Dan Helm sends us the following picture and story! Thanks a lot Dan!

What Am I Doing Wrong?!?!

How many of us have been in this situation? It’s late afternoon and the air is starting to cool. The wind has died down and the sun is slowly sinking in the western sky. You’ve got the stream to yourself – except for one guy who is in the very spot that you covet. Oh well, there’s got to be fish down here, too. You take a few minutes to assess the situation. No surface activity. What’s this! The guy that is in your spot just hooked a nice fish. You watch out of the corner of your eye as he releases the fish. Now, where was I? Before you can gather your thoughts and decide on a fly and the proper presentation he’s hooked another! No sense in being coy any longer. You turn and watch as he releases the fish. By this time, you have made multiple casts with nothing to show for your effort, but you keep casting and watching as the intruder catches and releases still another fish! This time you home in on exactly what he is doing. No strike indicator so he’s not nymphing. There it is! He’s making short casts and stripping the “fly” across the current. “Streamer,” you say to yourself. That’s it! Now you rummage through all of the fly boxes you’ve stuffed in your vest only to find that the one box that you want is probably at home – three hours away! While you do the slow burn and beat yourself up for having forgotten that one box, you notice that suddenly the mystery fisherman is leaving. What great luck! There’s still enough time to move in to this “honey hole” and try to duplicate what he did. You move into position and go through the one small box of streamers that you find in your vest. You tie on a Woolly Bugger. Ah, good choice. After numerous casts you have yet to have one strike. Hurriedly you change flies again and again. What am I doing wrong? Then if finally comes together. There it is in the bottom of the box. Old reliable! A heavily weighted Mickey Finn. You tie the best knot that you know and you make a cast. Suddenly there is that long awaited strike. Good fish! Heavy fish! After several minutes you carefully unhook and release a nice 16” German Brown.  Several casts later there is another solid strike and another heavy brown trout. You smile to yourself. You’ve finally figured out what you were doing wrong and what it takes to catch fish at least for this moment in time. Tomorrow could be entirely different.

A couple of Fly pictures – left a Green Drake from the greater Slate Run drainage I took a few years ago, and right the same species from Penns Creek taken by Gary Roberts – Thanks for the picture Gary!

Some more pictures from a few years ago.

Upper left – Runoff in the Spring before the leaves popped

Looking up Slate

Probability of Caddis – 100% (down on Pine)

Near the top of one of Slate’s tribs

Brown Trout Club Brown from Pine

I can’t wait to get back there. Will be there for the 07APR meeting.

Thought I’d share some pictures from past visits up Slate and Cedar.

The upper left – I think it’s a Slate Run Blue Quill. Upper right – a shot up Francis, left middle – some Columbine along Cedar if I remember correctly. The caddis on the waders was taken as someone got out of Pine one evening. It freaked the fellow out a little. Finally, the Brown was caught in 2012 up Cedar.  I’m still amazed at how fine a spots was on this Brown.

Cleaned up the tying bench/table today and decided to tie up something purple. I ran into someone up near the turn-off going up the mountain. We chatted a bit and shared that purple was a color the Brookies up there seemed to have liked.

It’s like anything though while fishing – it may work one time and then not the next. I have NOT fished a purple fly in Pennsylvania. I have out in Michigan, with a little success – just not in PA. I am looking forward though to giving it  a shot this Spring and Summer.

This is just a simple parachute pattern. A rather generic parachute – Z-Lon trailing shuck(tail) – thread body – purple (I only have 140 denier, about a 6/0 thread – I would like to get some 70 denier or 10/0, 12/0, 14/0 veevus sometime), a bit of purple dubbing for the thorax(probably a bit more nymph-like dubbing but oh well), and Z-lon post – and finally a brown and grizzly hackle tied off on to the post. This was the first fly off the vice today(and only one too). Will try to tie a half dozen tomorrow.

It’s a beautiful day here (Michigan) – so this means that it will show up in Slate Run probably tomorrow – if it isn’t already there.

The Downy woodpecker is resident here. He stays all Winter – something I respect in a songbird. And while the Red-Winged Blackbird isn’t a resident, they sure make you think Spring is on the way. I saw the first one of the season arrive a few days ago.

I’m seeing 57 degrees here shortly before 1pm! If it isn’t already there Slate Run – give it a day  – it’s coming! But something we all realize is that this is probably a bit premature. Still you can’t blame a fella for pushing Spring a little bit!

(Saw the thermometer top out at 60 degrees today – they’re calling for heavy rain and possible 3″ –  6″ snow later Thursday…. 😦 …… at least it’s late Winter!)

2-24-18 Efforts:

I’m not particularly fond of the hackle I used for the legs of the previous attempts above. I rather like a soft hackle for legs and these, below, are tied with such a feather. Unfortunately I don’t have any in a black color so I used what I had and tried to ‘color’ the feather (after tied) with a black Sharpie.

Tied this Double Bead Black Stone today. Was tying a version of this last night at a local shop with a few guys and they just weren’t turning out well. I think this is a better effort. Still would like to find a really webby black feather for the ‘legs’ yet. Used a somewhat webby hackle and tied it like a hackle – rotated around the hook shank as opposed to tying down a webby grouse sort of hackle on top of the thorax (like on the Golden Stone in the Comments/Discussion page).

This is a TMC 200R hook, size 12.

The first one tied on the left – tied with the feather as is – the middle photo – marked with a sharpie after tied. Yes, I know, the left fly – I split the wing-case accidentally after I had it tied. No self-respecting trout will touch it … right?

The feather used was a chicken feather I got from a neighbor kid years ago. It was her 4H project bird and she wanted to sell it. I bought it and skinned it for later use. I really like the webby-ness of the feathers for this sort of legging of nymphs. I really need to find some in various colors – black, brown, maybe a dark gray.

First Discussion Entry:
Below – a Double Bead Golden Stone with damaged antenna. I first saw these at Slate Run Tackle a couple of yeas ago. I think I went over to Kettle Creek and used a black one there and caught a few little Brookies with it there. This was one I tied recently. The damaged goose biot antenna shows up really well when you take such a close-up picture of them and then you stretch the heck outta them (the image that is)…. dang!


6 thoughts on “Discussion

  1. Dan – that is a great story – the “What Am I Doing Wrong” story! I don’t know about the rest of our members but I know I’ve been in that same situation or at least one very similar to it! Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Marion Alexander


  2. I Tie a purple spinner patterned from the rusty spinner using flouesant red thread I caught trout all over with this pattern!
    Very effective!


    • I talked with a guy up in the run a few years ago and he was pretty impressed with fishing a purple dry fly up there. I have not tried that yet but will now!
      Seems to indicate to me that trout must see things differently than we do or they are just an opportunistic creature willing to try anything for some calories.


  3. Thanks Elli! You should have seen it before I shrank the picture down and re-posted it. It was about 2x horizontally and vertically larger. Could see quite a bit of detail but I thought just took too much space up.


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