Stream Report & The Spark

Stream/Fishing Report

Jim Kukorlo     April 8, 2021

Saturday, April 3rd, was the official opening day of trout season in Pennsylvania and for the most part it was very much the usual cold and windy day with cold water temperatures that we associate opening days in the past. The sun eventually came out in the afternoon making a nice day to be on the water.  Mary Shughart
Fly fishing was slow in the morning but the afternoon sun took the chill out of the air and trout were a little more aggressive. Early black stone fly nymphs, sucker spawn and pheasant tail nymphs were the hot flies of the day.
Mike BrownMonday gave us sunshine and warmer temperatures and the fish were definitely more active and so were the insects. A few blue quills and a steady hatch of early black stones around mid day. Tuesday and Wednesday provided warmer temperatures and each day we saw more blue quills, black stone flies and a few Hendrickson duns with some rising fish around mid day. Water temperature on Wednesday rose to 53 degrees with some guys landing a few trout on dry flies.
Weather report for the remainder of the week and into the weekend promises air temperatures in the low 70s and warmer nights which will raise the water temperature. Hendericksons and blue quills start hatching when the water temperature reaches the mid 50s.
Everything is lining up to seeing more blue quills and Hendericksons hatching in the next few days. Some rain showers are in the forecast which sometimes help trigger the hatches. Looking back at photos and blog from last year, we saw heavy Hendericksons around April 11 th . It looks like we are on track to see the first major hatch of year very soon. Steve Stahl
We still have days available in the guiding schedule for spring. Give the office a call to book a day or two with us for some early season fly fishing. 570-925-2392 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



Questions Needed   question

Along with Jim's Stream/Fishing Report, I think it would be fun to give him a question from our readers each week. You know, from a guide's point of view. Or maybe ask two of the guides and publish each view. I like that idea. But, I need your help. If you will send me the questions, I'll give them to two of the guides, Jim and one other, and we'll see what answers we get. The questions must pertain to fishing, other than that the sky's the limit. Examples: When do you use fluorocarbon? When to fish a soft hackle and when to fish a nymph? What is the difference between a soft hackle and an emerger? What fly floatant do you use? Ask away. Submit the questions through the Comments section of the blog, so make sure you are viewing it online and not from your email (see note at very top of blog each week.) Do it now so you don't forget.

The Spark

We are sharing this story from the Patagonia Clothing Company newsletter/blog. Told from the perspective of a biologist who, 22 years ago, abandoned civilization to follow whales. It is different from most scientific articles and really is more of a real life story than a scientific paper. You can't help but admire the biologist and there are times when we all wish we could do the same thing. In the end, it should influence us when we're shopping for dinner. Thank you Patagonia.


banner stories the spark 94d73efd 86d3 44f5 b774 85ee9ee67c1d 2000x crop center



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Early Spring Fishing Tips


Fishing Season in Pennsylvania opens this Saturday, April 3. For April Fool's Day, today, the weatherman gave us an inch of snow and night time temperatures in the 20s. That means that even if we get a warm sunny day Saturday, the water will be cold and the fish will be sitting on the bottom. With that thought in mind –

Here are a 10 Quick Tips for early spring fishing:

Early season fishing often makes us to think “out of the box” and to be open minded to making adjustments in our fishing style if we are to catch fish. The techniques from last fall may not work now if we have typical spring conditions of cold water temperatures, higher water levels, and lethargic fish.

1. Fish streamers using a heavier rod and a sink-tip line to get “in the zone” quicker. Using a lot of split shot on a floating line is hard to cast, hard to control, and it is not going to sink as quickly as a sinking line.   Spring fly fishing0408
2. Avoid false casting which will wick the water out of the fly. Keep it wet so it sinks quickly on the next cast. At the end of the drift strip in a little line while keeping the rod tip raised and roll cast while the standing line is close to the surface. Be careful, this of often when the fish will hit the fly.
3. Fish your flies deep and slow. Fish are lethargic in cold water and don't want to move fast or far to get a meal.
4. Try dead drifting streamers or nymphs – or both. Trail a nymph a couple feet behind the streamer and use a strike indicator. Slow down your cast and open the loop to prevent tangles or use a roll cast.
5. If the water is off color, try a black streamer or flies with a bit of dazzle to get the fish's attention.
6. Know where the fish are likely to hold in high, cold water. Look for seams, cut banks, deep pockets, boulders. In these conditions fish will look for “soft spots”, places where they can sit out the high water while expanding as little energy as possible. These are places where they won't be in normal flows – eddies, back sides of islands, side riffles that are normally too shallow to hold fish.
7. Switch from your streamer rod to a longer, softer nymph rod and swing wet flies or soft hackles. 10 to 11 foot rods for 3 and 4-weight lines are popular and effective for this type of “European style” nymphing. Start with a yarn or clear or cork strike indicator, a 9' 5X leader and a soft hackle, add 3 feet more of 5X, and a tungsten bead head PT (pheasant tail). Start at the head of a pool and cast across stream, give the cast a few seconds to sink, mend line upstream if needed to slow down the cast, and study the indicator. Keep the rod tip just high enough so that the leader is drifting freely with no tension. You want as little fly line on the water as possible to avoid tension. This works best when you can get fairly close to the fish. Beware, often the takes are light and gentle. Use a roll cast to prevent tangles.  Spring fly fishing0147
8. If you're getting stuck on the bottom, move the indicator closer to the fly. If you're using split shot, go lighter. If you're not ticking the bottom, move the indicator further back or add shot or use a heavier fly.
9. Don't hesitate to change flies or change the indicator type or position if you've gone a half hour with no hits. This goes for streamers as well as dry flies. Change, change, change.
10. Be patient – lower, warmer water is coming along with hatches and dry fly fishing.

Now, where did I put my longjohns!

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Perfect From the Start, Guiding Season, & Season Opener Specials

Perfect From the Start

Troutbitten Bill Dell Fishing789 6 1We haven't featured anything from Troutbitten lately and this is a great article about presentation and when the trout decides to reject or accept our fly. Gives us something to think about as we're mending our line and fooling around with the cast before it reaches the fish. Thank you, again, Domenick. You make us think.


Guiding Season

We are about to kick off our guiding season. Jim was on the water for a couple half days this week and he saw Little Blue Quills and Early Black Stones. It's happening. Call soonDave Lownder 0009 to schedule a day or two with one of our guides. In the photo is Dave Lownder who fishes with us often.


Season Opener Fly Specials

Trout Season officially opens in Pennsylvania next Saturday, April 3. The water on our home stream is high at the moment, as it often is in the early season. We all long for the days of warm afternoons and hatches of Hendricksons, and we will get them, but April more often than not means nymphs and streamers. We have a number of fly selections that are perfect for the early season. Click through to the store for details and to order.

Pheasant Tails & Emergers    Selections 0421
Season Opener Nymph Special
Season Opener Ug Special
Squirmies & Buggers
Tungsten Bead Head Copper Nymph Selection
The Dirty Duo

*We always offer Free Shipping on orders of $50 or more. 

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All About Caddis

New Web Site is Coming

We are finally close to launching our new web site. I thought this year of basically quarantine would be a good time to take on the project, but it's turned out to be a long drawn out affair. Between Brooke and myself, we've got kids and grandkids attending school in the living room and not having any clear direction on where the travel business is headed or when we will resume traveling, canceling one trip after another, restrictions on lockdown and what we can and can not do with guiding and instruction here in Pennsylvania, and, well – it's been challenging. But, we all think it's changing...finally.

Both 0317Back to the web site, we're adding some new flies which we are excited about. You've seen and read about the poly fluff material that we're selling, using, and incorporating into some of our patterns. Last week we talked about poly fluff caddis adults and this week we have caddis emergers.

New Caddis Emergers (Pupa)

Our caddis emergers are tied with tungsten beads to sink quickly. The poly fluff wing case can't absorb water but the water hangs on it to make a realistic looking gas bubble Emerger 3532 1which all emerging caddis use to propel themselves to the surface. Caddis pupae are very hairy and the translucency of the synthetic poly fluff adds to the realism of the actual caddis. Tied right here by our guide, Tom Harris.  Online Store

4 Body Colors: Creamy Gray, Tan, Green, Light Olive
Sizes: 12, 14, 16

$2.25 each

 Understanding Caddis

   Here's a great short piece by Josh Deck, a full time guide with Fly Fishing the Smokies. We too will see the Grannom caddis here on Fishing Creek. Our Gannoms will have a bright green body and tan wing. The gas pocket that Josh talks about is perfectly caddis hatchimitated with the translucent, buggy-looking properties of poly fluff. Thanks, Jeff. 


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Poly Fluff & Spring Guiding

Hank Ties with Poly Fluff

Here's an easy, durable, very visible caddis adult that anyone can tie. Hank, one of the “L's” in L&L Products that some of our readers will remember from a few years ago is now a neighbor. In these past months at home we started to play around with poly fluff and have been reminded of what a great material it is for so many applications in tying flies. With a little tweaking and some new colors, it is available again.

If you don't tie, we have these caddis flies available in our online store. We think you'll like them!


Poly Fluff Caddis

polyfluff2By the time you read this we should have a good inventory of black and tan caddis adult dry flies in 12's and 14's. Tied in the same style as Hank's caddis adult in the video above except that we've added legs. Online Store.



Quint’s Poly Fluff Parachute

Quint 0001I had an interesting chat with Quint Davis last week. Quint teaches fly tying classes in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and sent a photo of his poly fluff parachute dun. Micro Fibetts for the tail too. Beautifully done, Quint, thanks for sharing with us.


And Winding up the Week

The beautiful spring weather we’ve had this past week has brought out the fishermen — well, that and our Guiding Special which runs to the end of the month. Here’s the proof:

Guiding 0098  Guiding 0115  Guiding 0031 1  Guiding 0073

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Guiding Special, Carbon Neutral, & Prolonging the life of a fly line

Guiding Special Extended

We're ready and waiting

We had a very mild winter....until we announced the winter guiding special a few weeks Guides BECK IMAGEback. Now, after weeks of snow, ice, and freezing temps, it looks like spring might be on the way so we're extending the Winter Fishing Special until March 31st. Jim, our head guide, reported that he was out yesterday and it was one of the best days of the winter- and, he saw little black stoneflies and blue winged olives. With warmer temperatures the fish are more active and afternoons are pleasant. 4 hours guided fishing (Noon-4:00) for $175. Give us a call to schedule. 570-925-2392.

 What is Carbon Neutral?

Hi Everyone, I don't know what this means exactly. For the most part I think that it must be a good thing. Less pollution...or something like that. This article from the AFFTA Fisheries Fund first newsletter helps explain terms like this that are being tossed around these days. Let's all subscribe to the newsletter. Thank you AFFTA. Great job. Cathy.

Carbon Neutral 2021 02 25 at 10.02.49 AMWithin the past six months, I’ve received a slew of pitches for products and services that all sound eerily similar: a “climate positive” parka and burger, a “carbon negative” vodka, a “carbon neutral” shipping service, a “carbon zero” commuting app, and “zero carbon” coffee.   Net Zero Eye 01
For scientists and environmentalists, these phrases have been around for a while, but it’s only recently that companies, from small startups to established corporations, have adopted them for mainstream marketing use. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos pledged to have the company be carbon neutral by 2040; Microsoft has committed to be carbon negative by 2030; Starbucks aims to be “resource positive” …..  Go Neutral
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How To Prolong The Life Of A Fly Line

In this episode of RIO's "How To Fly Fish" series, Chris Walker explains and demonstrates a number of ways that a fly line's coating can get damaged in day-to-day fishing situations. Having a fly line perform at the very best of its potential is much easier if you can avoid some of these very simple, common-sense mistakes.
Clearly explained in Chris's easy-going, simple-to-understand style, this film shows how easy it is to keep a fly line from getting damaged.
We've got a few packs of RIO's fly line cleaner that you'll see in the video. Send us a comment through the blog (make sure you're viewing online) and we'll send you a packet to try.


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PolyFluff & Super Thin Microfibetts

Friends & Family

snow stormOur thoughts and prayers are with everyone who is struggling with the ravages of this winter. Just about every part of the country has been affected in one way or another and we hope that you all soon have power restored, food enough, safe water to drink, and warm shelter.


Polyfluff & Microfibetts

If you saw the blog a couple weeks ago, you may have seen Barry introducing our new Polyfluff wing material for dry flies, emergers, and down wing caddis, etc., along with a new tail material Super Thin Microfibetts, great for spinner and dun tails.

Both 0317Polyfluff is available in 5 colors to start, with more colors coming. The Super Thin Micro Fibetts are white/clear. Both are now available in our online store. In the next couple of weeks we'll have Tom Harris, our guide and fly tier, and Hank Leonard, formerly of L&L Products, tying flies and showing different uses and tricks using these products. We hope the fly tiers among us will tune in.  Caddis 0315


29 Days Until Spring!

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Contest Winner, Sage 597-4 X, & Comparadun Sale

We Have a Winner!

lighthouseScott Hood was the first to correctly guess the Selkirk Lighthouse on the Salmon River in Oswego County. We had many guesses that were “mostly” right but something was missing. Congratulations Scott. Thank you to everyone who participated.


 Sage's 597-4 X

Matt McCannel is a Ridgeway, Colorado guide who specializes in guiding on tailwater sagexrivers. Read what he has to say about the Sage 597-4 X, for bigger water. You may want to consider the advantages of an extra six inches when fishing nymphs and mending line.

 Comparadun Sale from last week

Comparaduns 0278Not quite as much inventory as last week, but still good. $1.50 each.
We are discontinuing our comparaduns to make way for the new dry flies. There are many loyal comparadun fishermen out there and if you're one of them, now is a good time to stock up! Almost all of our stock has been beautifully tied by our long-time tier and friend, Jim Smethers, and right now we have a good inventory.
Order Today!

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Contest, PolyFluff, & Comparaduns on Sale

Contest! Join the Fun

lighthouseBe the first to name the lighthouse and tell us where it is and win a River Camo MFC fly box. Just in time for the season! Hint: The lighthouse is east of Cleveland, south of Portland, west of Martha's Vineyard, and north of Washington, DC. Hurry, if you know it tell us. Must reply in our Comments Section so make sure you're viewing this online and not in your email (link at top of blog).


Introducing PolyFluff Flies & Material

We're excited to tell you about our new Poly Fluff flies and material. With positive feedback from our friends who fished the flies last year, we're soon going to have them in our online store. Barry's going to tell us about the flies and the versatile tying material.


Comparadun Sale

We are discontinuing our comparaduns to make way for the new dry flies. There are many loyal comparadun fishermen out there and if you're one of them, now is a good time to stock up! Almost all of our stock has been beautifully tied by our long-time tier and friend, Jim Smethers, and right now we have a good inventory. Comparaduns 0278

$1.75 each while supply lasts. Order Today!




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Down Time

This week we have suggestions from Barry on getting our gear ready for spring and trout season. Let us know if you have any questions. You can access our comments section by viewing the blog online (see the option at the very top of the blog). We love hearing from our readers!!

Down Time

These are the months when we usually have time to check our gear to make sure we're ready for our next fishing trip. Let's look at some of the things we can do before spring rolls around.

If you use cleats, check your boots to see if any cleats are worn down or missing. If you're missing cleats, it's easy to replace them and now is the time to do it. Replace Nicos boots 0002 0173worn laces and examine the eyelets which can develop a sharp edge that will wear on the laces. Make sure the boot bottoms are not coming loose from the uppers. There are only so many repairs you can make, so it may be time for new boots. Your local or online fly shop should have new inventory coming in and will appreciate the order.

Everyone knows that leaky waders are no fun. On our last trip to Spain I had a leak that became more serious as the trip went on. I planned to patch the waders as soon as we got home but it slipped my mind and on the coldest day this fall I guided and was sorely reminded about the leak. If your waders are Goretex, you can easily find the leak by turning the waders inside out and spraying the inside with rubbing alcohol. The holes quickly show up as dark spots. A little drop of Aquaseal rubbed over the dark spot will solve the problem. For non-breathable materials turn the waders inside out and fill with water being careful not to get the outside wet. The water pressure will push a droplet of water through the wader where you can see it, mark the holes with a marker as they appear. The waders will be very heavy once filled with water so this process works best with two people and a hose. Once the material is dry cover the holes with aqua seal.

After a few seasons raincoats will start to seep or leak, especially around the shoulders, so it's good to periodically treat the fabric with ReviveX or Nikwax. Goretex molecules shrink over time and putting the raincoat in the clothes dryer for a half hour will expand the molecules. Follow the directions carefully for either product. Zippers can sometimes be a problem so a light coat of zipper lube will keep them running smoothly.

This is the perfect time to reorganize your fly boxes, restock favorite patterns and add new ones. We like compartment boxes for storage but prefer to fish out of boxes that keep our flies more organized, accessible and secure. A long time ago I opened a compartment box upside down on the stream and lost most of the contents. The icing on the cake was watching a trout rise to an escaped fly floating downstream.

Vests, hip packs, or whatever you use to carry your flies and accessories should be inventoried. Stock up on tapered leaders, replace near empty tippet spools and fly floatant, fly drying crystals, split shot, strike indicators, stripping fingers, lip balm, hook sharpener and other accessories. Don't forget to purchase a new fishing license.

Rod handles can be cleaned with a mild soap and warm water. We often use a Simple Green, from the hardware store, for deep down dirt. Reel seats should be clean of dirt and gricleaningt. Grit in a screw lock reel seat can be a real problem. Stripping guides, snake guides, and tip tops should be checked for wear and replaced if necessary. If your rod has given you many years of service, carefully examine guides and tip tops. Sometimes a sharp edge or groove will develop which can ruin a fly line. Using Pledge wipes on your rod blank will make it look like new.

Reels should also be carefully inspected and cleaned. Watch for corrosion or grit build up around screws, and crevices. Turn back the drags and check the screws that hold the reel foot to the frame as this is a place that can collect sand or grit. If your tackle is used in salt water, this type of maintenance becomes more important than ever and will need to be done periodically throughout the season. Pledge wipes will also make your reels look new again.

Fly lines should be cleaned as necessary during the season but examined again before the start of a new season. Check out RIO's 2 part YouTube series How To Clean a Fly Line. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsCDjSdrpOA and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taTfJMpiXeQ.

Examine your welded loops and nail knots both on the leader line connection as well as the fly line backing connection for any wear and replace if there is any doubt. Take a good look at your backing and make sure the wraps are on tight and even on the reel so there is no chance for a tangle or knot that will cause you to lose a good fish.

Even your landing net should be looked at. Holes in the net bag may let a fish escape so give it a look and repair if necessary.

Outside our office window it's snowing. A text came awhile ago from our guide, Tom Harris, who decided to go fishing. He tells us that he missed one fish early this morning but nothing since, says he's having trouble changing flies because of cold fingers. Here in the tackle room Eric Clapton is playing in the background, it's nice and warm, and the perfect day to check gear and maybe tie a few flies. We may fish tomorrow, if the weather forecast improves, but for now it's down time.   -Barry



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RIO's New Skagit Shooting Heads & Multi Spey Rod Strategy


Joes Steelhead 1 22 21 at 10.57 AMOur congratulations to Joe Compton on his biggest steelhead to date. A beautiful 31” fish caught somewhere between Ohio and Pennsylvania (he's not saying more than that!).


RIO's New Skagit Shooting Heads

And to round out winter fishing this week we have RIO's new Skagit Shooting Heads. It's always a pleasure to listen to Simon talk about spey casting. He and his team at RIO never stop thinking of ways to improve their products and they've done it again. If winter steelhead is your game, with new technology, taper design, and color coding it's easier than ever to keep yourself organized. Watch the video. Visit the RIO web site for more information.

Steelhead tactics vary greatly from the west coast to the Erie tributaries with season, skagitwater levels, and the size and condition of the streams which all factor in determining what tackle and methods we use. So, needless to say there is often confusion around steelhead rods and lines and the more we understand the options, the better the decisions we can make. If Skagit lines are in your arsenel of flylines, you'll like the new shooting heads. RIO has been the leader in offering steelhead anglers the tackle they need for all situations.


Your Multi-Spey Rod Strategy

speyrodsAnd while we’re on the subject of steelhead, here’s an interesting story on spey rods. It’s from Sage so it’s focused on the northwest. We would love to find a story on the same subject focused on the Erie Tributaries. Until then, we hope you enjoy this from Jon Hazlett.



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Winter Fishing

Winter Fishing Special

Winter fishing 0005We're having mild days, our guides are fishing, and catching fish. If this mild trend continues we'll fish straight through the winter. So, with that in mind, we're offering a Winter Special from now until March 1. Come for the afternoon, 1-4:00, 4 hours guided fishing for $175. It's the warmest part of the day and when the fish are most active. Dress warm and get outside in the fresh air. Give us a call to schedule. 570-925-2392.


Jim’s Winter Fishing Tips

And, while we’re on the subject of winter fishing, Jim, our head guide has some tips for us:
Winter Fly Fishing Tips

I have noticed in the last few years that winter fly fishing has become more popular, especially in our local area. It's always been popular in Central PA, on streams like Penn’s Creek, Spring Creek and other limestone streams. And I’m also seeing a lot of articles in fly fishing magazines, photos and stories on social media on winter fly fishing.

As with any outdoor adventure it's always good to be prepared and have some idea of what clothing to wear and other items to have on hand so it a fun and a successful day on the water. Dressing in layers is a very good way to keep warm and if the conditions warm up, you can always take a layer off. Beware though, over dressing will make you look like the Michelin Man and restrict your mobility. 

A hooded rain jacket that is wind proof and water proof is a must. A warm hat with ear muffs and a lined buff will keep your head and neck warm. Fingerless fishing gloves help to keep your hands from freezing. I just found a pair of Simms fingerless gloves that have a pouch on the wrist for a disposable hand warmer packet.  Guides 1841

If you live close by, putting your waders and boots on at home is a lot easier and warmer than booting up on the stream. If there is snow on the ground be sure to use rubber bottom soles with cleats. Snow will cling to the felt soles making it very difficult to walk.

One problem with winter fishing on colder days is that ice will form in the guides of your fly rod. Solution? I like to use Stanley's Ice off or Pam Cooking spray. It will work for a while. If ice still forms in the guides, try dipping the rod in the water and swoosh it around, the ice will thaw. But, unfortunately, the guides will ice up again. It's just part of winter fishing. A mono rig will shed water quicker than a thicker fly line. So when I'm fishing in air temperatures in the 20's I will Euro nymph with a Mono Rig. (That’s an article for another time…)

A list of other things to bring along:

• Polarized Sunglasses
• Hand warmers
• Water, thermos of coffee and some snacks
• Towel – attached to your waders or vest to wipe off your wets hand after releasing a fish
• Change of clothes – just in case – it's a long ride home when you’re soaking wet and cold
These items are good things to have in your car all year round and you might be surprised how often you will thank yourself.

Now you are set with equipment, let’s talked about what hatches you could see and what flies usually work best.

Insects in the winter? Absolutely! Especially on nice sunny blue bird days it's not uncommon to see BWO's, early black stoneflies, caddis and small midges. If the sun warms up the water even a degree or two, you could see some rising fish and have some dry fly fishing.

Winter nymph fishing is usually the name of the game and having nymphs of the above hatches is always a good idea. A rule of the thumb for winter fishing is to use small flies in hook sizes 16 to 22. But rules are made to be broken and myths abound in the fly fishing world so don’t be afraid to experiment.

A few days ago I caught several trout on a size 10 Sexy Walt’s Worm and dead drifting a Cathy's Super Bugger has been the hot flies this month so far. Be prepared for anything and think outside the box. Oh, and don’t forget the incredible edible egg. Are you old enough to remember that in a TV commercial about eggs? Trout know what we know. Eggs are high in protein and a great winter diet for the trout.

Jim 1860Best to time be on the water is from around 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m . It's usually the warmest part of the day and the most productive part of a winter day. It’s a good idea not to fish alone on cold winter days and having a buddy along can just add to the fun.

The idea of winter fly fishing is really hard for some anglers to grasp. It is a different mind set. But once you grasp it and are comfortable with fighting the elements it can be very rewarding. I'm not just out there to enjoy the beauty of a winter day. If that was the case I would just take a walk in the woods. I fish to catch fish and love the challenge that winter fishing brings and the feeling of accomplishment that I get from bringing a few trout to the net.

If you’ve never fished in the winter I like to encourage you do so. Hope some of the tips I mentioned will help you to enjoy these days on the water. I am happy to answer any question you might have. Click at the top of the blog to view it online and the comments box will appear. We love hearing from our readers.

  Patagonia Puff Pants

pat tuff pantsAnd still thinking about winter fishing, if you are looking for a layer that will keep you warm under your waders, check out Patagonia's Tough Puff Pants (#82005). Made from the same stretchy, durable fabric as the puff hoody, they are so warm you'll wear them as pants after fishing. For more information check them out at Patagonia.com.


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Guides Advice, Conservationist of the Year, & Photographing Fish

 Guide's Advice

It just so happened that our three guides – Jim, Tom & Brad, were here a few days back and Barry asked them a couple of questions about their most valuable gear. What do they never leave home without when guiding. Here are their answers:

 Conservationist of the Year

conservationistWe are very pleased and excited to announce that friend and Commissioner at Large for the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, Charles Charlesworth, has been chosen at 2021 Conservationist of the Year. It would be hard to find another person (although we know they are out there) who has been more committed or has worked harder than Charlie in protecting, preserving, rehabilitating streams and promoting fly fishing. Take a look at what he has done for the Lackawanna River. Pretty impressive. Congratulations Charlie!



Photographing Fish

We have drives full of stories that we have written for various publications over the years. Actually some are still stored in boxes of floppy disks, cds and DVDs, and some are so old we don't have the devices to access them. But, that's a problem for another day. As you know, the flies and some of the terminal tackle changes over the years, leaders get thinner and stronger, fly patterns come and go, as do gadgets. But the thing that doesn't change is the quarry – the fish. Over the next few months we will be republishing a few of the short stories from days gone by. Here's our first one Photographing Fish originally in Field & Stream, 2010. Photos in the album are a mix of good, funny and unplanned.

 We handle fish almost on a daily basis as either guide, trip host, or fishing photographer. So, when our friend and editor Doug Olander asked for a few suggestions on releasing fish after we take a photo we thought we might begin with talking about handling the fish.

There are some toothy critters out there and when we decide to photograph these, there are some things to think about. A big barracuda is the first fish that comes to mind. Sharks can be a dangerous handful and even a small jack crevalle can give a nasty wound if handled improperly. Heck, we can get a sore hand for a couple of days by getting poked with the dorsal fin of a harmless panfish! These potentially hazardous situations can be the result of getting our hands too close to a mouthful of teeth (as in barracuda), or coming in contact with a sharp spine or gill plate (jack or snook), or an actual intended bite (shark). Cathy once grabbed a decaying sockeye salmon for a photo in Alaska and managed to get her fingers inside its mouth. It took a month of antibiotics to finally rid her hands of infection caused by bacteria in the rotting process. Be careful where you put your hands. Often on big fish a boca grip is the safest way to handle them for a photograph.

0377 LIMAY RIVER 2017 After catching the fish, how we handle it for the photographs is critical to its survival after being released. Nothing is set in cement here as there are so many variables, but there are a couple things to keep in mind. If the fish is taxed from being played too long it will take longer to revive and even then he may not survive. If he has put up a hard fight and is obviously played out, we’ll often help revive and release him using the method described below without chancing a photograph. We don’t believe any photograph is worth killing the fish.

This is the system we use whenever we photograph fish. The longer we hold a fish out of the water the better the odds are of it not surviving the event. If the fish is in good shape one of us will compose the photo while the other is safely holding the fish under water either gently cradling it or using a net. The person in charge of the fish can be getting it into the correct position for the photograph before lifting it when the photographer gives the word. If the head of the fish is gently cradled in one hand while gripping just ahead of the tail with the other hand, you’ll see plenty of the fish in the photograph and have a comfortable hold on the fish. For big, slippery fish a fishing glove or even a sun glove will help grip the tail. Make sure the glove is wet to protect the fish.

We work with Nikon digital cameras so we take our first picture of the angler holding the fish underwater and then check our composition and light in the monitor of the camera. If we like it we do a one-two-three count, the fish is lifted out of the water, the angler smiles, and the photographer fires three quick shots and the fish goes back underwater.

If the images look good in the monitor, it’s time to release the fish. We’re still holding the fish with a firm grip just ahead of the tail keeping it in an upright position in the water. If it’s not anxious to go we slowly move it back and forth facing into the current making the gills work. Make sure the fish is in clean water where turtle grass, sand, or mud can't foul the gills. If it’s exhausted or bleeding there may be predator fish in the area waiting for a chance to get at him. If it starts to turn sideways or upside down it’s in trouble, rescue it and repeat the revival process. It may take some patience when you want to get back to fishing but if it’s a fish worthy of a picture, it's always worth ensuring it’s survival.

Click here to see the album of photos

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Happy New Year!


Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!  We'll be back next week with our first blog of 2021!

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Christmas Greetings


We wish all of our readers a very Merry Christmas and a Healthy, Happy, Covid-free 2021. Like the rest of the world, we anxiously await the time when we can freely move around the world again and do believe it is near. With that hope in mind, we share some thoughts from Mollie & Mike Fitzgerald & the Frontiers Team:

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” ~ Gustave Flaubert

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.” ~ Saint Augustine

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” ~ Anonymous

“Climb the mountain so that you can see the world, not so the world can see you.” ~ David McCullough

“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” ~ Anonymous

“Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, dream, discover.” ~ Mark Twain

 Heart Melting Christmas Ads

We came across this YouTube clip of The Best Most Touching Christmas Adverts That Will Melt Your Heart. Bet you can't watch just one....enjoy and Merry Christmas.

Warning: Patagonia Scam

We all know this stuff happens and want to alert you to a scam that is making the rounds on Facebook. Don't fall for this too-good-to-be-true sale supposedly from Patagonia Clothing Company. It is a scam. It's from Pataonlinemall.buzz, NOT Patagonia Clothing Company.  Screen Shot 2020 12 22 at 2.57.50 PM

Follow this link from Patagonia to learn more.


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Gift Certificates, November Song, & Last of the Season?

winter ornaments backdrop banner13910599

9 Shopping Days Left Until Christmas!

Gift Certificates

christmasgiftNeed a last minute gift idea? Our gift certificates can be used for our online store, fly purchases, guiding, or any of our instructional programs. Certificates are available in any amount starting at $25 and will be emailed and can be printed by the purchaser.


 November Song

“Some days unfold slowly. Listen carefully and you may catch the rhythm.....

We enjoy Bob Romano's writing and think that at this unusually crazy time of year november song(even in normal years), taking a couple minutes to drift back with Bob to a November day and a more pleasant place and peace of mind. It's healthy for the soul. Enjoy the short story. If you enjoy this, you may like his blog too. Thank you Bob Romano and MidCurrent.


Last of the Season?

Maybe not. Yes, there is a blizzard on it's way to us later today, but fishing has been good right up until now and if the weather man is correct, we are to have a relatively mild winter. There's a good chance that we'll have some nice days and you can be sure that our guides Jim, Tom and Brad will be itching to be on the water. These shots are from last week. If you want or need a day on the water and we get a break in the weather, get your long johns out and give us a shout.

Mark Bremmer

 Art Hower 0016

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Look at this Fish!, Christmas Gifts, & Looking Ahead


Look at This Fish!!

Matt West 3381While some of us were trying to do Christmas shopping online and in mask, a regular guiding client, Matt West, decided to brave the cold and get in a late season fishing day with Barry. As Barry was getting dressed that morning he mentioned that he must be crazy. It was cold and a breeze was kicking up. He piled on base layers, top layers, down, wool, and anything else that he could get inside his waders. I remember thinking that they are both crazy!

As the day unfolded, the wind died and the sun came out. I can't say that it was balmy, but bearable. They were catching a few fish when about an hour from quitting time Matt hooked into this beautiful 30” brown. Where he came from no one knows, but he's been living a good life! It was Matt's biggest fish to date and what a way to finish the day. Our season doesn't close here, and the next week looks good, so if you're up for it, our guides are anxious to find this fish again! Give us a call to set up a day.

Congratulations Matt!

GeoGalleries   geo

If you follow us on Facebook and Instagram, you know that we've been busy this season with our online photo gallery. We invite you to take a look at what we're doing and the many other artists that are represented by GEOGalleries.com/barryandcathybeck.

Shes Going Fishing0731


Calendars and Flies

 Don't forget to order a 2021 Angler's Calendar, the Dirty Duo & Ug & Ug selections, and Trapper & PTs. (See last week's blog) Time is running out for Christmas. Let us know if we can help fill your stocking....or someone else's. These are great early season flies and priced right.  For Christmas 2


Looking Ahead

While the future is still somewhat uncertain, it's looking up with regards to the vaccine and late winter early spring turnaround. We're seeing an interest in fishing trips and the phone is beginning to ring again.

With that in mind, here is our 2021 schedule from March forward. As you begin to think about traveling once again, we hope you'll keep us and Frontiers in mind.


March 6-12                 San Huberto Lodge, Argentina. Trout.

March 13-20               Tres Valles Lodge, Esquel, Argentina. Trout.

March 20-27               Estancia Tecka, Esquel, Argentina. Trout.

June 21-July 4            Ireland & Scotland. Trout/A. Salmon.

July 23-Aug. 9            E. Africa Safari. Kenya & Tanzania. Game Viewing.

August 21-Sept. 5       Bighorn River, Montana. Trout.

September 14-22        E. Pyrenees, Spain. Trout.

October 16-23             Turneffe Flats Lodge, Belize. Bonefish, Tarpon, Permit

Nov. 29-Dec. 4            Argentina Waters, Esquel, Argentina. Trout.

Dec. 4-11                    Tres Valles Estancia, Esquel, Argentina. Trout

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Shop Small Christmas Ideas


We encourage you to embrace the Shop Small Movement that supports small businesses every day and everywhere. Please support small business this holiday season and beyond.

 Tis the Season

This is the week for Christmas ideas for yourself or others. We've put together some interesting fly selections, once again we have the 2021 Angler's Calendar, and a virtual stroll through our GeoGallery.

IMG 0109 Dirty Duo

For this double selection we've paired our Squirmies & Buggers Selection with a dozen tungsten Ug Nymphs (#8) in our best colors. You'll be ready for high cold water when the season opens in the spring with this duo. 2 Selections, 28 weighted flies, boxed. $60.  Click on the title to be directed to our store to order.



PT's & Emergers

PTS 0112For this double selection we've paired our Pheasant Tail Bead Head Selection with a dozen Trapper Tungsten Soft Hackle caddis emergers. PT's are always a favorite and with the Trapper soft hackles, you'll be ready for the hatches in the spring. 2 Selections, 24 flies(12-16), boxed $42. Click on the title to be directed to our store to order.



2021 Angler's Calendar

CAL 2021The 12"x12" Angler's Calendar is always a popular gift idea. 18-month calendar, large boxes for notes, moon phases, international holidays. By Willow Creek Press. $14.99.




Geo Gallery Tour

Just in time for Christmas.

We've put together a short video of some of our favorite images listed on Geo Galleries. Just sit back and let us show you what we're doing with prints, canvas wraps, and framed pieces.

All of the images here are available in a variety of formats and media types along with custom selections at Geogalleries.com/barryandcathybeck. Please let us know if you have any questions. Enjoy.





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Updated Link: Happy Thanksgiving! Shop Small & This Week's Featured Pics


The Movement

shopsmallWe encourage you to embrace Small Business Saturday as it continues to be an annual holiday shopping tradition – just one part of the larger Shop Small Movement that supports small businesses every day and everywhere. Please support small business this holiday season and beyond.


This Week's Pics

The Homestead

The Homested 2020 11 25 at 2.01.39 PMThe stories this place could tell! On a windswept Montana plain you can picture kids and old folks trudging through snow on their way to the outhouse, or struggling to beat a bit of a living out of the rock hard ground in the generations before irrigation. As they say, “those were the days....”


Last Cast

Last Cast 2020 11 25 at 12.57.46 PMWe've all had those magical days on the water that you don't want to end. So, you keep telling yourself that you really do have to start home and that you'll just make one more cast...and it leads to another and another.


We invite you to browse these photos and many others in our gallery at geogalleries.com/barryandcathybeck.

Starting at $25.

Prints, framed and ready-to-hang, and canvas wraps. Custom options available.



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GeoGalleries, Last Call, & Mending your Line

This Week's Pic – GeoGalleries

We are continuing to build our presence on GeoGalleries and invite you to take a look at
geogalleries.com/barryandcathybeck where you can browse prints, canvas wraps, and framed pieces, with many options in media, format, and custom sizes. Here are the pics for this week:

 Rainbow Trout Release

Geo Rainbow Trout Release 2020 10 29 at 2.51.11 PMAn angler gently releases a fat rainbow trout back into the river to be caught and enjoyed another day. As catch and release becomes more popular, anglers everywhere are increasingly releasing their catch.


Acacia Tree Sunset

The combination of dust and fire make for incredible sunsets and it's hard to find another place on earth Geo Acacia Tree Sunset 2020 11 19 at 3.28.06 PMwhere there is more dust and fire than Africa. The vast African plains and the few trees make an impressive stage for the sun to drop behind.


 Last Call

If you subscribe to or happen to see a copy of the November/December issue of Gray's, please enjoy our photo essay with our good friend Harry Schoel from Belgium.

 Last Call 0010









Classic Pro Tip: How to Mend Your Line For a Better Drift

mendHere is an easy, quick, piece from Tom Rosenbauer and Montana guide, Molly Semenik, on mending line. These are great tips for mending and with it is a very useful 2-minute video.
Thank you Tom, Molly, & Orvis.

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