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 are probably the coldest times 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 Big Spring Creek, Pennsylvania

The Southeastern section of the state of Pennsylvania has some beautiful
limestone spring creeks that provide some very good trout fishing opportunities.
There are many, some popular and some rarely heard of. One of the most famous
ones is Big Spring Creek located near the little town of Newville. This is the 5th
largest spring in Pennsylvania. This spring was a popular place for brook trout
fishing during the eighteenth century. It had not only had huge wild brook trout,
there were lots of them. The little town had several hotels and was served by the
Cumberland Valley Railroad out of Harrisburg. From what I read about it, it was a
very popular stream in early American trout fishing.

Angie and I have fished the stream on three occasions. The first time was in 2003,
again in 2004 and the last time was 2007. We have always been able to catch
some trout, but most of them were stocked. A few were wild trout. Other than its wild
and stocked trout, from 1972 until 2003, it had its own state fish hatchery at the
head of the stream. From what I read, the hatchery caused many problems. I
cannot imagine what the thinking was behind ever putting a hatchery on such a
beautiful spring. I can see where it was advantageous from several standpoints
from a fish raising standpoint, I just can't imagine why anyone would want to ruin
such a nice stream. I guess that shows what government regulation can do for you.
The effluents from the hatchery destroyed the wild trout population that made the
stream famous.

I only know what I read about it from that standpoint, so I will just attach some of the
information pertaining to it. The
Big Springs Watershed Association is one of the
best sources of information and undertakings underway at Big Springs. You might
also read their
Wild Trout Population report. This is another site dedicated to the
stream. This website,
the Aquatic Institute, tells the story very well.

Big Spring Creek now has 350 pounds of brook trout per acre. Some of the brook
trout grow to large sizes. Some have been measured upwards to 20 inches. They
act completely different from our wild stream trout in Great Smoky Mountains
National Park. The Big Springs brook trout are not easy to catch at all. The state
still stocks both rainbow and brown trout in some sections of the stream. The brown
trout reproduce to some extent. I might mention that the stream is also fed by some
smaller springs downstream of the large one that forms it. This helps keep the
water cool for its entire length.

It is worth your time to visit this stream to see its beauty and large fish, even if you
don't fish it. I suggest that you do give it a try. The two larger fish that we have
caught there almost came as a surprise. Playing around at Big Springs Creek has
helped us develop our new "Perfect Fly" scud that we will be introducing within a
few days.

Copyright 2008 James Marsh
...The Perfect Fly Store