01/07/09

Destinations:
I doubt that many of you will be traveling to and fishing the Smokies to fish this month although I
hope you do.  January and the first part of February is probably the coldest time of the year and
you will have to pick out the better days to expect much success fishing the freestone streams.
By the end of February, everyone will be doing their best to force the bugs to hatch and the trout to
respond even though they will probably have to wait a few more days to see any surface action.
That considered, I thought I would write about some fishing trips we have made to various other
destinations. Don't expect these articles to win any awards, just tell you about some things I
hope you will find interesting and a few that I look back on with a gleam in my eye.

Fly Fishing Spring Creek, Pennsylvania

Centre County, as the name implies, is located smack in the middle of
Pennsylvania. The county has some of the best trout streams in the state. Even if
you don't count Penn's Creek as one of them (if lies in three counties), it still
probably ranks at the top of the list as far as counties go. The most popular stream
in Centre county, and for good reasons I might add, is Spring Creek. It has miles of
wild trout even though it is located in a fairly populated area. Penn State University
is only five miles from the creek. It is a "no kill" stream and because of that, it has
an excellent population of wild brown trout. Some of them grow to a large size.

Spring Creek is a rather large spring creek. It probably averages forty feet wide
although it varies considerably. It upper waters are much narrower and more spring
creek like. Its lower sections are wider and less spring creek like. Cedar Run, Logan
Branch, Buffalo Run and Slab Cabin Run add additional cool spring creek water to
Spring Creek. Each of them also have populations of wild trout.

Basically, the upper and middle sections of the stream are the best areas to fish in
my opinion. Some of the upper areas are posted but below the posted sections the
creek looks and acts like a superb spring creek. The lower section near Bellefonte
loses a lot of its spring creek characteristics. Many would probably disagree with me
because the lower section does have a lot of fish. It has the typical run, riffle, pool
makeup as opposed to the slow moving, smooth flows of a small spring creek.

Spring Creek has had its battles with pollution in the past years and probably will
continue to have them simply because of where it is located. They think pollution
caused the Green Drakes to die out in this stream because it no longer has the
famous hatch of large mayflies. It does still have some excellent hatches of other
mayflies as well as caddisflies.

The first time we fished this stream we were in central Pennsylvania to fish the
Green Drake hatch on Penn's Creek, not far from Spring Creek. We were there
early before the big drake hatch started. One of the local fly shops in a small town
nearby State College ask us to give Spring Creek a try. We were told that we would
probably catch a lot of trout. That advise turned out to be correct. We started
catching trout at our first stop even though we had no idea where we were at that
time. Before the day ended, Angie and I fishing one at a time, caught about thirty
brown trout up to fourteen inches long that probably averaging twelve inches. What
was even more surprising was that most of them were caught on a dry fly.

Almost all of the stream can easily be accessed from various roads that wind
around along side or near the creek throughout its length. You never have to walk
very far to reach the stream. Wading is generally fairly easy. The heavy vegetation
makes it difficult in some areas but you will soon learn where to wade and where not
to wade.

We have returned to Spring Creek several times since our first trip there. We have
caught a lot of trout each and every time we have fished the creek irrespective of
where we fished. It obviously has a lot of wild trout. Given the fact that it is located
near as many people as it is, it is really a credit to those who have worked over the
years to keep the stream as free of pollution as it is.

One time we were trying to reach a certain area of the stream in its upper section
and we stopped to ask a local for directions. He informed us that there were no
trout streams in the area. He continued to tell us that we should go to Penn's Creek
and began to give us directions. We continued to ask about Spring Creek. At one
point he replied that he had lived there for over ten years and had never heard of
Spring Creek. This little stream flows along so quietly winding through both
residential areas and business areas that it is almost unnoticeable. When we drove
away, we probably traveled less than a mile when we spotted the stream. It was
really strange. The stream was probably twenty feet wide in that area. I don't think
the guy was lying. I think he had never paid any attention to the creek. I'm certain
he had driven past it and over it hundreds of times without it ever dawning on him
that it was a trout stream. The more I thought about it, the more I liked that. I guess,
not being a fisherman, in his mind a stream that small could have trout in it.

Of all the streams we have fished in Pennsylvania, I can say that this one is by far
the easiest one to fish in terms of catching lots of wild brown trout. I am sure you
could get skunked there. I am sure we have fished it during the best times of the
year and have probably been lucky.

I wouldn't advise any of you to travel several hundred miles just to fish Spring
Creek. I could recommend it along with the many other trout streams located in
Centre County and other nearby counties in central Pennsylvania. Read the next
few articles and you will begin to understand why.

Copyright 2008 James Marsh