01/11/09

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 "Fishing Creek", Pennsylvania - Part 1

Fishing Creek is the name of several trout streams in Pennsylvania but in the eyes
of many anglers, there is only one "Fishing Creek". It is the one in Chilton County
near Interstate 80 less than an hour from State College. Many call it the finest trout
stream in Pennsylvania. It has an excellent population of wild brown and brook trout.

This is a very complex stream, especially when it is introduced to someone new to
the area. When Angie and I first visited the stream a few years ago, we ask some
locals for directions. When we got to where they sent us, the stream did not come
close to fitting the description of what we expected from reading about it. We
thought we were on the wrong "Fishing Creek". It turned out that we were just in a
section of the stream that looks much different than the general description of it.

Fishing Creek twist around and at one point it is headed back in the opposite
direction that it ran for miles. Another even stranger thing about it is the fact that
during the summer, it runs underground in two different places along its length and
then reappears. That isn't at all bad. In fact it is good because the stream
reemerges with cool water. The entire stream stays cool even during the hottest
days of the summer. During our first trip there during early September a few years
ago, we were again surprised by the stream when we finally found the area called
the "Narrows". The stream looked like any freestone stream (not a spring creek) in
the East but it had that low layer of fog over it. That was strange appearance for
pocket water because the air temperature was in the nineties.

About 25 miles of Fishing Creek is "Class A" water according to the state of
Pennsylvania. That means it has a population of wild trout that does not need any
supplemental planting of trout, meaning "stocked trout". I'm told it has far more than
the requirement in much of its class A section. However, there are sections of the
stream that are stocked. I think most of the Smoky Mountain anglers would agree
with me when I say it is just a very weird trout stream. However, I think most of them
would also agree that it is a very good trout stream. The section of "Abrams Creek"
just downstream of the confluence of Mill Creek in Great Smoky Mountains National
Park" is in some ways similar to the "Narrows" section of Fishing Creek. Fishing
Creek is just much cooler during the summer.

Fishing Creek has two major limestone tributary streams that also add cool water to
it - Cedar Run and Long Run. These are true limestone spring creeks that look like
limestone spring creeks. They are narrow, 15 to 20 wide creeks with a lot of aquatic
vegetation. I like Cedar Run. It has a good population of wild trout. It also has some
fast water sections which adds some diversity of the normal slow moving spring
creek. Its water stays in the fifty degree range.

Long Run is complicated {messed up would be a better word} because of a State
Fish Hatchery located on it. It would be great little stream if it wasn't for that. I'm
certain it makes a fine fish hatchery but it also fouls up the water in Long Run below
the hatchery. There are usually a lot of hungry fishermen hanging around the
hatchery trying to catch a meal. Of course the trout are used to stock other waters,
or at least I think they are. I also think the state would be better off using the money
collected from the sale of fishing license to issue "fish n clip" food stamps rather
than wasted on a trout stocking program, but Pennsylvania, or any other state
operates on the basis of what I think. They are not the only state that functions on a
primitive line of reasoning.

Continued

Copyright 2008 James Marsh