We have reports of good numbers of fish in both the PA and DE side of the Clay. With warmer weather coming this week everyone should get out and fish. Midge larva imitations like black and red zebra midge should be the go to patterns. Fish them deep under an indicator. As always please feel free to message us, call or come into the shop for more details. Remember there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. Get out and fish!
Pennsylvania trout season opens Saturday 4/16/16. Come get ready with us at A Marblehead Flyfisher. We have all the gear to set you up right on any budget. Did you know we offer free gear check ups? Stop in with your equipment. We are happy to tell you what is ready for the water and what might need replacing. Don't know where to do or what flies to use. We can help there too. give as a call or swing by the shop. 302-654-6515
With all of the prep for our "Customer Appreciation Weekend" I must apologize that I missed last weeks report. With both the Pennsylvania and Delaware Trout openers behind us all of our local Trout rivers are fishing well. The White Clay in DE. and PA, the East Branch of the Brandywine and the West Branch of the Octoraro all are receiving weekly or Bi-weekly stockings. Fresh stockers are suckers for attractor patterns. Green Weenies, San Juan worms in pink or maroon and bright colored Buggers should all bring fish to hand. If you prefer to stick to the "hatch" side of things Midges still seem to be the preferred choice. The Red Zebra Midge, especially on the White Clay, seems to be the ticket. I personally fished the White Clay two times this past weekend and can report good numbers of fish throughout the entire river.
Saturday I met my buddy Mark at the meeting house at 6:00 am. I figured I could get a few hours of "stockie chasing" before I had to go open the shop. Mark is not a fly fisherman (I know, I know, I am working on him also) so we decided to fish the main stem above the Delaware line. He was throwing his favorite Rooster Tail and I tied up a triple Nymph rig and drifted my three offerings under an indicator. The top fly was a #18 Red Zebra, the middle fly was a #14 Pheasant Tail I have been working on with a bright orange thorax, and the bottom fly was a #20 Olive Al's Rat. I guess I got lucky because of the first 4 fish I landed all three flies had been eaten. Mark and I had a great morning with several fish landed between the two of us.
As we were walking out we met up with my buddy "One Boot Ed." Ed was swinging his new favorite fly, the Clouser Swimming Nymph and picked up a few fish above the London Tract Bridge.
Sunday evening I was back on the White Clay, this time on the Middle branch. I fished the same rig all evening and had similar results. Several fish landed on all three flies on the rig. I also got a chance to fish my new Waterworks / Lamson Black Guru. This is the second time they have done a limited run of black in this reel and we have them in stock now. Stop by and check them out, you will be glad you did!
That black is just plain sexy!
Four hours and several fish landed including these two brutes. Believe it or not both of these fish took the smallest fly on the rig, the #20 Olive Al's Rat.
Ok, ok now the report everybody has been waiting for. Things at Deer Creek seem to be picking up. A few good reports from last weekend were followed by the shutdown caused by Wednesday's rain and several cold nights in a row. I had planned on giving it a try one day this weekend, but started to re think my plan. All the reports we received on Friday and Saturday morning were not favorable. With the Brandywine running well over 800 CFS and Deer Creek shutdown I was planing a Trout day on Sunday. Around 3:00 in the afternoon on Saturday we started receiving reports that Deer Creek was "on" again. Just about that time "One Boot Ed" sent me a text asking if I had heard anything about the Shad in Deer Creek. I told him we have gotten several good reports in the last 2 hours. I think he was out the door before he responded "on my way". Ed said the action was steady and the fish were eating flies and fighting hard. That sealed the deal, I was heading to Conowingo early Sunday morning and Ed and I were gonna lay the smack down on some Shad!
Well, I was not ready for that, but the anticipation of hard fighting fish had me up and getting ready well before the sun came up. On my way down I got a call from Ed...
On your Way?
Just passed Nottingham
Ok, I am about 3 minutes ahead of you
Cool, see you in the parking lot.
I actually stopped on the side of the road and snapped this picture. I love these colors when the sun comes up in the morning.
We rigged up and headed to our spot. I guess because it was Easter morning many people did not come out. The river was not crowded at all. The water was 52 degrees and the fish were full on into their spawning ritual. I started with my favorite Shad fly, one of my micro Clouser Minnows in black and chartreuse. I am surprised to say I received no love with my old standby. I switched to my second favorite color, pink, and was into fish on the first cast. We fished for about 3 hours and had a medium pick of fish until the sun got high above then they shut down. It was not every cast, buy there was no time to get bored either.
With the warming weather these next two weeks are full of opportunities. Get out and fish!
As we prepare for our "Customer Appreciation" weekend I was in the shop on Saturday having a discussion with one of the "regulars" about the open house. Specifically, we were talking about the articulated flies and which patterns I would be tying. At some point during the conversation I said something to the effect that you can basically articulated almost any fly. A little later one of our good friends, Craig came in with his son Matty. I got to thinking about my earlier statement about articulating any fly, I was already tying Green Weenies for the shop so I called Matty over to the vise. With his help (Matty rotated the vise as I fed the chenille up the hook) I tied the very first (that I know of) articulated Green Weenie.
The first one was done purely as a joke, but the more I looked at it the more I realized that it might actually work. I knew I was fishing Sunday afternoon on the White Clay so I decided to tie a few and give them a try. After some thought I decided to name the new creation the "Fractured Weenie".
I had a Sunday afternoon appointment that ran longer than expected, so I didn't make it to the water until about 4:45. I was excited to get there because I knew my brother was there and we were going to fish together. Pat is not a fly fisherman ( I know, I know, I am trying...) and we don't get to fish together as much as we used to so I was really looking forward to the afternoon. He called me from the river to tell me he was already into a few fish the conversation went something like this;
"where did you start"
"you fish the hole you got the big Brown"
"how far down are you"
"just above the big hole"
"OK, be down in a bit"
I love how fishing buddies can have a conversation between each other that seems like total gibberish to anyone else, but makes perfect sense to them. Trust me, I knew EXACTLY where he was and more importantly what river he had already fished. My brother is not the kind of guy you want to spend a lot of time fishing behind, unless a nice leisurely, fishless, walk down the river is your goal.
I caught up to him and stood behind him for a few minutes without him knowing i was there. I watched him fish a small run for about 3 or 4 minutes and said to myself "damn, he is good". He is typically throwing spinners or ultra light crankbaits, so when fishing with him I usually throw a Streamer or Wet fly. This way I can somewhat keep up with his "run and gun" style. I had decided to fish my new pattern the entire night and it didn't take long for me to gain conformation that it would work.
Now, I am not usually a Green Weenie guy, I rarely fish it. I must say, this thing looked pretty darn cool in the water. I can see a few of these being added to my Streamer box.
A couple of hours and a few fish later I realized you actually can articulate just about any fly.
As for Pat...
Water temps on the Clay were 46 degrees at 5:00 in the evening. The water level was great and the clarity was just about perfect, not gin clear, but not too dirty ether. I did see a bunch of Midges coming off at around 6:00 and was hopeful for some Caddis, but didn't see any. I also received a few strong reports from the East branch of the Brandywine from the weekend. With Delaware opening this past Saturday we have multiple fishing opportunities available to us right now. With warmer weather and longer days now is the time to get out and fish.
Tight Lines... Tim
The River Minnie
Well, I fished the White Clay again on Sunday afternoon and had a pretty fair day. The river was crowded, but there are plenty of fish and many of them were willing. I will get to the report shortly, but first I want to share a new streamer pattern with you.
Eric Stroup is a central Pennsylvania fisherman, writer, photographer, fly designer and one of the areas most sought after guides. He is also a good friend of A Marblehead Flyfisher. Eric spends many, many days a year on his home water the Little Juniata chasing the finicky Trout that live there. His fly patterns are time tested and that brings us to his "River Minnie" streamer. I have been looking for an effective streamer pattern that I could use and swap out quickly for a dry or nymph rig without having to change leaders. You all know Galloup's Zoo Cougar is my all time favorite, but swapping between a leader system and a sink tip can, at times be a pain. This pattern fishes well with just a few shot on the leader and with one quick blood knot I can go from a streamer on 3x to a tandem nymph rig on 4x to a dry on 5x assuming you pre-rig your tandems. Anytime you put Rabbit fur in a pattern you instantly get my attention. This pattern looks great in the water and moves like crazy!
I started my day at the top of the "reg's" section and fished down to the "Big Buttonwood Hole" and back up. scratching out a few fish along the way. In the second hole I fished I spotted this guy hiding in the back corner. I threw to him several times with the Minnie and a nymph rig, he showed absolutely no interest!
4 hours and several fish later I was back at my truck gearing down realizing I have found the staple streamer pattern I have been looking for. This weekend I am gonna give it a workout on a wild Brown Trout river. Stay tuned...I will post the results here next week.
If you would like to see the River Minnie stop by the shop, I will have one there for you to look at. Better yet, check out Eric's site here. I am a member of his Facetime Flyfishing program and can say he does a great job with it and it is well worth the investment. Check it out, you will be glad you did! Until Next week.
Tight lines... Tim
The reports section has been a little dead lately. We have been fishing when the weather allows, but the results have been lack luster at best. A few semi productive trips to Valley resulted in nothing to report. Well, the weather finally let up and I was able to get out for a few hours on Sunday. After checking the weather it looked like the afternoon was the best choice so after watching a little Spring Training Baseball I headed to the White Clay.
The river was high and a little off color, perfect indicator nymphing water so I decided to give one of my favorite new products a try, the New Zealand strike indicator. I am really excited about this product and will be writing a post about it soon.
I rigged up a triple fly rig, something I want to do more of this year, and headed to the first run. My rig consisted of a black Zebra Midge tied off of a dropper, a Rainbow Warrior used as an anchor fly and an Al's Rat. I figured one of these three flies should get the attention of something. I fished the first run with not so much as a tap. I moved to the next spot and again, nothing. I was starting to wonder what was going on. I was getting a good drifts and was covering each section thoroughly, just no takes. Then, in the third run things started to happen. The first fish in to hand was a nice, healthy Brown.
Well I fished till about dark and landed 3 fish and had another long distance release. The highlight of the day was this nice thick Rainbow. All 4 fish took the the Rat. My guess is the Warrior got their attention and they then ate the Rat. I snapped some pretty cool pics of him swimming away.
All in all a great day to be out on the river. We are only a few weeks away from some of the best Trout fishing of the year. Now is the time to knock the rust off and get your game on. Till next time.
With the planning of our "Holiday Open House" and the holiday season there has been little time for fishing these last few weeks. Hopefully that is about to change as we are almost through the holidays and winter fishing is in full swing. I managed to hit the White Clay on 2 occasions during the days following Christmas. First off we would like to thank the White Clay Fly Fishers for the efforts in their Holiday stocking program. The efforts of the club ensures we will have quality fishing throughout the winter months. I fished through the snow storm on the 26th and again for a few hours on the 27th. The fishing was EXCELLENT! I was surprised to see the fish still "podded" up, I would have thought after being in the river for almost two weeks they would have been a little more spread out, but that was not the case. While I was rigging up at the truck I talked to one of our customers that reported having good luck with small white streamers, an opinion that was shared by many on the river I talked to. White buggers, Shenk's Minnows and small, light colored soft hackles were all productive patterns of other anglers on the river. I decided I was going to Nymph under an indicator, and I rigged up my favorite White Clay winter time rig, a #20 Frostbite Midge with a #22 Black Zebra Midge as a trailer. I did pick a few fish with the indicator rig, but it didn't take long to realize the indicator was spooking fish for sure. The First 4 fish I landed were all on the Frostbite Midge, so I re-rigged a dry and dropper set up using a #16 Stimulator as the dry and the Frostbite as the dropper. I fished that rig for the remainder of the first day and all of the second day, almost 7 hours total and had a blast! Toward the end of the second outing I was fishing a run that held SEVERAL fish. I had picked quite a few out of the pod and they seemed to turn off of the Frostbite Midge. I tried 3 different attractor patterns and got absolutely zero response. As fast as I could drift the attractor over the fish, strip in and change to a Mercury Midge and re-cast I was tight to a good Brown. This tells me that these fish were definitely on midges. Here are a few pictures from the two days...
New Years day on a wild Trout river
Rick and I fished together on New Year's day. The weather was great and we had a productive day drifting our patterns over some eager and willing wild Brown Trout. This particular river is known for its winter BWO hatch and reports we have received in the shop confirmed this. We scouted the area for about an hour looking for fish, fishermen, and foot traffic and settled on a spot that looked relatively un-disturbed. While rigging at the truck I was peeking over at Rick and was actually surprised to see him rigging a tandem Nymph rig under an indicator. While scouting we saw a few risers and I was sure he was going to go with the 'ole standby CDC puff and fish the top. (turns out he did switch to the CDC puff at one point and had 2 takes on it before switching back to the tandem rig) I decided to stick with my Dry and Dropper set up, but changed the patterns to a HI-Vis BWO dun on top and a #20 bead head RS2 as the dropper. I believe Rick rigged a Copper John and a KF Flasher Midge pattern. We said our "good lucks" to each other and he headed up river and I headed down. A quick temp of the water showed it to be about 43 degrees, a huge difference from the 36 / 38 I got on the White Clay just a few days before, I guess that is the difference between a Limestoner and a Freestone stream. I did see some BWO Nymphs under some rocks, very small...#20's or #22's so I felt confident with my rig. Well a few hours and several fish later we were looking at the sunset of a great New Year's day. Rick landed a particularly good fish in the red KF flasher, the picture is below with the fish and his size 11 boot! Here are a few more pics from January 1st.
Winter can be some of the hottest fishing of the year. For some great tips to stay warm and safe check out our Cold Weather Wading Tips post here. Get your warm clothes on, grab a handful of Midges in #20 or #22 and get out there! You will be glad you did!
Once again this year the White Clay Fly Fishers are hosting their raffle to raise money for the Holiday Stocking program. Last year enough money was raised to stock north of 800 trout in our local river, The White Clay Creek. This stocking happened right before the Christmas holiday and sustained the river through the Winter season. Once again a custom made rod will be the prize. The 8.5' five weight Rainshadow Blank was fashioned into a work of art by Dick Prettyman. The dark green blank is accented with maroon thread wraps and has a beautiful wooden reel seat and cork grip. Tickets are $5.00 each or 5 tickets for $20.00. The rod is on display in the shop now and tickets are for sale. Please feel free to stop in, take a look and support this great cause. A special thanks to Dick for crafting such a beautiful rod and to the White Clay Fly Fishers for hosting this great holiday raffle.
The Articulated tying class wrapped up this past Wednesday. During the past four weeks we really had a great time tying some really cool patterns. Big, articulated "meat" flies are fun to tie and even more fun to fish. Having a class based on these type of flies was a new venture for us and we think it was a huge success. When setting up this class we wanted to chose patterns that could be fished in our local waters and had crossover between Trout, Smallmouth and Salt Water species. We also wanted the class to have some diversity in fly design. One of the most important features in Articulated fly design is the head of the fly. We chose four very different head designs on four very different, but very effective patterns.
In week one we tied Kelly Galloup's Pearl Necklace. This fly employs a Fish Skull for a head and lots of marabou in the tail. I have had good success with this fly on both Smallmouth and Trout. I have not fished it in the salt yet, but I am confident this fly will be right at home in the maw of a big 'ole Striper.
Week two had us tying another Galloup pattern, the T&A. This pattern uses a stacked wool head and tons of marabou on both the front and rear hooks. Great for a wide profile bait fish like juvie Trout, Fallfish, Mullet or Bunker,.TThe colors of this pattern are limited only by the tyers imagination.
We may have pushed the envelope a little on week three and we tied a triple articulated beast from the mind of Rich Strolis. The Juggernaut, while easy to tie is not for the faint of heart. At a full 7" long this fly is definitely a "big fly big fish" candidate, but because of the design it is surprisingly light and easy to cast. The new Fish Mask was used on our fly, this may be my favorite new product form the Flymen company.
Our forth and final pattern was another Galoup pattern called the Boogie Man. This Was my most consistent Smallmouth pattern this summer and I have been having some success with it on local Trout, in a scaled down version. This fly swims like crazy and has an action like no other articulated streamer I have seen to date. The Mallard Flanks on the top of the fly give it the sick swimming action. The original pattern is tied with a wool head like the T&A series. We decided to change the head to a stacked deer hair head to add another dimension to the class.
Here is a video I shot of the Boogie Man moving through the water. You can really see the tail action of this fly here.
Below is a slideshow of the pictures taken from the four classes. I hope the guys in the class had as much fun attending the class as I did instructing it. It was truly a humbling experience to have people come out and watch me tie, an experience I am thankful for. Thank you to all that attended, I appreciate the support!
For more information about our tying classes click here. Our Winter Classes are beginning to fill, reserve your spot now so you can tie with us all winter long.
Rick and I fished together this past Sunday. We got a bit of a late start and didn't arrive to our spot until late afternoon. Rick dropped me off at the upper section and he drove back around to the bottom end of the river. The plan was for Rick to fish up from the bottom end. I would start at the top and fish all the way through then we would meet up at dark. The scenery was awesome as the Autumn colors were really starting to pop.
I figured Rick would be throwing dries all day (which he did) and I would be throwing streamers. My choice this week was a new articulated fly I have been working with, Kelly Gallup 's pearl necklace. I tied these in a rainbow trout color scheme figuring this would get the browns fired up. It turns out that would be an understatement.
Just like last time it took quite a while for me to get my first take. I was actually questioning my fly choice when I landed my first fish, a nice healthy brown. My guess is when the water warmed up in the late afternoon the fish got much more active. It seemed that between 2:00 and 4:30 were definitely the most active periods. When I met up with Rick he had similar thoughts. The funny thing is even with the fish not being very active at first once they got going it seemed I couldn't strip fast enough. I would actually start stripping as soon as the fly hit the water. The fish that hit the streamer absolutely crushed it. Hitting broadside at lightning speed. This is why I love streamer fishing, especially when the water is Crystal clear like it was on Sunday.
At the end of the day Rick and I both had great days on the water. The size 16 caddis was the preferred dry and a few were landed on a copper John dropper.
Whether streamers are your preference or dry and dropper gets your nod, these next few weeks are great times to be out on the river.
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