March 31, 2010

Opening Day is Inching Closer

The opening day of trout season in Southeastern Pennsylvania is this Saturday.  Truthfully there is no "off season" in PA, you can (& I do) go trout fishing year round, however this is when the state dumps thousands of trout into creeks, streams, and rivers and fisherman come in droves to claim their limit.
1952 Field & Stream Cover
(Reprinted in the April 2010 Issue)

I'll be meeting up with 3 childhood friends (I'm talking since elementary school) on Saturday this year.  Despite the sizable opening day crowds (which should be amplified this year with warm temperatures), I'm really looking forward to it.  Sure, we'll see each other around holidays, but it's been a few years since we've all gotten together to go fishing.

I think my favorite part of the morning is trash talking & slinging B.S. back and forth recalling old times as we stand shoulder to shoulder - fiercely jockeying for position with other "dudes" we don't know - all waiting for the imaginary 8AM starting bell to ring.

For me, the excitement & anticipation surrounding opening day is definitely more about the camaraderie between good friends than it is about the fish.

March 30, 2010

2010 Trout Tournament on the Stony Creek

Kind of surprised I didn't post anything about this yet considering it's less than a month away.  However, here's all the info on the 13th Annual Trout Tournament on the Stony Creek.  There's always a good turnout...now let's just cross our fingers for good weather.


Saturday, April 24th - 8 AM to 5 PM
Sunday, April 25th - 7 AM to 4 PM

Norristown Farm Park & Norristown State Hospital Grounds
Enter Gate #5 (Stanbridge Street)

Adults (16 & Over) $15.00
Teens (12 to 16) $12.00
Children (Under 12) $5.00

Breakfast/Lunch & Drinks Available
Bait, Lures, & Tackle Available - Fishing Poles for Kids
Handicapped Section & Children's Section (Special Pond for Kids 6 & Under)

1st, 2nd, & 3rd Place Trophies for Longest Fish
Trophies awarded for Adults, Handicapped Adults, Children, Handicapped Children, and Kids 6 & Under at the end of each day (30 trophies total)

Proceeds will be applied to the operation of Montgomery County's first co-op trout nursery & children's programs

For more information (including downloadable maps & trout sponsor forms), visit the Stony Creek Anglers website.

March 28, 2010

A Successful 2010 Stony Creek Clean Up

Yesterday, I was among a group of volunteers who took to the Stony Creek in Norristown as part of a mass clean-up effort in anticipation of next Saturday's opening day of trout season.

Despite the cold morning temperatures, there was a really nice turnout.  Several community groups including Boy Scout troops and a group of students from Temple University also came in to lend a hand.  Thankfully, the creek and it's surroundings was much cleaner than in year's past; we (only) re-claimed a dumpster's worth of trash from the creek.  Most of what I found on my stretch of the creek were empty beer cans, snack wrappers, and bait containers, but a group did come across an entire backseat bench from what appeared to be a mini-van.

Following the clean up, the Stony Creek Anglers brought some helpful folks back to the trout nursery to assist with the stocking of the Stony & Kepner Creeks.  The Stony should be well stocked for opening day weekend.

Senator John Rafferty also stopped by the nursery during the stocking efforts to visit and take a spin in the club's new John Deere Gator, which was obtained through a grant he helped the club obtain.

Photos courtesy of Ray Duff:
http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/577155957HLHQPK

March 25, 2010

This Weekend's Activities

There's a lot going on in the local fishing scene this weekend! 
Much of it I've blogged about before, but here's a recap for anyone looking to make some weekend plans.

Saturday, March 27 - 8AM
(Trout Stocking of Stony & Kepner Creeks immediately following)


Saturday, March 27 - 9AM


Saturday & Sunday, March 27 & 28 - 8AM


Saturday & Sunday, March 27 & 28 - Sunrise to 4PM


Saturday & Sunday, March 27 & 28 - 11AM 
(Easter Egg Hunt & Picture with Easter Bunny)

And I'm still probably forgetting something...


March 24, 2010

Box O' Plenty

At a loss of things to write this week. Work has been consuming a lot of my brainwaves lately...probably too many.

Did order a box of stuff from Cabela's over the weekend that arrived today (many thanks to my wonderful friends & family who provided holiday gift cards), but that's the latest & greatest on the fishing front. Needed new pair of hip waders, but ended up ordering a bunch of random items to hit the $5 shipping threshold - damn you e-commerce shipping incentives!

Here's the haul, in case you're interested:

Three Forks Lug Sole Hip Waders
Tie-Fast Nipper
Tie-Fast Retractor
Frog Hair Tippet 6x
Tungsten Zebra Midges
Zug Bugs
Gold Bead Prince Nymph
Curved Forceps
Safety Wader Belt (not for the hippers)

March 21, 2010

Great Day Outside in Valley Forge

Could the weather have been any nicer this week?  Today was probably about 75 degrees, unseasonably warm for Pennsylvania at this time of year...it's been like this all week...and will be again on Sunday!

Working the corporate 9 to 5 (or make that 8 to 6) everyday kept me in the office all week, but on Saturday morning I was finally able to get outside and enjoy the nice weather and decided to hit Valley Creek in Valley Forge National Park for a morning of trout fishing.
The Barn Near the Parking Area

Most folks aren't trout fishing right now, as all "Approved Trout Waters" - aka the streams that get stocked by the state - are closed until April 3rd, the official opening day of SE PA trout season.  Valley Creek on the other hand is special regulations water, so it's strictly artificial lures, catch and release. I decided I wanted to fish my tenkara rod downstream from the landmark covered bridge, a stretch of water I've only fished once before.
Tenkara USA 11' Iwana - Locked & Loaded!

I'll be honest, I never have much success at Valley, but today I had fish on my line constantly.  Although the haul doesn't sound huge (5 to hand and at least 4 more that spit my fly during the fight), it was my best day at Valley on fly fishing tackle, tenkara style or otherwise.  Here's some pics of a few of the fish, all in the smallish 6 to 8 inch range, but a blast to play and bring in on the ultra-sensitive Tenkara USA Iwana rod.

Most of the fish were caught on a Zebra Midge (a gift from "flyguy" on the PAanglers.com forum) drifted beneath an Elk Hair Caddis used as an indicator.

March 20, 2010

A Few More Flies

Still tinkering around with the kit (& photography)...nothing I'm proud of yet, but at least a blog like this is useful to document lack of progress.

Saddle Hackle & Cactus Chenille

Partridge & Ultra Lace

Also figured out the "Whip Finish" thanks to YouTube.



March 19, 2010

20% off @ L.L. Bean this Weekend

Got an email today advertising 20% off select fishing gear & apparel from L.L. Bean this Friday, Saturday, & Sunday.

I thought this was worth mentioning because:

  • They rarely discount their fishing gear (there's spinning tackle too)!
  • Their L.L. Bean branded stuff is a fair value before a discount
  • My first fly outfit was from L.L. Bean, so I'll always have a special place in my heart for them

The offer is available online, in-store, and on the phone, so have at it.
Now what do I want...hmmm...maybe a wading jacket?

March 18, 2010

The Closing Time Nymph

Great minds must think alike.  My blog buddy "Shoreman" over at Northern California Trout just blogged that he's taking the leap into fly tying.  Well, after timidly peeking over the ledge for a while, I too made the jump tonight.

Last Friday I ordered a fly tying kit from FlyShack.com.  Yes, before I get lectured on how junky "beginners" fly tying kits are - I already know and am fully prepared to dump a ton more $$$ upgrading my vise, tools, etc in the future.  When I got home from work tonight I was pleased to see a nice USPS box waiting for me near the doorway.  After opening the box and staring extremely confused and befuddled at the all of the stuff that came in the kit for a while, I decided to try tying a nymph.

And here she is.  I'm calling her the Closing Time Nymph.
(Sorry no "recipe" on how to replicate, I have no idea what I used!)

Yes, she's a little pudgy, sorta disheveled, and her hair is a total mess - but when the rest of the pretty flies have already left the fly box, you take what's leftover, especially if it's your first time.  Take one last swig gentlemen...it's closing time.

March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's day hasn't really registered for me lately.  Haven't celebrated it in proper form (i.e. going out and drinking away large quantities of brain cells) since I was in college...a wondrous time which sadly gets more distant by the year.  I'm not Irish (Italian & German heritage), but interestingly enough do live in a town called Limerick.  I don't really care for green beer, but I think McDonald's Shamrock Shakes should be offered year-round.  

What does all this mean?  Absolutely nothing.  I just felt the need for some sort of soliloquy to lead into a post about some Irish trout I've never heard of before.  They're all kind of along the lines of brown trout...but interesting nonetheless.

Ferox Trout
The Ferox trout, Salmo ferox,  is one of Ireland's most famous trout races. This is principally due to the large size which it can attain.  The word "ferox" means ferocious and is attributable to this trout's reputation as a fierce predaor and to its ugly appearance (characteristically the head is angular and grows out of proportion to the rest of its body enabling it to eat larger prey).


Gillaroo Trout
(Salmo stomachius)  Gillaroo is derived from the Gailge or Irish for Red Fellow (Giolla Rua).  This is due to the fishes distinctive colouring.  It has a bright buttery golden colour in its flanks with bright crimson and vermillion spots. The gillaroo is a beautiful creature characterised by deep red spots and a "gizzard" which is used to aid the digestion of hard food items such as water snails. 

Sonaghen Trout
The sonaghen trout (Salmo nigripinnis) is a species of salmonid unique to Lough Melvin. It can have a light brown or silvery hue with large, distinctive black spots. There are sometimes small, inconspicuous red spots located along its posterior region. Its fins are dark brown or black with elongated pectorals. 

Croneen Trout
The Croneen is a famous migratory brown trout, which run from Lough Derg, up through the little Brosna and into the Camcor River, near Birr, Co. Offaly. The fish are similar to a sea trout in their appearance (silver with black spots) and in their behaviour (shoaling and night feeding). The best time to fish for them is at dusk or at night with a small dark seatrout fly.

If you found this post interesting or want to learn more about Irish trout, please visit the Irish Char Conservation Group's website.  All trout descriptions were admittedly heavily borrowed from this excellent resource.

March 15, 2010

Finally - New Blogger Templates!

Was clicking around my Blogger Dashboard today and saw that they've made some pretty cool updates to the Blogger in Draft Dashboard.  For those that use Blogger and don't know what Blogger In Draft is, it's basically a beta version of Blogger that gives you access to a ton of extra functions before they go live.  If you want to access it, go to the Tools & Resources section of your normal blog dashboard and click on the link.

Anyway, they've enabled a bunch of new templates, and the ability to customize them a lot easier (& without fumbling around in HTML).  Needless to say, you may see some changes around this blog in a few days...

March 13, 2010

Linvilla Orchards Expert Trout Derby

My family enjoys Linvilla Orchards in Media, PA. We go at least once a year, usually to pick out a pumpkin for Halloween. Lilly likes looking at & feeding all of the animals (here she is quite a few years ago feeding chickens), and K.C. & I love the baked goods.

At some point in time I must have signed up for an e-newsletter from them, and I this week I received and email for their Trout Derby on March 27th.  Thought I'd pass it along for anyone who might be itching to get in some stocked trout fishing prior to the April 3rd opening day.  I won't be able to make it; I'll be here.


For more information, check out the page on the Linvilla website here:
http://www.linvilla.com/events/expert_fishing_derby.php

March 10, 2010

And We Want To Pump...You Up!

Popular Science is reporting that mad scientists (my interpretation) at the University of Rhode Island are unfortunately trying to create the Hans & Franz strain of trout.

SWAYZE ALERT!

I suppose scientists have been genetically altering other animals (i.e. cattle, poultry, etc...) for human benefit for quite a long time - isn't there some urban legend about Perdue raising boneless & featherless chickens?  But for some reason I just get sick to my stomach looking at the distorted body of what is usually a beautifully proportioned fish.  If one of these escaped supermarket coolers and made it into my trout stream, I doubt my standard 2-lb test would handle this bruiser (if he could actually swim).

Transgenic Musclebound Trout with Six-Pack Abs Could Arrive Soon on Your Dinner Plate
A 10-year effort has finally created pumped-up fish for commercial aquaculture
By Jeremy Hsu Posted 03.10.2010 at 3:33 pm


Rainbow trout with six-pack abs and burly shoulders have emerged from a University of Rhode Island laboratory, and could someday find their way to humans' dinner tables. That's assuming diners don't panic at the sight of the muscular ichthyoid awaiting their knives and forks.

The bodybuilder stature of the trout comes from turning off myostatin, a protein that normally slows muscle growth. Researchers had known of a natural myostatin mutation that allowed for 20 to 25 percent more muscle growth in Belgian blue cattle, but did not know if the same would apply to the different mechanism of muscle growth in fish.

Terry Bradley, a fisheries and aquaculture expert at the University of Rhode Island, worked with a group of grad students for 500 hours to inject 20,000 rainbow trout eggs with different DNA snippets designed to block myostatin.

About 300 eggs ended up carrying the gene for more muscle growth, and eventually produced fish that mostly have the six-pack ab appearance -- even though the fish don't have standard abdominal muscles. A big dorsal hump adds the appearance of muscular shoulders.


The offspring of these muscular trout also carry the gene in their muscle cells. Bradley's group hopes to see if the fish grow faster, besides having 15 to 25 times more muscle without eating more food.

If the transgenic trout meet FDA approval, they could join the 1,000 trout farms that churn out about $80 million worth of trout each year. Such fish also appear to display normal behavior for now, despite a faint resemblance to the Street Sharks.

The full article (with reader comments) can be found on the Popular Science website:
http://tinyurl.com/freaktrout

Images & Video (below) courtesy of the University of Rhode Island 

March 9, 2010

Sufix Fishing Line Rebate

Got an email today calling out a solid fishing line rebate from Sufix. More or less the rebate is $6 off 2 spools of either Elite, Siege, Deep Crankin, 100% Fluorocarbon, Performance Fuse, or Performance Braid.

Offer expires September 15, 2010.

You can get the rebate form by visiting the Sufix website, or by clicking HERE.

March 7, 2010

Lilly's 4th Birthday Party

We had Lilly's 4th birthday party at the house over the weekend.  It was basically a princess party (there was one prince in attendance), so there was a lot of dressing up and pink stuff.  Here's a picture of Lilly's cake, prior to being eaten:

Outside of cake & presents, the main event of the party was that everyone got to build-a-animal of their choice.  K.C. found these kits on Amazon, the kids got to stuff the animal, decorate little t-shirts for them to wear, and name them with birth certificates.  The kids had a ton of fun - especially making a mess with the t-shirt paints.

Then it was time for presents...

and cake...

...and a drink for Dad (ok, it was only a Diet Coke)

In all, I'm pretty sure the birthday girl had a good time.  (Or maybe it was just all that sugar!)  Actually, it was probably both.

March 6, 2010

New Tenkara Rod: Amago

I love my Iwana tenkara rod from Tenkara USA.  I think I used it more than I did my spinning or conventional fly rod combined since I got it last fall.  There's just something to be said for the simplicity of tenkara fishing - just rod, line, & fly.
My Iwana - Rigged & Ready

Tenkara USA released its latest rod recently, the Amago.  Whereas my Iwana is 11' and probably the lightest tenkara rod, the Amago is the longest at 13.5'.  Similar to the Iwana, it's a 6:4 rod (lightweight), but obviously an extra 2 and a half feet longer.  If streamside canopy is not a concern, the extra length should come in especially handy to reach places you just couldn't effectively with the Iwana.
While I'm not exactly in the market for another tenkara rod yet, when I am, I think the Amago is going to be at the top of my list.

Product Description from Tenkara USA website:
Named after one of Japan's most beautiful mountain stream trout, the Amago is our longest rod at 13ft and 6inches long (410cm). Longer rods provide distinct advantages over shorter rods. We recommend using the longest rod you can for the stream you are fishing. The Amago is sure to become a quick favorite for its versatility and reach.

Based on the request of several tenkara anglers this rod has a matte black finish for reduced light reflection. The handle was meticulously designed to provide good counterbalance to the long rod and for extra comfort on a long day of casting your delicate line and fly . The wider end of the handle serves two purposes: it provides a slightly better counter balance to the rod, and serves as a good grip for using the full length of the rod.

The Amago is a lightweight 6:4 rod. The 6:4 action provides a accurate pin-point casting action. The light weight of the rod, similar to the popular Iwana rods, makes this rod a delight to handle and when catching fish of any size.

March 5, 2010

New Executive Director of the PFBC

The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission named John Arway its new Executive Director earlier this week. 

There's a lot going on in PA right now, especially concerning the various fisheries - a new trout plan, concerns over pollution resulting from Marcellus Shale drilling, several dam removals, and the general health of many rivers such as the Susquehanna - so John will have a very full plate.  His background is in environmental issues, so hopefully the PFBC has reeled in the right guy to tackle these issues. 

Here's the full press release from the PFBC website:

Harrisburg, PA – A 30-year veteran of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) has been chosen as the agency’s next executive director. During a special public meeting today, the Board of Commissioners selected John Arway to lead the Commission, one of the oldest and most effective conservation agencies in the nation.

 “John brings a wealth of professional experience and institutional knowledge to the executive director post,” said Commission President Thomas Shetterly. “He is an avid angler, boater and hunter with a passion for the outdoors. He embraces the Resource First management philosophy and understands that only by protecting aquatic resources can we accomplish the other part of our mission, which is to also provide fishing and boating opportunities.”

The 57-year-old Mr. Arway had served as chief of the Environmental Services Division within the Bureau of Fisheries.

“I am grateful to the board for providing me the opportunity to lead the agency where I have devoted most of my professional life,” said Mr. Arway, who becomes the agency’s 10th executive director. “Our agency has a tremendous responsibility to the resource and to the anglers and boaters who enjoy and benefit from the resource. We have a very dedicated staff that I am looking forward to working with on the many challenges ahead of us – including the protection of water quality from future pollution events, the threat of aquatic invasive species, the increasing loss of habitat and the restoration of American shad to the Susquehanna River. I am also looking forward to working with our staff and the anglers and boaters on improving recreational fishing and boating opportunities throughout the Commonwealth.”

Mr. Arway has been the environmental advisor to the executive director and other agency staff for more than 20 years.  In addition to leading the Environmental Services Division, he represents the Commission on numerous committees and boards, including the Director’s alternate on the Environmental Quality Board; the Pennsylvania Biological Survey’s Steering Committee; PA Council of Trout Unlimited’s Environmental Committee and Rivers Conservation Camp and Fly Fishing School’s Board of Directors; Governor’s Pesticide Advisory Board; Governor’s Green Government Council; Coldwater Heritage Partnership Program; and the Susquehanna River Smallmouth Bass Water Quality Workgroup.

A native of North Huntingdon, Mr. Arway holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh and a master’s degree in biology from Tennessee Technological University. He holds memberships in numerous organizations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science; American Fisheries Society (currently first Vice President of the Northeast Division); North American Benthological Society; Ducks Unlimited; PA Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs; National Trout Unlimited; and the SONS of Lake Erie.

March 4, 2010

Happy Birthday Lilly!

 
2006 - Newborn

  
2007 - First Birthday

 
2008 - Second Birthday

 2009 - 3rd Birthday

 2010 - Preschool Picture
 
4 years old today...my little girl is growing up!

March 3, 2010

"Next Blog"...I'm liking it!

Last November I wrote a post about how Blogger noted that they increased the "intelligence" behind their "Next Blog" functionality (a little link in the upper left hand side of the header of each Blogger blog) to direct you to other blogs that share a similar content theme.  It was kind of a facetious post, because after a few clicks, I was no longer looking at fishing websites, but had diverged into Scrapbooking & Norwegian photography sites.


Well, I will have to say that a few months later, I'm taking back any snarkiness (real or perceived) in that post.  After doing a study of the Google Analytics associated with my blog, I've noticed that a SIGNIFICANT portion of the traffic to my blog is coming as a "Next Blog" referral from someone else's site.  North of 40% worth.

Additionally, a nice side effect (I'm assuming), is that I've also almost tripled my "Followers" in about the same time.  Coincidence?  Perhaps...but then again maybe not.


Now, I don't make money off my blog so attracting a huge number of visitors is not really the goal.  (That being said, you can certainly buy some Troutrageous junk here should you be so inclined)  However, since I do use my blog to network & meet people with similar interests, I can't help but applaud Blogger and give credit where it is due; I think the improvement in the "Next Blog" functionality is great!