The unseasonably warm temps of late has the trout fired up, some bigger browns have shown up in angler's nets this week. Shaggy (aka Tyman) caught this perfect 21" male brown Thursday on a nymph- he said the fish was laying in relatively fast water. Total flow is currently a normal 382cfs through the permanent Catch & Release in Pleasant Valley/New Hartford (97cfs at USGS Riverton gauge, plus 285cfs from the Still River)- Riverton flow is low but improved due to snowmelt, and below the Still River we finally have a normal late February flow! The spring-like conditions also has the bugs active & ahead of schedule, we are seeing all of the Winter/Early Stones- Tiny Blacks sz 18-24 (Capnia), Early Black sz 14-16, and Early Brown sz 14-16. Sometimes trout will rise to the Stones, but typically they choose to feed on the nymphs. Specific imitations work, as do generic flies like Princes, Pheasant Tails and Hare's Ears. #18 Midge larva/pupa nymphed deep are still very effective. Despite "the experts" saying the best fishing in the winter is 11am-3pm, I often do best from mid-afternoon until dark, when water temps are normally highest (except during times of heavy snowmelt). Expect water temps in the upper 30s to low 40s, depending upon time of day. Other than the Winter & Early Stones, hatches include Winter Caddis sz 18-24 (mornings primarily, but sometimes into the afternoon), and Midges sz 22-32 (typically afternoons). For Midge larva & pupa nymphed deep, you can go #18-20 (black, olive, red).
"Keystone Fly Fishing" (covering PA in
detail by local guides/experts) is out now, and it's an incredible book.
Almost 600 pages of detailed info by 9 different PA authors, tons of
beautiful color photos and fly suggestions, numerous stream maps & a
great PA hatch chart, this book is the new Pennsylvania fly fishing
bible. They don't sugar coat things either- streams that were once
famous & great but aren't anymore are described accurately, and if a
stream is marginal, they will tell you that it isn't worth fishing
after a certain date in the spring. If you ever wanted to explore PA,
this is the book to get. Devin Olsen's & Lance Egan's new
"Modern Nymphing" DVD's arrived at UpCountry recently and is selling
fast, we already on our second batch. They did a great job, with clear
excellent cinematography (filmed by Gilbert Rowley of flytying123.com-
excellent website, check it out). Devin & Lance are 2 of the top
members of Flyfishing Team USA- both scored an individual bronze medal
in the World Flyfishing Championships in 2015/2016 respectively, and
both years Team USA also garnered team medals (bronze & silver), so
you could say these two are legit, truly world class anglers who have
held their own against the best in the world (historically France,
Spain, Czech Republic, and Poland). Devin's website is
tacticalflyfisher.com if you want to check it out and watch a DVD
preview, he also has many insightful fly tying & fly fishing
articles on there.
The new book "Nymphing The New Way: French leader fishing for trout"
is back in stock again- it focuses on Euro-style nymphing using
very long leaders, which is deadly indeed. The first batch sold out in a
week or two. Keep your eye out for "Nymph Masters" by Jason Randall
coming out in March/April (they keep changing the release date), and this batch is now almost sold out.
Winter water temps will typically average in the 30's in the wintertime,
weather, time of day, and distance from dam- it can crack into the 40's
during warming trends like we have now (after the snow melts off).
This means trout have mostly dropped out of faster water and moved
into their deeper, slow to moderate current winter lies. Colder water
leads to a
trout metabolism, which means they don't need to eat as much. They
look to conserve energy by holding in water with less current, that also
has some depth (for security). However, they will often move into
riffles at the pool heads to feed on nymphs/pupa/larva when sunshine
raises the water temps in the afternoons, which both increases their
and gets the bugs more active.
Nymphs dead-drifted down deep the most
consistently effective winter
flies, good patterns include: smaller nymphs sz 16-22 (Midges, Baetis/BWOs,
Tails, Hot Spot Attractors, Rainbow Warriors, etc.), Winter/Early Stones sz 14-20 (black, brown), Caddis Larva sz
14-18 (olive/green), Cased Caddis sz 8-16, and Perdigones sz 14-20 (black, olive, brown,
yellow). Egg patterns are often very effective in the winter/early spring, so make sure to have some egg flies (small Glo
Bugs/Sucker Spawn/Otter Eggs) in your arsenal. Although smaller nymphs
have been more consistent than bigger ones, don't rule out bigger Stonefly
Nymphs sz 8-14 (brown, golden/yellow, black) and #8 Mops, sometimes bigger nymphs pull
are still catching fish, especially during low-light
conditions- browns are post-spawn & hungry,
looking to bulk up. Experiment with
colors & retrieves to
find what's best at any given moment (it changes). I would also try to
make your presentations mostly slow & deep due to the cooler water
both swinging and slow retrieves are good choices. Experiment though,
sometimes even in cold water the trout will respond to a fast retrieve,
but overall in winter they like it slower. The hot streamer rig
has been a weighted streamer with a soft-hackle or nymph trailed off the
hook bend 18" behind . Typically the smaller trailing fly
catches most of the trout, but some days the streamer does most
of the business. This rig allows you to cover a lot of water and present
your nymphs/wets in water that would normally be hard to nymph.
The MDC did their fall trout
stocking in early November, typically they put in 1,000+ fish. This batch was stocked in the upper river
from the Goodwin/Hogback Dam in Riverton downstream to Whittemore Pool.
The state & the FRAA both stocked the upper seasonal Catch &
Release section last fall also. Close to 4,500 trout were stocked in the
upper 4 miles of river in fall of 2016, and that entire section is C&R from September until Opening Day in April.
UpCountry acquired a ton of Simms closeouts that are on
sale. There is still a large selection of Men's
& Women's: Gore-tex jackets, packs, slings, shirts, pants, tee
shirts, and a few shoes/wading boots/waders. Sizes are limited (the
Men's is mostly in Large, and the Women's is all in Medium) and there
only a couple of each item so when they are gone they are gone. Simms Tee Shirts
size large are buy one get one free.
We have a limited selection of Simms &
Umpqua Packs and Vests 40% off. In addition to these items, UpCountry
will price match just about any sale or deal you can find on the
internet.... we appreciate your business and recognize that sometimes a
deal will pop up online that you can't resist.... just bring it to our
We are always looking for good trade-in fly rods and reels to sell on our
website. If you are looking for some new equipment we will gladly put
the value of your used gear toward new items in our store. Give us a
call to make an appointment.... our prices on trade ins are typically
higher than found anywhere else.
If you like our fishing report, please consider buying your gear from
us. We generally ship the same day, for free anywhere in the country on
all but the smallest orders. Our shop can only exist with your patronage.
Midges sz 22-32 (typically afternoons, but can
earlier). The Winter Caddis hatch best after cool to cold
nights, mild nights actually make for light hatches of them. Stones
usually hatch better on mild days. Nymphing
remains the most consistent producer of trout, but streamers are
catching too at moments (just remember to fish them slow & deep
first, and if that doesn't work, strip them in faster, but make sure to
get them down in the water column).