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This discussion is about the Little Juniata River

The Discussion

WbranchMay 22nd, 2009, 7:57 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2733
Deleted post due to perturbed forum member. If you thought I "gave up" some secrets about the Little J you really are sensitive. If I posted the "real story" then you, and everyone else, at this forum would have something to be whining about.

Thought this forum was beyond crap like this but obviously it isn't. If you had felt so "perturbed" why didn't you PM me immediately and mention your concerns to me? I would have respected your comments and either deleted the post or provided less information.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
SlateDrake9May 22nd, 2009, 1:37 pm
Potter County, PA

Posts: 144
Nice report. From my experiences on the Little "J" the high skies and sun is what did you in (like most streams I guess). Catch it on an overcast day and it is a different story. Drizzle even better and one time a couple of years ago in a light fog, well, it was a pretty neat experience.
Fishing with bait is like swearing in church.
-- Slate Drake
RbpcaddisMay 23rd, 2009, 5:39 am
Posts: 5WB So what streamers were you tossing on the LJ?
WbranchMay 23rd, 2009, 9:43 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2733
I'm sorry I can't divulge the type of streamers I used to someone I do not know - after you have at least fifty posts and we've exchanged some pleasantries there would be a better chance of being able to ask me such a personal question.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
RbpcaddisMay 23rd, 2009, 5:55 pm
Posts: 5You know you are right. Let me retract my question. I'll see what works when I go there tomorrow. Usually it's woolybuggers or marabou streamers for me. Glad you enjoyed your trip.
Pdq5ohMay 30th, 2009, 4:18 am

Posts: 10
Wb, now that's too funny. After asking for, and getting lots of info on the Little J, you can't tell someone what streamres you used because of their post count. Am I missing something here?
WbranchMay 30th, 2009, 5:32 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2733

Here is my initial inquiry on the Little J -

"I was thinking of making a multiple day trip to the Little J. I know many of the forum members are quite familar with this water. I've a couple of general questions; are there any bridges, besides the one at Spruce Creek, that cross the river where one can park and access the river? Would someone be willing to give me a couple of access points and is it permissable to park a car there?

Does the Little J get March Browns? Would they still be emerging or are they pretty much over? How about dorothea? Have they begun emerging? Does the river get very much pressure during the week? I was thinking of going out Tuesday and Wednesday. Any motels or B&B's for $70 or less? Thanks in advance."

Do you see the words "General Questions"? I primarily ask about access to the river and legal parking. Then I asked two questions about some mayflies. I didn't ask for any specific pattern recipes for either fly. I didn't ask for pictures of killer flies nor did I ask for guys to divulge their honey holes along the river. I didn't ask where the flies emerged or what sections of the river have the best hatches.

What you are missing is my questions were quite generic in nature and after my trip I provided a trip report with some comments and thanked everyone who provided data. I actually did provide a couple of people who asked a pattern recipe along with a few digital photos of one fly that was particularly effective for me during the trip.

I prefer not to provide fly data to strangers on the Internet or guys who come up to me along the river. Some of my flies are very effective because there aren't 10,000 other guys throwing them on the rivers I fish. Is that being selfish? I don't think so as it took decades to develop them through trial and error and many unproductive trips.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Pdq5ohMay 30th, 2009, 5:48 pm

Posts: 10
I guess I should be more understanding of not wanting to help someone out. Especially someone who may, possibly, have less experience ( not to say that's the case with you, Rbpcaddis) and is looking for some help. When I'm having a good day, I'm happy to tell someone what I'm using. I'll even give them one of my flies if I have extras. That usually precludes the "pleasantries" and doesn't require 50 posts.
WbranchMay 31st, 2009, 12:14 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2733
Have a pleasant and productive season.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
TripleRJune 1st, 2009, 1:54 am
Posts: 1 Being a fly fisher for well over fifty years, I can appreciate both sides of the information sharing arguement. You see, the younger generation has grown up in the information sharing age and believes that the sharing of onfo. is a good thing while back in the old days (while I was growing up and trying to learn to fly fish) secrecy was the most prized possession a fisherman could have. Most of what I learned I learned the hard way, by lots of trial and error as nobody was willing to tell you anything. I think that kind of attitude prevailed due to the fact that back then there was no such thing as catch and release fishing. There weren't nearly as many special regs. waters as ther are today and a caught trout was a dead trout. Therefor, there was much more competition for the few trout that were available and if you had some kind of effective fly pattern or a good fishing hole you kept it to yourself. Litteraly took your knowledge to the grave with you. Also, compared to today there were very few fly fishermen around and you were sharing your waters primarily with bait fishermen.I kind of experienced what Starlight is saying about everybody using a particular fly pattern and the fish getting used to it a few years back when I was asked to share the recipe for my most effective guide fly for a book which was being written at the time and was subsequently published. Up until that time I could take that simple pattern to any stream anywhere in the country and catch all the trout I wanted on it. Today, everyone fishes it and the trout aren't nearly as enamored with it as they once were. On the other hand,it gives me alot of pleasure knowing that through me sharing that pattern in the book, many fisherman have probably had some great days on the water using it that they otherwise wouldn't have if I'd have kept it to myself. One thing I have learned over my many years of fishing is that presentation is usually far more critical than any secret fly pattern. A mediocre fly will catch alot more fish in the hands of an accomplised practioner of fly presentation than the most deadly secret fly will catch in the hands of a mediocre fisherman.
WbranchJune 1st, 2009, 5:39 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2733
TripleR wrote -

"A mediocre fly will catch alot more fish in the hands of an accomplised practioner of fly presentation than the most deadly secret fly will catch in the hands of a mediocre fisherman."

This is such an accurate statement! I've mentioned this on numerous forums and presentation is so much more than just putting the fly over a target. One needs to determine how close they think they can wade to a fish without spooking it to minimize the cast length so it is most easily managed. Are you going to cast upstream?, downstream, from accross the rise? Are you going to use the lightest tippet for the fly size chosen and still be able to land the fish without fighting it to death? Are you able to figure out the little current lines that will create immediate drag?

When I was a kid fishing the Catskill streams I'd take off my waders in the summer when the day got hot and the fishing slowed down and get in my car and drive all over Sullivan and Delaware counties looking for different sections of the rivers and places to park away from other fisherman. It was always exciting to locate a new spot and go there and catch fish. Now younger guys want all this data handed to them gratis. Where is the excitement and fun of finding a new place on your own? Now as soon as a guy can Google "Beaverkill" or whatever he will be inundated with thousands of hits providing all sorts of information. There is even a recent book that not only provides detailed locations of pools and runs but it also provides the GPS coordinates of parking areas. Great way to make our trout streams even more crowded!

Back in the mid 1960's C&R was a novelty and the initial section on the Beaverkill was just one year old in 1965. The fish today are much bigger than they were then. My friend and I were able to catch lots of 10" - 13" browns but very few larger than that. Every season we would get a couple of 14" - 15" browns and get all excited about it! Now due mainly to C&R and more knowledge about how to handle and release hooked trout there are far more larger fish. I no longer fish the BK but visit a forum where guys regularly are catching 16" - 18" browns and a respectable number of 19" - 20" browns.

There was a lot of secrecy present back when I fished the BK from 1965 to the late 1970's. Guys who were catching fish had a code number for the flies that were catching trout. So when one guy called to another and said "What did it take?" his buddy would call out #12, or #6. I was just honing my dry fly skills then and didn't know very much about patterns. This was before the advent of watershed books like "Selective Trout" or "Hatches" which described new patterns and new techniques of tying flies that were so much more effective.

I admit I am cryptic in regard to telling guys what fly I may be using that is catching fish. If a guy asks me I typically will indicate a generic term for the fly. If I'm using a particular caddis I have good success on I'll tell him "I'm using a caddis adult". Or I'll say a Sulphur emerger. Am I going to go up to the guy and open my fly boxes and hand him a bunch of killer patterns? Nope. If I give a guy some info he can select a specific family of flies and try what he has, if it doesn't work he can go buy some or go home and try tying some flies that are more effective. Success is always so much sweeter when you develop the solutions on your own.

Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Shawnny3June 1st, 2009, 5:23 pm
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
This has turned into a productive discussion. I think the posture of the person seeking help factors large in how I approach the situation. If it's obvious the person is just looking to steal some quick information, I do a lot of nodding and smiling and "good luck"ing. But if the person is genuinely interested in talking fishing, admits what they do and don't know, and is open to a little help, I'm more willing with information and flies.

For example, I remember a few years ago meeting a guy on the stream who clearly didn't know what he was doing. Initially, he nearly waded up on me (probably former spin-fishing habit) and I was a little annoyed. But then he watched me quietly for a minute and said, "Hey, I just started doing this, and I don't know the first thing about it. Would you mind giving me a few pointers?" A great opening line that beginners would be wise to memorize. I proceeded to sit down with the guy on the bank for 10 minutes, showing him how to tie a few necessary knots and in the process tying up for him a suitable leader. As we sat, I explained to him the general theory behind nymphing (that fine balance between dead-drifting and line control). We then fished the rest of the run together, after which he said thank you and I said you're welcome and we went our separate ways. It took me a half hour to teach this guy what would have taken him years to learn on his own, and I was happy to do it because of his teachable attitude. Unfortunately, though, people like that are the exception rather than the rule.

Lest this story lead readers to believe I am a fountain of goodwill, though, let me assure you that I tend to be pretty secretive by nature. The irony is that, when Phil questioned Matt's response about his flies, I was thinking similarly but along opposite lines - as someone who fishes the Little J., I was a little perturbed that Matt would post rather detailed stream information about it on a public forum. Now I don't fish it enough to be fiercely protective of "my" spots, and it's a huge stream that isn't really at risk of being overfished because of a few online comments, but in Central PA we see enough pressure, and I always hate to see information shared publicly about its streams. It's a bit of an awkward situation, though, because when people help you out you'd like to let them know how things turned out. But my personal preference would be to keep these kinds of reports to PMs.

Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
WbranchJune 2nd, 2009, 12:36 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2733
Post has been deleted so as not to perturb anyone else.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Shawnny3June 2nd, 2009, 5:20 pm
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Thought about PMing you, Matt - probably would have been a better idea than posting to the board. My apologies if that offended you. Also, sorry if it seemed like I was whining or calling you out. I'm not trying to pick a fight, just saying that if I'd gotten some good info from you on, say, the West Branch, I would be very careful about not posting specific locations publicly. I don't even personally know or fish the stretches you mentioned in your original post (though I would have gladly sent you info about the stretches I do fish had you not already gotten good info from others, just as you've made generous offers to me in the past). So your comments don't affect my personal fishing. I won't presume to make comments on behalf of those who fish those stretches and possibly even told you about them - they can speak for themselves (and maybe more judiciously than I did by using a PM). I was just sharing my own opinions about matters of practice. Others are free to feel differently. I'm not trying to hijack your thread essentially telling people "thank you" for helping you have a good day of fishing on some new water. But I will continue to maintain that reports on specific stretches of water, particularly those suggested to you by others, are better left to PMs.

Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
MartinlfJune 3rd, 2009, 2:03 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3233
OK, I fish this section of the J, and I know and like both Matt and Shawn. In brief, I think Matt has every right to get to know someone before sharing any information, and I don't think that he gave up any secrets on the J. The places he mentioned are so well known, there's almost always someone in them. And I agree with Shawn: Private Messages are generally best for discussions of this sort. I'd hope to put this thread to rest, now, if possible. PM me if you disagree. :)
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
EricStroupJune 5th, 2009, 6:30 am
Spruce Creek Pa

Posts: 11
WOW! This is classic!

"I prefer not to provide fly data to strangers on the Internet or guys who come up to me along the river. Some of my flies are very effective because there aren't 10,000 other guys throwing them on the rivers I fish. Is that being selfish? I don't think so as it took decades to develop them through trial and error and many unproductive trips."

Come on folks, this is a 'forum' right. A place where you share info with like minded people that you don't know.
If you truly don't want to share your 'secret fly data',(sorry, but that's funny, I don't care who you are)perhaps you should never discuss the results of your exploits, so no one would care to ask about the secret data.

My wife caught five fish on the river yesterday. It's the third time she ever had a fly rod in her hand, and two of them were 17 inches. This is not rocket science, and those of you who treat it as though it's anything other than a great way to spend some time with family friends, nature etc.. need to re-examine why you fish. If sharing information is not your bag, then don't talk at all. Most of all, don't ask ANY questions, regardless of how vague they were in 'your oppinion'.

If anyone needs any info on the Little J, please call or email. I'll be happy to pass along any 'data'.
Aaron7_8June 5th, 2009, 3:50 pm
Helena Montana

Posts: 115
So many hurt feelings so little time.
MartinlfJune 6th, 2009, 12:59 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3233
Note that Matt, a very experienced fisherman, who has privately helped a number of the regular members here once he got to know them, has now removed his posts.

Forums have been ruined by direct attacks like the ones in this thread. Debates can be healthy, and differences of opinion can help people rethink their ideas, but in a public forum directly and aggressively correcting someone typically only leads to ill will. And what good does this do for anyone?

I note that Rbpcaddis did not take offense at Matt's response to his question, and responded on his own behalf in a way intended to deescalate any ill will. It puzzles me why others decided to speak for him when he had already put the issue to rest.

If any of the posters on this site have been attacked in a public forum, and I know some have, might it not be productive to consider what good came of it all, and to refrain from public attacks in the future? Some of the most long-standing and active members of this forum have told me that they are dismayed by the responses Matt got in this thread.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
GONZOJune 6th, 2009, 1:45 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Thank you, Louis. As one of those long-standing and active members, I am now too embarrassed by this situation to remain silent. After all, I was the one who (innocently, I thought) asked Matt to report back on his trip.

I find it ironic that some who have contributed nothing (or next-to-nothing) to this forum felt compelled to criticize a frequent contributor for his lack of "sharing." We should all feel free to share whatever we choose to share and to pursue fly fishing at whatever level we enjoy. Unfortunately, it is also ironic that Matt was simultaneously accused of sharing too little and sharing too much. That is a no-win situation, and I hope that others will follow Shawn's lead and adjust their comments courteously.

All of the above is said against what may prove to be my better instincts, but I could not let Louis stand alone in voicing concern.
EricStroupJune 6th, 2009, 9:42 pm
Spruce Creek Pa

Posts: 11

How well do you have to know someone to help them?

What are the requirements? I gave a couple of guys some flies today, did I make a mistake? I didn't even get their names.
Louis, I didn't know you when I met you, I hope I didn't give any secrets away.
You guys are missing the boat. We need to be doing everything in our power to introduce people to this sport not drive them away with pretentious BS.
The Little J is my home water and I'm on it everyday. I want people to enjoy it and have success on it. The more people that have a favorable oppinion, the better. That is the very reason we got C&R regs on it.
Those of you who are good fishermen, do the sport a favor and help someone else become good. Success breeds long lasting sportsmen and eventually conservation minded stewards. If you're one of those people that became good at this endeavor, and don't want anyone else to be as good as you because it threatens your good time, go play golf, or checkers. Whatever you do, stay out of our streams. This sport is about the sharing of information and ideas, and about meeting people on the stream, as my wife and I did today, exchanging fly patterns. We didn't know anything about each other except for the fact that we all had fly rods and were trying to catch trout. What a great common bond.
This is a great sport that can last a life time, and NONE of us will ever have more answers than questions. So the next time you ask someone a question like, "What type of streamers were you throwing" and they don't want to answer you, maybe it's because the real question should have been, "Why were you throwing streamers during the peak hatch season?"


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