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 3
Fishing Creek can be a very difficult stream to fish, especially when the water is low
and very clear. I am strictly speaking of wild trout and not referring to the stocked
trout areas of the stream. Pressure from a lot of anglers on such a small area of the
creek (the Narrows) takes its toll on the 'catching' part. Looking back over our video
logs, I see that we have fished the stream eight times during six different years. Our
best brown trout was a measured 16 inches. It was the only trout noted on the shot
logs over 14 inches.
Our limited experience at Fishing Creek has ranged from very tough to fairly easy. I
think it all had to do with hatches occurring or not occurring. During our best day
there, and probably eight hours of actual fishing (one at a time), we managed to
catch 15 brown trout. That is easy to determine from our shot logs. They probably
averaged about 12 inches but that is a guess since we didn't measure any but the
very largest. However you want to look at it, that is a good catch of wild brown trout.
That occurred on a day that the stream was very crowded. It was during the
Hendrickson hatch four years ago.
Although this stream has a good reputation for large brown trout, I don't think it
comes up to several of the streams in Great Smoky Mountains National Park in
terms of the size of large brown trout that are present. Like all streams with big
browns, it seems to have a few very large browns that stay in control of certain
areas of the stream. They are usually very difficult to catch other than during the
spawning season. When you compare the Narrows Section of the stream to areas
of Hazel Creek and Little River, for example, it is a very small stretch of water. In
terms of the number of brown trout in the Narrows Section in comparison to Hazel or
Little River, it would be my guess that Fishing Creek has a lot more. I think that is
because Hazel and Little River also has a good population of rainbow trout and
Fishing Creek doesn't.
Fishing Creek has several good hatches. The water is packed full of aquatic
insects. There are several species of caddisflies present. I don't think we have ever
found as many large rock worms or free-living caddisfly larvae as we have at
Fishing Creek. There appears to be a large population of Little Black/strawberry
chimney cased caddis there also. It also has a huge amount of net-spinning caddis,
or Cinnamon Caddis present.
It has a decent hatch of Green Drakes. However, we have been there during the
Green Drake hatch and it turned out to be one of our worst trips. That doesn't
necessarily mean it had something to do with the mayflies. The stream was very
crowded and every trout there was probably spooked a few times a day.
The stream has several Blue-winged Olive species including large numbers of the
larger Eastern BWOs. Hendrickson, Blue Quills, Sulphurs, Pale Evening Duns, Quill
Gordons, Slate Drakes, March Browns, Light and Cream Cahill mayflies are also
present in good quantities. The big difference in Fishing Creek and a typical Smoky
Mountain stream, in terms of aquatic insects, is that Fishing Creek has a much
larger mayfly and caddisfly population but nothing to compare with the stoneflies
present in the Smokies.
I could recommend Fishing Creek to anyone visiting the State College area along
with Spring, Penns Creek and other streams, but not on its own merit. We have
enjoyed our trips there and plan on going back every chance we get but if it was
the only stream in the area that we could fish, I doubt we would travel there.
Copyright 2008 James Marsh