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pa dave 03-31-2012 03:49 PM

Opening day in SE PA
So in order to avoid the circus, I did the only sensible thing and went to the special regs section of the Tulpehocken Creek in Berks County. I figured it would be safe from the crazy hordes of Powerbait Commandos. When I reached my favorite spot I was pleased to find not a single vehicle around. The light rain helped with that, I think.

Once on the water, fish were rising like mad to something tiny, so I tied on a #20 dry. No luck. Not a bit of interest from any of them. I tried several different drys. No luck.

What to do, what to do?

Conventional wisdom says they are on something small, gray, and on the surface. Since that isn't working for me, I decided on something larger and subsurface...the reliable wooly bugger. I had several hits but couldn't make the hook stick, so I naturally blamed the fly and tried a streamer of unknown name that I've never tried before. In short order I brought four nice rainbows to hand, between 11 and 14 inches each. I had a number of strikes that didn't connect with this fly as well, do I concluded the hook was dull, but as I was about to change flys again I ran it over my thumbnail...nice and sharp. Realizing that it was I that was being dull, not the hook, I set about trying it again and doing a better job of setting the hook. In the middle of rising fish, I was taking them on streamers...conventional wisdom isn't always right.

All in all, it was a great opening day. The whole time I was there I saw only four other anglers, none closer than 50 yards. The air was 43 degrees, the water was low and clear, and the sky was gray.

mcnerney 03-31-2012 06:52 PM

Re: Opening day in SE PA
Looks like you made the right choice in going to Tulpehocken Creek, congrats on the fish that you landed. Don't forget sometimes when you see fish rising they aren't actually taking flies off the surface, next time try a couple different emerger patterns either floating in the film or just below the film.

Don't get discouraged if you can't figure out what the fish are taking, sometimes even the guides get skunked. If you haven't watched the "Sipping Dries" trailer, here is a link it is worth looking at:


pa dave 03-31-2012 07:27 PM

Re: Opening day in SE PA
Thanks Larry. I've always mostly flyfished for smallmouth bass, which is always an interesting exercise, but trout...they require a special voodoo zen. Bass are fun, trout are mystical. Great video.

FrankB2 04-01-2012 08:00 AM

Re: Opening day in SE PA
Hi Dave,
The Tully has holdovers, and they'll take a dry. It's been my experience that stocked trout won't take a dry until they've been away from the hatchery for a few weeks. A Bead Head Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear works very well for me with freshly stocked trout, and "junk" flies like the Green Weenie do the trick as well. Of course a small Wooly Bugger (with some flash or a bead head) gets the job done nicely if you want to go deeper. I would just as soon skip the stocked trout, as the smallmouth began biting on the Neshaminy last week. There is a stocked lake 4 miles from my house, and I have a new canoe, so I'll probably be out looking for stocked trout with shiny flies today. ;)

pa dave 04-01-2012 05:51 PM

Re: Opening day in SE PA
Yup, it will soon be smallie time on the Conestoga River but for now I play with the trout. They were taking dries two weeks ago for me on the Tully...but like you said, they were probably holdovers. I think they stocked since then.

FrankB2 04-01-2012 07:16 PM

Re: Opening day in SE PA
Looks like the Tully was stocked on March 7: PFBC Trout Stocking

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