Our Musky and Pike fishing fishing trips will take place on several different waterways located in Western Pa. These trips are geared towards the "hard core" serious fly angler who can handle the physical rigors not to mention the mental toughness needed to chase the apex freshwater predator. The best Musky/Pike fishing spots are usually the hardest to get to and ours is no different. We will be sinking in mud, tripping over dead falls, picking off ticks, but I can promise you that is all worth it if you're fortunate enough to land one of these monsters. So if you feel you're up to challenge and would like to experience the ultimate fly fishing experience, contact us TODAY!
I had less than hour remaining to the end of the Major and until had to leave so i made my way up river to a spot that I was unable to fish the day before because of the high water. It was still a tad high and still pretty fast but I was able to see the slack water seem on the edge and that's where I focused my casts. On my first cast and a few strips later.... WAM! I quickly and aggressively set the hook and the felt the weight on the other end give way and a violent splashing disturbance on the surface of the water....ughhhh a large tree branch! Why do they feel like the real thing???
I slowly moved downstream of the tree branch disturbance and start my casting and retrieval sequence again.Working the edge of the fast water where large boulders create a slack spot where a big fish can lay in wait out of the current. Cast, strip, strip, strip, WAM!! Like before I instantly set the hook and I can't lie and say that another tree branch didn't instantly pop into my head. But unlike the tree branch I immediately felt the monster fish shake his head at the displeasure of being hooked and the fight was on.
The fish breached the surface trying everything in it's power to throw my fly. When that didn't work the cagey predator took to the fast current and I gave chase in the fast waste deep and debris filled water. I made it about ten steps before a dead fall entangled my foot and I fell head first into the chilly water. After regaining my footing I grabbed my fly rod that I dropped and my heart sank at the thought that I may have lost the fish. That thought quickly diminished when I immediately felt the fish run again. This time I was ready for it and reacted appropriately. I was able to get the beauty to the shallows and I had my 3rd Musky of 2018.
$400 1Person Full Day-Day Break till Dark
$700 2 People Full Day-Day Break till Dark
$300/Day 1 Person 2 Full Days-Day Break til Dark
$500/Day 2 People 2 Full Days-Day Break til Dark
We provide rod and flies but you are free to use your own.
What to bring:
Waders if weather dictates
Sun Screen/Insect repellent
Valid Pa Fishing License
Extra Clothing-Warm, Dry
Important: If you need lodging you must handle that. We will assist on where but we don't have lodging for our Musky/Pike trips.
The battle was on and I had my hands full fighting the heavy and now very upset Musky. Back and forth we went and if it was a boxing match we both would of been staggered. After several minutes I was able to beach the beast in a shallow spot along the shore. I couldn't believe my eyes!! It was enormous and the girth was really unbelievable. Two trophy class Musky 3 days apart.. I was so fortunate!
After some quick pictures I had the extreme pleasure of releasing this perfect specimen back to her deep water home. What an incredible experience!!
With the crazy weather patterns ushering in lots of Spring time rain, we haven't been able to fish for Musky as much as we would like. On April 12 the river level finally began to recede to a point that I could attempt to fish. Upon arriving to my chosen spot I was met with still higher than normal water levels. In addition the water clarity was less than ideal but the day was beautiful and I was going to fish.
I started fishing the slack water next to the fast moving current with repeated casts making sure to give my sinking fly line time to drop my 12" Game Changer to the depth of the fish. I worked the area slowly and when I was confident I covered every square foot of possible water, I would move down river several yards and repeat the process. I fished up and down the river, changing flies, changing retrieval cadence and speed, but no takers. After 8 hours and with my torn rotator cuff throbbing I called it a day.
Through the course of the day the water level slowly came down and although still stained cleared somewhat also. A quick glance at the Moon chart showed a Major Feed from 11:30am-1:33 pm the next day and I was not going to miss it.
I was back on the water the next morning casting and stripping my Nightmare Musky Flies 12" Perch Game Changer I fished the same slack water and deep pockets but still no takers. I checked the water temperature and it was in the low 40's which is still too cold to kick start the spawn so the fish had to still be holding in their regular lies. Although I didn't have a fish yet, the water level continued to drop to normal levels and my optimism never wavered.
Second fish of 2019
All predator trips require a $150 non refundable deposit to reserve a trip date. In the event of inclement weather the deposit will be held and a new trip date will be scheduled.
John Bentley and I made our second trip to Northern Pennsylvania in preparation of the Beast of the East Musky fly fishing tournament in October. We debated on fishing the first section of the river that we had such good luck in the previous week or explore a new section. We decided on the latter and we launched the Flycraft two man raft with high hopes of finding some good Esox water.
Our set up for the day would be an Orvis H3 12wt , with a 12" Bucktail Game Changer in Firetiger color from Nightmare Musky Flies. John was first on the rod and the first spot we came to was a good looking series of bridge abutments. John began peppering the up side of the first abutment then the lee side. We moved along slowly making sure to hit all likely ambush spots. But after thoroughly covering the area no fish were moved so we proceeded down river.
It was now my turn to fish and John eased the raft within casting range of a high metal erosion wall with some tree limbs littered about. I placed several casts on the outside edge of the wooded mess trying to coax out any Musky that may be using it for a hiding spot. An errant cast landed inside the tangle and John commanded the boat toward my hung up fly bringing us mere feet away from the wall. Upon retrieving the fly, John slowly backed the boat out and I cast my fly towards the edge of the metal wall and started to strip. Two to three strips later a long torpedo shaped fish attacked my fly from the dark depths and I was hooked up with what I hoped was a Musky. But instead of a Musky I had caught ts' cousin a nice Northern Pike. After some quick pictures we set the fish free and moved along.
John was back on the rod and we moved to the next likely hiding spot. This time it was a long hole with some fast water at the head that turned into a large eddy at the tail out. Any large fish in the area had to use the eddy for protection front the strong current. John placed cast after cast into the zone when suddenly a large unknown fish viciously struck his fly and the fight was on. As I readied the net the fish thrashed the surface and John and I both thought it was a Musky. But once John got the fish closer we saw that it was an absolute beast of a Walleye. After a "Keystone Cops" net job by me we finally subdued the giant fish. We got the fish to shore where we took a bunch of pictures and measured it at 32" and we guessed it's weight at over 12lbs. The fish was truly a once in a lifetime trophy but John being the sportsman that he is released it back for another lucky angler to hopefully catch some day.
We drifted down river about a half mile to a secluded little wood pile that was supposedly the home to a nice Musky. I worked the boat into position as John started launching his probing casts...making sure to get as close to the cover as he could. On his third cast I saw the fly land in the "money spot" and two strips in the Musky struck. John saw the hit and was quick to set the hook but a few head shakes and the fish was gone. We were both disappointed but such is Musky fishing.
We continued down river to the next good looking Musky spot. Again John was fishing and he cast his fly into a deep slow eddy with lots of large boulders dotting the river bottom. Seconds later a big Musky slowly followed his fly back to the boat. The fish seemed more curious and not interested in eating the fly and we were thrilled just seeing the massive fish. We fished for a few more hours but didn't catch or see anymore fish. But it was a very successful day for us in the world of Musky fishing on the fly.
My friend and fellow guide John Bentley and I traveled to the north central area of Pennsylvania to scout for a Musky fly fishing tournament in October. This would be my first time fishing this section of the mighty Allegheny River and I was very excited at the opportunity. John has fished the river many times before but this would be his first for Musky. This section of the River has a very diverse selection of fish species ranging from Smallmouth Bass, Musky, Northern Pike, to trophy sized Wild Brown Trout.
We launched the Fly Craft two person raft and headed down river to our first location, which was a series of fallen trees, large boulders and deep water. If you wanted to know what prime river Musky water looked like this was it. I would be first to fish so John maneuvered the raft into position as I launched my Nightmare Musky Flies 12" Perch colored Game Changer into the direction of one of the many large boulder. Seconds into my retrieve a nice sized Musky quickly charged my fly and followed it to the boat but then receded back to its' deep water sanctuary. To say we were excited would be an understatement. One cast, one follow..
I was met river side by 9 degree air temps and slightly higher water flows than I anticipated from the online river gauge that I monitor, but I was fishing no matter what mother nature threw at me. After what seemed like an hour I was layered up and in my waders and heading to my first spot.
After a few cast and retrieves it was apparent by my frozen rod guides and locked solid reel that this was going to be a challenging day. Not to be deterred I addressed the situation and continued casting to the deep slack water on the edge of the fast moving main current. After a half hour of casting, retrieving, and deicing with no takers I move down river 20 ft and start the cadence all over again.
I fished for an hour and half, moving a total of 50 yards when all of the sudden on one of my drifts I felt the hard take of the big fish. Without hesitation my muscle memory took over and I laid into the Musky making sure that the 5/0 fly hook sank deep into it's hard jaw. The fish shook it's head fiercely and battled hard against the 11wt rod. The game of tug of war lasted a minute or so before I was able to beach the beast of a fish.
I stood there for a few seconds and admired the magnificent fish. This is the time after the fight when your body finally succumbs to the adrenaline and your heart starts racing, and your hands shake. This is the intoxicating feeling that makes an angler go fishing in the worst of conditions. make thousands of casts, or drive hundreds of miles. This is the moment we crave! After taking a few quick pictures the beast was released to the murky depths.
Hard grind all day, changed flies multiple times and made one last fly change to a Nightmare Musky Flies 12" all black Game Changer. On the first cast this fella decided to eat! That's how it goes when chasing Musky on the fly!
Big time congrats to our buddy Gavin on his first ever Musky!!
The theme for this Spring and the early part of the Summer has been rain!! I'm talking torrential downpour type rain that renders Rivers and Streams unfishable within a few short minutes. Needless to say it has put a big damper on our Musky fishing.
With that said I was able to get a day with some good water conditions so I ran out to one of our Musky spots to give it a try. This particular body of water has a lot of brush, weeds and fallen trees in it so with flows on the low side I chose to use a top water fly and I knew exactly which one I was going to use. I have been waiting for months to try "Block Head" from Nightmare Musky Flies. I'm a huge fan of the Firetiger color so that is the color I would start with.
Everything you need to know about Musky and Tiger Musky in the State of Pa
I wad so pumped to connect on my first fish of 2019. I missed the whole Fall because I was in Erie guiding for Steelhead (which I was happy about), and I was really looking forward to chasing these toothy beasts. To catch one on my second time out and my first figure eight fish was an incredible experience.
I finally got the water flows that I was looking for and despite the single digit temperatures I went out to cure my cabin fever and chase my new favorite fish, the Musky. I was extremely excited to be on the water and to add to that excitement I was using my new 11wt Orvis Helios 3D for the first time!
Just a few sidenotes....
It's important to fish deep and slow at this time of year. These fish aren't feeding a lot so it's important to cover every inch of water as slow as you can. This fish took my fly dead drifted without any movement on my part. I can only assume my fly drifted in the fishes strike zone and the fish thought it was an easy meal and struck. On occasion I would lightly twitch my fly to mimic a wounded shad.
The new Helios 3D performed like a champ on it's first trip. It cast like a dream and had the power needed to drive the hook deep. These fish have hard mouths and they are notorious for throwing hooks. Anything we can do to tip the scale in our favor is a bonus and I'm very pleased with the product Orvis has put out.
Lastly, it's very important to dress warm when chasing any fish in inclement weather. I layered in Under Armour Cold Gear and covered it all up with the Simms Down Stream jacket. This jacket keeps me warm in the worst of the worse weather conditions and I highly recommend it. For my hands I had on a pair of Simms Solar Flex gloves under a pair of Simms EXstream half finger gloves and my hands stayed relatively warm.
This could be the baddest fish I ever caught!!
I began fishing a stretch that we have caught several fish from in the past. I slowly eased my way along the edge of the small river and targeted each and every likely ambush point with my "Block Head" fly. After advancing a hundred yards or so I came to a deep pocket of water that had some fallen trees scattered about. I targeted a brush pile on the opposite bank for my first cast and after a few seconds into my retrieve I noticed a long slender shape cruising upstream away from me. At first I thought I may have spooked the fish but I hurriedly stripped my fly back and cast it back into the area that I last saw the fish. I began to pop the "Block Head" back in my direction when all of the sudden, out of nowhere the fish viciously attacked the fly.
The fight was on and the close to 40" fish was not in the mood to get caught. But after a minute or so battle the fish was subdued and I had my 4th fish of the year and my 10th fish in my first 12 months of fishing for them on the fly. A few months ago I lost two big fish just before landing them so catching this fish brought a sense of relief and made me extremely happy. I took some quick pictures then I released the beautiful fish for someone else to catch and hopefully get the same enjoyment from.
I fished for another few hours and I had 3 more follows from 2 different fish. What a great first day back on the Musky waters.
I chose to use an all white 12" T Bone Fly from Streamer King Flies because of the abundance of shad that inhabit this particular river system and because it really contrasted well with the water color on this day.
We worked our way around the shore line structure, casting and retrieving through each and every hiding spot when suddenly another beautiful Allegheny River Musky came after my fly and yet again like the first fish turned away at the boat. Two follows in the first 20 minutes of our day. After the excitement of the appearance of the second fish, we headed down river to a submerged weed bed. I cast my fly to the opposite side and stripped it across the tops of the weeds when suddenly and viciously a large fish attacked. This time there was no follow to the boat and with a quick strip set I was hooked up with an unknown large predator fish. The fish fought hard but John was able to get a net under it and we had our first fish of the day.
Lifting the net we saw that the fish was a large and apparently very old Northern Pike that truly resembled a crocodile. We made our way to the shore line for some quick pictures before releasing this awesome fish back to its watery home. We were having a banner day and we've only been fishing for less than an hour. It was John's turn to fish and I took over "the sticks".
The rest of the drift was uneventful with only one follow from a nice Northern Pike. Although we had two great "bi catch" fish in the boat John and I couldn't quit second guessing our decision to float this new section of River instead of the section we knew had Musky in it. With 10 hours already in, sun burnt, tired, hungry and almost out of water we made the crazy decision to put the raft in at the launch from the previous week and paddle around to a few of the spots that we knew held fish.
I was first to fish and I focused my casts to the large boulders that litter the area. Every cast and retrieve brought nervous excitement with visions of a large Musky biting my fly. A fumbled cast half heartedly launched my fly 10 feet from the raft, tangling my excess fly line around my seat. As I attempted to untangle the mess my fly slowly fluttered towards the bottom and as if on queue a Musky slammed the fly then released it before my eyes.. They have a bad habit of striking at the most inopportune times and this was a classic example of that. After all the hours of back breaking casting, to lose this opportunity was highly frustrating. I continued to fish and minutes later a small Musky followed my fly to the boat thus ending my day on the rod.
John got his last casts in and had a really big Northern Pike follow his fly to the boat. All in all it was a great day on the water and although we didn't boat a Musky we are learning a lot about the water we will be fishing in the tournament in October.
I intended to travel to Erie to scout for some Steelhead spots for a few upcoming trips but the threat of a big snow storm changed that plan so I decided to fish for Musky instead. It was a little milder than it was on my last outing with air temps in the low 20's. I was greeted with absolutely perfect water levels with a slight green tint.
I decided to start at a spot where we have had some action over the past year but haven't been able to fish recently because of the higher water levels. The spot is a deep channel with a fallen tree and some brush on the opposite bank. The fish like to hug the middle of the channel and most likely take advantage of the current bringing their prey to them. I was literally 15 yards down river from where I caught my first Musky last August.
I entered the water and waded a few feet in and proceeded to launch my Nightmare Musky Flies 12" Gizzard Shad Imitationfly just shy of the fallen tree on the opposite bank. I watched the fly slowly sink before drifting into the deep channel. Seconds after reaching the maximum depth of the channel I felt the unmistakable strike of a large fish. I instantly and aggressively strip set several times trying to ensure a solid hook set when the massive fish thrashed to the surface.
Our client and good friend Olivia Michaud with a Bowfin caught on a recent Musky trip.
My first fish of 2019