Articles

A Fine Line - When to Change Your Fishing Line

A Fine Line - When to Change Your Fishing Line

Choosing a fishing line is just as important as your lure selection.   Most people select a a line that is too heavy for their needs.   People will say why not go heavier?   I say "why not just wear your winter coat all the time?"

The lightest line you should use is 4 lb.   I do not recommend using 2 lb line in any situation.   Its just too light.  It stretches, curls and breaks too easily.  

When Trout fishing the decision is really between 4 lb and 6 lb.   The first factor is the weight of the lures you are using.  If you are throwing 1/4 oz spinners you will have no problem with 6lb line.   If you are using lighter lures like 1/16 you should really be using 4lb line.   I personally use 4 lb line unless I am using 1/2 oz or heavier.   Another factor is budget.   I replace my line every time I fish.  4 lb line will stretch and when it stretches it curls.   Think how your Mom curled ribbon on the Christmas packages.   If you find that your line is constantly catching over the last loop on your rod, then its stretched out.   If you are using 4lb line you need to cut 10 feet of line off every time you strain the line.  That means after a large fish and after a snag.   If the line curls you are going to waste a lot of time with real problems and the line catching on the last loop.

So why do I use 4lb line?   It's because I can cast a lure into a bucket 50 feet away.  Yes I practice.   The lighter line has less resistance when you cast.   Its more accurate and casts further.

If you have the budget use the 4 lb line.

If you aren't looking to spend that much on fishing line, use 6lb line.   Just use 3/16 oz and heavier.   1/8 and less is going to be too hard to cast.

If you are loosing fish because your line is breaking then I have bad news for you, you need to learn how to tie a proper knot.   Fish don't break 4 lb line.   

If You Aren't Fly Fishing You Aren't a Purist?

I think Fly Fishing is great.   I think homemade flies are works of art.  I think the act of Fly Fishing is fantastic.   Casting a fly is something everyone should learn to do and try just once.   If you sensed a huge "but" you were right.   I have encountered a lot of snobbery and borderline bullying from Fly Fisherman with the attitude of "if you aren't fly fishing, you aren't really fishing."   I see more fly fisherman fishing in 4 inches of water than all other fisherman combined.   I'm not saying that Fly Fisherman aren't experts, some are.  What I am saying is that just because you dropped $1000 on fly fishing gear doesn't mean you have any idea what you are doing.

I have tried fly fishing.   I honestly don't enjoy it.   I read every article about it and I watch any decent youtube video.   I totally respect the category and I appreciate it, but if you are going to tell me fly fishing is superior to fishing spinners or crankbaits, you better come prepared with a compelling argument.

I personally enjoy the idea of taking a piece of metal and making a fish think this is actually another fish.   There are a lot of factors that go into selecting the right spinner, spoon or crankbait.

My point of this article was that fisherman should be supporting one another.  Sharing information and helping one another.   Most importantly they should be trying to keep young people interested in fishing.   Trout Rodeos are great, but teaching a kid how to find a remote spot and how to fish it has to be better than any video game.

 

How to Catch Summer Trout

How to Catch Summer Trout

I just did a google search on "how to catch summer trout" and I found complete garbage.   Most of the articles describe that unless you have perfect conditions its impossible.   Here are the facts.

Trout burn a huge amount of calories swimming against the current.  

Why do they swim in the current?:

1. Its safe.  Its hard for predators to see into a fast moving current.

2. It provides the highly oxygenated water that trout need to survive.

Trout are not watching their weight.  They are eating to survive.  If they see something that looks like food they are going to eat it.

I think where these articles I read fail is that they don't draw the connection between how outside factors like temperature may change the habits of trout.

Here is the best rule for Trout.   The best water to fish is where you can't see anything.

If you look in a slow moving clear area and you see fish in a stationary position pointing upstream they are not trout.   Inexperienced anglers spent hours trying to get "suckers" to bite trout lures.  Suckers look like trout in the water and they are found in slow moving water.  You will not find trout there.   

If you see the fish, leave them alone, they are not trout.   I would rather catch nothing than a sucker.  They are a disgusting, disgusting fish.  

You need to find fast water where you can't see the bottom and the front of deep pools.   Not the back or middle of deep pools.  It must be the front.

Summer Trout are more difficult to find.  There are less places for them to hide, the water is warmer and they are just less of them.

If a trout stream in August has 10% of the Trout it had in April, then you can see how its tough fishing.

You just have to be selective on where you fish and be prepared to walk.

Do not use live bait in the summer.  Its just too hot.  

Best Baits

Thomas Lures

Al's Original Goldfish

Berkley Softbaits

When to Use and Choose a Spinner - By Doug Steimel

When to Use and Choose a Spinner - By Doug Steimel
A spinning bait can be on the most fun and exciting ways to fish for trout.


Some favorites are Panther Martin, Thomas Spinners and Rooster Tails.


A spinner imitates a bait fish and triggers trout to strike.


A spinner is only a good choice when the area you want to fish is at least 10 feet from where you can cast. This means if there is an area against a cliff face or sunken log on the other side of the stream you really can't use a spinner bait.


You want to use a spinner bait when you can cast to an area that does not hold fish and you can bring it towards the area that should hold fish.


If you are trying to fish an area on the far side of the stream then by the time you start to reel in the spinner its already away from the fish.


To attack these types of areas you want a soft bait that you can cast upstream and let it drift towards the fish.


Be sure to experiment with different weighted spinners, the faster the current the heavier you want the spinner.


An experienced angler can look at the water and choose the right size.


After some experimentation so will you.

Bears in the Philly Suburbs - Doug Steimel

Bears in the Philly Suburbs - Doug Steimel

I have lived in Chester County PA my entire life and never dreamed of seeing a bear there.

Right now the entire area is buzzing with bear sightings.  It seems one has wondered down from the mountains and has taken up in our town.   This is exciting news for myself and terrifying news for others.  

The only bear you will find in PA is an American Black Bear.   Males can get as large as 600lbs and females a very modest 200lbs.  

Their main diet consists of plants, roots, berries, acorns and garbage.   Garbage is the easiest and favorite meal of the black bear.   Families in the mountains are bear trained about when to put out their garbage and most have bear proof bins.  Chester County has neither of these things.  

My biggest fear is that someone is going to take it upon themselves to shoot this bear.  We have all seen movies and most recently that Leo movie that shows how aggressive bears can be.   A Grizzly bear is much larger and needs many more calories to survive and must incorporate meat into its diet.   They are aggressive even towards humans.

The American Black Bear is as shy an animal as you will find in the wild.   I have had 3 bear encounters in my life even though I have spent very few days in bear country.

If you encounter a Black Bear give the bear space.   If it sees you, then you are too close.   If you are able to observe the bear from a distance then do so, but do not approach the bear.   The bear will give you warning signs that include "bluffing."   The bear will fake like he is going to charge you.   He won't charge you.   The bear has no interest in fighting you.   Its way more energy than he wants to expend. 

If a bear stands up on its hind legs it is not a sign of aggression.   He has poor eyesight and he is trying to smell you to see what you are.  

If a bear takes interest in you do not run.   Stand your ground.   Put your arms up and out to show the bear how large you are.   Speak firmly to the bear.   He can't understand you, but your tone is what matters.   Tell him to go away.  

Every person I speak to says the same thing about Black Bears.   They will attack you if their cubs are near.  This isn't something I want to test, but many people feel this is not true.   Many park rangers have reported females with cubs running up the first tree she sees when they approach, even when she has cubs.  

The biggest problem I currently see facing the American Black bear is people.   People aren't staying in one place any longer and many people are moving to rural areas because its cheaper.   They have no grown up around beers and they are motivated by social media.   If you are trying to get a "selfie" with a bear you are putting yourself and others in danger.   The less space we give bears the less they will give to us.   If you draw in a bear with food he will expect food the next time he sees people.   A bear's stomach is his main motivator.  

For your own safety and the safety of others forget about the Facebook post about the bear and post more photos of your cat, because we have been wanting more.

When You Should Catch and Not Release - Doug Steimel

When You Should Catch and Not Release - Doug Steimel

I have noticed a lot of people that don't fish have an opinion about whether or not someone should keep fish they catch.

When it comes to fresh water fish the only fish someone should be keeping is Trout.

Trout are a premium tasting fish.   They are stocked into local streams for the purpose of being harvested.   The value of catching a bass far outweighs its value as a meal.  If you say you love to eat bass, I'd have to guess that you would eat anything.

People will argue that you should release them so other people can catch them too.   That is a great argument.   The problem is there are birds of prey.  

Great Blue Heron and Bald Eagles catch more fish than fisherman do.   Trout streams that are stocked with trout that have not grown up in the wild do not have the survival skills to avoid these birds when the streams get low in the summer.

Most likely if you release a trout after May, it will become a meal for a Heron or Eagle.

I do not believe in taking trout from "wild" trout streams.   Check your state's fishing website to see what streams are stocked.

If you catch a trout from one of these streams you do not have to feel bad about keeping it and making a meal out of it.   I would be nice to release it safely for someone else to catch, but its your choice.

Do not let anyone "shame" you about keeping a trout.   That trout was put in that stream with state funds for you to harvest.

Always check local regulations before fishing and keeping any fish.

I personally keep less than 1% of Trout that I catch each year.   Even though I personally belong and donate to many private Trout stocking clubs, I don't think it would be right for anyone to keep the amount of Trout that I catch in a year.   

In 2016 I probably caught around 200 trout in about 30 different streams and rivers.

I strongly promote catch and release, but I don't agree with online bullying on social media or other formats about keeping a fish.    Trout are stocked to be caught and harvested.   There is no danger of them becoming extinct.  

Doug Steimel

Choosing the Right Lure for a small stream - by Doug Steimel

Choosing the Right Lure for a small stream - by Doug Steimel

By Doug Steimel

A very small stream can be a very tough place to choose the right lure.

When the area that may hold fish is very small, its not really possible to use a spinner or crank bait.   Nothing you have to reel towards you.  The problem is that there just isn't enough space to cast the lure and to start creating action before its past the fish.

What you need is a soft bait that you can cast upstream from the fish and have it come towards the fish.   Trout always face upstream so you cast up ahead of where you think the fish are and let the bait come to them.

The main diet of trout is fish.  Don't let anyone tell you differently.   Small fish pack the most calories for the effort and a trout is programmed to know this.

Soft minnows on a light jighead (1/32) is best.

Cast the bait upstream but do not let it hit the bottom.   

Give it light pulls giving it some action as it goes with the current.   

After about 10 feet repeat.  

Doug Steimel

How to Locate Trout in a Small Stream - by Doug Steimel

How to Locate Trout in a Small Stream - by Doug Steimel

Author Doug Steimel

Locating trout in a small stream can be a difficult process.  Its not as simple as fishing in a lake or a pond.  The trout are only located in certain places on the stream.  The only way to find fish is to do a lot of walking.

Usually the places closest to the access to the stream are fished out.  You need to walk to find the fish.

Look for areas of fast water followed by slower deeper water, the area that connects the two are where you should find fish.   

The smaller the stream the fewer areas like this will be found.   

When you locate one of these spots approach it from downstream.    Trout face upstream (always) and you will approaching them from behind.   Fish the back of the pool first.

The idea is that you can catch the fish from the back first without disturbing the ones in front of them.   

If you start at the front of the pool the fish behind them will see the disturbance of a fish being caught and may get spooked.

If you catch fish at the back of the pool its a very good chance that the pool is loaded.  The smaller fish will be at the back of the food line.   The biggest fish takes the best spot in the front.   He will chase smaller fish away.

Keep moving forward until you have reached the area where the water is the fastest.  The is the prime spot and should be fished carefully.  This is your best chance to catch fish.   

Walk the stream and fish each area like this for best result.

Thanks for reading

Doug Steimel