Van down by the river, and a 2 footer - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-07-2017, 12:05 PM Thread Starter
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Van down by the river, and a 2 footer

I sound like a broken record by praising the water levels and stream temps weíve had this summer, but I have to do it again. This really has been a remarkable summer. Iím absolutely bushed, having fished 18 of the last 21 days. I need to try and take 2 consecutive days off to rest up for one final charge. I have 16 days of freedom left before I go back to work. This time of year is always bittersweet for me. Not that I take my summer break for granted, but when august rolls around, and the streams start to become a vehicle for transporting autumn leaves downstream, I really do feel a deep appreciation for how much time I am able to spend outdoors.

Leaf by zeric reger, on Flickr

This post will recount my experiences during my last 5 days of fishing.

Day 1-
I woke up before my alarm which allowed my to get on the water just as it was getting light, which is rare for me. I usually start around 7.

8.5 by eric reger, on Flickr


I tried moving my handle to the other side of my reel to help simplify my casts. (donít ask). I missed a strike on my first cast, and on the 2nd cast. I know I should have stuck with it, but I switched back. I need to practice on bigger water, and maybe on a day when I donít plan on trying to catch a lot of trout.

Back in my comfort zone, trout were coming at a quick pace, as they usually do here.
8.5 by eric reger, on Flickr

Wild rainbows are my least favorite wild trout. They just donít catch my eye as brooks and browns do. I do like their size though. I find that they average a bit larger than brooks and browns do when confined to a small stream.


Many of the larger pools were void of any big trout. I normally land a big trout or two from the spot shown below, but just a 5Ē rainbow was extracted today. I suspect some harvesting was done recently.
8.5 by eric reger, on Flickr

The in-between water still produced quite well, and some of the larger trout seemed to be hanging out there.
8.5 by eric reger, on Flickr

This 14Ē bow was the largest of the day, and is my 2nd biggest wild rainbow to date.


Before leaving, I brush hogged up a little UNT until I connected with fish that I deemed big enough to end the day on.
Kmf by eric reger, on Flickr

Wading and moving in general were just too tough to make fishing enjoyable here.


Day 2

This was my 3rd fly fishing trip this year. It takes me 20 minutes or so each trip to find my groove as far as casting and presentation go. I used to fly fish a lot more than I do now, but I can still recall those skills when I get warmed up. This ended up being the highest number day Iíve ever had while fly fishing. But, it didnít stand out to me for that reason.Of the 156 trout caught, they were almost all rubbed down little leftover stockers between 9-10Ē. I actually only took 10 photos this whole day.

8.5 by eric reger, on Flickr

The best part of this day to me, was catching a wild brown trout on a stream where wild browns donít exist. Well, this is my 3rd wild brown from this stream in 10 years of fishing it and thousands of trout caught.
8.5 by eric reger, on Flickr

I caught a 4Ē wild brown later in the day but the photo didnít turn out.


The other highlight was an 11Ē native brook trout.
L by eric reger, on Flickr
The only fly I had with me was a size 10 white woolly bugger.



Day 3-
This day was a gamble. I fished this steam a dozen or so times in the late 90s when it was stocked, and it fished ok. The stream was taken off the stocking schedule a decade ago due to low angler use. I fished a trib to this stream two years ago, and worked a bit of the larger stream just for fun, catching one native in a hundred yards or so.
I entered the stream and started fishing right near my favorite type of stream feature.
Fdtg by eric reger, on Flickr
The pattern of deluge after deluge that we have been having this summer can be seen by the flattened vegetation on the bank.


The ferns were slicked back as if they were carefully combed.
Fdtg by eric reger, on Flickr


This stream had a relatively low gradient, which allowed for some long, slow pools.
8.5 by eric reger, on Flickr

8.5 by eric reger, on Flickr

And of course, the inspiration for this postÖ The locals choose only the most scenic of backdrops to establish their stately abodes.
8.5 by eric reger, on Flickr


This stream soon revealed itself to be something special though, starting with this stretch of water.
Fdtg by eric reger, on Flickr

My spinner began stopping abruptly in every hole.
I got into some real bruiser native brookies. Some of the largest ones are pictured below.
8.5 by eric reger, on Flickr
8.5 by eric reger, on Flickr
8.5 by eric reger, on Flickr
Fdtg by eric reger, on Flickr

The biggest native was 12 and ĺ inches. I fished this stream for 3 hours and caught 46 trout. 7 native brook trout were 10Ē or bigger. I blew it on a trout which I estimate was 13-14Ē. I was finishing my retrieve, and it darted out from a rock in shallow water right as I was about to lift my spinner from the water.

There were many fish in the 7-9Ē range, but I didnít get a count of how many.
Fdtg by eric reger, on Flickr

I was most pleasantly surprised that this medium size freestone stream was flowing along at 58.7 degrees. This stream shot up into my top 3 favorite streams. I like fishing streams that are just about this size. And it makes me extremely pleased to see native trout reclaiming it. There arenít many streams this large in my corner of the world that are strictly native streams, which makes this extra special. I have my eye on two more similarly sized streams with similar situations that I suspect may now also harbor some big, healthy natives. They will be on my plate to explore in the coming week.

Day 4- This was another exploratory mission. I have never wetted a line in this stream before. I laid eyes on it once a few years ago while on a trail run. Itís a miniscule version of a small native stream. My point is, its TINY.
Hkio by eric reger, on Flickr

This is with a strong flow after weeks of rain. I imagine it goes nearly dry each summer save for a few reliable little spring seeps.

The first 20 minutes of fishing produced 0 evidence of fish. It didnít really surprise me though. There wasnít much in the way of holding water.
Hkio by eric reger, on Flickr

The substrate in this stream looked much different than other rivulets in the area. The stones truly looked ďfreeĒ. You can see how the stones are loosely windrowed off on the sides. They surely move a lot during each flood event.

The stream habitat never really started looking any better, but fish just started showing up everywhere.
Hkio by eric reger, on Flickr

Most of the time, I was casting 10 yards upstream and pulling my spinner down through 2-3 inches of water. Natives were coming out from under little rocks with their dorsal fins out of the water in pursuit of my spinner. I accidently ordered some very small, light weight blades, and they worked perfectly in these conditions.

Hkio by eric reger, on Flickr

This brookie reminded me of a shark, with a short bottom jaw.
Hkio by eric reger, on Flickr
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-07-2017, 12:06 PM Thread Starter
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Day 5
This day was a short, done by 8:45am trip to see if I could find a big fish or two. I popped into a stream on my way home on Day 4, and connected with an 18Ē rainbow right away. A few more smaller trout came from the same stretch before I had to get home.
Ghgf by eric reger, on Flickr

Day 5 was a continuation of that stream. My biggest fish every year come from this stream. I donít catch big fish every time, but if I fish this stream 2-3 times each year, I will hit it right once.
Ghgf by eric reger, on Flickr

I never expect to catch numbers here. I am satisfied with 7 trout per hour here. Thatís just how it is. My dad was fishing with me today. We were fishing about 20 yards apart, switching who was fishing first at each spot. While he was in front, I waded through some rapids to get in perfect casting position to one of my favorite pools out of all the streams I fish. A spring drips off the rocks on the right descending bank, constantly dripping into the 6+ foot deep pool. It drips all year long. I think trout like to hold here for that reason.
Ghgf by eric reger, on Flickr

My first cast, which I took as I was still wading across the stream to get there, landed about half way up from the bottom of the pool, sank a few feet, and then started moving. Iím so glad the heavy strike happened quickly, and out in the deep water rather than at my feet. The HUGE fish started thrashing back and forth and my attention focused on the giantís white underside as it faced me. It never broke the surface, but kept making runs back into the depths. I loosened by drag as I wasnít sure my 6lb line could take much more. I yelled for my dad to come assist in the landing process and get some pictures. I snapped a picture myself as my dad was making his way over.
The girth on this rainbow was incredible. You can see I have my hand wrapped under its belly, and the top of its back comes a few inches up my forearm.
Ghgf by eric reger, on Flickr

This would have been the only picture I could have taken by myself. I couldnít reasonably lift it, and hold it still with one hand while snapping a picture. Luckily my dad was there, and has dramatically improved his picture taking skills over the years.
Ghgf by eric reger, on Flickr

The beast measured at 23 and ĺ inches. Iíve caught a few fish over the years from this stream just shy of 24Ē. I wonder if that is an economical size to sell the farm raised trout at? Maybe the amount of food it takes to get a trout that last inch from 23 to 24Ē just isnít worth it. I know they sell the larger fish by the pound anywaysÖ

This was a longer essay, thanks for reading! I enjoyed writing about and reflecting on these last few trips.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-07-2017, 12:59 PM
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Your Day 3, 3rd picture is a dead giveaway to me. This Fayette County stream was definitely removed from the PFBC stock list, BUT, I believe come of the local camp owners may privately toss some buckets in there for the kids ? The bridge about 100 yards above that 3rd pic, yielded some stocked brookies 2 years ago. No way they were held over from the last time that was state stocked.


.....I'm surprised you caught that many natives in there this time of year.

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-07-2017, 01:03 PM
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I enjoyed your write-up and pictures as usual. That's awesome that your dad was there to capture the perfect picture of the rainbow. Good luck in your next 16 days of freedom.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-07-2017, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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No secret Fleroo, all the streams I fish are accessible to the public. I do think some locals toss a bucket or two in there near the bridge. I didn't see any stocked fish during my trip though.

Last edited by troutdoorsman; 08-07-2017 at 02:17 PM.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-07-2017, 04:13 PM
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You had great trips. Your pictures are great and I enjoyed the stories. That is one beautiful rainbow! Congrats!
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-07-2017, 04:36 PM
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great story and pics
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-08-2017, 10:00 AM
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That rainbow is just 'stupid'. Biggest fish of the year on here for sure. He's really robust too. Do you think, from where you caught him on the stream that it's living on a completely nature food diet at this point? Heck of a fish man. I can't even imagine the weight he must have put on the equipment. You really got to see what the drag system on the Sustain can do right there!
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-08-2017, 07:36 PM Thread Starter
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I am pretty sure he came from a private stocking on a public stream which occurred the first week of May. I have an inside informant that lets me know when they are stocking every year, but I don't fish for them until a month or two later. This year it was 3 months. They put in a lot of heifers every year. I just get that fish in a barrel feeling if I were to knowingly fish for freshly, privately, and most likely illegally stocked trout right after they were dumped in.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-09-2017, 12:12 PM
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While I was sitting around late last night I remember the fly fishing day you put up above. 150+. That is incredible in the short amount of time you fish. If I could catch trout like that on a flyrod I would drop spinner fishing immediately and probably quit my day job in a few years as well. You need to start parlaying that on Instagram lol. You would have 30K followers in no time and people would start paying you to sponser stuff. There are no other fly fisherman catching trout at anywhere close to that rate.
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