Just returned from 4 days of fishing the limestone creeks around central PA with Stephen a.k.a. FishyboyICU812. Drove up from Baltimore on Friday night with the expectation of finding a motel in the State College area...until we realized it was graduation weekend. Doh!
After a restless sleep in the back of the minivan, we made our way to Spring Creek in the AM. Drizzle had left the stream slightly high and chalky, but Fishyboy wasted no time in hooking up with a nice 16" wild brown. After toiling with a dropper setup for a couple of hours, I borrowed his new Winston for a test cast and on the first drift hooked a brown of at least 22" . I knew he was hooked when he jumped 2 feet out of the water right in front of me! Needless to say, I liked the Winston. All of these fish were wild and beautifully colored. A picture was taken and the fish was released.
Later in the day we moved upstream to the Fisherman's Paradise section of the river, the first Catch and Release regulated stretch of water in the US. The Sulphur hatch was fairly heavy and we both duped a number of fish on parachute and comparadun patterns. There were so many bugs on the water I actually had a couple of birds swoop down and pick up my fly off the surface!
Sunday was more of the same and we spent the afternoon exploring Fishing Creek near Lamar. Steve picked up a wild brookie drifting stoneflies through much faster pocket water than what we had experienced on Spring Creek.
Monday was back to Spring Creek where we enjoyed continued success catching large wild browns on a variety of scud, cranefly and sulphur nymph patterns. A number of fish including a huge, 2-foot long rainbow were caught by dropping nymphs through holes in the deadfall with only a copule of feet of tippet out. Very technical, very rewarding fishing.
Drove through the Carlisle area on Tuesday to find Big Spring farily barren compared to this time last year - a byproduct of the closing of an adjacent hatchery in an effort to restore the wild fish population. Instead, we headed to Falling Springs in pursuit of rare, wild Rainbows. Much of this trickle of a creek runs through meadow lands and fishing it effectively will test the skill, stealth and patience of any angler. I spooked a number of fish while stalking them 15 feet back from the bank on my hands and knees. Steve caught a brown and I caught my first wild 'bow on his deadly vanilla strip leech pattern.
All in all, 4 days of big, wild fish and challenging angling. I'll try to post pics next week if I can figure it out. Good thing I bought a season's PA licence - I will be back there soon