Last night I had the pleasure of presenting "Light Spey for Local Waters" for the Dame Juliana League Fly Fishers at the Kimberton firehouse in Kimberton Pennsylvania. We had a nice dinner before the meeting. As Par for the course the discussions centered around recent fishing trips, fly patterns, and what the spring and summer have in store for us. The turnout was great and I believe the people that attended enjoyed the show. All in all it was a great night as I got to re-connect with some people that I haven't seen for several months. It is always good catching up with friends and making new acquaintances, that is probably what I enjoy the most. I would like to thank the board members for allowing me an opportunity to present, I hope to do it again in the future. Till next time...
Stop out tonight, April 27th at the Dame Juliana League at 7:00 for my "Light Spey for Local Waters" presentation. During this presentation we will discuss casting and fishing light, 2 handed gear in our local waters for species like Trout, Shad, and Bass. For more information about the "League" or for directions to the club click HERE. I hope to see you tonight at 7:00.
Well, as I sit here reflecting on what was a great weekend it was, I can honestly say the "Irish Flies" Shad School was a big success! Each day I left my house at around 8:15 am and would return after 9:00 pm. On Monday morning the owner of the company of my "real" job asked me if I was tired. I told him yes, but it is a good tired. There is something rewarding about working hard and achieving the result you are looking for. I do feel the class went well, and I do absolutely believe the people in the class gained some knowledge and are set to take advantage of this great fishery. Information packets were prepared with directions to the river, recipes for the four fly patterns we tied and performance surveys were also provided. I provided the class with a survey to rate the content of the class. My thought was if I am going to continue to up my game I need the honest feedback of the people attending my events to let me know about areas for improvement. I have already received some of the surveys back and the comments have been great. Many positive, and some suggestions for improvement, which is exactly what I am looking for. Thank you to all whome returned their surveys, I hope to see many more soon.
The slide show went through the different Shad species we have available. We also talked about appropriate gear, flies, rigging, and fishing techniques. I think the slideshow was well received, and the questions afterward were great.
After the slideshow and the Q&A session we took a short break to set up and we prepared to tie. We got all 4 patterns in each day. The ability of the tiers in these classes was great! It made my job easy. We tied the One Boot, Micro Clouser, Deer Creek S fly and the Dart. I told the class if they spend some time and fill their Shad box with a variety of these patterns you will be set for Hickories and Americans for years to come.
After we finished tying we had lunch at the Brandywine Grill. If you are ever in the Christiana Cabelas store stop in the Grill and get the Elk sandwich. It is REALLY good. I would be remiss if I didn't give a big thank you to Eric Williams, the marketing manager of our local Cabelas store. Eric has been very good to me and my "Irish Flies" endeavors. The conference room and cafe set up are perfect for this type of class and I look forward to doing more of this events in the future.
Now, what everybody has been waiting for...
Everybody is waiting for the Shad run to happen. I fished our local Shad river 2 times last week in preparation for the class, and I was there for several hours each weekend day with the class. The verdict...in my opinion it is not "on" yet. On Wednesday evening I hooked one Shad (could have been a Herring) and Ed landed 1. I did manage this nice Carp, and yes, he ate the pink Shad fly.
On Wednesday the numbers of fish moving through the river system was staggering. Many of these fish were Herring, but, by Sunday evening the Shad to Herring ratio was definitely swinging more toward Shad. As mentioned the number of fish moving up the river was insane! One of the people in the class would stop fishing for LONG periods of time and just look into the water. He said "I have never seen anything like this". Water temps varied between 58 and 70 degrees from Wednesday night until Sunday afternoon. My guess is that the fishing will get better and better as the days go by, this has been confirmed by reports from the last few days.
As mentioned the fishing was tough. We caught fish both days, but not in the numbers we are looking for. I scheduled the class early on purpose. My thought was the fishing would not be as good, but the guys would have the entire season to go back, use the knowledge they gained in the class, and bang some fish.
We took a ton of pictures and there is no way I could post all of them here. You can check out all of the photos on the Irish Flies Facebook page here. I would like to thank every body that attended the class. I hope you had as much fun attending as I did hosting. I also have to give a HUGE thank you to my buddy "One Boot" Ed. He spent about 24 hours helping me this weekend. ED, I couldn't have done this without your help. Thank you! Till next time...
As many of you already know my wife, Michelle has been stricken with Multiple Sclerosis. We have been living with MS for about 7 years now. In a effort to combat this terrible disease my wife is looking for sponsors for a walk to benefit MS research and hopefully find a cure. If you are inclined please use the link below to make a pledge to support Michelle's team. Click the link to the Walk for MS home page, click "Donate" and type in Michelle O'Neill where it says "Name". Your generosity is much appreciated. For any donation of $50.00 or more "Irish Flies" will give that person one free, in home, private fly tying lesson. Please help us try to find a cure. Thank you.
Michelle & Tim
To donate to Michelle's team click HERE
I came home today and in my mailbox were these awesome new "Irish Flies" decals. I had my friend Matt Zudweg of BoneYard Fly Gear make these up for me. Matt has done some work for me in the past and he knocked it out of the park again. The really cool thing is that I needed these for an event this weekend (Irish Flies Shad School) and unfortunately I drug my feet a little contacting Matt for the order. I didn't actually order them until the 9th and I had them 6 days later! Matt labels his company as "a graphic arts company inspired by the art of fishing". Spend a little time on his web site and I think you will agree! Check out Matt's site here or his Facebook here. Thank you Matt for another great job!
In last weeks post I talked about the fact that spring is finally here and some of the tell tale signs that we know it is here to stay. Well, one other sign is the fact we are seeing some consistency in the weather. The old adage of "April showers bring May flowers" is true and I am sure we will see our fair share of rain in April. We better if we want good, fishable water levels through out the summer. That is not the type of consistency I am talking about. What I am talking about is the warming trend we have seen in the past few weeks. I can look at my weather app on my phone and plan, with relative confidence, a day trip of fishing without worry of snow, ice and bitter cold temperatures. Maybe stability would be a better word choice, ether way I knew where I was headed on Sunday morning.
Before I get into that I would like to share with you a few things I have been working on. The "Irish Flies" Shad School is this weekend. All of the prep work is completed and I have a few loose ends to tie up before the first class on Saturday. For the time of year the Shad reports have been positive. This is based on first hand info. I am really looking forward to this weekend, and I hope the guys in the class are too. I have added a page to the web site. If you go to the home page and move your cursor over the "Home" tab at the top of the screen you will see a drop down titled "Local River Conditions". Click on that page and you will see various buttons with names of our local rivers. These buttons are links to the USGS site for each river. Here you can get river height, flow levels and water temperatures. I also put a link to NOAA as well as Salt Water Tides .com. If there is something else you would like to see on this page let me know. If I can I will put it up there. I also would like to let you know I will be presenting at the April meetings of the White Clay Fly Fishers and the Dame Juliana League of Fly Fishers. On April 21st I will be presenting "Articulated Flies, a Practical Approach" for the White Clay Fly Fishers. This presentation will discuss fly design and fishing techniques of big, jointed flies. On April 27th I will be presenting "Light Spey for Local Waters" for the Dame Juliana League. This presentation will discuss fishing with light, two handed gear on our local waters for Bass, Trout, and Shad. I hope to see you on the 21st or 27th. I will post more about these dates in the next week or so.
Sunday fun day
As mentioned, the stable weather had me planing a day trip on Sunday. I haven't done a full day on the river since the fall and I was excited to get out there. With temps predicted to be in the 70's I was hopeful the warm temperatures would have the bugs active and the fish would follow suit. A quick text conversation with "One Boot" Ed and our plans were made. We would be meeting up at 8:30 and heading to one of our favorite rivers. Ed had to leave in the late afternoon so we devised a plan to drive both cars out and park his at the spot I wanted to fish in the evening. We then got into my truck and headed to a section of river with about a 50 / 50 wild to stocked fish ratio. The weather was great and the water temps were just under 50 degrees. The bugs were active and I found several Nymphs under the rocks.
I also saw a bunch of these guys in the air..
As mentioned this section of river has stocked fish mixed with wild fish. The stockers were acting like stockers and the wild fish were wild. This section is also open water, meaning it falls under the "all tackle" rules. Fly, Spinners, Bait and Stringers are all part of this rule set. At one point I was nymphing over a pocket of stocked fish when an older gentleman fishing spinners walked up next to me. For those of you who have never fished ultra light spinning gear for Trout being successful is much more than casting out and reeling in, and this guy was good. He proceeded to pull 3 fish out from underneath of me as fast as he could cast. When fishing open water I have come to expect this, I actually enjoy it. I am sure this old guy was thinking something like "I don't know why you are messing with that long rod son, I just showed you how to do it" Well, I figured a silver spinner and a white Bugger are pretty close to the same so I re-positioned myself, tied on a white Bugger and proceeded to pull 3 fish from underneath of him as fast as I could cast 3 times. The look on his face was priceless and we both started to laugh a little. We had a nice conversation before we parted ways. I do enjoy showing non-fly fishers just how effective our gear can be.
After fishing out the afternoon it was time to head back to Ed's car so he could leave and I could fish out the evening on a section of water that was tailor made for throwing dries. When I met up with Ed he was UN-hooking this little guy. I didn't realize it was a Trout until he started saying "get a picture" "get a picture"
Ed's day was similar to mine, stocked fish podded up like stocked fish do and wild fish acting like wild fish act. The top fly was a red Copper John, but PT's, Buggers and Midges all caught fish.
After dropping Ed off I took a break, ate some lunch and devised a plan for the evening. There is this awesome little run at the bottom of the dry fly flat that I have always wanted to fish, but never seem to get to. I decided I would fish there first before moving up onto the flat to match wits with some risers. I stuck 2 out of the run on a tight line rig including this awesome brown.
After spending about 1/2 hour in the run it was time to move onto the flat. Stoneflies were definitely the prominent bug so I tied on my Snowshoe Stone and fished my way up the flat. I only stuck one fish, but it was a good one, a solid 13" Brown.
It was great to be out fishing in nice weather for a change. It was also nice to spend the day on the river with a good friend. With Trout fishing heating up, Shad and Saltwater fishing right around the corner and Smallmouth only 6 weeks away this is a great time of year. Here are the rest of the pics from yesterday. Till next time...
Well, I think it is safe to say Spring is finally here. Before we get into this week's post I would like to give an update on the proposed rule changes for the "DAHLO" section of the White Clay. I am happy to say that the proposed rule changes have been dismissed! According to the Fish and Boat Commission there were 343 comments posted with all but 5 opposed to the rule changes. I must say I believe that number of comments to be EXTREMELY low. With the software I have for this site I can track things like how many people visit the site on a daily basis, what pages have the most views, What Blog posts are the most popular ETC. When I put a link in a post I have the ability to see how many times the link was clicked. I can say that from the Blog post I put up on March 19th. OVER 1200 PEOPLE CLICKED ON THE LINK! I am sure not everybody left a comment, but I am sure most of you did and I want to thank you for that. At any rate I am glad the proposed changes have been dropped and we can continue to enjoy the middle branch of the White Clay the way we have become accustomed to. Thank you to all that took the time to voice your opinion. It is good to see we still can make a difference. To read the official word from the PAFBC click here.
Spring is here!
Yes, Spring is finally here. It is funny, it seems the older I get the less I seem to like Winter. I can remember when we were kids we couldn't wait for winter to arrive! We would spend all day outside sledding, building snow forts and having snowball fights, playing hockey on the local pond. (the same pond we would Bass fish in the Summer) As we got a little older we dabbled in some more mischievous acts like throwing snowballs at passing cars (c'mon, if you are my age or older you know you did it too) or, as the older people in our circle got their drivers license we would tie ropes to the bumpers and drag people on sleds around the neighborhood streets. Not the smartest thing we ever did, but it was fun. The point is we would be outside all day and sometimes well into the night. Now, when it gets cold, my back hurts, my knee hurts, I am stiff, and I really don't like shoveling snow! I am confident all of that is behind us. Several things tell me Spring is here. In the morning, when I go out to start my truck I can hear the Robins and Sparrow's singing their songs in the trees near by. The daffodils in my wife's flower bed are blooming and that is a sure sign spring is here. As I type this Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals just launched his first home run of the season right center field, I am sure there will be many more this year. All of these things are tell tale signs that spring is here.
Perhaps the biggest sign that spring is here is the fact that both Delaware and Pennsylvania's regular Trout seasons opened this weekend. Now, opening day doesn't hold the same allurement for me as it once did. Anyone who fishes year round will tell you opening day is just another day. Many people I know don't even fish this weekend because of the crowds. I understand that point of view, but, there is still something about opening day. I think, for me, it is in the tradition. My bio on this site tells a very fond memory about a particular opening day with my dad and 2 brothers some 35+ years ago. Tradition in fishing with my brother in south central PA every opening day for for almost 2 decades. Well, unfortunately for me, tradition had to be broken this year. Instead of getting to the river way to early on Saturday morning to stake my claim, I was in my truck heading RT 1 south to my job. That's right, I had to work on opening day! I did have a phone conversation with my brother on the way down to work; "where you fishing" "who are you fishing with" "what spinner you gonna start with" (he doesn't fly fish) were all a part of the conversation. I tried to tell myself it was "no big deal" but in reality, it was.
As I sat at work I fully expected my phone to explode with pictures right around 8:02 (2 minutes after legal start time) I was surprised when nothing came through. 8:15...nothing, 8:30...nothing finally I couldn't take it anymore and I sent him a text, no response. Well, come to find out the only reason my phone didn't blow up is because he didn't have a signal! I did get only one text with a picture attached
"I think it is a Cutt Bow that swam down from Nova Scotia"
Before you start sending me comments, yes I do realize that statement is wrong on so many levels! If you know my brother it would make perfect sense, trust me!
We did get out together on Sunday morning for a bit, The fishing was not as productive as it was the day before, as it goes when you are chasing stocked fish, but is was still fun anyway.
I am glad Winter is gone, I am glad it is not so bitter cold anymore' I am glad baseball season is here, most of all I am glad I got out on the water with my brother this weekend. Till next time...