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SofthackleSeptember 24th, 2007, 8:02 am
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Hi Everyone,
I've noticed a large gap (slow period) in many of the forums I post to. Does this gap indicate inactivity with your fly fishing? I know things slow down in the fall, and many fishermen are preparing for other things like hunting. I'm wondering if the slow down means you are not fishing as much.

Myself, I'm always thinking about fly fishing and fly tying. I do some hunting in the fall, but I'm always thinking about fly fishing. Unfortunately my pocketbook does not afford me as many opportunities as I would like to take advantage of such as attending tying shows, fly fishing get-togethers, etc. I'm kind of in limbo regarding these things.

So, tell me what you all are doing, planning, anticipating.

"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders:
GeneSeptember 24th, 2007, 9:48 am
Posts: 107Softhackle:

I've found similar results. Statistically from my websites and others an analysis shows that on most sites there is a lull period from sometime in July to almost November. Then it picks up again during the winter months. I've always wondered if this isn't due to a couple of reasons. Most fly fishing for trout happens till the end of June in many areas then streams often get too warm and/or too low. And also in the winter time fly anglers start to get their fly tying stuff out and place orders to start tying. But your observation is a good one.

tight lines and big trout

McjamesSeptember 24th, 2007, 10:19 am
Cortland Manor, NY

Posts: 139
as a guy with a family I can tell you that fishing and fishing related activity slows for me around August /September what with vacation, back to school, etc. But I would like to fish right through the winter this year. Anybody done much winter trout fishing in NY/PA? Is it more harmful to trout populations to be fishing in what are probably already stressful conditions?
I am haunted by waters
SofthackleSeptember 24th, 2007, 1:19 pm
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Hi Mcjames,
I'm not sure about PA, but in NY, most streams are closed down during fall and winter to trout fishing. There are some places that remain open all the time. My home river, the Genesee is one such river. Generally, most streams close to trout fishing in NY on Oct.15. It use to be Sept. 30, but they changed this a few years back. Opening day is officially April 1.I suggest you check the NY State fishing guide to find out what is open. I do know there are some streams open to brown trout fishing and steelhead in the winter months.

Because my home river is open, it may be why I am constantly thinking of fly fishing. It's always right there.

"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders:
CaseyPSeptember 24th, 2007, 3:41 pm
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
in PA, generally c&r fly anglers can go just about anywhere to fish all fall and winter. when the "January thaw" hit the ski slopes very badly last winter, fishing saved a lot of us from eating our young.

however, when the stream is a wild trout stream, those who love the sport stay completely out of the water Oct. and Nov. so as not to damage the redds and their contents.

there's plenty of stocked water with some dandy holdovers, though--and nothing beats that autumn light slanting through the trees as the foliage drops and winter comes. the whole world turns yellow. please, dear Lord, send us some rain so we can go out again!
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
GrannomSeptember 24th, 2007, 3:49 pm
Northwest PA

Posts: 87
Late Summer and Early Fall is when I really kick into fly fishing mode. Steelhead fishing is my favorite type of fly fishing and this about when they start running. I was out last weekend and saw a few steelhead, but the water was low and clear...needless to say I didn't catch any. So, yes in respects to trout fishing, things do seem to slow down, but if you look at a steelhead forum, this is when it starts heating up. I also like winter because around January I usually make a trip south to the Keys or something. I'd say it depends on who you're talking to.

"Be calm - you're there..." "...Tell yourself there's no rush, even if there is."

-John Gierach
SofthackleSeptember 24th, 2007, 4:07 pm
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
We need rain, too. My river is low, but if you know where to go, it's fishable. We do need some fall temps, too. Sunny days with temps in the high 70's to mid 80s is fair, but the water warms up.

"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders:
GeneSeptember 24th, 2007, 9:40 pm
Posts: 107Softhackle and fellow anglers:

The Pennsylvania spring creeks are open to fishing all year. It's catch and release on these waters. The fall and even the winter is a great time to fish. The streams with a constant water temps in the 46-50 range will allow you to engage feeding trout all year.

The fishing is never easy but the fish are there and the skilled fly angler can have a most enjoyable time.

tight lines and rising trout on crisp fall days


Then leapt a trout. In lazy mood
I watchd the little circles die;
They past into the level flood,
And there a vision caught my eye;
The reflex of a beauteous form,
A glowing arm, a gleaming neck,
As when a sunbeam wavers warm
Within the dark and dimpled beck.

Lord Tennyson
MartinlfSeptember 25th, 2007, 5:24 am
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3211
Mark tried the Isos this weekend, with the best success on--you guessed it, soft hackles!! Didn't slay them, but caught a few.

Thanks for the tip Gene, and for the neat Tennyson poem. What is the title of the work; I've never run across it?
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
SofthackleSeptember 25th, 2007, 6:50 am
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Glad you picked up a few. We are looking at some rain in our forecast for the week. Hopefully, I'll be out again, soon.

"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders:
LamSeptember 25th, 2007, 1:43 pm
Lancaster, PA

Posts: 81
"The Pennsylvania spring creeks are open to fishing all year."

Why just spring creeks?

It used to be that "approved trout waters" (essentially any stream that is stocked) is open exept for late march to mid April (the traditional 1st day of trout season). Other "special regulations" (c&r only, delayed harvest, trophy waters, etc.) waters were also open all year.

The PA Fish Commission used to say something like all approved trout waters and anything down stream... Does that mean ALL tributaries to a stocked stream are open as well?

I find it confusing so I stick mostly to the c&r waters.
Shawnny3September 25th, 2007, 2:21 pm
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
I seem to remember another thread with a discussion of winter fishing and its possible effects on fish, but I can't find it right now. Maybe someone else remembers it better than I do and can reference it here for those interested.

Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
JOHNWSeptember 25th, 2007, 2:47 pm
Chambersburg, PA

Posts: 452
I think Gene is referring to consistent fishability as opposed to open by regulation. Yes PA's extended season runs right up until about March 1. However in the dead of winter many of the free stoners can and do freeze up. The limestoners have no such issues and with slightly warmer water temps the trout are relatively more active meaning you actually have a chance at getting them to eat something.

The really confusing part comes into play with Class A trout streams which go into a "no harm" regulation and that is subjective from one WCO/Deputy WCO to another. For the most part catch and immeadiate release is accepted unless the officer wants to be hard assed about it.

As for the original question usually a decrease in my BB participation indicates an increase in my fishing activity.
And as for winter fishing I love it any day where the temp is approaching or exceeding 32* will have me itching to fish. I have even been known to fish in air temps that maxed out in the teens forcing me to chip ice from the tip top every 3rd or 4th cast.
"old habits are hard to kill once you have gray in your beard" -Old Red Barn
Shawnny3September 25th, 2007, 5:15 pm
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
And as for winter fishing I love it any day where the temp is approaching or exceeding 32* will have me itching to fish. I have even been known to fish in air temps that maxed out in the teens forcing me to chip ice from the tip top every 3rd or 4th cast.

Maybe I'm just masochistic, but I love that kind of day, too. I do more fishing in January than I do in May. I love avoiding the crowds and, as a former hockey player, the freezing cold brings out a certain vigor in my spirit. And it gets a lot warmer when you get a few fish on, doesn't it, John?

Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
GeneSeptember 25th, 2007, 9:03 pm
Posts: 107Gentlemen:

I am referring to Big Spring, Falling Spring, the Letort, Green Spring and even part of the Breeches as well as the spring creeks near State College.

I usually don't waste my time on "freestone streams" in the winter except for a couple of private stretches. The other streams may be open and some depending upon the interpretation of the laws are also open but I prefer these streams with the consistent water temps of 46-50 f. The fish feed all of the time in these streams and you can get a Baetis hatch or midge hatches almost everyday on some sections of these streams.

The other factor is that these streams have a lot of fish in them compared to lesser waters and the some of the fish are very large. If you are going suffer the indignities of the weather you might as well fish for some lunkers. Also, on these streams you usually don't need to wade which keeps you a bit warmer.

In the freestone streams the fish feed less because they don't need to feed much in the cold water often in the 30's. The fish in spring creeks are use to the 46-50 degree water and feed constantly.

The other constant is that you'll find trout and often large trout on feeding stations in spring creeks that you won't find in the freestone streams. You can actually get these trout to rise in the winter even if there is nothing coming off!

There is one major exception to this and that is Yellow Creek in Bedford County. In the fly zone the fish tend to rise even in the winter on this stream for Baetis.... You can usually find rising trout on this stream all winter. I know guys that fish this stream with a little Pheasant Tail nymph or Baetis nymph and just clean up all winter.

tight lines and bent rods

SofthackleSeptember 26th, 2007, 5:18 am
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
From the posts, here, it looks as if many of you are just as "hooked" as I am. It also sounds as if PA just might offer some better "off-season" opportunities for trout fishing than NY. I consider steelheading and fall brown trouting a bit different than regular fly fishing for trout. For sure, all winter trout fishing IS different.

While I don't fish much in the winter, or at least haven't up till now, I do like the cooler months more.

Great posts, everyone.

"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders:
TrevorCSeptember 26th, 2007, 7:31 am
Interlochen, Michigan

Posts: 20
Fall/winter for me means "lots to do", with the deer bow hunting season opener on Oct. 1st, small game season opened Sept. 15th, the salmon from the great lakes are running rampid in the rivers, and the lake run browns are starting to spawn.

Winter trout fishing is different for me, and hopefully people on this forum don't look down on me for using a different method of fishing for steelhead in the winter time -other then fly fishing-.

For me winter time steelhead fishing is my favorite time of year. I start preparing for winter steelhead by making and designing my own jigs. Yes, I use the "jig and wig" method in the winter time. I find it very rewarding. I use molds to create the tinest jigs, of all shapes and sizes. I take the jigs and paint base coats. Next I use glow in the dark paints of all colors and design many different jigs. I add details to the jigs after the glow paint (hairs, stripes, dots, scales, etc.) They really don't represent any bug that I know of. I get creative though, adding and tying on wings, legs, painting eye balls that glow different colors.

My best winter steelhead/trout fishing usually starts a week before Christmas, as I am usually fishing Christmas eve while my wife is doing some last minute wrapping and shopping. I prefer evenings and early mornings right before sunrise.

I use a camera flasher to activate the glow paint on my tiny little bug jigs, and tip the jigs with a small wax worm or larva, or a wiggler. I fish approximately 1' to 2' off from the bottom casting the jig into the current on the edge of fish holding areas using a weighted bobber that I also make myself.

It's not fly fishing, but for me, I find catching a 8 lb. steelhead on 4 lb. test on rigs that I make myself very enjoyable. Not to mention the scenery and pristine conditions of not having a soul around, and the winter wind biting my cheeks.

If anyone is interested, I can provide more info on the jigs, and bobber systems I design, so that you may try the same thing if you desire. (and this "jig and wig" method works for just about every species of fish I have ever caught)- and it does take practice.
I'll see you down on the river...
DavezSeptember 27th, 2007, 5:50 am

Posts: 59
i notice this too... what am I doing? well fall always brings on planning....

we just booked 5 days on the bighorn for august 08. and started making payments on the 2009 trip to chile.

other than that, i pick up mountain biking more in the cooler temps, and fall turkey hunting is coming. dont forget about the grouse.....grouse season is when i find new brookie creeks as well.

but i still fish, just not chase hatches. fall fishing becomes more of an escape to just get out, hang in the woods with a friend or two, and maybe catch a few dumb trout. sometimes taking my drift boat out and streamer fishing the yough can be extremely productive, but that is th eextent of it.

i used to really look forward to fall for steelhead (grew up on lake erie, northeast, pa) but that scene is beat. lost lots of access, and it is unbelieveably crowded. i rarely if ever fish PA steelhead.
i dont get back much, so it aint no thang.

MartinlfSeptember 27th, 2007, 8:23 am
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3211
For you fish poem fans out there (and I know who you are) Gene's quotaton above was from Tennyson's poem, "The Miller's Daughter." It's not primarily about fishing, but the stanza he quoted has close connections to a stanza from Yeats' "Song of the Wandering Aengus" that was my previous signature line.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
JOHNWSeptember 27th, 2007, 1:24 pm
Chambersburg, PA

Posts: 452
When are you hitting the Horn?
I'll be out in the Bob the first week of August looking for West Slopes and Bull's. Definatly not fall or winter fishing though.
"old habits are hard to kill once you have gray in your beard" -Old Red Barn

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