Category Archives: Mary Kuss, PA Fly Fisher

Beginner’s Luck

Guest Blogger: Mary S. Kuss, Life-long avid angler, licensed PA fishing guide, founder of the Delaware Valley Women’s Fly Fishing Association

The term is almost cliché, in a number of different pursuits. With far more frequency than one would expect, a rookie sometimes manages to do with apparent ease what the more experienced practitioner finds to be quite challenging. This would be frustrating enough, but often the novice rubs salt into the wound by saying something like, “I don’t see why everyone thinks this is so hard to do.” Beginner’s Luck seems to affect fishing in general, and fly fishing most of all.

The legendary Letort Spring Run, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, was the setting for a classic case of Beginner’s Luck. In recent years this magnificent stream has suffered a variety of negative impacts due to development in its watershed. Even so, many large trout still reside among its deep channels and lush weed beds. The stream flows through a meadow, with boggy soil along the banks in many places. Vibrations from a careless approach will alert the big, wary trout long before you ever get a cast off. You’ll see an impressive wake streak away upstream, and curse your clumsiness. Incredibly complex currents pull your leader and fly hither and fro, making a drag-free presentation maddeningly difficult. Tall weeds snatch at your backcast. Wading is all but impossible due to a silty, sucking muddy bottom, and wading would only spook the trout anyway. The difficulty level poses a formidable challenge for any fly fisher. more…

Valley Creek

Guest Blogger: Mary S. Kuss, Life-long avid angler, licensed PA fishing guide, founder of the Delaware Valley Women’s Fly Fishing Association

IMGP2377My first fishing outing of 2017 was on January 19, an unseasonably warm day. I’ve never been a big fan of winter fishing, and the more years I have in the rear-view mirror the less tolerant I am of fishing in cold weather. For me, the days of being willing to break ice out of my fly rod’s guides are long gone. Winter is a time to tie flies and think of spring.

Still, Cabin Fever is a powerful motivation. The weather forecast for the day met my current winter fishing criteria—an air temperature of at least 50 degrees with little wind. I knew there would probably be a midge hatch at Valley Creek. I’d run into the President of my Trout Unlimited chapter the previous week at the neighborhood CVS Pharmacy. Dave had shown me a photo of a nice wild Brown Trout he’d caught at Valley a couple of days before, on a midge pattern. All the necessary signs and portents were in place. more…

Chicken Parts

Guest Blogger: Mary S. Kuss, Life-long avid angler, licensed PA fishing guide, founder of the Delaware Valley Women’s Fly Fishing Association

Dr. Tom Whiting with one of his birds. Photo by Whiting Farms.

Dr. Tom Whiting with one of his birds. Photo by Whiting Farms.

No, I’m not talking about breasts, thighs, and drumsticks. What we will discuss here is what’s found on the outside of the bird—feathers! Many novice or intermediate fly tyers don’t really understand the basics, let alone the finer points, of the differences in the various feathers found on chickens and the factors that determine their appropriate uses in fly tying. Here’s some information that I hope will help.

First, it’s important to know that the feathers from a male chicken (a rooster or cock), and a female chicken (a hen) are quite different in nature. This is especially true of the feathers on the neck, back, and shoulder of the bird. The feathers from these areas are often called “hackles.” In order to appreciate the differences in the texture of these feathers, one must understand what “web” is and how its presence or absence affects the character and use of a given feather. more…