09/03/09

Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.   Blue-winged Olives - mostly Little BWO - Isolated hatches
2.   Mahogany Duns
3.   Midges - hatching in isolated locations
4.   Little Yellow Stoneflies - hatching
5.   Slate Drakes - hatching
6.   Cream Cahills - hatching in Isolated locations
7.   Little Yellow Quills
8.   Needle Stoneflies
9.   Beetles
10. Grasshoppers
11. Ants
12. Inch Worms
13. Crane Flies
14. Helligramite
15. Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crawfish

The Learning Process - Part 41  

One of the first Pennsylvania streams we fished was the famous Yellow Breeches.
Whatever magazine or book we picked up and whoever we talked to about
Pennsylvania pointed us towards the Yellow Breeches as if it were one of the
greatest trout stream in the state.

The first time I laid eyes on the stream was at the Allenberry place on the Yellow
Breeches. There were hundreds of anglers there for the famous "White Drake"
mayfly hatch. That was one of the mayflies that we hadn't been able to capture and
video for our Mayfly DVD we were working on. We had always missed the hatch. It
doesn't occur in many places and it isn't easy to catch unless you live close to a
stream that has this mayfly. I found out a couple of years later that we have the
mayfly in the Hiwassee River tailwater but I didn't know it at the time. The event I am
writing about took place several years ago.

We visited the local fly shop located at Boiling Springs and found the gentlemen
very willing to help us strangers. We purchased flies that imitated each stage of the
hatch and were anxious to get started. When we were in front of the shop looking at
a map trying to figure out where to fish, a local guide approached us thinking we
may be interested in a trip with him. After discovering we made videos during our
conversation he begin to provide plenty of advice about how to and where to fish
the Yellow Breeches. Finally, I ask him point blank if the hatch had actually started.
He informed us it had not started but that it probably would that very day. Well, it
never happened that day and it didn't happen during the next three days. There
were a few hundred anglers waiting on the hatch most of which I discovered,
thought it was underway before they left home.

We found our
Ephoron White Fly hatch but we found it on the Susquehanna River
downtown Harrisburg where theres plenty of smallmouth bass but no trout.
However, we got the video we needed of hatching White Flies and we were happy
about that.

We returned to the Yellow Breeches to see if the hatch had started the following
day to discover it had not. Each day we would fish a different stream. We didn't
spend any time on the Yellow Breeches because it was so crowded. We felt our
chances were better elsewhere and we were right. Anglers were reporting poor
results on the Breeches, blaming it on the fact the White Flies hadn't hatched.

The Yellow Breeches is a stocked trout stream. There are plenty of wild trout but
the bulk of the trout are stocked by the state. We begin to wonder why the stream
was rated so high when it was smack in the middle of many other fine spring creeks
with wild, streambred trout. Now the Breeches isn't exactly a spring creek. It is a
freestone stream with a lot of spring water flowing into it. The forth day there we
decided to go ahead and fish it instead of waiting on the White Fly hatch to start.

We couldn't resist fishing the little Boiling Springs Run that flowed into the Yellow
Breeches. On our way down to the river we made a few cast in it and didn't catch
the first trout but we only tried for a few minutes. When we got to the Yellow
Breeches, we would walk downstream a ways and fish back upstream. There were
some riffles, a few runs and big pools. There was nothing hatching. After all it was
during the month of August and the only thing that was suppose to be hatching
were the White Flies.

After a couple of hours of fishing terrestrial imitations and various nymphs, we still
hadn't caught the first trout. I began to think that the Yellow Breeches was the most
difficult stocked trout stream in the country to catch trout from. We fished the places
the guide told us to try.

After about five hours of fishing, Angie told me that I was doing exactly the opposite
of what I had preached not to do.
I was fishing where the locals told me to fish.
All of the places were within a mile or two of the Fly Shop at Boiling Springs. All of
them were locations where others were fishing. In fact, it occurred to me that the
trout in the places we fished had probably been waded over and beat over the
head with everything short of dynamite. I ask several guys I ran into where they had
fished. Most of them had fished the exact same spots we had fished and all of them
had the same results we had. All of them thought it was the fact the White Fly hatch
hadn't started. It wasn't the lack of a hatch. It was the fact the water was beat into
foam by fly lines.

We got our map, selected an access a few miles downstream and headed there.
We arrived at a place we had never seen before with not one around. It was about
an hour before dark, when I waded into the stream and begin to give our new
location a try. According to our video logs, I caught eight trout within an hour. I was
still catching trout when it was getting too dark for the camera to work correctly.
There were still no White Flies hatching.
I caught all of the trout on a hook size
16 Parachute Adams.

Some may think that it was the time of day that made the difference. It wasn't,
because the following day, during the middle of the day, we caught several more
trout at the same location. In fact it was so easy catching the stockers, we left and
went to a new spring creek we had not fished before.

Now I don't want anyone to get the wrong impression about the Yellow Breeches,
the guide whose name I can't remember or the Fly Shop that I cannot even think of
the name of. The Yellow Breeches is a very good trout stream. It has a huge
diversity of types of water and trout. There are plenty of holdover trout and some
wild trout as well as the stockers. Its water has some great hatches including the
White Fly. It has some fine facilities including the Allenberry Resort Inn. The local fly
shops are as good as any you will find anywhere. I'm also sure there are some
good guides in the area.

However - Angie was right. I failed to take my own advice. To begin with, no
fly shop salesman in their right business mind is going to send you miles away
where you may well find another shop and more advice. They prefer that you hang
around close by. No guide in his right mind is going to send you to the few places
he may be able to put a client on some trout. He wanted the video to turn out good
to promote his stream and even offered to guide us at no charge but we learned
long before that most free offers have some hidden stipulations. The places he sent
us (including the catch and release area) are normally good spots but not where
the trout have been scared to death. I felt stupid and I was stupid until Angie
reminded me of it. I got exactly what I deserved.

Copyright 2009 James Marsh