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#1 May-14-21 7:19AM

Ernie
Administrator
From: Ashburn VA
Registered: Feb-03-06
Posts: 14613

5-13-21, PA Trout

Where do I start?

Paul had urged me to try this euro nymphing trout gig and I finally relented to go with him one day. Today was the day. We would be led by a local guide, Alex Kolivras.

https://i.imgur.com/tGeZPB0.jpg

When Alex told me he was 1st gen Greek, I knew I would like him immediately.

There were many highlights of the trip and the pics will show them.

Three of the key highlights:

Triple Crown (catching a wild trout in 3 streams: Big Spring, Letort, Yellow Breeches)
Letort (guide) record
Old waders

We met up at 6a and after getting all set up, we were ready to go.


Big Spring Creek was up 1st...a spring fed creek that runs @52df all year round.



https://i.imgur.com/Ps5tiV2.jpg

There was a lot of hollerin' when I got my 1st wild trout...

https://i.imgur.com/KfYBh9O.jpg

Not sure that the fly fishing etiquette allows my energy but I think Alex liked it.

It was really cool watching and participating in the "hunt". This is nothing like what I have ever done. It really is technical. Even the leader set up takes an engineering degree to set up. Wild!

https://i.imgur.com/ovUohDY.jpg


https://i.imgur.com/Bs1ji0D.jpg

We took a break after the 1st Triple Crown spring and Alex asked if we liked baloney, Yes was the answer. The next question was if we liked smoked baloney. Of course we did. Then he gave us some of his home made stuff.

https://i.imgur.com/b5mjGlh.jpg

It was outstanding! Then he told us it was venison. Delicious!!

I'm going to digress a little and say that I really didn't know why Paul got exited about catching little wild brown or brookie trout.. I get it now! The set up (rod, leader, fly etc) is the key. The hunt is the deal!!

It was cool watching Paul apply what he has learned. It is technical and precise. It's not about casting but about presenting. It's delicate. Way cool!

Here comes a bunch of pics, broken up into 3 sections:

Big Spring


https://i.imgur.com/d1vuYzc.jpg


https://i.imgur.com/N84qXMW.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/T1BTH6Y.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/NTwS0JX.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/EGvtHI2.jpg

Letort- this is where we broke ALex's guide record of 8 trout in this very tough stream. We caught 9 and earned a Letort Certificate!

This was the tougher of the sections we did. Tougher in the fishing part and tougher in the wading part. I am surprised  that I managed to do this one with my 2 knee replacements and fused back. But Alex was helpful in a few assists. Next time, I might bring my wading cane. Still, it was exiting and adventurous.

https://i.imgur.com/fRdb6Xy.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/KZzyMOJ.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/BjRYxNV.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/uZ7LQV7.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/v37qH7M.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/ZNQCpRB.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/VIP9038.jpg



https://i.imgur.com/FCj73X7.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/QgQyY6y.jpg


https://i.imgur.com/DwYr5eG.jpg

Lunch was stream side and it was subs, chips and drinks.

Yellow Breaches

https://i.imgur.com/KliLfLO.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/cJlSLBc.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/iH7uebA.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/Gen9i56.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/gvzuOxA.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/qQ4REz8.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/LtitHEk.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/LpViCk4.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/qkiNF9I.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/4TutlPz.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/BOoV6HQ.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/uuaehGH.jpg


At the yellow Breeches, I was getting a little cold. Hmmmm...

Then we got a little rain and I got colder. Finally, I started getting craps in the legs and I decided to get out of the water. Getting out was tough! Apparently, my waders sprung a leak and were full of water! No wonder I was shivering!


https://i.imgur.com/XlAe6GG.jpg

I was now done and we still needed to complete the Triple Crown.

We ran into these locals as we were leaving the Yellow Breeches. Cool dudes...

https://i.imgur.com/bMMQSCl.jpg

Alex suggested that we go back to the fly shop and get another pair of waders (they offer this to clients) but it was getting late. Being a hard charger, Alex said he would figure out a way for me to get my Triple Crown.

Well, I got it from the shore line. Alex yelled, "set, set" but I had him hooked. Alex jumped in the water and netted it. Paul though I had fallen in!

https://i.imgur.com/ddFzjip.jpg

Another wild trout! The Triple Crown was achieved!

And then Paul got his TC and all was well with the world!

https://i.imgur.com/zJBF5uH.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/TAJvKT4.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/3Cdt9LM.jpg


https://i.imgur.com/ReVSVb7.jpg



We ended up around around six and we went into town for some BBQ.

https://i.imgur.com/5MqMxFA.jpg

The ride home was filled with recapping all of our stories. There were many.

Paul will fill in with some more technical talk and antidotes.

Our guide was nothing less than outstanding!!!

What an epic day!!

We caught lots of trout with Paul getting the best of me but I was holding my own. Many missed hook sets (not being a trout guy hurt me) but it was all good. I kept telling Alex to yell at me when I messed up and he obliged. We got a kick out of that. I told him, "you can't hurt me, go ahead and yell at me"!

I slept good last night...


Time to go fishin' again!

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#2 May-14-21 10:52AM

Osprey
Patagonian Toothfish
From: Forestville, MD
Registered: Nov-16-07
Posts: 1188
Website

Re: 5-13-21, PA Trout

Fantastic!


20' Key West..16' C-Hawk...Hobie Pro Angler...Hobie Outback

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#3 May-14-21 12:20PM

Paul Naj
Northern Snakehead
Registered: May-20-08
Posts: 373

Re: 5-13-21, PA Trout

Yeah, where to start is a good question. Let's start with something I didn't tell Ernie before we set out. wink, I've never done a trip quite like this before. I knew from my experience on 1 and research of the other 2 that these were easy streams to wade. I felt confident he would do fine, but I had no idea that Alex was all in on this journey, starting at 6:00 am and going until about 6:45 PM. That's a long day in anyone's book. Ernie was a trooper and, with some well placed breaks, endured the marathon. My plan was to let him tell me when he was done. His waders made the decision for him.

Big Spring is a really cool stream. A true limestone spring creek which has it's origin of water bubbling out of the ground and being fed by several smaller springs along the way. We focused on riffles and fooled some native brook trout and wild rainbows. There are actually very few brown trout in this stream. One of the stretches we walked through was similar to the upper Letort, which I will describe below, but a wider stream than the Letort. As we walked up the bank we could see 20+ inch trout stationed in an area or cruising casually. The temptation to throw flies at them was too great to pass up. We could see them look at our flies, maybe even follow a bit and then refuse them. It was really cool. I didn't have my 5 weight with me at that point. In retrospect, if I did, I would have put on a dry dropper with a terrestrial on top and a size 20 or smaller fly on 6x or 7x tippet below to try and get a hookup. Landing those fish on that setup would be another story. I will be trying that the next trip up there or maybe fishing them with a mouse at night instead. We picked fish along the way and quit when it got warm and we had to head back to the truck and shed some layers. It was on to the Letort.

When Alex gave his assessment of the Letort being a "one of the most difficult streams in PA to catch fish" Ernie's response was "and why are we going there?". My response was simple, if you can learn super technical water you can apply those skills elsewhere. Truth be told, we only fished the lower section of the Letort which is easier water than the upper stretch, but still more difficult than most places I fish. The upper section had non fishing cars in the parking spaces and we couldn't get access. The headwaters of the Letort are legendary and world famous. It is a small spring creek with little surface disturbance, gin clear water and trout that have an over abundance of high quality food. The result is that you have some BIG trout in there that don't eat artificial flies very often. The lower section is also tough as it is very technical water. We did fish the lower section and had a good pick of fish in shallow riffles and deeper runs. This was quite an accomplishment and anything more would be a bonus.

We made our way up to the Yellow Breeches where we ate lunch stream side. While eating we could see rising fish upstream. This section happens to be heavily stocked along with some wild fish. The stocked fish were really stupid and aggressive and we just had fun with lot's of pullage. We landed a lot of fish here. It gave Ernie more good experience to work on his "trout hookset". Having spent years fly fishing in the salt, it took a little relearning, which of course he did.

After the wader incident, Ernie refused to call it a day and insisted Alex and I finish our quest of catching wild trout in 3 streams on the same day. We headed way upstream into the wild trout section. While Ernie was drying off I fished runs on the opposite side of the stream, saving the run near the bank for him. I went 0 for 3 on my first few fish and then landed 2 stocked rainbows. We wondered why they were up there since they were stocked miles downriver and usually have plenty of food there. Ernie came down to the stream and within minutes pulled off his triple crown.

Alex and I headed upstream and found some wild fish to finish my triple. As we were about to walk out, Alex and I were talking about the tackle we use and asked if he could try my setup again in the nicer water we fished. I wanted to throw dry flies as we headed downstream so I obliged. He picked a couple fish and I said "we should get back to the truck". I was about 100 feet downstream and I heard him yell to me. He hooked up and landed the beautiful wild brown in Ernie's pics above. While not the biggest fish of the day, but the biggest wild fish for sure. The stocked brook trout I caught (pics also above) was bigger and I also had a large rainbow and brown that were big but they were stupid stocked fish. big_smile

Watching Alex guide Ernie, I learned a lot yesterday as well. Ernie was a super fast learner and took Alex's coaching well. Can wait to go back and do parts of this trip again more thoroughly. An epic day indeed. Thanks for sharing it Ernie.

Last edited by Paul Naj (May-14-21 4:25PM)

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#4 May-14-21 12:32PM

drxfish
Patagonian Toothfish
From: Sterling
Registered: Jan-04-14
Posts: 2414

Re: 5-13-21, PA Trout

Amazing!  Congratulations to all and great post.


Always wishin' I was fishin'

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#5 May-14-21 12:51PM

GregF
Northern Snakehead
Registered: Mar-21-11
Posts: 697

Re: 5-13-21, PA Trout

Paul you deserve a Gold Medal for getting Ernie to do this trip.  The number of times he has told me he will never go wading in streams with his bionic knees and back! And you had him out there for 12 hrs!  You certainly made it worth it for him though!  You guys had an epic day.  Congrats!

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#6 May-14-21 1:02PM

Ernie
Administrator
From: Ashburn VA
Registered: Feb-03-06
Posts: 14613

Re: 5-13-21, PA Trout

GregF wrote:

Paul you deserve a Gold Medal for getting Ernie to do this trip.

No kidding!

He has invited me many times. We finally did it.

I learned a lot. The only regret is that I forgot my wading cane. If I had brought it, Alex could have relaxed a bit. The dude is a hard charger! Alex was more than terrific!!


Time to go fishin' again!

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#7 May-14-21 8:47PM

Junger
Northern Snakehead
From: Potomac, MD
Registered: Aug-14-17
Posts: 720

Re: 5-13-21, PA Trout

Great post, I felt like I was right there with the pics and write-up!

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#8 May-15-21 7:15AM

Paul Naj
Northern Snakehead
Registered: May-20-08
Posts: 373

Re: 5-13-21, PA Trout

Two other quick funny stories to show how well the stars were aligned on this trip.

We decided to go up the night before and get hotel rooms to make the early start easier. The girl at the desk puts two key cards on the counter, 411 and 413. So I grab 413 and Ernie asks “why did you take 13?”. I said, “that’s my lucky number.” He says “that’s mine too, I was born on the 13th. When we’re you born?” After a pause and a sigh... I respond “the 11th” and switched cards. hmm

When prepping for the trip and discussing logistics for breakfast and lunch I say to Ernie, “for breakfast I could always just eat a pop tart and be happy“. When I pick him up the first thing he says to me is “did you say pop tart?“ and then proceeds to bust my chops about being the only person he knows that still eats pop tarts. We show up the next day and when we pulled up to the 1st spot to get suited up, guess what Alex was eating? You can’t make this stuff up. big_smile

Last edited by Paul Naj (May-15-21 7:16AM)

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#9 May-15-21 12:54PM

Ernie
Administrator
From: Ashburn VA
Registered: Feb-03-06
Posts: 14613

Re: 5-13-21, PA Trout

After further review...

I closely inspected my waders. All the seams are intact. Solid. However, there were 2-3 places where the inner layer fabric has separated or dissolved. It was also on the left side where I 1st felt the cold.

So....to the trash they go!


Time to go fishin' again!

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#10 May-16-21 5:18AM

hookup
Patagonian Toothfish
Registered: Jan-31-12
Posts: 1848

Re: 5-13-21, PA Trout

So....to the trash they go!

I may have a set of wader that would fit you.  Never wore them.  Simms

Looks like some of the waters my Grandfather would take me.  He's drop me off and expect a full basket of trout - filleted - when he came back to pick me up.  Never knew where he went?  Probably went and got laid ....  Tiny hooks and grubs taken from busted up logs caught everything.

Those trout were beautiful.  Nice colors.

Sore in the morning with all that wading?

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#11 May-16-21 6:07AM

Ernie
Administrator
From: Ashburn VA
Registered: Feb-03-06
Posts: 14613

Re: 5-13-21, PA Trout

hookup wrote:

I may have a set of wader that would fit you.  Never wore them.  Simms

Interested as long as the bootie sock is big enough (12)

hookup wrote:

Sore in the morning with all that wading?

Not at all...felt great when I woke up after sleeping like a log. My 4 mile walk the day before helped out as did being in a cold water immersion suit for over an hour on the Yellow Breeches! lol

Then, had to lay down with a pillow under my shoulders for my biopsy on Friday. When I got up after being in that position for 40 minutes, I could feel a pull on my back. Not too bad but I am reminded every time I make a move.


Time to go fishin' again!

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#12 May-16-21 8:45AM

Paul Naj
Northern Snakehead
Registered: May-20-08
Posts: 373

Re: 5-13-21, PA Trout

Ernie wrote:

Not at all...felt great when I woke up after sleeping like a log.

I told Ernie that I hope I can get around as good as he did in 10 years when I’m his age!

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#13 May-16-21 10:59AM

Ernie
Administrator
From: Ashburn VA
Registered: Feb-03-06
Posts: 14613

Re: 5-13-21, PA Trout

Let's be more precise....9 years! tongue


Time to go fishin' again!

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#14 May-17-21 6:26AM

firemunkee
Patagonian Toothfish
From: Ashburn, VA
Registered: May-23-13
Posts: 1737

Re: 5-13-21, PA Trout

What a great report! Thanks for sharing and the pictures!


Together we'll fight the long defeat.

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#15 May-17-21 7:03AM

hookup
Patagonian Toothfish
Registered: Jan-31-12
Posts: 1848

Re: 5-13-21, PA Trout

Ernie wrote:

Interested as long as the bootie sock is big enough (12)

You'll have to try them out and see

Glad to read you weren't sore afterwards

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#16 May-17-21 10:28AM

Houli
Northern Snakehead
From: Leesburg, VA
Registered: Dec-09-10
Posts: 251

Re: 5-13-21, PA Trout

Great report and pics!

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