November 26,1999: Joe King and I ventured
to Clarks Creek northeast of Harrisburg. It was a cool, rainy day. There were no other
fishermen in the lot nor that we could see onstream. The water was gin clear and low but
the trout were hungry. Small egg patterns on a size 20 hook or an occasional Royal Wulff
did the trick. We fished both the riffles and pools with a little weight and a strike
indicator. The trout pounced on it, at least those we could find. They were definitely
spread out. We ended up with 23 between the two of us. Most were about 11-12 inches
although I rolled a big 16 inch fish in a fast riffle. A few were wild brookies. It was
dark under the hemlock canopy and seeing fish was a challenge. All in all it was a good
November 1-November 7: Just got back from
South Andros Island in the Bahamas where I spent a week fishing (or trying to) for
bonefish. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate. It was windy, the sky was overcast
most of the time and it rained on and off for six days. In the few instances where the sun
broke through, I had a chance to cast to a few fish and managed to hook and release only
one: A beautiful four pound bonefish who made three long runs well into my backing.
Still, it was a most memorable and satisfying
experience. A magnificent pristine environment, the most friendly people on earth and a
fantastic group of old and new friends. I'm already making plans to go back in the spring.
October 27-November 2: It was a
tough job but someone had to do it. I just returned from fishing the San Juan River in
northwestern New Mexico for six days. The Juan is full of big 18-22" rainbows that
readily take nymphs and dry flies. Although, the Juan is known for its nymph fishing using
San Juan Worms and small (#26) midge pupae patterns, dry fly fishing was especially fun
and challenging. I would nymph for the first few hours and then around 1030 AM I would
switch over to dries and go hunting for heads.
The fly of choice was a #24 Brooks Sprout, a
small midge pattern tied as a parachute on a grub hook with foam body as the post. It was
deadly. On each of two memorable evenings, I landed at least a dozen bows and lost again
as many. These fish are strong and like to jump so it was a challenge keeping them hooked
up. More often than not they threw the fly or broke off as they smoked my reel. The San
Juan is located about an hour south of Durango, CO and 3 1/2 hours from Alburquerque in
high desert. If you go with a buddy a full week of fishing will cost you a tad over a
October 17: I travelled up to Allentown
today to fish the Little Lehigh below the Queen City Fish Hatchery. The fall colors were
absolutely beautiful and surprisingly there was only a handful of fishermen. It looks like
the brown trout are getting ready to spawn as they were starting to build their redds and
challenging each other for the prime locations. I didn't see too many brook trout yet.
They may come a little later. Fishing was good and I managed to land about a dozen and a
half assorted trout. I caught most of them sight fishing on micro-egg patterns and a few
on San Juan worms. None of the fish were of any size, the biggest being 14". I am
always amazed by these trout and how quickly they can suck in and spit out a fly. The
fishermen using strike indicators were not having a whole lot of luck and I can see why.
No time to react. It looks like a lot of the big fish which usually hang out in the
Hatchery Pool have moved on to other areas. The fall colors should be at their peak this
week so if you get a chance try the Little Lehigh.
October 12, 1999: What happened to
the great drought of 1999? This past Columbus Day week-end, I fished the Beaverkill,
Willowemoc and main stem of the upper Delaware and the water level was one of the highest
I'd ever seen. I'm sure the torrential rain we had on Saturday and Sunday didn't help
matters. Needless to say, the fish were not cooperating, so I shifted gear and headed to
Hancock to try the West Branch of the Delaware. The water level here, which is controlled
by a dam a few miles above town, was lower than normal but still good enough to yield a
half dozen trout.
October 9, 1999: Flows in
the Gunpowder River in Maryland coming out of Prettyboy Reservoir were still at the
contract minimum of 12.5 CFS. As a result, our first fall trip was cancelled and the trout
were spared a thrashing.
By the way, TU's Trout magazine had a big
write up on the Gunpowder. It will also be featured later in October on TU's ESPN series.
Watch for it.
October 4, 1999: French Creek's Delayed
Harvest Area received its fall stocking of trout thanks to members Jim Younker, Shel
Toombs and Joe Vasile who manned the float box and distributed 300 PFBC hatchery trout
throughout the stretch. It is doubtful that any holdover trout made it through the hot
summer or Hurricane Floyd. This is all the trout we will get from the PFBC until March,
2000. Enjoy the fishing everyone!
October 2, 1999: It wasn't easy
but our eight man stream improvement crew led by Larry Heimes was finally able to install
two log and rock deflectors upstream of the top wire of the Delayed Harvest Area. Two more
are planned for next year. Thanks go to Brendan Lee, Jerry Knepp, Ted Nawalinski, Lance
Morien, Jack Claypotch, Bob Molzahn, and Shel Toombs for turning out and, through a lot of
hard work and sweat, making this project a reality.
September 26, 1999: I stopped down at Sheeder Mill
Bridge on French Creek for the first time since the flood waters had receded from Floyd
and checked out the damage on the rock wing dam we installed under the bridge last year.
The flood was not kind to it as it peeled the front five feet of rock back and moved the
large apex rocks about fifteen feet downstream.
The good news was that our bank stabilization
project held up pretty well. A big concern, however, are the the quantities of sand that
were deposited in the slower waters. Where there was rock bottom now there is sand. Where
there was sand, now there is deep sand. If the flood didn't scour the bottom of insect
life then the sand certainly will suffocate whatever is left. I hate to be a pessimist,
but this storm was not good for the stream or our friends who live along it. I guess only
time will tell.
On a positive note, I did observe a minor trico
hatch (it could have been Caenis sp.) at about 10:30 AM at the bridge. At least something