Tuesday, June 29, 2010

06.29.10 Day four, a day on the Susquehanna river

Day four of school. Got out early and made the trip to the Susquehanna River in central Pennsylvania. Like all the other rivers in the northeast, it was low and warm. Brian and I hooked up with Charlie and we took turns rowing and fishing for smallmouths.  We caught a few fish, had a nice lunch. With the water levels low, there are tons of rocks to navigate through.  Charlie had faith enough in me, after some hard pressure and convincing, to let go
 through some really fast and tight water near Maryville. It was touch and go with tons of rowing- and luckily we didn't hit anything or damage his boat. We were lucky because he brought his own Clackacraft- and trusted or was nutty enough to allow me and Brian to use it. Back at the shop we had some good chow and a lecture from Joe on running a guiding operation. Tomorrow we are up and out early, heading to float the Upper West Branch. We're staying over up there, and doing the Delaware float again on Thursday. 

06.28.10 Day three, on the Big Delaware

Today we got up, had some breakfast, loaded up and headed to the Delaware River above Easton. We put it in at Martins Creek and floated down to some takeout near some kind of factory. Brian and I were teamed up with Charlie who brought his Clackacraft for us to use. Brian and I again switched on and off, with Brian doing more fishing on this day 

because he's a huge bass angler and fan. We did some fly casting but broke out the spinning rod so these guys could use worms and rapalas. I fell into temptation and couldn't resist a chartreuse mister twister spinner combo- which caught a big , beautiful sunfish and a few smallmouths. Charlie had the best two bass of the boat.

  During our float the clouds covered the sky and the heavens opened up for about a half an hour. It was a good day on a hard boat. The fiberglass boats are a lot different than the inflatables and my aluminum drift boat. I could see me eventually getting one some day. We took and took a little detour through northern PA in getting back to the shop, but we were in time for some good dinner and a evening lecture. Joe talked about guiding and teaching and we got into the business of guiding, which was an eye opener.  He and the guides shared a lot about the business and running it as a business and the difficulties that come with it. Tomorrow we head out for a road trip to the Susquehanna River for some more hard boat floats. Then it's the Upper Delaware on Wednesday and Thursday. 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

06.27.10 Day two on the river, low water, lotsa rocks

We did the same float today, different instructor and different inflatable pontoon boat. We beat the water release down the river so where we yesterday drifted the upper float without any problems, today the water was super skinny and hard to navigate. Once the releases and feeder streams put some water in the river it was an easier and more enjoyable day. It was fun to work extra hard that first leg and get a good workout and sweat going. My boat partner and I switched on and off rowing and fishing. Today we caught no fish, and joked throughout the day that this water system is devoid of fish and aquatic life. Something that's no true as evidenced by the tons of pictures Joe has of healthy Lehigh trout, including a few slobs that they have caught and released. The day was uneventful until I hit Jim Thorpe and proceeded to perch us on the center of a rock, mid river, in hard current. Luckily Charlie, our guide, jumped in and got us going without incident. After taking out around 5pm we drove back to the shop and had some drinks while Joe gave us his Guide 101 lecture and then a slideshow of some of his guiding trips from throughout the area and beyond.  For some reason I didn't take any pictures today except for Brian listening as Joe spoke. Tomorrow looks like a lower Delaware float, then some nasty weather is blowing in the afternoon. Susky on Tuesday, and then the Delaware Wednesday and Thursday. 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

06.26.10 First day of school on the Lehigh River

Today we started off around 11 am drifting the Lehigh River putting in at Glenonoko Lehigh Gorge State Park and taking out at Bowmanstown. Fellow student Brian and I had instructor Tim in the inflatable pontoon boat for the day. We took turns rowing and fishing and had a good while learning the basics of approaching and handling the boat in slow and moving water. We fished throughout the day but the water temps was just over 70 degrees so trout fishing was out, although I did land a +/- 17 inch healthy older brown on a wooly bugger. We also landed a few smallmouths. It was a long day on the water and we got back around 8 pm and had a few cocktails and dinner while reviewing the day. 

Friday, June 25, 2010

06.25.10 First night at guide school

I arrived in New Ringgold Pennsylvania, around 5pm and hit local tavern for a few beers before checking into to the guide school. There are four of us taking the one week guide/drift boat course with Joe DeMarkis and his staff at Rivers Fly Fishing. After a few more drinks and some burgers and dogs offf the grill we sat for our first lesson. We watched a video about drift boat basics and then Joe added to it. Tomorrow we head out to the Lehigh River for our first day on the water. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

06.23.10 Orvis sent a new rod, now I'm sending another snapped one back, and getting ready for guide school

Been a crazy week. My brother and I went fishing Saturday, with nothing to show for it. On Sunday, Fathers Day morning, 30 pounders in the surf, with about 10 fish caught during the 20 minute blitz. I went down this morning for a second and there wasn't anything around. Charter boats were drifting for fluke off the jetties. Well Orvis sent my new Power Matrix TLS tip flex back to replace the mid flex that was a bit too slow, that replaced the Silver Label TL I snapped while casting at Buckingham a month ago. And now I am sending the Trident TLS back because I snapped that on the jetty in Asbury last Tuesday. I hope they can fix it, but they'll probably replace it. With what I don't know. Maybe another Power Matrix TLS which would be great, or maybe a Helios ! Other then that I have been up to my ears in shooting assignments and kids end of school stuff and graduations, one from pre-k, one from 8th grade, and the other to moving up to 7th and 8th grade. All that while I prepare for my week at guide school in Pennsylvania from Friday June 25- July 1. That I can't wait for.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

06.19.10 I wasn't missing first light fish today...they just never came

So after hearing about good fishing the first light the day before, I decided to get out there nice and early today. I was on the tip of the jetty at 330 am blind casting a big peanut bunker fly. There was another guy out there but he gave in about an hour later. My brother was in Deal and we played phone tag telling each other nothing was going on. By 5 am things had

brightened up and I waited for the other anglers and fish to come. The fishermen did, the fish didn't. Huge schools of bunker stayed off the jetty and out of reach of the guys so by 7am we decided to call it an early morning. It's going to be good here in the next few days...thing is you just don't know when.

Friday, June 18, 2010

06.18.10 " You should have been here yesterday...."

Photo by Marc Steiner/Agency New Jersey

That's what every guy loves to hear when he shows up all bright eyed and bushy tailed ready to do some fishing. Well yesterday around 430 in the afternoon the bunker came in, and the stripers followed them all the way to the beach. 11 guys there, 6 hooked up. So today I got there around 230 and stayed till 630 in the evening, blind casting as the tide went out. Blind casting a 9 foot 8 weight that I use for freshwater bass in ponds. The WF floating line really gets those bunker flies down well! Ha! My partner Marc came by and swiped my camera so he could take it to Haiti with him tomorrow and I thought for sure that was a sign that I would hook up. Nope. Had fun, got too much sun. Might go back out later.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

06.16.10 Imagine throwing a small rabbit for big trout ...

It is possible. And, seasoned guys that guide and fish the Delaware system will tell you, size does matter. I left Ocean around 530 am and got into the West Branch Anglers around 930. It was a little colder than it should be and the sky was filled with clouds and it rained off and on. I decided to pick up a few flies for the day, a few sulfers, a few blue winged olives- and a new anchor for my drift boat. That I wasn't planning to spring for, but I needed one, and the shipping from out west would have been more expensive. I also picked up a few big 4/0 and 6/0 Double Bunnies (pictured above). They looked more like what I was using for stripers the day before than the size 18 and 20 olives that were in my cup. So I drove into Deposit and started below the Route 17 bridge in the no kill with the big streamer. Since I snapped my fly rod and am waiting for it to be returned from Orvis, all I had was my sons Fran Betters custom 7'6" 4-5 weight. Perfect for the Upper Delaware, and perfect for throwing small rodents! So I ducked and chucked through he riffles and into the deep pool with no luck. I got in my car and moved over to the sewage plant and fished below the train bridge. I switched over to a smaller size 8 white zonker. I made a cast into a good lie and got snagged on the backcast. I went over to release the fly and saw that a better lie was a few feet up from where I was. First cast, bang, into a nice over 20 inch brown, maybe 22. I dont have my fly rod with the tape on it marking the lengths so I have to guess. It was a nice strong fish. I took a few pictures and gently released

him. I then waited and waited and waited for the sulfurs to kick off, but they never did. They bumped the release up the night before and it made everything a little high and cold. I did see a few shad both dead on the banks and swimming in some back eddys. When I got out it was 345, and I decided to head downriver. On my way out of Deposit I bumped into two ironworkers I used to work with in the late 1980's. One bought a house on the river and both use it every week, even more now the economy is bad. So we decided to head downriver and fish the Church Pool below the Methodist Camp. As soon as we got in the fish were rising all over to blue winged olives. There was an occasional Isonychia coming off, but only a few. We made about 10,000 casts with no results, and then the Light Cahills came off. I managed a nice fiesty 15 inch rainbow just before dark on a cream snowshoe emerger. I did hold a quick macro portrait

session with a few bugs streamside. I also met Steve Taggart from Troutbound Guide Service and his two friends who made the Balls Eddy to Buckingham float. In fact we said hello to every guide, client, and driftboat that passed behind us, all within a half an hour. So it was a tough day, but got a nice, met up with some old friends, found a new spot, and learned how to cast the Easter Bunny!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

06.15.10 Sure, nice day, few casts, snap another rod :(

Now I went and did it again. Today I had a short, very short window to make a few casts. So I hit my local haunt at the 8th Avenue jetty in Asbury Park. It was just high tide and I made about 15 casts and then snagged my half and half on the rocks below me as I tried to loosen a the line fouled on my reel. I tugged, and it moved, I tugged again, and again, and the last time SNAP. My favorite Trident TLS. F%@K ME. I was pissed at myself. All that for a beat up half and half. And, I have a new replacement rod, replacing a snapped rod, at Orvis waiting to get shipped back to me. I am embarrassed to send in another snapped rod. I will look like a fraud, either a fraud customer, or a fraud fly fisherman. Other than that. Nothing much going on in the salt. Hearing good things about the Catskills, with recent cooler temperatures and a touch more water in the system. In fact, heading up there in a few hours for the day tomorrow.

Monday, June 14, 2010

06.14.10 Hey, some good news

Shale drilling at Delaware River basin is temporarily halted

The anticipated Marcellus shale drilling boom has been put on hold in the Delaware River basin, at least for now.

The Delaware River Basin Commission announced today that it has placed exploratory drilling under its jurisdiction, meaning that energy companies must obtain regulatory approval before sinking any new exploratory wells.

Commission Executive Director Carol Collier says Monday's decision will help project ground and surface water. She says it will also remove any incentive for gas companies to classify their wells as exploratory and sink them without DRBC review.

The move temporarily halts all Marcellus drilling in the Delaware basin. The commission last month declared a moratorium on new shale drilling projects until regulations are drafted, but exploratory wells had been exempt.

Friday, June 11, 2010

06.11.10 Project Healing Water Pequest Hatchery outing

Another great day at the Pequest Hatchery with Project Healing Waters. Today I fished with a Veteran who had fly fished before but was a little rusty. It wasn't long before he found his grove and caught plenty of fish, including one beast, which had to go over 6 pounds. Today there were about a dozen guys who came out to fish on a really nice day, where temps were about 70 degrees and the water was cool and fish active. I left my house a little early and stopped by the South Branch of the Raritan at Gray Rock Road and fished there for a bit, water was up from the recent rain and the temps at 630 am were 60 degrees. Had a nice fish on a big bead head nymph...and had a nice fish on a big bead head nymph. Crazy weekend ahead, maybe I can sneak down and see what's going on in the surf if I'm lucky.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

06.10.10 A little fun on the jetty, well big fun- little fish

After a late night editing a fishing video I shot, I woke up early and saw my girls off to school and work. I loaded up my gear and hit the jetty in Asbury Park. It's really fun going down there. It's about 15 blocks from my house and it's like the bar Cheers. Everyday it's the same guys doing the same thing. So when I got there this morning I ran into a guy I photographed fishing the other day. He's from Cape May and comes up a couple of times a week to fish, so it was nice to see him and be able to fish with someone else with a fly rod. Actually, we only had one fly rod between us as I forgot mine back home. Luckily he had a spare and set me up nicely. It was nice to shoot some line with a different rod. We started off throwing yellow Clousers and he switched up to a white/grey fly his buddy had tied. Soon he had a short, well baby, striper on

and followed that up with a fluke that spit the hook coming up the rocks. I had to travel up to Middletown and stopped by the Oceanic Bridge in Navesink and Leonardo near the Naval pier, both were flat and void of anything doing. Looks like rain is coming our way, hope it sops over the Catskill rivers for a few days, I know it's needed. Tomorrow I am helping out with Project Healing Waters, taking the Veterans to the Pequest Trout Hatchery for another fun day of big, fat, slob rainbows on the fly.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

06.09.10 This is bad news, not that is wasn't already known

Upper Delaware River most endangered in U.S.

Floodwaters converging from the Delaware River and the Delaware and Raritan Canal surge through the yard of an evacuated home in Yardley, Pennsylvania, June 29, 2006. REUTERS/Jeff Zelevansky

Floodwaters converging from the Delaware River and the Delaware and Raritan Canal surge through the yard of an evacuated home in Yardley, Pennsylvania, June 29, 2006.

Credit: Reuters/Jeff Zelevansky

The Upper Delaware topped the list because of the threat of contamination from chemicals used in gas drilling in New York and on the Pennsylvania side of the watershed.

Gas drilling was also the reason why the Monongahela River in western Pennsylvania was rated ninth on the list.

Others endangered rivers include the Gauley River in West Virginia, which came in third and is threatened by mountain-top mining, and the Upper Colorado River, which is sixth and has been diminished by water diversions. The report said it could become "a shadow of its former self" if two new diversion projects proceed.

The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta in California was second on the list, and Little River in North Carolina and Cedar River in Iowa rounded out the top five.

The Little River is under threat because of a proposed new dam. But American Rivers said the project could be avoided by improved water-efficiency methods and the expansion of existing reservoirs.

In the Upper Delaware campaigners are trying to prevent gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale, a major source of natural gas that lies beneath the river's watershed.

"This clean water source is threatened by natural gas extraction activities in the Marcellus Shale, where chemicals injected into the ground create untreatable toxic waste water," American Rivers said.

The group urged the Delaware River Basin Commission, an interstate regulator, to deny drilling permits to energy companies until it fully investigates whether a drilling technique called "fracking" poses a threat to the river's water.

American Rivers also wants Congress to pass legislation that would give the federal government oversight of the drilling industry, and require companies to meet requirements on disclosure of chemicals.

Other endangered rivers include the Upper Colorado River at No. 6, the Chetco River in southern Oregon, the Teton River in Idaho and the Coosa River in Alabama.

The Chetco, classified as a wild and scenic river, could be damaged by a strip mining plan that would use a damaging method of dredging, the report said. It called on federal regulators to ban mining in or near the river and allow Congress time to pass laws that would protect it.

The 10 rivers are selected according to the significance of the threat to human and natural communities, the degree to which the proposed action would exacerbate the effect of climate change, and if they are the focus of a major decision in the coming year that could determine their health.

06.09.10 Bunker boats up near the beach

Took a quick drive down to Asbury Park and saw guy after guy drive up, get out of their vehicle, curse the bunker boats, and drive away. Fisherman have been waiting for the bunker to get pushed up onto the beaches and jetties for a few weeks since the last blitzes happened. Now, it doesn't look good. With the fish on the move and boats harvesting the schools of bunker, it might be over till the fall, at least around here.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

06.08.10 Got a striper on the fly in Asbury Park!

I started my morning off driving past Asbury Park and Monmouth Beach checking to see if anything was going on close to the beach. Nothing but a small flotilla of boats off Long Branch but nothing in the air or breaking on the surface. So I headed out to Canon in Monroe for a camera pickup and then home to catch up on a ton of office work and editing. Finally at six o'clock I needed a break so I grabbed the fly rod and camera and headed to 8th Ave. There were a few guys fishing for stripers and the others for fluke. There were two keeper fluke laying in a puddle on top of the rocks, so I figured they must be around. I blind casted for about an hour and then switched over to a Clouser and tried to run it along the bottom

for fluke. I was working my way down the jetty towards the beach and slowly retrieving the fly and WHAM! The fish was strong and quickly I was into my backing. I kept the rod up and worked my way down where I was able to beach the fish. It was about 22 inches. I took a few pictures and then released it back into the surf. I am glad I finally caught a striper this spring, after going O for a hundred days in the fall. It's not my first striper on the fly rod in 2001 I took a charter out of Newport, RI and land my first schoolie. But this was my first since stalking the beaches and jetties since the fall of 2009. Hopefully I will just let it go, and not let it get in my blood.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

06.04.05 Starting fishing at 430am, stopped at 730 pm

So I went back to Buckingham at 430 am to catch the coffin fly fall that was surely going to happen...nope. I took the temp of the water and it was a warm 66 degrees. I waited and watched till 530 and then headed up to Deposit. By the time I got to the no-kill another guy was just just below the Route 17 bridge casting to fish sipping midges. I moved into my favorite spot and proceeded to burn out my rotator cuff casting nymphs in the riffs. I didn't get a bump, but the water was a nice 46 degrees, and running just over 450 cfs. There was a ton of algae in the water and almost every other cast covered my fly in think green slimy film. My purpose for coming up today was to meet up with the guys from teh Jersey Shore Trout Unlimited chapter on the Beaver Kill. This was our annual outing and they were staying in Roscoe. The only problem was the Beaver Kill was boiling over, and the West Branch is the only game in town. Not knowing the guys numbers, I drove down to Butternut Grove campground looking to point them up in this direction. When I got there I saw Bob Cohen, from Project Healing Waters, and he told me they all headed up to the West Branch. So back up Route 17 I went, and back to Laurel Hill, where I was surprised to find few guys in that stretch. I waited and waited for the sulfurs to start, and around 230 they did. The fish came up and stayed on top till around 730 when I finally left the water. Sulfurs, march browns, cahills and a few caddis. Landed about a dozen fish, mostly browns, a few rainbows, and a brook trout. The biggest one topped out at 16 inches, and the smallest 4. I casted to one big fish for 2 and half hours, had him take a sulfur cdc dun, only to miss the strike due to slack line. Then towards the end I found a slob taking duns and spinners across three different current seams on the opposite bank. In the end I had to tip my hat and head back home to New Jersey around 8 pm.

06.03.10 Pulled in to Buckingham at 1130 pm

After my sons playoff baseball game I shot up to the Mainstem and hit the Buckingham access. I pulled in around 1130 and parked on the access ramp and put the high beams on the water. The air was busy with the traffic patterns of tons of insects in the air. Occasionally I see a large mayfly float down across the light, and sometimes here a "thunck" as a fish would rise to take it. I thought about putting on a coffin fly or large spinner, but I was more fascinated with the bugs that were drawn to my cars lights. Since I dropped my Mark III off at Canon today, I had to use my 40d with the 100mm Macro lens and ring light to shoot. The image above was shot on my cars windshield. I decided to spend the night in Hancock and converted the back of my

car into a bedroom. I slept at the East Branch bridge pulloff. At 430 I woke up and headed back down to Buckingham, hopefully for a early morning spinner fall.

06.03.10 After casting it, sent it back

So I took the midflex out and gave it a bunch of casts. Not knowing if I liked it or not, I called Orvis and sent it back and opted for the same rod that's faster, a 9.5 tipflex. We'll see.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

06.02.10 Orvis sends out a replacement rod

Today I recieved in the mail my replacement rod after splintering and sending back my Orvis Silver Label TL. They sent me a Orvis TLS Power Matrix in it's place. What a great warranty they have backing their rods. So tomorrow I will take it out and give it a go. It's the 9ft 5wt, mid flex 6.0. I sent a two piece in and that's what I got back. Getting ready for the Beaver Kill trip Friday, quick one dayer, up and back.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

06.01.10 Water in the West Branch, tossing flies into the Atlantic

Had a short bit of time midday and took my true fishing partner down to ocean to see, if by some chance, I could catch an all out blitz on the beach. I have been stopping down everyday for about a week and haven't seen much, a fish caught here and there. There was bunker today but too far off the jetty. Did a little casting, and Erin a little stripping, with no results. I was hoping

that something would jump on the line while she retrieved in. I met a guy up from Cape May who pulled out his fly rod and made several casts off the jetty. As with fly fishing, always nice to have a target to cast to, it was nice to find a flyfisherman to focus on. He made for good images.

While checking up on the Delaware situation, I was glad to see a 325 cfs Cannonsville release, bringing that flow up to 476 at Hale Eddy, hopefully some rail this week will bring the water up and temps down.