Each year in Western PA Penn’s Woods West Trout Unlimited puts on a fly fishing show called Cabin Fever. This past year Bug Chuckers Inc. was able to attend with the help of Dale Kotowski and Rob Walters. BCI was on hand to show our 2011 video, tie flies, and to promote BCI and to inform fellow fly fishers of whom we are. We had this opportunity to do this because Dale from Wilderness Voyageurs invited us to set up with him. The show was great and Bug Chuckers Inc. was able to donate decals with several flies for the raffle. Wilderness Voyageurs donated a float for one guy down the middle Yough River. This year’s winner was Paul which happens to be a member of PWWTU. Dale and him connected on a date and Paul was able to bring Bob, a good friend of his along.
I spoke with Paul to confirm everything with him a few days before the trip and after talking to them I could tell he was excited to get on the water. He informed me that he floated a couple years ago in the fall and that they had one hell of day. Matter of fact he said he caught 11 fish back to back out of the same run. He said majority of the fish caught on that trip were on streamers. I have been on the river several times this year and after talking to him I began to start praying that I would not disappoint. As a guide you sometimes talk to clients like Paul and hear stories of past fishing trips on the same water but different times of the year and you just know that it’s not going to be the same.
I have had guys use streamers this year and they have produce but nothing like Paul’s trip two years ago. This time of the year nymph’s is the way to go. I apologize but I am not going to reveal the nymphs that we are fishing religiously. Please keep in mind and remember guides are expected to know where the fish are and most of all to get the clients to hook up with them. With all the pressure the Yough is getting right now we have to keep a few secrets. And on a side note I saw 4 dead fish on the middle Yough. They were all around 12’’ and I know they just did not roll over and shit the bucket on their own, so remember if you catch a fish try to keep it in the water and release it as fast as possible. I am not going to preach about how to fight and handle fish when releasing but these fish are what we come to the Yough for.
Enough of me rambling on lets get to Paul and Bobs trip. We started off about a ¼ mile below Confluence. The guys were using streamers at first because they wanted to chuck bugs and I mean big bugs. Bob was throwing a Zoo Cougar that looked great in the water and Bob had a dark bugger/leech pattern. The guys fished these patterns and similar ones until we got to Ramcat. They had a few fish follow and a couple miss on streamers but I knew nymphs were the way to go. We anchored up below Ramcat and before they knew it the nymphs started to produce. As we made our way down to the islands the guys had a good grip on throwing the nymphs with a nice 19 ½ and 16 ½ rainbows landed.
I beached the raft and prepared lunch for the gents while they took in the nice day. The guys got their fill from the great lunch that the Pub prepared for us and we were back onto the water. The next location we got into fish is an area that many people would not think hold fish but if the conditions are right it can be very successful. The key to that area is being very stealth with your cast and the boat. If you can make 40 to 50 foot casts and hold a perfect drift you could clean house. The fish in that area know the drill and one little thing that they do not like can put them down until you are 100 yards down stream.
As we tried to make up time the guys kept getting into fish on the secret rig I had set up for them. I am personally not about numbers and I am not going to brag about how many fish were brought to the boat but Paul and Bob seemed to be very happy with the day. The guys even were able to get a double as we floated through a nice run. The weather was perfect for us and water conditions were in the low 50’s as usual. The flow was around 800 cfs. Good times and another great day on the water living the dream.
On June 1st The Academy of Natural Sciences verified the identification of Didymo otherwise known as Rock Snot. It was submitted by Dr. Silldorff and he stated;
“there was plenty of Didymo on the rocks so I had no trouble finding material to collect, and my sample was filled with nice, healthy, living Didymo. So, in terms of a risk of spread, I would say the Youghiogheny is now a potential launching pad, especially with the combined traffic of whitewater enthusiasts and trout anglers.”
With that being said please keep this in mind since there are so many native brook trout streams close by. I know this is nothing knew as there were reports of this in years past but this is something that normally just gets worse. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat commission reports that Didymo can smother entire stream beds with mats as thick as 8’’ and can ruin any river or creek. More information on this matter can be found at the link listed here.
The Mountain Watershed Association has released this “what to do statement”.
As you know, the Ohiopyle area is heavily used for recreation. All users of the river should take extra precaution to clean all equipment used in the Youghiogheny before entering other waterbodies. Didymo is a diatom that causes severe degradation of stream habitat in some places. It can be spread by moving just a small amount – maybe even just a cell or two. Take extra care in cleaning boats, gear, equipment before transporting to another waterbody! Gear can be disinfected by using a 10% household bleach and 90% water solution or a strong salt solution (minimally, use at least a true 5% salt solution). Allow either solution to remain in contact with equipment for at least 10 minutes! Either solution can be harsh on gear or equipment so be sure to rinse everything with plenty of water after disinfecting. Take extra care to properly disinfect porous materials such as nets, ropes, cloth items, water shoes, and especially felt-soled waders and wading shoes!
With all of that being said I will touch on one of the many good things that are going on in Ohiopyle. On June 16, 2012 Wilderness Voyaguers will be having there 11 annual Beer and Gear Festival at the shop. Tickets are $20.00 and it will run from 3:30 – 7:00 p.m. Steve-o and I attended last year and let me tell you folks it is one hell of a good time. Come out and enjoy the complimentary beer sampling from local breweries in the tri-state area and the great music. Check out the link below to see every brewery that will be there.
I know this post was full of all kinds of stuff and once again sorry but I can not reveal the nymphs and locations due to the fact that we got to get our clients on fish and plus not knowing is part of the game.