This Skwala nymph still has a couple months left to go before hatching, but it's still a good representative of its species, which was extremely abundant in my sample for a stonefly of this size. It's obvious why the Yakima is known for its Skwala hatch.
no one cuts their grass these days in South Central PA, and most of us are going into summer mode, so why am i asking NOW about fishing streams that are very high and very dirty? they're having record rains in Yorkshire just for my benefit! i'm busy tying all those flies you were so kind to suggest, and i'm finding pictures of the bugs Gonzo found out about, so let's keep the fun going by posting about surefire techniques for floods.
small shad darts were one suggestion--is that too outlandish? would Greyghost's namesake be appropriate? or a bumblepuppy? might have to weight those caddis pupae!
I've been suffering through all of the rain delays watching the Wimbledon coverage, and I understand that the flooding in the north has been causing problems that are much more severe. I can only suggest fishing smaller streams if that is an option. They should clear quicker and some may even benefit from higher water in the summer. But, if torrential rains are causing flash floods, I'd retreat to the safety of a friendly pub until things improve.
i have heard stories of people catching big fish outside of the stream banks during a flood. Once I was hiking up Cedar Run in PA during a full on flood and I met a guy and his girlfriend who had a huge, hook-jawed brown trout in a bucket. They had caught it on a worm (illegal) and killed it (illegal). It was a shame, but it did make me think that maybe I should have brought my rod and some woolly buggers.
CaseyP on Jul 10, 2007July 10th, 2007, 4:47 pm EDT
thank you one and all! first prize to Gonzo who echoed my preference for small streams; Spruce Creek and Falling Springs, PA, are my idea of heaven. the pub sounds like a plan, too, after "something long and black" and, if they let me use it, that sculpin.
let's hope that all the Yorkshire-style tying i've been doing with Softhackle's help wasn't for naught. i suppose they don't go bad or anything...but they are all jumping up and down in the box bleating "Me! Me! Choose ME!"
hmm...bleating...better watch those sheep on the backcast.
Troutnut on Jul 10, 2007July 10th, 2007, 7:26 pm EDT
I don't really know the geology of the area except that there are lots of spring-fed chalkstreams. In some places, spring-fed streams are not very strongly affected by even large amounts of rain, though that doesn't seem to be the case in PA. Either way, look to the most spring-fed portions of the headwaters which get all their water from the ground and relatively little runoff. When I was driving around with Shawnny3 and Spring and Penn's were blown out and muddy, we found good water in the top mile or so of Penn's where it comes out of the cave. We didn't stop to fish it -- posted property and all that -- but it shows the kind of geology you might want to look for.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
I don't know if you'll have a chance to check in with us while you're "over there," but my understanding is that the spring-fed chalkstreams that Jason mentions are more common in the south (around Hampshire) than they are in the north around Yorkshire. If some of the streams you'll be fishing have been subject to severe flooding, you might try to concentrate on places where those streams have room to spread out during floods. It's my experience that both trout and insects tend to get pushed out of the more constricted areas of a stream during strong floods and are often found concentrated in the broader areas post-flood until they have a chance to repopulate the rest of the stream. Have fun, and don't worry--those Yorkshire-style flies can be just the ticket on many of our Yankee streams as well.
CaseyP on Jul 16, 2007July 16th, 2007, 10:31 am EDT
it's been raining to beat the band and the River Wharf is too high to wade and too muddy to bother. guide says we'll go 'way up to the headwaters; a long drive, but the scenery around here is right out of "All Creatures Great and Small", so it's an ill wind...
thanks, Gonzo, for the riffle advice. let's hope i can use it!
you're right about "chalk" streams. top of Wharfe is supposed to be "limestone" so perhaps that means what i want it to.
CaseyP on Jul 24, 2007July 24th, 2007, 4:22 pm EDT
well, as you know, conditions improved. the sun came out for a while and the river started to drop a bit. this site is getting littered with tales of that trip, but here is one more post and then i'll shut up.
the water was still fast, deep, and dark and the answer to How Do I Fish This Stuff? is what the guide called "Czech nymphing." Short untapered leader of fluorocarbon tippet material with three heavy scud-like nymphs of different types tied to lengths of tippet joined with "water knots" which we know as a surgeon's knot. one tag of each knot was left long and the nymph tied to it, instead of tying one fly to another fly. whole mess about 12 feet long.
to fish, i learned to use a high stick technique and let the union of the tippet and line act as an indicator. didn't try to put it out again until the line swung close to the bank and all the water stress was off it. simple to master and effective if you keep moving. next to no casting involved, and not too many tangles. hard thing was that the nymphs bounced along the bottom and hung up in rocks and moss, but we've all been there.
mentioned this technique to someone whose opinion i respect, and the reaction was, "Well, then there is the question of just what IS fly fishing."
i think this is at least as legitimate as streamers, myself. and it works in fast, deep, dark water. what do the rest of The 1000 think?
Softhackle on Jul 25, 2007July 25th, 2007, 2:50 am EDT
Sounds as if you are sorting things out. When the water is fast, dark and deep, I go to a Wooley Bugger with weight. I tie mine using peacock herl for the body, not chenille. I like about a size 12 long-shanked streamer hook (Mustad 9672 works good). I also try a fly I call the Fuzz Puppy. You can find a pic and recipe, here:
Martinlf on Jul 26, 2007July 26th, 2007, 2:42 am EDT
Casey, there are those who will claim that if it's not done upstream, with a dry fly, it isn't fly fishing. IMHO almost any technique with flies (short of snagging) that gets one into fish IS fly fishing. This includes swinging a wet fly, dapping, Czech nymphing, and other methods that some may eschew. The satisfaction comes when the troutless naysayers are watching that nice bend in your rod.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"
Whenever the rather silly debate about the appropriate definition of fly fishing comes up, my instinct is to walk away. It's not that I don't have some opinions on the matter, but like many of my opinions, I'm not sure why they should really matter that much to anyone else. Obviously, the legal definitions of flies and fly fishing matter a lot, but there is little consensus even there, and I think those regulations should mostly be guided by an interest in the good of the resource and the quality of the experience. Adhering to a personal "code" brings great satisfaction to many of us. As long as that code remains mostly personal, I think we can all enjoy the amazing diversity found in the sport today.
CaseyP on Jul 26, 2007July 26th, 2007, 6:19 am EDT
oh, gosh, here we go in another direction, but i'm leery of starting another topic that might get people het up.
suffice it to say that my personal definition of fly fisher is s/he who attempts to fool the fish with fur and feather and foam. spin fishers seem to like shiny things like spoons and slippery critter-shaped plastic wonders seldom constructed by their user. bait fishers feel that the old way is the best way for them.
and at one time or another, i've done all three--and they're all fun, they all depend upon conservation efforts, and all can result in catch&release so no implication of the superiority of any one is intended.
nope, the only anglers i'm "better than" are the litter louts.
P.S. it is apparent that i have no other life: this is post #100...