....and 950 miles later. [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: ....and 950 miles later.

10-07-2002, 10:09 AM
After three and a half hours of Long Island traffic and 950 round trip miles I arrived at my destination, State College, Pennsylvania. Home of the Nittany Lions, gorgeous college coeds, and thousands of wild brown trout. Originally I had planned to hook up with Big Dave and fish the Boston Harbor
area....however after a number of unsuccesful attempts at contacting him I decided to throw in the towel and head off on my own.

Saturday was spent fishing a number of sections of Spring Creek. Spring Creek is located within minutes of State College. The first section fished proved to be very challenging. Tight quarters and spooky wild browns were the norm. Almost immediately I landed two browns(10"-12") on a Trico spinner. However after landing the second a strong wind came up and blew the insects off the water essentially ending the morning rise. I crawled around for the next couple of hours and landed four more browns on a Letort cricket(#14) cast to the shaded areas along the bank. After an early lunch I decided to fish the Benners Spring area and almost immediately I spotted good numbers of larger browns. I tied on a crowe beetle(#18) and cast...nothing. I then cycled through my regular patterns and still...nothing. I then lengthened my leader a bit and added a three foot length of Dai-Riki velvet tippet(I love this stuff.) To that I tied on a humpy(#14) w/ bead head GRHE nymph(#20) as a dropper. This was it. The rest of the afternoon I spent releasing browns between 9" and 17". That evening I fished the famous/infamous Fishermans Paradise stretch of Spring Creek. This section was filled with hatchery "hogs" and even more fisherman. I managed to pick off a few smaller browns and rainbows in the 12"-13" range on a gray midge pupa(#24) fished as a nymph. I did not particularly enjoy this section of the creek.

Sunday I spent time fishing two of the more famous streams in Pennsylvania, Spruce Creek and Little Juniata. I fished the short open section of Spruce creek in the morning. I caught two smallish browns on a griffiths gnat and decided to try the Little J which is located only a mile or two away. I was immediately rewarded with a 15" wild brown on a humpy/isonychia nymph(#14) combo. The rest of the afternoon was spent releasing browns in total solitude. I skipped over the slower moving parts of the river and concentrated on the pocket water and shaded banks were isonychia nymphs seem to congregate.

All in all it was an awesome weekend. I had never fished this area of PA before and it certainly will not be the last. I realize that I did not even scratch the surface as to what this region has to offer. I am looking forward to exploring the opportunities that are available in this region in the future.

10-07-2002, 02:52 PM
That is a beautiful area out there I have travelled through it since I moved to Chicago area in 1979 on my trips back and forth to NJ to see family. Looks like there is some great trout fishing out there which is definitely on my to do list. Thanks for the report.

Thats a long drive from Long Island or NJ area though.

Go Nittany Lions !! :hehe:

10-07-2002, 03:23 PM
That's a great report and I like the description of you thinking about using, and changing flies. That was a good day...

10-08-2002, 08:22 AM

I won't forget this year's trip to Clark's and Big Spring anytime soon. Gin clear water and mutant trout as big as your arm. Can't wait to hit it again next spring. Good times...good times.

I suppose after all of that driving you'd be too burned out to meet me in Chatham on Saturday night for an early Sunday AM sortie? Then out to western MA for a little camping on the Deerfield? :devil:


10-08-2002, 11:47 AM
Pennsylvania is in my estimation THE place for trout fishing on the East Coast. There are just so many opportunities available to the angler. Spring creeks and tremendous freestone rivers are readily available to the angler willing to do their homework. The best part of it is that normally many different opportunities exist within a short drive of each other. You can do a little spring creek fishing in the morning...a ten minute drive...and you are on some outstanding freestone streams for the afternoon "grab". With so many options you can generally find sections of stream with little or no crowd.(This is always a plus.)

The drive from New Jersey is not all that bad.(It was the New York City traffic that did me in this weekend.) It is pretty much a straight shot on I-80 and your in State College.(I would however recommend watching your speed. My "Fish Mobile" has been ticketed on a number of occasions driving around the great state of PA and other mid-Atlantic states in search of the East's finest fly fishing.)

Dave, we did have some good times this summer in south central PA. I still cannot believe that mutant 'bow fell for that black woolly bugger on Big Spring. If you come down again I want to show you a couple of streams that I have "found" that are really outstanding(I have not even taken the Big Unit or my Bro to these yet.).

As for this weekend...I am not exactly sure what I have going on. I might have an alumni lacrosse game to play in. I will try to email you but...the last two or three I have sent have been returned to me via my server undelivered. If my schedule is clear I will definitely make the run. We might even be able to spring big Bro...

10-08-2002, 12:43 PM
As much as I love my home waters here in MA, I would have to agree. You can't go wrong with so many options in such a small area. Not to mention the size of the fish which were overall about a pound heavier than the average trout around here.

However...we have Monomoy :devil:

Steve, my email is down so go to the members bar above, get to my profile and send me a private message or give me a call if you think you're coming. Or start a new thread.

10-08-2002, 02:31 PM
Yes you may be right about PA being the premier eastern trout state fishery. Drives me crazy every time I drive through it back to NJ, looks like some great rivers and underfished.

Got to watch those PA state troopers they nailed me on my way back to NY 3 years ago in western PA. Came over a hill and they were there taking pictures. Since i was the first car over the hill speeding they got me, but the three guys in back of me got off.

Great country out there.

P.S. Let me know when you are going next year I just might drive in from Chicago and meet you there thats about 8-9 hours from me as I recall. I can do that over night.

10-08-2002, 04:07 PM
I will keep you in mind next spring. I am going to try to get Big Dave and my older Bro down sometime next spring so we can really work on 'em. I think the best time would be during the sulfur season, but the possibility of hitting the green drakes is very tempting.

I am counting down the days until I hit the Rochester area for some of those browns later this month.

10-08-2002, 07:37 PM
Green Drakes would be late may, early june I think. That would be the time to be there.

10-09-2002, 12:46 AM

I went to school at Penn State from '71 to '75. Fished this water on Spring Creek many times. Back in the early '70's there were not all that many fishermen in the "Fisherman's Paradise" section. I especially liked the area around Benton, which is also where the Metz hackle farm is located. The Juniata also has some very fine smallmouth fishing on it. And a short 40 mile drive north of State College near Lamar Joe Humphreys back in 1978 caught the Pennsylvania state record stream caught brown on a moonless late August night. It was over 16 pounds.

If you go for the Green Drakes, look for them around Memorial Day through the first week of June. Penn's Creek is unbelievably good during the 'Drake' hatch, and it is only about 20 miles from State College.

I grew up in Northeastern Pennsylvania and have many fine memories of fishing for trout, smallmouths, pickerel, and largemouths from that time. You should also check out the Loyalsock both in and just downstream of World's End State Park (yes, that is it's name) north of Williamsport. And I would be remiss if I didn't tell you to try to Lackawaxen or Lackawana, both of which are just outside of Scranton. They are much closer to you as well.

I left the fish of Pennsylvania to live in Montana, which was fly fishing heaven then before whirling disease and the huge increase in guides, in 1979, and I left Montana in 1991 for Washington and its steelhead.

10-09-2002, 09:05 AM
Yes those are the rivers I have always wanted to trout fish in NW PA. Hey maybe a 2003 NW PA trout clave is in order ? Something to think about over the winter. Got to put that area in my U.S. fly fishing "been there and done it list". Love that country out there. :D

10-09-2002, 03:11 PM
I was thinking about that. It would be a great area to have one. So many streams and so many different types of water are available to suit just about anyones style of fishing. There are a number of different types of accomodations that are also available ranging from chain hotels, run down motels(These are always my favorite when I am not sleeping in my car. You know the one...they run about $25 a night.) and all types of camping. I am more familiar with the area around Carlisle(Letort, Falling Springs, Big Springs, etc.) however the State College area is probably a little more convenient especially to the New Englanders on the board. I guess this is something to think about!

10-09-2002, 04:10 PM
Yes something to think about over the winter. $ 25 a night !!, in Michigan prime steelhead country you are looking at a cheapest of $ 45 -50 a night. Still cheap for a low scale motel where you effectively just crash asleep at night and get up at 5:00 am to be on the river by 5:30 - 6:00 AM at first light to get first water advantage on the prime pools and runs etc...

10-09-2002, 04:41 PM
Did I mention that the $25 dollars a night might even get you clean sheets and perhaps a towel. I would be remiss if I did not warn others to "pat down" their linens for foriegn objects when staying at one of these fine establishments. Just last month my knee "found" someones misplaced egg hook in the sheets!

10-09-2002, 07:08 PM
Yes I saw that one about the egg hook in the sheet. In the low end motels in Michigan steelhead country you have beaware of what is in the bed and on the floor. Many guys like me spend a few hours some nights tying more steelhead flies while we are bleary eyed from a days hard fishing. I am sure I left a few inthe rooms over the years. LOL

10-24-2002, 06:29 PM
I've been through that area to going from wisconsin to connecticut. I have noticed a nice lokking river near clarion penn. I wondered if you knew the name of it?

"Tight Lines"

10-26-2002, 07:28 PM

If it is the river in town, it is the Clarion River.

11-01-2002, 07:29 PM
The river you are asking about is indeed the Clarion river. I have not had the opportunity to fish this river, however it has been on my "to fish list" for a couple of years. There was an article about the Clarion in the December 2001 issue of Fly Fisherman magazine. In the article there are maps, tips, etc. about this stream. They made mention of the possibility of thirty-one inch browns and so forth in the article.