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Fly Fishing in Pennsylvania

Joan Matsui Fly Fisher Travel Writer

On the Water in Northeastern Pennsylvania

A Fly-Fishing Journal by Joan Matsui Travel Writer

Fly-Fishing in Pennsylvania is a weekly summer journal that highlights my most recent efforts to learn to fly fish.

Fly fishing became one of my all-time favorite hobbies about eight years ago after my brother died. He was an avid fisherman and fly fishing brought me comfort and helped with the grieving process. Is my brother making fun of me and criticizing my cast? I’m sure he is.

The most successful anglers I know told me that fly fishing is a life-long learning process. Fly-Fishing Weekly brings you a mix of the best-of and not-so-good days on the water.

Patience is as important as skill. Fly-fishing in Pennsylvania sheds a positive light on the sport. Follow my journey here every week during the summer for tales from the water.

Several years ago, I met a seasoned angler, Jim, while I was wading in the Delaware River. Jim has fished since he was a child. I whined a bit to him that day. Afterward, I was embarrassed because I know not everyone catches fish every time but I needed to let go of my negative emotions so I could move on to a more positive attitude. Letting go was one way to remove my mental barriers.

I didn’t catch anything today, I told him.

His reply, “There are weeks when I don’t catch a fish. It’s not always a particular technique that dictates if you catch a fish. Water temperature and water level play a major role in whether the fish are biting or not. And of course, you also need to consider the fly you’re using.”

He’s correct, at least as far as I can tell. Overall, my technique has immensely improved thanks to practice, an Orvis Fly-Fishing 101 class, and guidance from my fishing friends. Almost eight years into fly fishing, I can roll cast and select a fly that’s somewhat palatable to the fish. That’s a definite improvement.

Hot summer days are problematic. Wading in cool water is a fisher’s delight but the trout, notably a cold water species don’t agree.

The last time I was out on the water – yesterday – fish were rising but unfortunately, did not take any of the flies I threw out. I began with a small nymph and three to four minutes later, I discovered my hook was caught on an underwater branch or it was stuck to the side of a rock. After breaking the line free, I noticed my fly was gone.

When in doubt, I resort to my favorite flies, an elk-hair caddis pattern or a blue-winged olive. Woolly Buggers are an option but they tend to plop, rather than quietly land on the water. I’m working on casting streamers.

Joan Matsui Fly Fisher Travel Writer
Spring is my favorite time of year to fly fish for trout. This day was a combined fly fishing and photography trip.

Two weeks ago, I brought my oldest son along on a two-hour evening trip to the Lackawanna River, a tributary to the mighty Susquehanna River. The water level had dropped significantly from last week but fishing conditions were nearly perfect. NO FISH!

Typically, by the end of June, the water temperature rises as the rainy days of June disappear. Fly fishing in Pennsylvania is challenging to say the least. Here we are in July, the hottest and most humid month of the year in Northeastern Pennsylvania, with a jump in our air temps to 85 to 90 degrees for several days at a time.

Joan Matsui Travel Writer Fly Fishing
The pensive look while hoping at least one trout would take the fly. Northeastern Pennsylvania has some outstanding streams and rivers.

Today, my friend Amy and I met along the Lackawanna River. Amy arrived about an hour before me and had already moved upstream from where we planned to meet. She caught three or four fish in an hour but by 10 a.m., the sun was bright and only a few shaded areas remained along the banks. We were optimistic we’d see some fish rise and we did but again, they weren’t interested in our flies. Once Amy and I commence with fishing, we don’t want to stop.

We ended our afternoon perhaps a bit discouraged but the diehard angler never completely gives in to frustration. After all, there are six more days this week.

Fly fishing in Pennsylvania is as much about learning where to fish as it is about technique. Plan your trip with this guide to Pennsylvania waterways. Find the best places to fly fish.

Happy fishing to you!

Learn to fly fish with Orvis Fly-Fishing 101 certified instructors.

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Fly-Fishing Gear

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  • April 22, 2017
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Orvis Fly Fishing 101 classes free

Shop Great Deals on Orvis Products

Durable Fishing Gear Made to Last

Fly-fishing gear by Orvis is designed to endure for years. Prepare for next year’s opening day now and stock up on supplies and equipment you need. Orvis products are manufactured with quality craftsmanship but you can’t beat the exceptional customer service. 

The Orvis Company affiliate program allows me to endorse products I use and trust. Check out Orvis’ Orvis

Orvis Embraces Conservation Efforts

I understand and appreciate the great strides conservationists make every day. Orvis remains at the top of the ongoing efforts to clean up our waterways and protect them from future contamination.

During my media trip to Orvis’ flagship store and factory in Manchester, VT, I received personalized training in all-things fly-fishing related with an emphasis on conservation efforts. 

Shop the online clearance room for holiday gifts and items you can use to stay warm and dry while you fish.

Orvis

Build Your Foundation

Learn to Fly Fish with the Orvis Pros (or find an instructor near you)

Find a fly-fishing class at your local Orvis retail store or sign up for classes offered by other organizations like Trout Unlimited or your state’s fish and boat commission. That is to say, learn proper casting techniques so you can fully appreciate my new hobby and catch fish. After that, get out on the water and practice, practice, practice!

Giving Back

Orvis donates five percent of pre-tax profits every year to protect nature, support communities, and advance canine health and well-being. Proceeds are estimated to be $14 million in more than 25 years.

Get Outdoors and Challenge Yourself

Learn Something New EVERY DAY

Fly fishing is a sport that takes years to master through continuous trial and error. The more time you devote to education and practice, the more likely you’ll grow your skills. Devote time to practice and learning about trout and other species’ habits. That means hours and hours of casting and time on the water until you’re in sync with your equipment.

Recreation Therapy! Venture outdoors.

Each hour you spend fishing, walking your dog, and hiking positively impacts your overall mental and physical health. Strive for 60 or more minutes per day of your own personal free time.

As a result, the more you engage in outdoor activities, the less likely you’ll worry or stress. Think of outdoor recreation as a therapy session for whatever ails you.

Meanwhile, practice responsible fishing and conservation and adhere to rules and regulations in place to protect fish and their natural habitats.

A Personal Note – Share Your Love!

Fly-fishing gear is a perfect gift for family and friends. Loved ones are more likely to join you if they have the equipment. Find the balance between work and play and pass that along to someone you love.

A few years ago, I bought my youngest an Encounter rod and reel combo. He wasn’t overly enthusiastic about learning to fish but it’s my pleasure to share my love for the outdoors. Consequently, we occasionally get out on the water together. 

The Orvis factory tour was a treat. We saw firsthand how fly-fishing gear is made.
During my Orvis factory tour, an employee works diligently to put the finishing touches on fly rods.
Take a break and browse the selection of merchandise. Save on shipping costs.

Save $25 off orders of $50 and Free Shipping on orders of $150+. Limited Time. Exclusions Apply. Use Code: JUST4YOU

I purchased my first Orvis Clearwater fly rod and reel combo in 2012 and it travels with me everywhere I go. Who knows when you’ll get the bug to fish?

Outstanding Warranty

Face the fact we all damage our fly-fishing equipment at some point. My first break happened when I tripped on a rock while fishing in the Delaware River. Fly rods and reels can also be damaged from improper use. The Orvis guarantee is incredible. You can read more about warranties here or contact your local Orvis retail store

Fly-Fishing Gear includes the most popular flies to use.
Do you know the most popular flies? Certified instructors give detailed information during Orvis Fly-Fishing 101 classes

Resources’ Wrap-Up

Learn fly fishing basics at a free Orvis Fly Fishing 101 course and locate a store near you by following this link. http://www.orvis.com/s/free-fly-fishing-lessons/8249?dir_id=22592&group_id=27370&cat_id=50215 

You’re also one step closer to catching a trophy trout, bass or panfish when you fish with the pros. Check out Orvis’ fly fishing and hosted trips. http://www.orvis.com/s/orvis-group-trips/9672?dir_id=22592&group_id=22958&cat_id=14007

Check out other Orvis’ products and services. They run the gamut from fly fishing to outdoor gear. Follow this link to shop Orvis’ Clearance Room.

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Waders? Are you petite or tall? Do you have a difficult time finding waders that fit? Check out Orvis’ Salmon River Fly-Fishing.


DISCLOSURE:

The links on this page are affiliate links. I  earn a small commission if you make a purchase but at no additional cost to you. I trust Orvis’ products and link to their products based on their helpful and useful nature.  

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