Monday, October 16, 2017

A couple mornings on the Yellow Breeches

I was back in PA the end of last week and early this week and had the opportunity to spend a couple hours on two mornings on the Yellow Breeches.  Last week, the recent rains had brought the river up a touch and it was off-color but not muddy.  The morning I was out there was a light rain but nothing too heavy.  I started out nymphing a soft-hackled pheasant tail that had worked well a couple of weeks earlier when the river was low and clear.  This particular morning the PT was not attracting any fish, I suspect because of the lower clarity of the river.  I figure something with a bright hot spot might be a better choice so I switched to a frenchie of about the same size with a pink ice-dub collar and stuck with that the rest of the morning. 

The first fish of the day was a gorgeous wild brown with beautiful golden belly and well defined red spots, red flair on the adipose fin and bright red rays in the tail, all indicative of a stream-born brown.  Unfortunately in my desire to keep the fish in the water, it managed to take off before I could get a picture.  I found another downstream but it slipped the hook right before the net.  While I stuck with the frenchie as the point fly of the two nymph rig I like to use, I did experiment with various droppers.  I was convinced that a caddis puppa in the right size and color would interest a fish or two but regardless of the dropper, all the fish took the frenchie.  The odd thing with the Breeches is that I can't remember ever catching anything on a dropper where at home in NE I catch almost half of the fish brought to the net on the smaller dropper.
Look at all the spots on the lower jaw and belly

For a couple hours the browns seemed to be the most active but I did catch a couple of colorful rainbows similar to those I found on the last trip.  In fact, I am certain that the first rainbow of the day was one I had caught back in mid-September.  It was sitting in the exactly where I found it previously, right up against a sycamore tree. 

I was a little concerned whether I would be able to stay dry since I had left my rain jacket at home but the rain was fairly light and the gray overcast drizzly morning was delightful in the way the gray drizzly mornings often are.

Then this week, I explored another section of the Yellow Breeches.  The river was clearer than I was expecting.  The frenchie was not working in the greater water clarity so switched on a more natural caddis and zebra midge.  I did manage a couple of stocked browns and one beast of a fall fish.  There were sporadic rises all around me making me wonder how I would have done fishing a small olive dry fly.


  1. Mark
    Gorgeous looking browns and bows. You are very fortunate to be able to fish that river. I still say there was a method to your madness. LOL :)

    1. Pete - it has been fun fishing the "Breeches" and learning a new river that is different from the freestones streams we fish here at home. The fish will sit in shallow depressions that we would easily pass by looking for deeper faster moving water

  2. I am glad you connected, Mark, especially with the one you caught before. Question, when I tie on a dropper I do it off the hook bend of the top fly. Some tie the dropper on to the tippet itself above the point fly, which would seem to be the best method, but when I do that, the tied in dropper is always getting wrapped around the tippet. Any advice on that would be appreciated. Regards, Sam

    1. Sam - When I tie on the tippet, I use a triple surgeons knot and leave a longer tag end of the tippet material (4-5inches). This helps to give the tag a bit of a right angle from the tippet since it is coming into the knot from the point fly (hope that makes sense). I tie the dropper on the end of the tag. It will tangle at times but most of the time it works out pretty well and you don't have a line off the bend of the hook to get in the way of hooking fish. When you pull the flies out of the water the tag with the dropper will wrap around the tippet but in the water it floats free most of the time. Hope that helps.