Green Drakes! Nope.
Not quite yet folks. But soon. We fished lower Penns on Saturday night and saw only a handful of early drakes. The water is in great shape but the fish still appear to be on the bottom. This week should be great and the weekend could be epic depending on conditions.
Word to the wise. Penns is packed with fisherman as per usual but it seems that it is extra busy this year. Keep in mind that many folks do not walk very far so go the extra mile (literally) to find open water. Not only will the fishing be better for you but you will get some time alone in nature and that is really what this is all about anyway.
Bringing your bicycle on Penns and other creeks that benefit from rails-to-trails access can give you an edge during the high pressure hatch season. We have been riding blue ribbon trout waters for years now and it is fun and gets you to new water quickly. This day we rode from Coburn to Ingleby and found several nice open sections to ourselves.
The key for our group this weekend was finding water with a variety. Riffles are holding fish but many fish can still be found hugging banks under cover in “soft water” away from the main current. approach these areas carefully and don’t just walk past them. They hold fish that have often been over looked. Take your time out there and you are likely to find some stones left unturned that have real gems under them.
Fish slow and low in the riffles. High-stick contact nymphing is super-effective in these areas. Getting your weight right in these runs is critical. Be sure you are riding your flies along the bottom. It may take a few times getting stuck on the bottom to learn the depth but if you aren’t on the bottom in these runs you are not getting in front of the fish. The balance you must walk here is having enough weight to get to the bottom but not so much weight that your flies drift unnaturally. It’s a balancing act that takes time and playing with different rigs to find, experiment!
Don’t under-estimate the effectiveness of small flies. I see many folks chucking big articulated streamers or large nymphs when conditions are like they are now. I’m not saying these are bad tactics but I am saying that you might be surprised what a well placed #18 Millers Tactical Victim can do on the trailer of that big woven stonefly. Get deep and let that rig swing up at the end, you might be surprised how many fish you pickup at the end of your drift this way.
Also remember to not get stuck! Keep moving around. This goes for in your favorite run and also for your trip in general. When you find a run, fish it thoroughly and move around it carefully trying each part of the water. Move through your spot in a cycle. If you fish a part that should have fish but you find none after a few casts wade away and come back to it in a few minutes. You might learn something new from fishing in another area or you might approach it differently and with success a few minutes later.
Try not to get stuck going to the same spots. We rode from Coburn to Ingleby and found a boat-load of water open. There is a new honey hole out there for you to discover. You just have to be willing to break out of the ordinary and familiar to find it.
We found a few sulphurs, BWO’s, tan caddis, march browns, and only a handful of drakes. More importantly, we found a ton of new water to explore. Saturday morning we visited Spring Creek above Fisherman’s Paradise and Garrick did well with an ant and PT dry dropper so you know what that means, the real dry-fly season is upon us: Terrestrials!
Get out there and enjoy it. This coming week should be excellent.