Latest Issue

The Dry Fly Buzz

The Dry Fly Buzz

Special thanks to the readers of Webb Weekly. I am still amazed at how many folks will turn to this page. I ran into two people last week — totally random — one at Wegmans and one at work. Their kind words meant the world. I always get excited when someone recognizes me from this column. Great stuff, kids.

When you spend as much time on the water as I do, you will always catch a few. While some days are certainly better than others, you occasionally have that once-in-a-lifetime experience. But these are extremely rare. I can count them with my fingers. But these precious moments are what keep me going. I always have those thoughts when I put on my waders.

Thursday evening, I snuck out. Teach and I mowed the lawn, and she was fine with me leaving. I was fishing one of my favorite stretches on Lycoming Creek. It is only three minutes from the house. I know the area quite well, and I am amazed at how it constantly produces. This run is not near a major stocking point. But the trout always gather in large numbers, usually a few weeks after the opener. I will always encourage my friends to find the “good spots” on a river or stream. Fish tend to move, and they always find these pools.

Stocked trout sometimes get a bad rap. I have learned to appreciate them, and they are what I currently target. These fish spend their early years in a nursery. Once they reach the desired size, they are released. Stocked fish will likely head downstream until they find some cover. They are in search of slower-moving water. Remember, swimming upstream or battling the current isn’t something they are used to. But where do they go? Valid questions. Most will stay, but others will travel. Several studies have shown that a Rainbow will leave its initial post after three days. One tagged Bow swam an incredible 123 miles downstream from their entry just 16 days after stocking. Browns tend to hang around a tad longer. They will likely move after seven. Fascinating.

The changes in diets with these stocked trout are truly amazing. They are raised on pellets that are full of nutrients. But quickly learn to adapt and begin finding natural food almost immediately. And after a few weeks in the wild, they will make a complete 180. These trout have very little chance in the beginning. They only take the worms, minnows, power bait, and salmon eggs the weekend warriors are throwing. But then something changes. Almost a light switch. They will know the difference. Trout will no longer feed and pay little attention to these items. They start to feed on bugs. Mostly those in the water. It is quite incredible. A stocked trout wises up.

I made a few casts near Reeder’s rapids. I was doing my usual. I was bouncing a Peeping Caddis. I prefer to fish on top, but early in the season, this is my setup. It has been so cold, and we have not had many hatches. The water was still high, and she was flowing. I added some weight to get my nymph lower. I fished for 30 minutes. Not much action. I was a little rusty. The key is to find that right depth. The right drift. And the right presentation. It was getting dark. I considered packing up. Maybe. Tomorrow.

While walking back, I noticed one fish that was feeding. He was coming up and sipping. I decided to give it a go. It has been a while since I caught a fish on a dry. I quickly changed to #14 Adams. My new pair of cheaters from Amazon helped me find the small eyelet. I removed my weights and added some glue. I made a great cast to where he was. I mended my line and gave it a twitch. He came up and smacked it. I set the hook, and we battled. I landed a beautiful, stocked Brown trout. I took a quick photo and released him. The fish swam back to his homestead. The first of many on a dry fly. Always be prepared.

Last night was not one of those epic experiences. I only landed two fish, but I enjoyed getting out for a few casts. I will be back. Yes, perhaps this evening. Fishing is a passion. You always learn something new. It serves as my zen. It is more than a hobby. I appreciate the kind words, folks. Tight lines. Cheers.