PA Spring Fly Fishing Report: Conditions, Successes... and Failures

PA Spring Fly Fishing Report: Conditions, Successes... and Failures

Words and Images by Jake Villwock

As the spring smallmouth season comes to an end here in Pennsylvania, I like to reflect on the conditions, successes, and failures of the season.

I’ll start with the failures, good news, there really weren’t any, except for the one day I decided to try out an extreme high flow day, and only one fish was landed. I guess it wasn’t a complete failure though.

As for conditions, it was a strange season in my opinion, we started off with cold high water for about a month, then it dropped, got hot, and seemed to stunt the fish movement, a few weeks into the season we had more water and it seemed to re start the movement, but it had the smallmouth all out sorts. However, we made it work and it seemed to be one of my best big fish seasons yet. You had to be on your game though, changing conditions always means changing your approach on the fly. It was impossible to become complacent. A challenge I was happy to endure.

Success came in lots of different forms this year, one of which was the fly selections and colors we used. Trying new flies, new color combos, and gambling with early topwater flies, seemed to pay off twenty-fold.

Some of the hot flies for this year were, Russ Maddin’s Circus Peanut in various colors, Villwock’s Triple Roamer, Pribanic’s Bucktail Bastard, Villwock’s Articulated Honey Bunny, and the Umpqua Swimming Frog. Most of these flies can be referenced in my Book – Smallmouth Bass Flies top to Bottom.

I am looking forward to the summer season and fishing the bigger water with rising fish, and subtle eats.

About the author: Jake Villwock is Owner and Head Guide of Relentless Fly Fishing and has been an industry professional for over 12 years. Growing up in a commercial fishing family on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, fishing has been part of his life from day one.  Jake is going to share more fly fishing reports, gear reviews and other fishing information with Riversmith customers and followers throughout the year. Stay tuned for more... 

1 comment

  • Chris Pinciotti

    Nice article Jake. I know you are crazy busy, but it’s always good to get your insight. Have a great rest of your season. How is book# 2 coming?

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