April 29, 2010

Stony Creek Anglers 2010 Trout Tournament

Last weekend was the 13th annual trout tournament on the Stony Creek, hosted by the Stony Creek Anglers.  As a member of the club, I didn't do any fishing, but instead helped with setup & stocking, as well as worked in the merchandise booth on both Saturday & Sunday.
A view from below the step dam

Saturday was an awesome day, the weather was beautiful & sunny, and the turnout was great.  Sunday...well, not so much.  It was rainy & chilly for most of the morning, and only the die-hard of anglers showed up.  Those that did show up either day were treated to some well stocked water - as almost 2500 trout were stocked in total, several over 20" in length.  The largest fish of the weekend was 26.5" and almost 9 pounds!
The kiddie pool was a hub of activity all weekend

Despite Sunday's rain, all was well that ended well, and the we raised a nice sum of money to help support the club's trout nursery, streambank improvement projects, and initiatives within the community.
Several physically challenged groups from the area also participated in the fishing fun

Last but not least, here's a short video I took of some of Saturday's action.


Note: All of the photos & video above were taken with my new Kodak Playsport video camera.  I'll probably do a full write up on the camera later, but for only $150, I think it's a pretty nice little HD camera...and yes, it's waterproof too!

April 27, 2010

Help Save Hoy Park Wetlands

I've been tied up in a lot of things lately (blog posts to come), so I haven't posted in about a week.  This came in my email last night, and I thought it was definitely worth posting here.  Hoy Park is a great little park along the Perkiomen Creek in Lower Providence Township.  I've fished there several times (previous post HERE), and tons of people use it for bird watching and as a canoe/kayak launch point.

There's a proposal on the board right now involving a sewer project that would change the face of Hoy Park & its surroundings forever.  Please read below, and if you're so inclined sign the online petition.


Signing this petition will show your support of our efforts to stop the middle interceptor sewer project from destroying our wetlands and the Perkiomen Creek in Lower Providence PA.

The latest plan (there have been several previous proposals) has the interceptor running across the Perkiomen Creek 4 X within a mile and a half. Origionally the pipeline was to stay on the Upper Providence side of the creek running through areas previously disturbed. In Arcola, the pipeline will destroy the only wetlands along the valley since the other side is very steep. This sewer line is 48 inches in diameter & requires a 70ft wide cleared area and a ditch 20 ft deep and 40 ft wide!!! Try to imagine the damage to the creek that will create with 4 crossings. The current survey map plan does not include a lot of the wetlands (not sure how they missed it) where standing water is found year round - the pipe will be laid directly under this area. The steepness of the bank on the Upper Providence side forces all flood water onto the wetlands on the Lower Providence side - this will cover the pipeline 3-4 times per year. At times the flooding will be as much as 5-10 ft high above the grounds surface level along the pipeline. The current plan only cement encases the portions under the creek bed. The entire length in Lower Providence will be under constant water pressure due to it's close proximity to the creek, the bedrock shale which is found just under the soil (6"-2ft max), and its location under wetlands.

The infiltration & intrusion (I/I) is already the primary problem facing the Oaks Treatment Facility (see LP Newsletter under Sewer Authority). There is an EPA document describing an alternative that seems to make a lot of sense in this project - the use of a forced main. Several of the original alternatives did not require crossing the Perkiomen creek but instead used a pumping station. The current line ends very close to an old railroad bed which has been converted to a local bike path. This would be a perfect spot to put a much smaller forced sewer main. The railroad bed is relatively flat, its elevated (dramatically reduced water intrusion problems, more easily installed -smaller pipe, smaller shallower ditch - more easily monitored for leaks (current sewer line is inspected using this same bike path), and when it needs to be replaced/repaired it is much more accessible. The proposed location of the pumping station is still open & part of an industrial site.

In addition, the current plan path will require a lot of blasting in an area paralleled by numerous houses dependant on wells for their water. Such blasting may adversely affect theses wells. If there are sewer leaks in the future, these wells will be in peril and there is currently no water main supply to this area. The forced sewer main seems a logical choice considering the damage to the creeks ecosystem, the wetlands, and difficulties in future repairs of the currently planned system.

This is a beautiful area frequented by Bald Eagles, RedBelly Turtles (PA Threatened List), Mink, Herons, Egrets, Red-Tail Hawks (Nesting), Spring Peepers, Leopard Frogs , Bull Frogs, Box Turtles, Muskrats, Puddle Ducks, and many other wetland creatures. Please give us your vote to help our cause.

PLEASE ATTEND A RALLY ON MAY 7th at HOY PARK to show your support - our local reps, DEP, etc will be there.

The Indianhead Watershed Association Lower Providence Concerned Citizens Association

To Sign the Petition, click on link below:
www.ipetitions.com/petition/stopthesewerinlp/

For more information on the Indianhead Dam Watershed, please visit:
www.indianheadwatershed.com

April 22, 2010

Free VMC Hooks

Here's a nice mail in gift with purchase offer that showed up in my email last night.

Buy $10 worth of VMC hooks or terminal tackle, and you can get a Limited Edition VMC 100th Anniversary hook kit for either freshwater or saltwater for free ($15 value).

Offer is good until September 15, 2010.

Download the rebate PDF form HERE.

Check out the VMC online catalog HERE.

April 20, 2010

Fishing With Lilly

As an extremely alert & aware 4 year old, Lilly has started to notice that I sneak out on the weekends to go fishing.  Of course (to my delight) she expressed this weekend that she wants to go too.  She had only fished once before at Mom-Mom & G-Daddy's house in Florida, so tonight I took her, not sure what to expect.  The destination was Sanatoga Park (about a 5 minute drive from our house) where they have a small pond for fishing.

I had never been there, so I assumed we'd be looking at fishing for sunnies.  I asked Lilly if she wanted to me to get some worms - and she said, "No Daddy, we catch fish with bread," clearly taking a cue from her mom's Boca Raton fishing exploits...
K.C. circa 2007 with fish caught with "bit o' bagel"

Let me say this, I think for a 4 year old Lilly is pretty good at casting.  She was slinging that pink "glow in the dark" Barbie rod around like KVD.  I was really impressed.
What a big smile!

Unfortunately, we didn't catch any fish in the hour we were there (6:30 PM - 7:30PM).  The sunnies were active, eating chunks of bread Lilly chummed the water with, but they seemed more interested in the bright orange bobber than the bread on Lilly's hook.  I'll also take some of the blame...I really didn't have the right size hooks, they were a bit large for the size of the little fish we were feeding.
Watching the bobber intensely

I was fearful that not catching any fish would ruin Lilly's attitude for fishing again in the future, but luckily we found some other diversions to keep her entertained in between casts.  Feeding some bread to a family of geese, skipping stones, nature photography, and climbing & jumping across rocks to name a few.
Family of Geese - Lilly took this picture all by herself

The best news, Lilly has already told me she wants to go again - and next time she wants to use my rod!

April 18, 2010

DIY Hat Cam & Wild Brownies

Last fall I wrote a post about video, specifically about a hat cam, (old post HERE).  While I never got around to purchasing one of those tripod hats, the idea kinda got stuck in the recesses of my head and never shook loose.

Earlier this week I was going through my closet and found a bunch of hats I'd probably never wear - just not my style - and hat cam again reared it's ugly head (no pun intended).  After looking in the basement for just the right size nut and bolt, a few quick turns of the electric drill later, and I'm now the proud owner of a MacGuyver-ed camera hat.
Frankenhat

Now to get it on the water.

Got a little bit of a late start this AM, didn't hit Valley Creek until 9:30 AM.  Armed (or is it headed?) with the camera hat, I waded to the first hole and tossed out some some flies tenkara-style.  I had no problem whatsoever catching fish today, pulled about 2 or 3 out of every hole or stretch I fished, was just having technical difficulties with the camera.
Notice...no video

First the angle was off and the video was really crooked...next I thought I had pushed the record button, but evidently didn't...you know a bunch of what they call in the tech industry "user error."  Frustrated, I finally gave up on the hat cam and unscrewed it from my head.

Now, wouldn't you know as soon as it was unmounted, on maybe my 3rd cast following, I got a really nice trout on the line?  Most Valley Creek trout run 6-10", but this one was probably 14"+ and putting a nice bend into my  tenkara rod.  Would have made for nice video too - the water was clear and he was showing a lot of flash during the fight.  Alas...he broke off right at my feet, so not even a still photo.  Figures...

After that, the camera was going back on the hat for the last stretch of water on the way back to the car.  And FINALLY...some fish footage.  See, proof I'm not making all of this up after all!

...which yielded this pretty little guy:
The fruit of my labor

So, reflections on the day:

1) This was probably the best day I've ever had on Valley Creek.  Bead head nymphs under the Elk hair caddis was deadly

2) I'm bringing a net next time.  That 14-incher is mine and he's not getting away again.

3) After some trial and error I do like the hat cam.  Think I've got the kinks worked out.  Will give my hack-job version a couple more tries - then maybe upgrade to the "real" thing.


April 16, 2010

The Red Don

I get a email newsletter from Front Range Anglers out in Colorado.  I bought a reel from them once, and their newsletter is a highlight of each month.  This month featured a really nice looking fly that I think would look great on the end of my tenkara line.

Here's the pic and writeup, taken straight from the April newsletter:

A month ago Patrick Knackendoffel who works for FRA showed me a fly he's been working on which he calls the Red Don.  If you like attractors as I do, this is a winner.  He has an olive and PMD version

Red Don Nymph - Olive
  • Bead: Tungsten Montana Fly Lucent bead. 2.4mm, Christmas Red
  • Hook: Gamakatsu C12-B #14
  • Thread: Danville's 6/0 Tan
  • Tail: Olive Dyed Pheasant Tail tips
  • Abdomen:1/8" Tan Hareline scudback wrapped around Olive Hareline Midge Diamond Braid
  • Thorax: Hareline Ice Dub, Golden Brown
  • Hackle: Partridge or alternative
  • Wingcase/Air Bubble: 1/8" Tan Hareline scudback under Clear UV Knot sense
Red Don Nymph - PMD
  • Abdomen: 1/8" Tan Hareline scudback wrapped around Orange Hareline Midge Diamond Braid
  • Thorax: Hareline Hare's Ear Plus Dubbing
  • Wingcase/Air Bubble: 1/8" orange Hareline scudback under Clear UV Knot sense

April 15, 2010

2010 National Park Week

Got an email today notifying me that this upcoming weekend kicks off National Park week.  The cool thing about it is that from April 17 to 25, the admission fees have been waived from all 392 national parks across the country.  That certainly gives everyone a great reason to experience these wonderful natural resources.


For more information, visit:
www.nationalparkweek.org

April 10, 2010

Darby & Valley Creeks

Today was a day of contrasts. Stocked vs. Wild trout. Spinning Gear vs. Tenkara Fly Fishing Gear. Wind Chill vs. The Gooey Warmth of Sausage, Egg, & Cheese.

I started my morning by deciding I was going to head down to Delco and hit Darby Creek. This is the same creek I fished for last weekend's opening day, and figured I should probably get back before all of the stockies got snatched up.

Armed with my spinning rod and gold spinner, I stood on the bank staring into a large pool for a few minutes but didn't notice many trout. None swimming, none rising, only a handful holding in the current. Looks like Darby (at least the section I was at) got hit pretty hard this past week.

As I waded a bit upstream, it was pretty clear that was the case as I saw at least 3 or 4 "floaters" (aka stockies that didn't make it) strewn among the rocks and branches along the bank. After maybe an hour and a half of wading & casting, wading & casting, I only ended up with one trout.
This is the dummy who didn't get the memo

Did I mention it was freakin' cold this morning? Was probably spoiled by all of the 80 degree weather this week, but between the sun hiding behind the clouds and a constant wind, I was pretty cold. That said, I muttered "screw this" to myself and headed back to the car speeding off toward the Golden Arches to regain some warmth via a Sausage, Egg, & Cheese McMuffin.
Breakfast of the Gods

Now warmed up, I decided it was too early to throw in the towel so on the way home I pulled off at Valley Forge and hit Valley Creek.

At Valley, I also switched tactics from my spinning rod to my tenkara rod and things turned around quickly. I only fished for another hour and a half (maybe two), but brought in 4 feisty wild browns. I fished upstream between the covered bridge and the wooden step bridge pictured above. The bug of the day was a size #18 prince nymph drifted beneath an indicator dry.
Thank you & your buddies for making my morning

Unfortunately, all of the driving (& stop at Mickey D's) took time away from fishing, so I wasn't able to fish either creek as long as I had hoped. Between the two I did catch my 5 trout limit (all were released), so I suppose all's well that ends well.

April 9, 2010

Linvilla Orchards Family Fun Fishing Derby

Looking for something to do this weekend?
The Linvilla Orchards Family Fun Fishing Derby is this Saturday, April 10th.

Catch the first Golden trout in your age group and win a prize!
For more info:  www.linvilla.com


April 7, 2010

Quick Sunday Outing @ The Skippack

Last Sunday (April 4th) was kind of a busy day.  I'm actually still tired from it, hence the delayed blog post.  First, it was obviously Easter Sunday.  I'm not a religious person, so admittedly Easter really isn't as big a day for me as it might be for others (go ahead and call me a heathen), but it didn't stop Lilly from participating in 2 Easter egg hunts.  The first was in our living room around 7AM, the second in our backyard with our next door neighbors around 1PM.
A different kind of hunt - no camo necessary

Following the hunts, oh about 4:30 PMish, we went "Lebowski" and hit the Limerick Bowl for some full-on family bowling.  It's sort of becoming an Easter tradition, plus the alley has a pretty good deal for the afternoon; 75 cent games & snacks.  Some folks eat an Easter Ham, my family goes with hot dogs & soft pretzels.  The day wrapped up around 7 PM with a bit of birthday cake back at the house for K.C., as her birthday was the next day (Monday).
F**k it Dude, let's go bowling

Well, amid all of that action, I did find a little window of time (9AM to 11AM) between the first and second Easter egg hunts to sneak out and get some fishing in on the Skippack Creek.  I don't really care for the Skippack much, but it's close to my house so I thought I'd give it a try.
There's about 8 more guys behind the tree on the right

In addition to the trout fishermen, the frogs (or toads, whatever) were also out in force.  Lots of chirping and jumping into the water with a "splash" with every step along the bank of the creek.  I'm sure Wandering Owl could tell me what these are.  

Cutting to the chase, when I finally did settle in to do some fishing, I brought in 3 trout - lucky survivors of the previous day's "opening day" carnage - as well as this little guy.  I think it's a creek chub...but what do I know?
"There's a sucker born every minute" - P.T. Barnum

April 3, 2010

2010 Trout Opener - Darby Creek

Oh, how I love the opening day of trout season.  Hanging out with good friends, ridiculously easy to catch stockies, and the crowds and hi-jinks of the other "anglers," the combination of the 3 always make for a great time.

I was meeting up with three of my oldest friends, Wright, Len, & Mostel.  Of the three, Mostel is the biggest outdoorsman; he puts John Muir to shame.  Well, maybe not exactly that outdoorsy, but you get the point.  Got the text message from Mostel that he was at our hole at Darby Creek reserving a spot on the bank at 5:30 AM.  Atta Boy!  I rolled in a little after 6 AM, and Wright & Len arrived a little after 7 AM.
Len (foreground), Wright (background)
Mostel - The dude has a Barred Owl call as his "ringtone"

Around 7:45 AM (you can start fishing at 8 AM) the latecomer clowns that always crowd your group and cross your lines came rumbling through the woods and decided to wade right across one of the pools.  Nice job idiots.
Outta the pool d-bag!

There should be some sort of outdoors etiquette test you take before being issued a fishing license.  We wanted to wing the can of corn at them, but decided not to for some reason.  They were lucky this time.  They'll get niblets across the forehead next time.
Can o' Corn - Unfortunately never got used

Well 8 AM came - I was tossing a gold spinner, the others were using wax worms - and I was lucky enough to bring in the first trout of the morning (on my first cast).  Mostel followed suit a few minutes later and the two of us were at our limits in no time.  I actually caught 5 trout on my first 5 casts - although not all were keepers.
Typical catch of the day

I'll spare you the rest of the stocked trout stories, but the highlight of the morning (besides watching Wright wade across the creek in flip flops) was when Mostel caught the largest fish from the pool.  I actually had sighted the fish about 15 minutes prior when it chased but didn't hit my spinner.  Len & I demanded that Mostel use his skills and catch it...and wouldn't you know he did!  Although the picture doesn't do it justice had to be about 20" minimum.  Everybody let out a nice cheer when he brought it to net.  Good job buddy.
Mostel's Pig

In the end we probably caught somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 or 30 trout out of the pool we fished - a mix of rainbows and browns - and let go about two-thirds of them.  Sure, in some aspects the fishing was like taking candy from a baby, but opening day is the one day I put aside my preference for wild trout - fishing for stockies and making memories with good friends was awfully fun.