Last weekend I had the pleasure of spending a day on the Little Juniata, or "Little J" as said by the locals chasing wild Trout. I have been looking forward to this trip for some time as I was to be spending the day with my buddy Eric Stroup. Eric is the owner of Stroup Fly Fishing, a full service guiding operation located in the quaint little town of Troy, Pennsylvania. The plan was for me to leave my house early Saturday morning and make the 3 & 1/2 hour drive North West and meet Eric at his Gorge View Lodge. We would meet and fish the day, I would spend the night in the lodge and drive home Sunday morning. The ride out was uneventful as it was dark the entire way (I left my house at 3:45 am) and the only sounds were the songs coming out of my I-Pod and the occasional prompt from Siri telling me which route to follow.
I arrived at the lodge at about 7:45 after a stop at one of the coolest little diners I have ever been in. It was about 5:45 in the morning and I was ready for breakfast. I decided to stop at the next place I saw where I could get something to eat. Well, it turns out that place was Yetters Restaurant. At quarter of six in the morning the parking lot was full. I figured this must be a good place so I pulled in. The place was full of older gentleman, all with camouflage hats and work clothes on. Obviously these guys must meet here every day, because they all knew each other and the conversations moved from table to table. Everything from the Pirates are playing good ball (it took me a minute to realize I was closer to Pittsburgh than Philly) to politics, to what was going on this weekend. Each time somebody walked in it was like the scene from the TV show "Cheers" when the character played by George Went walked in the bar and everybody would yell "Norm" Everybody knows everybody and it was fun to be a part of their group if only for 20 minutes.
As mentioned I got to the lodge at about 7:45 and had a little time to look around. The lodge is absolutely beautiful! Rustic on the outside with a view of the mountains in the distance. Crab Apple and Pear trees in the front yard make for good Deer snacks as there were several in the yard later that night and when I got up the next morning. As cool as the outside looks the inside is even better. 10 beds, 2 full kitchens, 2 bathrooms, a huge deck, washer / dryer, fly tying station and just the right amount of fishing decor to make you feel at home. I wish I had remembered to take pictures of the inside. I will make it a point to to take some the next time I am there, and trust me, there will be a next time.
This trip was for me to work on my "Tight Line" nymphing techniques. I wanted to get polished up, shoot some video and get ready for the Irish Flies Nymph Fishing Seminar. We met up at around 8:00, talked for a bit and after a tour of the lodge we headed out to the river.
The Little "J"
The Little J is a tributary of the Juniata River in the Susquehanna River basin. Classified as Class "A", the Little J holds a healthy population of Wild Brown Trout. The regulations on the 14+ mile section we were fishing are all tackle, catch and release only. Similar in size to the main stem of our White Clay. A true Central Pennsylvania limestone river, the rivers beauty is matched only by its diverse bug activity. I fished Penn's earlier in the Spring and the Little J in the fall. I can absolutely see why true Trout nut's relocate to this area!
We fished the morning with Eric doing as much instruction as I did fishing. We didn't have much success as far as fish go, but I learned more in that first 3 hours than I have learned on a river in a long time. I think people sometime get lost in the "numbers" of our sport and don't realize guided fishing trips are not only about how many fish you catch, but how much your guide can teach you so you can catch fish EVERY day thereafter.
We had worked a ton of pocket water hard without moving a fish, it was around 11:30, the biscuits and gravy I had for breakfast was working overtime in my gut, so when Eric said "lets get the hell outta here and get some lunch" he didn't get any objections from me!
After lunch we headed to a different section of river. I asked Eric to take a rod with him in the afternoon as I wanted to watch him fish. Artistry on the water is the only way I can describe it. I stood behind him for about 10 minutes and watched Eric systematically tight line a run. No fish were hooked, but to see how it is supposed to be done really hit home with me. Every seam, pocket, and current line was giving at least two drifts. No movement was wasted as I watched him stalk through the run. One thing that really surprised me was the accuracy of the casting. Eric spent a while showing me his version of the Tuck Cast, the secret of good Nymphing. It took me a little while, but by the end I think I was getting it. We were 1/2 way through the afternoon when the first fish was landed, an absolutely beautiful 13" wild brown. Ever the optimist (a quality all guides must have IMO) Eric kept saying "we are gonna find em, sooner or later we are gonna find em"
He was right! The quality of fish in this river is amazing! As you spend more time on the water certain days or trips stand out in our memories. The day I got my first brown over 20", the day my brother got the big rainbow up at the camp, the day we flipped the canoe in the Brandywine. All of these trips stand out for one reason or another. I am sure in time this trip will carve out a spot in my mind. It was an awesome day and I was very fortunate that everything came together!
October Bronze & Brown
Throughout the day Eric was telling me about a promotion he was working on for the month of October. Bronze & Brown is a special for 2 anglers consisting of a day fishing the little J for trout, a day in the drift boat on the big J for Smallmouth and one night Lodging in the Gorge View lodge. Streamside lunch and all tackle are provided. This is a great way to cash in on two of this areas best fishing opportunities. If you would like to book a trip feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Eric directly at email@example.com or call (814)505-4568. If you have ever thought about fishing this area check Eric's operation out, you will be glad you did!
If you want to expand your knowledge about Nymph fishing click here and register for the Irish Flies Nymph Fishing Seminar. If you want to expand your horizons and fish some of Central Pennsylvania's fabled Limestone rivers click here and check out Eric Stroup Flyfishing. You can't go wrong ether way. Till Next time...
“Nymph Fishing 101”
“A practical approach to Nymph fishing”
A pod of rising Trout is the Holy Grail of Fly Fishing. It is why we do what we do. I love to fish to risers as much as the next guy, here is the issue; what do you do when the trout aren't rising? If you are going to be consistently successful as a Trout fisherman, you better learn how to fish below the surface. Being a proficient Nymph fisherman is a “must have” tool to have in your fly fishing tool box. Some people, including me, would say it is the most important! My goal with “Nymph fishing 101” is to teach beginners new techniques and maybe polish the techniques of some veteran fly fishers.
The seminar will start at 10:00 am with a coffee and doughnut style breakfast, A Power Point presentation lasting approximately and hour to an hour and a half followed by (I hope) a spirited question and answer session with detailed discussion. The presentation will discuss Indicator Nymphing, Tight line Nymphing and Dry and Dropper fishing. Segments on fly patterns, reading the water and presentation will also be included. After the discussion period we will break for lunch provided by Irish flies. After lunch we will tie several of the patterns highlighted in the presentation.
The seminar will be held at the Christiana Cabelas store and the dates for the class are; Class 1 Saturday, October 17th and Class 2 will be Sunday October, 18th. As mentioned we will start at 10:00 am, depending on the length of the discussions and tying portion, I estimate we will wrap up around 3:00 in the afternoon.
If you have struggled with Nymph fishing in the past Irish Flies “Nymph Fishing 101” may be just what you need to up your game. Remember, Trout only feed on the surface about 20% of the time. After this class you will be better equipped to deal with the other 80% o the time you are on the water. I look forward to seeing you in class
If you would like to register for this class please click the link here. Please fill out the form on the page and submit it. I will respond with an email with more information and payment arrangement options. Price for this event is $125.00
If you have had trouble catching Trout in the past or you would like to up your game, give this class some serious consideration, you will be glad you did.
What a great week the first week of September was. My wife and I spent the week on vacation in Rehoboth Beach. Since both of our kids are getting older and starting lives of their own we have been vacationing solo for the past few years. Some will say it is too crowded, others will say the traffic is unbearable, both of these statements could be considered true. Over the years we have really come to enjoy this quaint little beach town. Now, this was not a "fishing" vacation (my wife would say it is never not a "fishing" vacation). It was also not a "working" vacation, but I did plenty of that as well. The point is with just the 2 of us it is not hard for me to sneak in a morning or two of chasing some Saltwater Speedsters with the fly.
I haven't fished the salt on a regular basis for some years. The decline in the salt fishing coupled with super high gas prices (remember when gas was over $4.50 / gallon) forced me to stay more local with my fishing some years ago. Things are different now and I plan to, at least in my fishing, live the "Salt Life" a little more in the future. It took a little planing, but I hooked up with my buddy Shawn Rakes of Sussex County Fly Fishermen for some early morning (or was it late night) fishing from his 20' skiff.
Saltwater fly fishing is all about the tides. The fish typically feed at the peak of the tides and kinda go dormant during the slack portions. The tides have no clock so if you want to chase them you better wrap your mind around the fact you will be keeping some strange hours. So the alarm went off at 2:00 am and I was up and out the door in short order.
The wind was absolutely howling so a quick text to Shawn to bring an extra 9 weight. As mentioned this was not a fishing vacation. We took my wife's Mustang for the trip and space was limited. The car is awesome, but the trunk is the size of a postage stamp! I took one 2 hander and one 7 weight rod, as soon as I stepped out of the door I knew the seven weight NRX was gonna stay safely in the tube.
We met at the boat ramp at 3:00. The rods were rigged, the boat was launched and we were on our way. This boat is set up perfectly for fly fishing. The tunnel hull rides dry and it sits just above the water. All of the cleats are recessed so there is no danger of catching your line and there is a huge casting platform on the bow. The 115 Mercury brought her up on plane with ease as we motored to the spot we were fishing.
This type of fishing requires precision and teamwork. One guy maneuvers the boat while the other casts to the structure. When fishing structure while the tide is running at it's peak is not for the faint of heart. Driving a 20' boat within fifty feet of hull ripping structure requires a skill set, and for 3 hours straight Shawn kept me within comfortable casting distance of the fish.
What fly are we fishing?
I asked Shawn what bait is in the water and what fly we would be using. He kinda smiled and said we would be fishing the "Rakes Dock Light Special" Sean developed this adaptation for dock lights Striper after many years of this type of fishing. Many years of experimentation and "tweaking" have gone into this pattern, it is a spot on match for the 3" Silversides and Bay Anchovies that congregate around the lights and shadow lines that form when the sun goes down.
We were a little early for the tide and it took about an half hour for the water to really get going, once it did it was game on! The picture quality is a little suspect...it was 3:00 am, dark and misty but I think you get the idea.
I guess we landed just south of 20 Bluefish up to 5 pounds and 3 Striper in the mid 20 inches. A good morning for sure. The beauty of living where we live is we have legitimate fishing opportunities available to us 12 months of the year. The Fall Salt run is just getting started! Be sure to get out there before Ole Man Winter tightens his grip. Till Next time...
P.S. Irish Flies has obtained the recipe for the "Rakes Dock Lights Special". If you are interested contact me if you would like me to tie you a few. If you fish where there are Silversides or Anchovies you will be glad you did. Just don't ask me how to tie it...I have been sworn to secrecy.
Hello all. I would like to take a minute and ask a favor of everybody. I am working on a lot of things for the upcoming winter show season. Many of the details are still being worked out at this time. I have several presentations on the books as of now and my goal is to do as many of these events for as many local clubs as I can. I will be hosting 5 seminars, similar to and including the Shad School we did last year. After seeing the success of the Shad Class and all of the positive comments I received afterward I knew I had to do more of these type of seminars. I will be doing some appearances at the Christiana Cabelas store during events they are hosting throughout the Winter. The point is after the banner first year "Irish Flies" has had I will not rest on my laurels and I hope the second year is even better.
In order to communicate all that I have planned I have set up an Email marketing account. If you would like to keep up with all of the news coming out of the "Irish Flies" camp please sign up to receive my newsletter. There are 3 easy ways to sign up. You can click the "Join My Mailing List" button at the bottom of each page on this web site. You can go to my Facebook business page here and look under the "Apps" section for the "Join My List" toggle. You can click the button and fill out the form, feel free to give my page a like while you are there. The third way to join is to text irishflies one word, all lower case, no spaces to 22828. After you receive a message from me you can put your email in and you are all set.
You will receive a nominal amount of mail from me. This is not an attempt to spam your inbox, you will not see 10 things a day from me, I promise. What you will see is all the news and information about the things I am working on.
So if you are interested in taking a class, seeing a presentation or just want to keep up with news and events please feel free to sign up. As always your support is greatly appreciated. Till next time...