Monday, April 22, 2019

A few days on the Breeches


I had the chance to spend a few hours over three days on the Yellow Breeches in PA this past week as I had been invited to give two lectures at Messiah College.


I left early in the morning the day before the lectures so that I could spend a few afternoon hours on the Breeches.  When I arrived I went to the TCO shop in Boiling Springs to talk to Neil about what was going on and to firm up our plans to spend an afternoon on the Letort (more on that later).  I would highly recommend this shop if you are in the area.  It is well stocked and the staff are very friendly and helpful.


The afternoon I arrived the Breeches was high and discolored from rain the previous day so I fished “The Run”.  There were a lot of fisherman on the lake, but I had The Run to myself.   A mix of stocked rainbows, browns, and a couple of very colorful brook trout were brought to the net using small flashback PT's, copper-beaded PT soft hackles, gold-beaded hare's ear soft hackles, and olive Lafontaine caddis pupas.  It was a wonderfully warm and bright day to be outside and the fishing was great.


In contrast to the previous afternoon, the following morning was a rainy, raw, and cold.   However, as soon as the rain  showers started the fishing really heated up.  I shared The Run with a Blue Heron that had obviously found a good source of fish based on the number of I caught with scars on their backs.  It was a fantastic couple of hours, nymphing the shallow riffles before I needed to head off to meet some students and prepare for the lectures.




A wild brown in the morning mix
On my last morning in the area, Neil had provided a couple other areas on the Breeches to check out which I was very grateful for.  When I took a quick glance at the river early the next morning, it still high and off-color to me, so I figured I would fish "The Run" again before our afternoon on the Letort.


One of a few wild rainbows in the Run
I had to adjust to smaller flies this particular morning since the flies that had worked previously were not of interest to the fish.  I could spot fish sitting in the shallow riffles, and from their movements it looked like they were feeding so I downsized to a #18 flashback PT and an olive zebra midge.  This was the best morning of my trip since I was able to really dial in my small nymphing game.  The fish were very quick and the takes subtle, so I need to work at keeping the nymphs quiet and drifting naturally so that I could detect subtle changes in the sighter.   Once I worked things out I was catching fish pretty regularly and the strongly healthy fish in the run put quite a bend in my short 3 wt!


Wild browns like this one make fishing "the Run" a blast
One of the things I love about fishing "The Run" is the fact that I always find wild fish.  This particular morning I landed a few tiny wild rainbows and a nice wild brown.  It was a fantastic couple of days on the run and the afternoon on the Letort was one to remember thanks to Neil (check back for the next post in a few days).

12 comments:

  1. Great looking fish and enjoying your blog.
    Regards.
    JJ

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    1. JJ - thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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  2. Mark, great to see you had a great time on the breeches. Small flies and attention to detail usually always work on that little stretch of water. You have come a long way my friend. I'm happy for your success.

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    1. Thanks Brad! Hope you had a good Easter weekend with your family. The run has been a great classroom for me to learn and practice my "small game". Thanks for the advise along the way and the hint to tie the zebra midges in other colors. Have you ever tried a purple and silver one?

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  3. Wow Mark - those are some beautiful fish! What a great trip. Hope the lectures went well, and that you had a very good Easter!
    Will

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    1. Will - thanks. Most of the fish are stocked but the rainbows were all in great shape, rosy fins that weren't overly worn down and the browns were really strong. I had a handful working them to the net on my 3wt!

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  4. Mark
    What an outing; really some colorful trout--thanks for sharing

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    1. Bill - thanks, they do have some pretty fish in PA

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  5. Mark nice going.
    I must say that brookie and the wild rainbow would have made my day. Parr marks on a rainbow are very uncommon in our streams.

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    1. Alan - thanks, it was good to be out for a few days. I believe the brookie was a stocked fish since I've not found brookies in the breeches before but I didn't catch a couple this trip after a recent stocking but the colors on it were stunning. Maybe Brad can comment. From what I am told the Yellow Breeches has some wild rainbows in it but they are somewhat rare. I found three all roughly the same size complete with Parr markings along with the wild browns!

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  6. Mark wild rainbows are not common, but I like the fact they show up every once in a while. The brown trout on the other hand are doing very well. You have experienced this yourself. Brook in the breeches I would say are all stocked. We do have a couple feeders creeks that have small native brooks in it, I would say it would not be unusual to see a couple venture into the breeches from time to time. The wonderful part of the breeches you never know what will show up.

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