Thursday, December 4, 2008

Fly Fishing the Northeast in December

December is a difficult month for fly fishermen of the Northeast. Trout will rise to a fly, but the conditions must be perfect: i.e., forty degrees (at least), sunny, midge hatch, etc. It can be cold in December, but it can also be exceedingly mild on the right day. Therefore, December lures fly fishermen like myself out to shivering cold creeks with virtually zero chance of success because it is still possible, if not likely, to catch a trout or two.

However, it is possible in the colder months to encounter a trout feeding frenzy. This occurs when fish recognize the coming winter inactivity and respond ferociously to an available hatch.

If you are curious and brave enough to give it a try, take in consideration the ten-step process I've listed below:

1. Find a mild December day, preferably sunny.
2. Dress warmly and keep an extra set of clothes in the car (in case you get wet).
3. Go to a familiar river (why risk going somewhere new? You may fall in and regret ever leaving the house).
4. Seek out a well-known hole or pool replete with slow-moving water.
5. Check the riparian vegetation for evidence of midge hatches (small, microscopic black or white insects) and tie on an imitation of whatever you find.
6. Scan the water for a few minutes and keep a lookout for rises (trout will sometimes feed sporadically in cold weather, rising only once every five minutes or so).
7. If you can reach the spot of the rise from the shore, do so. If not, wade in carefully.
8. Repeat your drifts again and again. Trout move slower in colder weather. Keep that in mind and don't get discouraged.
9. If all else fails, tie on a flashy streamer and slowly drag it across obvious trout lies (you'd be surprised how many hits you will receive with a wooly bugger in December).
10. Give it a try because it's better than sitting at home dreaming of May.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Late November Fly Fishing at Penns Creek

In the past I have successfully caught trout in Penns Creek in November; however, my efforts in 2008 did not work out quite so well. And while I didn't catch any fish, I was able to enjoy my favorite river for a few hours with my friend Eric. The trip also produced a some still photos and a video of a porcupine.

I am hesitant to claim that this trip was my last of the year, yet my prospects for the rest of the season look dim. I think there is a reasonable chance I will get to Marshalls Creek again in late December, but I can't be sure. In the meantime, I plan to post some unpublished pictures from my adventures in 2008 and provide a year-in-review analysis in the near future. Please stop back soon!