The Truth About Fly Fishing:
Guiding and Instruction
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© 2011 E. P. Macri Jr.
I really wish I didn't have to write this page but
there comes a time when perhaps the fly fishing industry should have a code of conduct but don't hold your
breath. I've been fly fishing too long to allow what is now happening in this beloved art to
let this slide any longer. This is mainly about the limestone spring creeks of Pennsylvania but it has a much
longer reach into the rest of the fly fishing country (photo to the left shows the
caddis larva, Hydropsyche which inhabits most of these streams in great
I get phone calls and emails from fly anglers
asking what is really going on because of the different information or disinformation they are receiving from
websites and so called guiding services about these streams. The strange thing about it is that I'm the guy
that has done all the scientific research on these streams yet these so called "experts" have a different take on
what these streams are like and what is actually going on in them. This includes the fishery and what is
going on with the hatches.
What's even worst is that they are quoting the
works of Fox and Marinaro like these books were written yesterday. Perhaps they can fool most of the
uninitiated in the fly fishing world (Photo to the left shows the Blue Winged Olive,
Baetis tricaudatus Dodds; it is one of the most important mayflies on these streams). You only
need to look at the photo essays on this website and you should immediately be able to tell whose is giving
you the story of your life. I fished with Charlie Fox, Tommy Thomas, Gene Utech, Jack Hunter and many
other legendary limestone anglers because I grew up here (or got old...at least middle age) for over the last
30 years. Here's what you need to know in order to make a quality decision on hiring or fishing these
streams. You should notice I didn't just say hire me cause I'll make your dreams come true because
here's the truth, like it or not:
Charlie Fox quit fishing the Letort his last 15 or so
years of fishing because the trout quit rising! I should know because I wrote Reflections with
Charlie Fox. In fact, Charlie liked to fish on the top so much that he made wooden plugs
to fish for muskies. Yes, Charlie was an excellent bait caster and wrote a book on
All of these streams (with probably the exception of
Big Spring) are worst off than they were 30 years ago.
The hatches have declined on just about everyone of
The streams do not lend themselves to standard
approaches with the exception of the Yellow Breeches which is stocked to the gills with
When they quote Fox, or Marinaro or tell you of
these monstrous trout that rise you should know immediately that you are being taken for a
When they tell you such things as the great Trico
hatch on Falling Spring you are sucker if you believe it. The upper portion of Falling Spring had
at one time the greatest Trico hatch but there is almost nothing left of it. When they tell you
that 20 tricos in the air is hatch don't buy it. The fish don't usually rise to such limited
stimuli. There used to be blizzards of Tricos on Falling Spring. They are no more.
The best amount of limited action is near the town of Chambersburg and even these emergences are paltry
by what I use to fish.
When they tell you there aren't any fish in Big Spring
don't believe it. What they should be saying is that they can't catch the fish in Big
Spring. If you want all the data on Big Spring you are welcomed to it. Just go to this
website: www.aquaticinstitute.com Here
you will find the truth and just how many fish are in this stream and the snow job by the
The truth of matter is that these fish are harder
to catch than when Fox and Marinaro wrote their books. Why? Because the fish are so
spooky and wary because the hatches have diminished that the fish are almost unapproachable in their feeding lies.
Do these streams still furnish good fly fishing? Absolutely, but the fishing is not easy and you must hunt
your fish on most streams and every shortcoming you have as a fly fisherman will be exposed on these streams,
Also, because the bright days and less cloud cover
it's almost impossible to get
near some of these fish. Furthermore, the size of the fish
in the Letort and other streams has diminished. There are a few large fish but not the monsters like the
days of Fox, Marinaro and others.
The truth is that most fly anglers need
instruction on these streams and not a guide. Some of the horror studies I've been told about many guides would
cause you to probably quit fly fishing. If you want an absolute objective analysis of each stream than you can
stop at our sister website: www.limestoner.com. Here, you'll find
what you need to know. If you want more info contact me below. As always there is no charge for my
reply and if you are interested in instruction that's fine; if you are not interested it's okay
too. But if you believe what many of these so called "experts" and websites are telling you---you are in for