Has a few different meanings… this title. A personal relationship, sneaking up on your prey, or approaching the date of an event are a few. I’m using it as the approach to the coming fishing season and first SRS Membership Meeting. According to the PA Pressroom (released on 24JAN2022), the state-wide opener is April 2nd with a Mentored Youth Trout Day to be held one week prior. Our first meeting of the year will be on the same date – March 26, 2022, 10:30AM at the Brown Township Fire Hall. I’m looking forward to this season with a little more anticipation for some reason. Here’s hoping it’s a good one.
But First… (in my best Terry Gilliam voice)
We are going to take a circuitous route with this blog post. Apologies for the diversion but, hey, I’m the one doing this so… we’re doing it!
Note: WARNING – There Will Be a Dead Corpse!
I feel it necessary to forewarn you casual readers, that I want to present a picture of a dead corpse in this post and those that are faint at heart may want to abort viewing any further. Ok, it’s NOT a body of a person, but of the cervid variety, specifically a white-tailed deer. Consider yourself warned if you dare to go further.
An Evening With Ethan and John
I’m lucky. I’ve gotten to the point where I pick and choose when, where , and how I want to fish. I definitely was NOT in that frame of mind when I worked, but since I’ve retired, I’ve taken on this modus operandi and certainly feel much more at ease and less stressed. One evening recently, I was able to visit with a couple of guys that I took pictures of fishing. I caught up with John Pastorek (SRS member and SRS newsletter editor of The Slate Drake) fishing Schoolhouse Riffle the other evening when Ethan joined John to fish Pine.
As I walked up to John, already fishing, I noticed this carcass in the stones.
This white-tailed deer will not go to waste. I had seen an eagle perched atop a tree nearby and I’m sure this opportunity did not go unnoticed.
I talked with John and took a couple of pictures of him by the time Ethan arrived. Ethan Albright is a guide for the Slate Run Tackle Shop and a heck of a fisherman. If you want to explore the area fishing, he’ll guide you right. Look him up at Slate Run Tackle, Wolfe’s General Store in Slate Run.
While I was there…
I think they took them on Stonefly nymphs. I’ve seen several black stoneflies since I’ve been here – sizes ranging from a big size 12 to an honest 16.
Slate was ripping too – from recent rainfall and spring runoff I suppose.
The Rail Trail
Took a ride up the rail trail today, Wednesday, and had ridden to Tomb Flat (toward Black Walnut Bottom) a day before where I encountered a couple of washouts. They were deep enough that if I hadn’t noticed them and rode over them, it could have potentially caused a crash. I haven’t seen washouts on the rail trail like these in the past – not saying they haven’t happened, I have just not seen them.
Another day later I saw the DCNR Forestry people as they came down the trail to work on the washouts. They mentioned that they had to get the rail trail ready 2 weeks earlier this year since the trout opener is 2 weeks earlier. Well, they did a good job on the couple I saw riding up to Cedar Run. I’m sure the trail will be in good shape by the ‘Opener’.
Still snow along the rail trail though (as of 3-23-2022). Pretty amazing to see it heaped up at the bottom of the cliffs and slopes that border the rail trail.
And Now Back To Your Regularly Scheduled Blog Post…
(NAHOOP, joined in progress)
These are both tied on size 18 Tiemco 101s. I’ve said it before and I’ll probably only say it about a million more times before I die, taking macro pictures (close-ups) don’t hide ANYTHING! And I can see by these pictures that these flies fit right into NAHOOP (as there’s hairs and fur flying everywhere)! I thought they looked pretty good to my 5X reader/tying glasses, but they certainly have enough going on when you ‘get close’ to them (nudge, nudge reference to heading title).
I prefer the hackle size on the one on the left compared to the right. I just think it looks better as a tie. Personally I think, even in the Whiting 100 packs, there is size variation within the pack of feathers at times. I have witnessed the variation sometimes as I’ve measured a one size larger or smaller feather in a particular package – sometimes. I should measure every feather I use, but I just do not bother to do so most times when I tie. I’m relatively sure that the cream colored hackle was a size 20 and the more yeller-ish one was an 18. And in all fairness here, the yellowish looking hackle is not a Whiting 100 pack hackle. I simply used too big a hackle on that fly – in my opinion.
These guys or gals were tied like I did the black one from the previous post. I wanted to tie a little bright yellow version since Little Yellow Stoneflies have been know to visit the area.
The following flies should be showing up soon enough I’d think though.
Some Tying Notes
Now that I look at this Blue Quill, I think my proportions are off a bit – the thorax should have been dubbed a little smaller. Ah, it should work on a fish somewhere, sometime. Also, I tied the hackle onto the post in the opposite fashion than I usually do – backwards to conventional tying. I believe that tyers ‘normally’ tie the hackle so the concave side faces up on the post (like that on the Blue Quill on the left). I usually tie it facing down – I prefer it this way. On the Blue Quill though, I’m pretty sure I tied it ‘up’ and on the Quill Gordon, I tied it facing down.
A casual glance at these last 2 images might cause someone to think they are the same, or nearly the same, size. You’ve got to use how big the clip holding the fly looks relative to the hook/fly in order to get a sense of how large/small the fly really is. That Blue Quill is 2 sizes smaller (an 18) than the Quill Gordon (a 14). Again, they’re tied on Tiemco 101s.
Last tying note, these flies have the hackle tied off on their posts.
Anyway, we’re getting close folks… real close! With the weather breaking into full on spring (maybe not full on spring as I write this… but soon), the official opener of the trout season, the first SRS meeting of the season – and with pictures taken of flies tied!
As always, send me pictures or flies to take pictures of and I’ll get them posted here in a future Friday Night Flies – NAHOOP (contact us at email@example.com for arrangements)! And I want to thank ‘The Neighbor’ and Mike Brunner, one more time, for sharing their ties in the past. It really makes creating this post a little easier!
Till we see each other again, and reporting from Slate Run, I’m an Unintentional Blogger… aka UB!
Bonus Coverage of ‘Getting Close’
The black stone, that I previously shared toward the end of the article, featured in the 3-11-2022 NAHOOP post – works. It’s not speculation now, here’s the evidence.
It’s no doubt a Brown Trout Club offering – thank you very much Brown Trout Club! I saw black stoneflies fluttering cross-current so I used the black stone that I tied a week or so ago. There were a few fish rising and close to shore. I didn’t get wet, I didn’t even put the warders or wading boots on! I was witnessing fish behavior that I’ve read about before – where they were keyed in on the stoneflies movement which was heading to the shoreline – thus the fish were ‘in close’. Talk about getting close! In one case they seemed to be just beyond the tiptop of the rod as I fished. A rare moment.
Till we… you know the rest… UB