Wishing you & your family a happy, safe, & healthy 4th of July!
These are difficult times at best for all of us and perhaps the worst of it is that we don't know what might be on the horizon. After months of quarantining, working from home, no school, no real in-person meetings, no socializing, no this and no that, we still don't know where we're headed or when this coronavirus pandemic will end.
Barry and I have had all of our trips canceled for 6 months and are hopeful that we can resume international travel in the fall. In the meantime, August looks good for the Bighorn River, Montana, trip and like everyone else, we will be so ready to get out of town and to Montana to fish. Once we arrive in Ft. Smith (population maybe 500 in the summer) and to Kingfisher Lodge, we can all relax, unwind, enjoy the big sky country and the fresh air (about 24 hours of it a day), and put our thoughts on fly selection and what part of the river to float each day.
We hope you're getting through this summer as well as possible and that you are able to enjoy some quiet time on your favorite water. Shut off the cellphone, the 24-hour news headlines, take a big deep breath and escape this crazy world for awhile. It is true, there is healing for the body and the soul in fly fishing. We see it every day.
Thanks for following us,
Cathy & Barry
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In an effort to revitalize the economic health of our trusted retail partners, Smith has allocated...continue reading on anglingtrade.com
A nice short story. It's nice to think that places like Charlie's and young girls like Robyn are still around. Thank you Bob and MidCurrent.
Our season starts to slow down for a bit at this time of year. It has been a good season and if we continue to get rain it will continue to be good. Fishing Creek is a freestone stream and that means we need rain to have good water levels throughout July and August. Our stream stays cold but the water gets low and the fishing becomes very technical. September usually brings more rain and then we are good again until usually around Halloween or a bit later. Here are some shots from recent lessons and guiding.
You don't have to be a dad to take advantage of our boxed fly selections. The flies in our selections are always priced lower than when purchased individually, are the sizes you want, and are boxed and ready for your vest or pack. Dries, beetles, nymphs, streamers, the choice is yours. Check out our fly selections and don't forget – we always pay the postage on orders over $50.
RIO 1-Minute Tips
We've got two more 1-minute tips from RIO. A better-than-saliva way to tighten knots and a new leader for our ESN fans. Take a look!
For our dry fly fishermen. We often find ourselves so comfortable with a routine that it's hard to break loose. Fishing is that way. We get used to using a handful of favorite flies, we cast the same every time, we approach every situation the same way. We know the game. You could say we're in a rut.
Here is a short video from Phil Monahan for Orvis on the position we take in the stream. It's good thought for dry fly fishing.
As you can imagine, our travel calendar was wiped clean for about four months and it is slow to get started again, but we are excited to be returning to Montana in August for our two special weeks on the Bighorn River.
This destination has remained our “best-seller” for more than 30 years. We have an excellent program with Kingfisher Lodge and their guides. It's an easy, relaxing week of good fishing – drifting everyday and getting out to wade favorite runs, riffles, and pools. The Bighorn is a favorite among beginners and experienced anglers and has been our favorite western river for many years.
If you're as tired of looking at the same four walls as we are, come along for a delightful change of scenery and some great fishing. We have space available on our first week, August 22-29, and would love to have you.
Check out the details and call us or Denise Schreiber at Frontiers (800-245-1950) for more information.
Our head guide, Jim Kukorlo, talks to us this week about his PT Nymphs and his own variations on the fly. We encourage you to ask Jim questions, comment, and give us your thoughts in our Comments section (accessible when the blog is viewed from a browser). We love hearing from you!
The pleasant tail nymph certainly is one of the best all-purpose and all-season nymphs. It just looks like a bug which makes it a great imitation for many different mayflies throughout the season. No fly box should be without pheasant tail nymphs from hook size 12 to size 22.
The original pattern calls for the complete fly to be tied using the fibers of a ring neck pheasant tail and ribbed in gold wire. (At least that has always been my understanding.) It's a tried and true pattern for sure and one that I have in my fly box plus several variations that I use throughout the season. And it's a pretty simple pattern to tie even for beginner fly tiers.
The thing I like most about the PT nymph is that you can fish it so many different ways. It's a great early season nymph when fishing with an indicator, or euro nymphing, and when tied with a tungsten bead the fly will get down quickly to where the trout are in high and fast water.
It's also one of my favorite flies to use when fishing a dry fly, using it as the trailing nymph. It was very effective during the second week of the Hendrickson hatch this past spring when fished as a dropper behind my dry fly. It resembles a Hendrickson nymph and some days I caught more fish on the pheasant tail nymph than I did on the dry fly. Because of it's streamline design it's a perfect pattern for BWO and midge nymphs too, and my midge box is full of these small nymphs in sizes 18 and down.
Fishing with fellow guide, Tom Harris, on Super Bowl Sunday several years ago there was a midge hatch going on and Tom and I were fishing size 20 pheasant tail nymphs and trailing a size 20 rainbow warrior nymph. When the sun was on the water we caught trout on the rainbow warrior and when the clouds blocked the sun we caught them on the pheasant tail nymph.
If you are a fly tier, this nymph works well by spicing it up with different variations from the original pattern. Sometimes a flash of purple, red or orange does the trick to get a trout's attention. I often substitute the pheasant tail thorax with hare’s ear dubbing and really like using black ice, peacock and pheasant tail ice dubbing for the thorax. The options seem limitless.
The pheasant tail nymph has been around for a long time and has stood the test of time as one of the best all-around, go-to nymphs out there. In the photo are some of the combinations I use and have had success with throughout the season.
Wow! It's June already. Where did spring go? Here in northeastern Pennsylvania we have had a cool, wet spring which has been good for the gardens and very good for the streams. Fishing Creek is at a perfect level, cool nights and warm days have the BWO Cornuta and Sulphurs starting to show and fishing has been good! Another first for the season is crane flies. On warm sunny afternoons there has been some very good dry fly action with these flies and they are fun to fish. Check them all out in our online fly shop. Oh, the bass came from the pond, Bailey's first fish on a fly rod!
I'll drop in a couple photos from our guides this week and you can see for yourself.
Here is a story from one of our travel clients. I think he embellished the story quite a bit with regards to his fishing partner, but the rest rings so true for a day of fishing in Patagonia – the day, the lunch, the siesta, the fishing. I remember it like it was yesterday.
Anyone care to venture a guess as to who the author is? An MFC fly box is yours if you’re the first to correctly guess. Hint: He is not in the photo but tells a good joke. Answer through the blog comments - accessible when viewed from a browser.
Cathy, the Rio Malleo and Me
– a story of a day on a river, with a person I admire, in a place I will never forget.
There are many stories about exactly how and when it came about, but most agree trout were introduced into the rivers and lakes of the Patagonia region of Argentina in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Since then, the pristine waters of the area have allowed the browns and rainbows to flourish and transform Patagonia into a fly fisherman’s dream destination.
Hooked from the start, I was introduced to Patagonia by my good friends Cathy and Barry Beck who host fly fishing trips for Frontiers Travel out of Gibsonia, PA. Having traveled with them for several years, I noticed they always went back to Argentina – often, several times a year. So, when the next Patagonia trip was offered, I was on it.
Presidents and celebrities have fished these waters. Author and angling legend Ernie Schwiebert was a North American pioneer of Patagonia fly fishing. One of his favorite rivers was the Rio Malleo (in Argentine Spanish, the ll is pronounced like the zh sound in azure)) where he often stayed at the legendary San Huberto lodge. The lodge sits on an estancia (ranch) with over eighteen miles of private, trout filled water. The area offers arguably some of the best dry fly fishing in Argentina. And, now, I get to stay there and fish this famous river.
It was a typical Patagonia day on the Malleo. After flying from Buenos Aires the day before and having a full blown asado (Argentine BBQ/cookout) which lasted well past mid-night, we were up and on our way to the stream at a semi-reasonable hour. No one rushes in the morning either due to the remnants of the night before or the fact the hatch doesn’t usually come off till around 10 am.
It was March, so the day was a beautiful, but slightly overcast, fall day in the Southern Hemi-sphere. The fish were taking bugs off the surface regularly so everyone in our group had a great morning of fishing. We stopped around 1 PM for lunch.
When you are staying at San Huberto, lunch on the Rio Malleo is always an event. The teams that were split up in the morning, reunite for a shore lunch. Again, these meals are no simple affair.
Several collapsible tables are opened and set end to end by the guides. Tri-pod chairs are lined up eight to a side. Multi-colored tablecloths are layered two deep and places are set with metal plates and silverware. Wine glasses, wrapped in cloth napkins for the ride, were placed accordingly. Bottles of local red wine, Malbec, lined the center of the tables. Appetiz-ers consisted of empanadas left over from last night’s asado, smoked meats, assorted chees-es. The main course is grilled lamb, breaded veal, roasted vegetables and a fresh green salad. The food is plentiful and delicious. And, so is the wine.
In true Argentine fashion, a nap after lunch was not only well deserved but necessary. Every-one found a patch of grass to lie on or a stump to lean against and dozed off. Cathy and I sat on the river bank and finished the last of a bottle of wine when something caught her eye.
After pointing me in the right direction, I saw what she saw. A pod of fish were working on the surface just below a water flow metering station (which is why the local name for this beat is “el medidor”). Just above the meter, there was a grass clearing that touched the river where the local horses came to drink.
Without speaking, Cathy and I grabbed our rods and vests and walked 50 feet upstream to the pod of rising fish. We waded into the cool, waist-deep water and, of course, I insisted Cathy take the first shot. The fish were closer to the left bank but the flow was such that the best placement of the fly was closer to the middle of the stream so it could drift into to the willow-lined bank.
To see an accomplished angler display their craft never fails to impresses me - whether an athlete or a chef. To watch someone do challenging or complicated tasks with such ease and grace always leaves me amazed. To see Cathy Beck place a fly on the water fills me with the same sense of wonder. The biggest wonder being why, after 40 years of casting a fly rod, I still look like a guy swinging a stick trying to ward off fruit bats. But, I digress.
With minimal effort and maximum grace, Cathy made the first cast. Of course, it was perfect. After two feet of drift, the dark brown, CDC, no-name fly given to us by one of the guides, was gently slurped down by a nice sized Malleo buck brown. The fish in this river are healthy and strong fighters. But, Cathy moved him easily out of the center of the stream over to the gravel bank gently but quickly. By doing so, she left the rest of the pod undisturbed.
It was my turn. The only common denominator between what Cathy just did and my effort was we were using the same fly. But, after a few casts, I had a similar result and followed her lead getting the fish away from the pod so we could continue. And we did.
This went on for an hour or more. The fish never turned off and the pod stayed in tacked. We hooked one nice fish after the other. As our friends woke from their naps, they started to line the bank and cheered us on - fish after fish. All of the trout were beautiful and every cast Cathy made was perfect. I was savoring each moment.
We are moving into our summer season here. Sulfurs were reported last night on the Home Pool. Rain is coming today so that means you should get out this weekend. It should be pretty special. Here are a few shots from our guides this week.
The CARES Act requires that all airlines maintain service to all U.S. Airports they served pre-COVID-19, but the DOT has begun to loosen the mandate. See which airports your preferred airline is dropping here.
There is an interesting article in Angling Trade News by Editor Kirk Deeter, about the number of kids and young people who are now fishing. With no school, no sports, no hanging with friends, this is a golden opportunity to get the kids into fishing.
There have been more kids taking lessons here than I can ever remember and we are loving it. Fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, grandsons, granddaughters, you name it. We've had entire families, parts of families, mixed families, and everyone has a good time. We're always amazed at how easily these kids grasp fly fishing. During May and most of June our pond is full of very willing bluegills and there isn't an easier fish for young kids to start out on. Here are a few shots from our pond (we have hybrid stripers too):
Our Country Life Experience is a great way to vacation together, practice social distancing, and not share space with others. Our CLE families have exclusive use of the Lodge at Raven Creek to themselves and we only take one family at a time and we've got the stream, the pond, the farm, horses, chickens, and a whole lot more. So, round up everyone and come to the country!
Most sports have a set of unwritten rules, generally agreed upon by those in the know. But the trouble with the unwritten rules of fly fishing is that many newcomers aren’t aware of them. So it might take seasons of error before realizing that you were pissing everyone else off while wading downstream into the upstream guys.
Thanks to Troutbitten for this great article.
Finally, the announcement from Montana that everyone has been waiting for!
Pick up a copy of the May/June 2020 issue of Grays Sporting Journal. In it Barry & Cathy have a photo essay on the Ibera Wetlands in northeastern Argentina where everything is taking off – either flying or leaping, whether fowl or fish. Golden dorado have become one of the Becks new “favorites” to pursue and it's easy to see why.
Fishing just keeps getting better. We're seeing a lot of caddis and March Browns and the cold nights are behind us so the dry fly fishing will only get better. Get out if you can, spring fishing won't last long enough!
Want to be a better fisherman? RIO's Rob Parkins explains how and why to make a reach cast easily – and in less than 4 minutes.
Some restrictions have been lifted and just in the nick of time since we saw our first March Browns yesterday. Water is in good shape and after next week we expect to have milder weather and better water temps. Bring on the dry fly fishing! Come on out!
This has been a week of fathers & daughters and fathers & sons. Here are a few shots.
Dave & Amelia Jensen bring us this short instructive video with a crash course on mayfly spinners. Dreaming of a warm summer evening with spinners and rising trout? It's coming. Let yourself drift away to that evening with this short, informative 5 minute clip.
Thank you Dave and Orvis.
Sometime it's good to step away from the stress of life these days for a couple minutes of pleasure. Sage thinks so too and has put together Films from the Field. These are short clips featured not just about the search for new fisheries, but the pursuit of knowledge, experience, and understanding.
Enjoy, relax, and Explore.
Several outdoor activities including guided fishing trips will resume here starting tomorrow, Friday, May 1. For now, the reopening is limited to Pennsylvania residents only, but we are hopeful that our out-of-town anglers may soon be coming to Fishing Creek (with precautions, of course). Our fishing has been good with incredible blue quill and Hendrickson hatches and good water levels. Fish are hungry, our guides are ready, and hatches are happening. Let's get the season going!
Kathryn Vallilee may have broken the world record for permit on 6-pound tippet while fishing off Key West. Congratulations to Kathryn and thank you USA Today bringing us the story.