to say for sure it belongs in that class of rods.  But I am pretty sure already it does belong on the same top shelf in any fly shop as those rods.

My wife also enjoys fishing this rod.

 

PS:  This rod has some serious big fish MOJO!

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Trout Legend Secret to Common Carp on The Fly : The TL J150 Hook!

We got a reat review of the Troutlegend J150 Jig hook from a long time customer;  Bradley Clodfelter. Braley has been a fan of the hook ever since we started selling it and recently he sent some pictures of some monster carp he brought to hand with the 150.  Well, we knew it was a great trout hook, but you just can’t beat this kind of stress test on the 150 wire.  Anglers are always looking for strong hooks that won’t “bend out”… look no further.

Bradley with a nice carp.
I bet this one was a heck of a fight!

He even sent us a picture of the fly that got the job done.

Awesome fish Bradley and thank you for sharing the pictures with us.

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Hatch Alert!: Brown Drakes

Well I will keep this short and sweet for all of you in Northwest and Western Pennsylvania the Drakes are out.  Locally the Brown Drake is out in full force on my local streams in numbers that are just as fun to see as they are to fish. So get out there maybe start your holiday weekend early and call off sick.  Sorry boss I won’t be into day my arm is in a cast!

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Wet Flies: The Overlooked and Under Utilized Approach

When I started getting into fly fishing I was introduced to two approaches that my Dad had know of and they were really simple dry fly fishing and wet fly fishing.  For years those really were the two schools of thought.  It is actually funny to think of the fact that at one point it was seen as unfair to fish upstream so the trout don’t see you coming and that wet flies were frowned upon much like some guys complain about the mop flies and worm flies of today. I was introduced to wet flies by one book that I later learned has become a bible of sorts to the wet fly fisherman especially the soft hackle crowd.  That Book “The Art of Tying the Wet Fly” and my Dad’s stories helped send me on the path of a fly angler.  The book was handed down to me by my father and it was giving to him by his Uncle Dick.  My great uncle passed away well before I was born but his reputation according to my dad was that he was a heck of a fly fisherman.  The stories of my great Uncle really got me excited to fish with hopes of one day being able to fly fish like he did in the stories.  Well as a result that book handed to me became important even if I did not read through the old worn out book until years later I did use the pattern section from time to time as a kid.  Still today if I want to catch fish and feel like a kid again I stick to swinging wet flies.    I still remember the words my Dad echoed about the book  that his uncle told him “Kid you will catch a lot more fish on wet flies than you will on dries!”.

James Leisenring’s “The Art of Tying the Wet Fly”

Traditionally wet fly fishing is considered just casting a brace of 3 flies and let them swing down and across and yes that is likely one of the most common ways of fishing them but really they can be fished many ways.  Here are a few.

  1. Standard wet fly swing down and across:  This works great in moderate depth and speed riffles.  It also has an advantage of allowing you to cover a lot of water quickly and thoroughly.
  2. Up stream:  Also usually has a brace of 3 flies and you fish them up stream in front of you.  Lead the flies much like you would in tight line nymphing but allow for some sag in the line and if that sag tightens or changes in any way set the hook!
  3. Dead Drift:  Much like you would do with dry flies but you need to pay more attention to the area around your flies and watch you line for a take.  I feel this technique is the hardest to pull of but it has proved to be deadly at times and I have caught many of many quality size brown trout this way.
  4. Wets as a Dry.  Put your favorite dry fly floatant on and fish them to rising fish.  It gives a great representation of a struggling or still born insect and when trout are really tough on your standard dries it can really be a great option to fool them.
  5. Dry Dropper: Fish them this way just like you would with a nymph trailed behind a dry.  I really like this tactic when lots of caddis are hatching.  It will work during any hatch really and its a great way to pick up some extra fish.  This is very similar to the dead drift method and I started using it personally when I was struggling to detect takes on the dead drift across stream.

Get out there and give it a try!

This little brown crushed a wet fly on the swing.
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