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Commentary and opinion on issues concerning fly fishermen. Conservation. Posted land. Club fishing. Stocked trout.


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Commentary

Two Percent — Penns Creek Needs Your Voice

on
August 16, 2018
Just two percent of Pennsylvania’s 83,000 river miles receive the state’s Class A Wild Trout designation. Two percent. Wild trout are rare. They are rare enough to be special, to be highly valued and protected. In short, we must be careful with the resource.

If we’re objective about the meaning of “Exceptional Value,” if we stand back and decide what’s best for the stream, separating ourselves from tradition and ingrained culture, it’s clear that Catch and Release regulations are the next step for this section of Penns Creek.

Now, the PFBC is accepting public comment on the proposed Catch and Release regulations for this area of Penns Creek. The comment period ends on September 1st, 2018. The motion will be voted on in October . . .

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Angler Types in Profile Commentary Philosophy

Angler Types in Profile: The I’ve been doing that forever guy

on
August 1, 2018
Fly fishing is full of it — full of anglers who take themselves too seriously, and full of others who support it.

Everyone knows everything.

So as fly fishing churns out newish concepts like articulated streamers and euro nymphing, it’s no wonder there’s some resistance to it all. No wonder  at every turn we find guys with arms folded, shaking their heads and saying, “Nah, I’ve been doing that forever.”

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Commentary Fifty Tips Philosophy

Fifty Fly Fishing Tips: #50 — Fish Hard

on
July 15, 2018
Here we are, at the end of fifty tips. Just two weeks shy of a year ago today, I started this series with a plan. Determined to publish every Sunday, I wrote these tips to be a little different, trying for something unique, and with a new take on some stuff many of us may not have considered for a while.

. . . What brings us back is the trout. Fishing without catching only goes so far. It only lasts so long. We dream not just of the woods and the water, but the trout too. And catching those fish brings in another art, another appreciation for the challenge and a new way to be creative. It also fulfills our human need to learn something. And without a trout on the end of your line once in a while, you’re just hiking through the water with a ten-foot stick . . .

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Commentary Tips/Tactics

Holding a Trout — Their Heart in Your Hands

on
July 13, 2018
Fish pictures are the grand compromise of catch and release. An Instagram feed with a full gallery of trout is replacing the stringer of dead fish for bragging rights. And that’s a good thing. They look better alive anyway.

Would a trout be better off if we didn’t take its picture? Sure it would. Moreover, wouldn’t a trout be better off if we didn’t set a hook in its mouth and drag it through the water? Yup. So I think we have to be a little careful how self-righteous we get. Point is, we all draw the line somewhere, and I firmly believe that a quick picture, taken responsibly (I’ll get to that), won’t hurt a trout.

Most of the fishermen I know who’ve spent a great deal of time with their boots in the water have caught on to catch and release. The bare facts stare you in the face pretty quickly if you start keeping your limit on every trip. You soon realize that a good fisherman can thin out a stretch of water in short order, and a group of good fishermen can probably take down an entire watershed.

So we take pictures instead . . .

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Commentary Stories

All the Things

on
June 22, 2018
There’s the fly box with a broken hinge. Half of the pin on the backside is missing, and I don’t know how that happened. I do know I’ll be standing in fast water someday; I’ll unfold the box, and the open leaf will fall off. I won’t even have a chance for a proper goodbye to the drowned flies and wasted hours — no, the days — of ordinary time spent focused on one square inch of space (that’s what fly tying is). So I’ll fix the hinge today. I could transfer all the flies to a new box, but that would probably take more time.
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Angler Types in Profile Commentary

Angler Types in Profile: Goldilocks

on
June 20, 2018
I have an old college buddy who won’t take the time to fish unless things are either perfect or damn close to it. I call him Goldilocks, and he hates me for it.

Last month, on a whim, I gave Goldilocks a ring. He’s one of the few people left who still answers his phone when you call, and he picked up within seconds.

“Hey. Want to fish tomorrow?” I asked quickly. I figured that rushing him into a decision was my best chance at the preferred result.

“Where? Up your way?” He asked.

“Yeah.”

“Didn’t you just get a pile of rain over the weekend?” He asked.

“Sure, but the creeks are coming down and the fishing has been fine,” I replied.

He paused and stammered for a moment. My fast pace was thrown off, and I already knew what was coming . . .

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Commentary

The Downstream Fisher Yields to the Upstream Fisher

on
June 15, 2018

Most sports have a set of unwritten rules, generally agreed upon by those in the know. But the trouble with the unwritten rules of…

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Commentary

Is your new fly really new? What makes a fly original?

on
June 5, 2018
When is a fly original enough to deserve its own name? And do a few material changes result in a new fly, or is it the bastardization of an existing pattern?

“That’s just a Woolly Bugger with flashy chenille, bigger hackle, rubber legs, and dumbell eyes. Oh, and it’s two of them hooked together.” That’s the first comment I heard about Russ Madden’s Circus Peanut. And to that I say, sure it is. But aren’t there enough material and form changes there to be a unique fly? When we think Woolly Bugger does it really look anything like a Circus Peanut? No, not really. So I’d say the Circus Peanut deserved a name, and it got one.

I have a similar fly stored in my own meat locker. I call it a Water Muppet, but it’s mostly a Circus Peanut. I tie it smaller, dub the body instead of wrapping chenille, and I use a tungsten bead instead of dumbbell eyes. And while I have my own name for the pattern that amuses me, it’s pretty much a Peanut.

But I think there’s a genuine desire on the part of many fly tyers to get this right. We want to give credit for inspiration, and we know that all good ideas stem from somewhere. At the same time, we’re proud of the material or form changes we’ve made that catch more fish in our own rivers. And sometimes those innovations define a genuinely new fly pattern, so they deserve a unique name . . . . .

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