June 2007 Report

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June 28 - Update - Flow Plan - Low Water - High Heat - Lehigh Coldwater Fishery Alliance

Well, the agencies did the right thing. They stuck to the Lehigh Flow Plan and did not waver. We know that quite a few of you sent a note to the powers that be, stressing the importance of adhering to the Plan, and we thank you for that! You know, sometimes the power of the pen or PC does work.

Now, lets turn to the fishing...or should we say, lack there of! Not too much going currently due to this oppressive heat, lack of water and otherwise busy schedule. Maybe this weekend we can get out, as we have some trips on the books.

Speaking of fishing during the dog days, FFPA cannot stress enough the importance of taking the water temp when fishing for coldwater species. Take fore instance Valley Creek - a true gem of a water...sure, there are plenty of wilds in there, Class A pops, and they usually fair just fine all summer long. But you better believe they do get stressed and it will not take much to put them over the edge. It would be a real shame and unsportsmanlike, if after so much hard work by thousands of individuals, that just a few anglers could really take a toll on a stretch. However, if you are really jonesin, and looking for coldwater, check out the Pohopoco, or take a ride up to the West Branch of the D, where it looks like there will be steady coldwater releases for the foreseeable future. Both of these streams have mid-afternoon sulphur hatches, if that is your thing.

Finally, we ask all of our readers to check out the Lehigh Coldwater Fishery Alliance site for some really BIG NEWS! After many years of behinds the scenes work, and many hours put into parnership building, the first phase of turning the downstream Lehigh into a true tailwater trout fishery has begun. Check it out.

June 20 - Lehigh Update

Lake level for Francis E Walter is sitting at about 1,360' above sea level. The depth at this elevation is 110'. According to the 2007 Flow Management Plan ( - right click, save target as) the lake is to stay above 1,360' until July 1. Frankly, this is the ONLY RESTRICTION the PFBC put on the 2007 Flow Plan and is nothing new, since this stipulation has been in place for the last three Plans. The reason for this restriction is to protect the precious little amount of coldwater stored at the bottom of the lake, and is to also protect in-lake warm and cool water species spawning. If the lake drops below 1,360' the eggs could be left high and dry, and the depletion of the cold water would be greatly accelerated. However, there is a fly in the ointment. This weekend is a scheduled whitewater weekend. Most definitely, barring significant rains tonight and/or Wednesday (there are storms around - a radar pic is posted below) a double-shot of whitewater on both Saturday and Sunday would take the lake below the 1,360' threshold. You better believe that Fly Fish PA will be following the final verdict on the upcoming weekend's release very closely - and we urge all anglers and Lehigh angler specifically to do the same. A Plan needs to be adhered to or it and all the parties that agreed to it loose considerable credibility.

June 18 - Mulberries = Catties and Carp!

With all the low water we've had to cancel our latest Lehigh float trips. It remains to be seen when we might get back on this water. The flipside is with the cancellations we've had some free time to try for some of the 'other' fly caught species. The plan was to poke around in the lo-light for some largemouth, then target the mulberry trees for carp and cats. Quickly we launched the yaks, and were on the water at 0530. We worked one bank and it was obvious the bass were not it eat mode. No hits, or swirls. Now it was off to the mulberry hot-zones. First location, and we were on. A couple cast and that all-important 'plop'-sound, and we had lips. Solid carp - about 5#s on the boga. Soon thereafter we got a channel on a submerged mulberry imitation. High sun then shut things down. Not a bad way to spend a dog-day summer morning.

3.5# channel. And remember to wear those PFDs!


June 13 - The Vineyard!

In order for the fly angler to get your vehicle onto the Vineyard you must be one dedicated fisherman. The travel and logistics never gets easier. The drive to Woods Hole is always hell, but in the end, MV is always worth it. The fishing this year, was very similar to last year...with hardly a blue to be found, and the largest bass taping out to just shy of 30". You know, you can tell pretty quick what the fishing might be like, once you adjust to 'Island Time' and get dialed in to all the usual spots. This year, for the second the second year in a row our first spot we always try turned up no blues. None of the fly, and none on the irresistible bluefish bait - the Ballistic Missile. If this location produces blues, then it is time to get the wire handy for the remainder of the trip. The next spot we hit once we round the point on Chappaquiddick gives us a good idea of the sandeel population hanging on the outer beaches. This year they were there.... this is a good sign!! Nighttime and the presence of micro sandeels in the shallows can make for some pretty sick nights. We've experienced this in the past, but for some reason, the nights just did not produce like they should. The daytime hours definitely out-produced with bass being found along beaches, in the ponds as well as the deeper channels. In fact the ponds were loaded with baitfish. We got fish on all the usual patterns - specifically clousers, deceivers and bunnies. At night when we did find the fish, black patterns produced. One frustrating night had us flailing away at a large school of slapping stripers. They were most likely eating sandeels.... but we could not fool them. We never did make it over to the new cut at Norton Point. The word is you have to stay out of the water. It is a death trap with all the migrating sand. Great trip as always! Everyone got into good numbers of fish.

We are booked this weekend with a couple of Lehigh float, however these are now pending due to lack of water. Last weekend the Corps only ran water for one whitewater release. And it was a cut-back release at that. The Sunday release was cancelled. We are in wait and see mode right now.

Word is the river is still fishing well with good water temps. The olives are still hatching in great numbers, and with the low water, you can bet the fish are looking up. If you are looking for good dry fly action, on big water, hit the Lehigh now in the lo-light hours.

June 6 - Tully Report

The other day Dean was able to get in some quality time with his dad as the two of them hit the Tully. According to their feed back the Tully is fishing pretty well right now, with lots of fish coming to hand. Pasted below is a copy of an email (edited for content) Dean sent to Mike Kauffman, the Area 6 Fisheries Manager. By the way Mr. Kauffman is looking for feedback on the current state of the Tulpehocken tailwater fishery. Take a bit of time, and shoot him your thoughts if you fish the Tully regularly.

"Dear Mike...fished for about 2.5-3hrs in the Rt. 222 Bridge stretch. I would classify the fishing as very good. I lost count of the number caught and released (as in my net/hand) at around 15. And probably finished with 20 or so for the morning. Also many more fish that were hooked got off (6-10 fish??). The majority of fish caught were rainbows. 4 or 5 were browns. Size ranged from 10"-16". All appeared to be in great health. The rainbows had good color. Based on fin deformities, I would guess half the fish landed were stocked either this spring or last year. The other half may have been grown up fingerlings, moreso with the rainbows. It appeared all the browns were stocked either this spring or last year. Some fish fought better than others. The quality of fishing in my opinion (from 1-10) was around a 7 or 8. I base that scale on numbers of fish, size, effort required to catch fish, condition of fish, and fight ability..."

Hook: TMC - 2487 - 12-16
Bead: Gold or Copper - 3/32
Thread: 8/0 - Brown or Olive
Body/Exterior Rib: Clear V-rib
(small or micro)
Rib: Gold or Copper fine wire
Counter-Shade: Pheasant Tail
Belly Color: Olive or Tan Dubbing
Throat: Pheasant Tail
Top Wing: Partridge
Accent: Lemon Wood Duck
Head: Brown or Tan Dubbing

The fly show above is a very effective caddis pupa pattern. This pattern or a Lafontaine Sparkle Pupa can really hammer the fish in the Tully when the caddis are about, bit there are not risers. If fish are taking the emerger (splashy rise form), try the Lafontaine Emergent Sparkle Pupa.

Please note...Due to the annual MV trip - - web reports/updates will be on hold for at least a week. So see ya next week!

June 4 - Lehigh River Report - Float

Over the last few days we were able to dodge the tropical-like downpours - lightning bolts and hit-up the Lehigh via drift boat. Late last week Dean had out Tom and Bob for an evening session - - - here is what Dean had to say.... Tom is an accomplished fly fisherman and Bob is just breaking ground into the addiction of fly fishing. After a quick lesson for Bob we got into some nice dry fly action. Olives hatched very heavy up to about 8pm - then some sulphurs popped till dark. Tom landed a nice bow and had many opportunities but just couldn't drive the hook home. Bob got some nice chances as well and now has a taste as to what dry fly fishing is all about. Was nice to have these two anglers in the boat as there was plenty of banter back and forth. Water temps are getting warm, we sure could use some rain and a cool-down from the 90f air temps. But after all, water temps could be a lot worse if we didn't have 57f deg water being discharged from the FEW.

Over the weekend Jake had out Greg and Joe from good 'ole DelCo. These guys are repeat clients of ours and on this particular outing they saw the potential the Lehigh has. After a slow start to the afternoon, the olives turned on right at 6pm, and from there on out is was blanket bugs - olives - 14-16s. Toward the end of the float, there were some sulphurs, but by far the bug of choice was the olive. At one point the numbers of naturals on the water was truly amazing. We fooled the fish on adams, red-brown spinners and an olivish/orange sulphur pattern. All patterns were tied parachute style. Gotta love the way they ride, with a big tuff of white antron that sticks out like a sore thumb. We also did observe some fish feeding in a thrashing style. These fish had to be taking the emergers - and were way tough to fool. We also came across some cruising trout. They would work their way upstream, then slide back, and do it all over again - just vacuming the surface. When all was said and done the crew must have landed about 6-8 rainbows, and had many more slap their flies. Throw in a few LDRs as well. We had fish rising everywhere. Most fish were in the 12-14" range, with some larger ones that went unlanded. We had one either wild or fingerling brown. Pic attached.

This will be the last Lehigh report for as bit, as there is a whitewater release next weekend, and our annual Vineyard trip is this coming week. Time permitting, there might be a Tully post in a day or two. Enjoy the rain and coolness from Barry, we deserve it!

June 2 - Update - Flows...and temps.

Lordville on the Upper D exceeding 23C ...and Easton on the LR barely touching 23C. Wow! We are talking early-June and the Upper D is baking!!

June 1 - Lehigh River Report - Bowmanstown to Walnutport

We had an all day float a few days ago...overall the fishing was very was very slow and sporadic, but what else do you expect during high sun and HOT air temps pushing 90 degrees. During the day we had some sulphurs, small caddis and a few left over March browns. Not many rises if any seen. A few fish taken on nymphs and wet flies. After the sun went down the olives (14-16) really began to hatch and the fish started to rise. The sulphur hatch never materialized which was dissapointing. A handfull of trout to the net with the biggest going a good 17 inches.

We need a good soaking rain, not this torrential downpour stuff. Look for more reports over the weekend.

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.