May 2007 Report

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2003-2007 Reports
^^Please check out our archives^^

Be sure to mark your calendar for these FFPA '07 trips:
Penns Creek - May 5-6

Of course we always have our Business Person's Specials and Evening Floats on the Lehigh

Be sure to check out our Penns Overnight!


Open Lehigh dates are slim to none at this point. We've had considerable interest and bookings came in quickly. You can email and we will do our best to accommodate.

May 30 - West Branch Delaware

The holiday weekend took one half of FFPA to the Upper Delaware. With the main stem being too warm, the West Branch was the river of choice. All in all the fishing was not too bad. You certainly had to work for the fish in the mid-day hours, but if you really worked the deeper runs and slots, there were fish eager to pounce on a fly. Water temps never got much higher than 64f - even in the heat of the day - and boy was it hot! Water temp was measured just downstream of Balls Eddy. It is a shame more water is not being released, but it is what it is.

Over the course of two-days of fishing, four flies produced fish - and in fact these are the only four flies used the entire weekend. Underneath, our march brown imitation worked, along with a 16-18 flashback pheasant tail which was overly effective. The fish pic'ed to the right absolutely smoked a FBPT. The indicator lurched upstream, signaling the take and after that, it was off to the races! First it was upstream, through the current, than in an instant, it was racing downstream like a torpedo! This thing was pissed! Finally I was able to beach it. On top, the go-to flies were either a red-brown - size 12 and a sulphur - size 16. Both of these patterns were tied parachute. style.

Throughout the day there was a steady trickle of march browns and grey fox - but nothing was really looking up in the bright sun conditions. The low-light really brought out the sulphurs, however the majority of the rising fish looked to be chasing the emergers. Even with this being the case, the red-brown fooled a few during the hatch, and even more once the sun went down. The fish must have then switched to the spinners that were on the water.

We will have a Lehigh report later in the week. Until then, send good vibes to the rain gods!

21" brown that ate a flashback pheasant tail.

May 25 - Update

Enjoy the long weekend and holiday. We look to hit the Lehigh and possibly the Upper D - water/weather pending - look for some feedback early next week. Hope you can get out and wet a line!

Happy Memorial Day!

May 24 - Update

On our most recent trips to some of our larger trout waters - - we've been having a lot of success with large - #8-12 hares ear style wetflies. Our version we call the Maddie Wet. All this pattern consists of is essentially a lot of hares ear dubbing - the buggier the better. Partridge for the collar, along with a gold rib. Make sure there is some lead wrapped in - a dozen wraps will work. You can whip these up in no time. Give it a shot! Great early-season emerging mayfly pattern.

Salt hook-up from this past weekend.
Bass and blues are around for the motivated shorebound angler.

Maddie Wet

Hook: 8-14
Thread: Olive or Green 6/0
Tail: Pheasant Tail
Rib: Gold Wire
Body: Hares Ear Dubbing
Collar: Partridge

May 21 - Lehigh Report - Lehighton to Bowmanstown

Over the weekend we had out Ralph and Bob from the Lancaster area. Both are extremely accomplished anglers. Once we went through the basics of drift boat fishing and how to fish the bugger and wet combo - Lehigh style - we immediately began to get some swipes. Even though we had quite a few bugs - caddis, sulphurs, olives and march browns - we had to resort to heavily weighted buggers w/ shot and/or sinking lines, along with a march brown wet trailer. Both of these flies produced...but the bugger produced big time - with Ralph landing a legit 18" bow.

By far the most productive means of fishing was to anchor up and really work the water with the set-up mentioned above. You had to cast far, throw a big mend to get the fly down, and work it with some action. The coldwater-low-to-mid-50s - is probably the reason for the mainly subsurface affair to this date. Our experience shows that the Lehigh needs to consistently hit and hang it low-60F range for trout to really look up with any sense of regularity. So far it has not done this. Not to mention having rise friendly flows - which today we just barely had.

Ralph with his beauty of a rainbow. He played it to perfection!!
Besides this fish, each angler had a few other bows and mised a
couple of others - - not to mention some follows.
Water was clear - good for visuals.
One other item....and this is kinda BS - the Corps upped the release from Walter on Friday afternoon to close to 200cfs above inflow. Technically outflow should equal inflow at this time of year when the lake is already at 1,365', and we are not having a whitewater event. This past weekend was not a whitewater weekend and 315cfs was coming into the lake and more than 515cfs was being released. All anglers should really let the Corps and PFBC know that this type of 'whitewater' release is not good stakeholder management and it goes against their published rule-curve! of Wednesday of this past week - the release was projected to be 200-300cfs for the weekend, then between 1-2pm (a reader let us know the time since he was on the water and caught in the sudden rise!) Friday, the water got raised to 519cfs - and on Sat pm it goes back to where it was on Friday before the bump. Hmmmm.......

May 17 - Lehigh Report

Just a few days ago, Dean got a free pass from his daytime gig (Synergy Environmental Inc.) to guide/entertain a couple of clients on the Lehigh. This is what he had to say....Thankfully it was probably one of the nicest days we've had this spring to be on the river - good flows, clean water, blue skies and comfrtable air temps...but the “catching” flat-out sucked. There were hardly any bugs hatching (well, actually there were some caddis and march browns), but hardly anything rose (saw 5 fish rise all day), and even nothing was interested in taking a subsurface presentation. It was probably the slowest day we've experienced on the river in a LONG time. It's too bad because the anglers in the boat were very experienced. One was a local BucksCo angler and the other was from Wyoming who just happens to call the N. Platte his home water. It is really a bummer the Lehigh couldn’t give him a good time. The fishing was great, but the catching “blew” harder than the wind. Just two smallmouth to the boat and a handful of trout rolled - otherwise that was it….UGGGGHHHHHHH!!

We'll be on the river again in the next few days. Look for some feedback early next week.

May 14 - Tully Report

Over the weekend we had out Dean and Rick for a half-day Tully sesh. Neither of them had ever done any fly fishing before - 100% beginners. With this being the case, we began the day in a nicely shaded streamside area where we worked on the basics to the fly cast along with all the other pieces to the fly fishing puzzle - bugs, flies, rigging, and reading the water. These guys were quick it did not take long for all to feel comfortable enough to gear up - and start flailing away. know what I mean.

The first piece of water we focused on was a nice long riff. The caddis were beginning to pop here and there, but did not get to decent numbers until 10-11am. A quick inspection of the rocks and crash-course in entomology showed plenty of brite green caddis worms - so that is one of the flies we rigged up with. For the first hour or so, we had nothing to show for it, except for one small brownie - which had a nicely colored adipose fin. Most likely a holdover fingerling. With there appearing to be a lack of fish at this location - we decided to relocate downstream a bit. Boy, did this move pay off! Caddis worms, Ultimates and flashback pheasant tails with a bit of shot did the trick. These guys really got into them good. Decent drifts and good line control was the key to success. If you could get the fly into the strike zone - you got bit. It is nice when it works that way. Best fish of the day went about 17" - rainbow, that jumped three times. What a great morning on the water.

Special thanks goes to the crew at the Sporting Gentleman for supplying the loaner waders.

Dean with one of his landed brownies. Rick is pic'ed to the left with one of his browns. This fish was fat!

The Ultimate

May 11, 2007 - Tully Report

A short evening stint on the Tully produced just one fish! Boy was it slow! Bugwise...the sulphurs have begun - big ones - which I guess is good. There was some caddis about...which should also be good...right? Thing just felt like the fish were not there. Nothing was moving about. Mind you...this was down in the open water. Who knows...fished out? Can't be. Very strange. The other thing that was quite evident was the amount of brown slime on the stream bottom. We ain't even into the heat of the summer yet and their is some sort of algae everywhere. This can't bode well for the health of the trout fishery. It is safe to say the quality of the water being discharged from Blue Marsh needs to be drastically improved in order for this fishery to turn the corner.

Whitewater release this weekend on the Lehigh.

May 9, 2007 - Lehigh Update

May 12 &13
May 26 & 27
Aug 4 & 5
Aug 18 & 19
July 7 & 8
July 21 & 22
Aug 4 & 5
Aug 18 & 19
Sep 1 & 2
Sep 15 & 16
Sep 29 & 30

Oct 13 &14*
* If sufficient storage remains

It is that time of year where the every-other-weekend Lehigh releases start to kick in. We've found that the fish really go off the feed during the 12 hours of higher water, but they do seem to snap out of it rather quickly once the water subsides. With this being the might look to hit the upper river water - near the dam - shortly after the water is cut off. Fortunately the Corps' dam tenders run the water from midnight to noon....this allows us to fish the evening rise. Depending on if we get any wet weather, the cut-back release this weekend may very well be fishable for the wade angler. We are getting to that point where the Lehigh really begins to shine. Once that water ticks 60F - watch out!

Chaos on the Lehigh from last summer.

May 8, 2007 - Penns Report

PA, NY, VA, CA...those were the states represented at our Penns Weekend. Yup, that is right - CA!! Eric came in from CA, then there was John, Becky, Don from PA, Larry from NY and Mike from VA. It really was our pleasure to show off what Penns has to offer. While Penns did produce, it was not easy. Bright sun and higher flows caused the group to really have to pound the water in order to get results.

You know the plan by now...get up early and hit the water not too much after first light. With no risers feeding on the leftover spinners from the night before we rigged-up our clients with a pair of nymphs and hi-sticked our way up through some of our favorite runs and pocket water. Weight was mandatory - lots of it. Patterns that produced - our march brown nymph, caddis pupa, pheasant tail, and the good 'ole march brown wet. Prior to the sun getting above the ridgeline the group got into a handful of fish each day...after that, as the sun got higher, the fishing slowed considerably. However, even in the low light nymph session, the fishing was labor intensive and the action was kinda slow. Each group of three covered a ton of water, and really gave their wading staffs a workout!

After we loaded up our stomachs with some of Union County's finest, it was back to the water in hopes of some dry fly action. As soon as we got to our pool of choice we found fish rising along the far bank - well inside of the shade line, and requiring long casts. Normally as the shade moves its way across stream the fish follow suit. This did not happen to the degree it normally does. Lack of bugs might have been the reason. The spinners never did appear in big numbers...or at least they did not hit the water till very late. It was not until our way out that all of a sudden the water came alive. The hendrickson spinners had hit the water. Spent wings and parachutes did a good job imitating the spinners. Besides the hendrickson spinners, we had some MB duns and some grey fox here and there. The grannoms are still around and exited the trees once the sun sufficiently warmed them up. Black caddis and some tan caddis were also present.

Great weekend with a great group!

Don with a nice brown caught off the surface.


May 4, 2007 - Update - Penns

We've got our annual Penns trip this weekend. It will be interesting to see what the stream throws our way as each year is always different. Just two days ago, the Penns Valley got hammered with some very heavy rain - the word is the stream muddied up big time. For years Penns has had the reputation of becoming off-color with the lightest of showers. You can check out the spike from this most recent rainfall on the chart at right. Look for a report on the flipside.