Thursday, June 2, 2016

A Quick Pennsylvania Ramble

Rigging Up on Oil Creek
Even though most of the things I write about on this blog take place in North Carolina, once in a while I do make it out of state. Those trips don't normally make it onto the blog simply because they often don't involve any hunting or fishing (unfortunately). However, one trip that my wife and I make fairly often that does involve fishing is up to her hometown of Titusville, Pennsylvania. Although my wife and her immediate family moved to North Carolina when she was seven, almost all of her relatives still live in and around the Titusville area so we try to go up and visit when we have a chance.

My first trip to Titusville with my wife and in-laws actually happened back in 2009, and before we went I happened to find out that there was a trout stream about five minutes from her grandmother's house. My wife hadn't ever done any fishing before she met me, but she said people liked to fish in the creek right outside of town, which was Oil Creek. I did a little research on the Internet, and found out that Oil Creek was known to have good hatches of several different insects, and that it sounded like a great place to do a little fly fishing while we were in town. The convenience factor of being a five minute ride also made it easy to mix fishing and family visits. Ever since that first trip, I always make sure to take along a fly rod anytime that we go up during the spring, summer, or fall.
Fishing Oil Creek

This past Friday was my wife's grandmother's 75th birthday, and her uncle was throwing a surprise party for her. Since we both had Monday off work for Memorial Day, we decided to make a quick trip north to go to the party and visit family. Along with seeing everybody, I also hoped that I'd be able to slip in an afternoon or two on Oil Creek. We headed north after work on Friday afternoon, and stopped for the night about halfway to Titusville.

The Ropp!
We arrived in town around 11:30 on Saturday, and since it was lunch time I knew what I wanted to do before hitting the creek. There's a sub shop in Titusville that makes a sub called "The Ropp". My father-in-law got me hooked on these, and now no trip to Titusville is complete without getting at least one. After I got my Ropp fix, and we made the rounds and said hello to everybody, it was off to Walmart for a fishing license and then on to Oil Creek. My wife came along for the trip and took pictures, but she decided not to fish this time. Most of the pictures in this post were taken by her. It's not often that I have the luxury of a photographer when I'm fishing!

First Trout of the Day
 I had been reading on the Internet that the sulphur mayflies had been hatching on Oil Creek, so I had high hopes for some dry fly action. However, it wasn't to be that day, as I saw a handful of sulphurs, but very few rises. Being an optimist, I did try fishing a parachute sulphur to the sporadic rises I did see, but I didn't seem to be getting any interest from the trout. After a while, I gave up on the dry fly and switched to a pheasant tail nymph. I fished this for a while with no luck either, and decided that it might be time to try something else.

After being skunked on the sulphur and the pheasant tail, I switched to a hare's ear nymph and in a few minutes was able to land the first trout of the day. It was a pretty rainbow that came from a deep run, and after that I had a little more confidence in my fly choice finally being right. In the mean time, more fishermen started showing up, I'm assuming anticipating a sulphur hatch like I was. I noticed that the others were having about the same luck as me, catching a fish once in a while but nobody seemed to be catching a bunch. I worked my way on downstream a little further, switching to a bead head hare's ear after losing the first fly to a bad cast and hungry bank side weeds. I picked up two more nice rainbows on this fly, and missed a couple more strikes.
Oil Creek Rainbow

It was starting to get late in the evening and the sulphurs never showed, so I decided to call it a day and headed on back to the car. Since we had to travel back home Monday and be back at work on Tuesday, Saturday wound up being my only chance to fish. It was a quick trip, but it reminded me once again how much I enjoy fishing Oil Creek. I've never seemed to catch a lot of trout there on any one trip, but the challenge of matching the hatch and fishing some different water than I'm used to always makes it a fun place to fish. With summer break coming up for teachers, the next thing on my outdoor agenda is to hit a few streams around home. Hopefully that will lead to a few more rambles to write about. Until then, thanks for stopping by!

- Joseph


  1. Joe, next time you come up to PA, shoot me an email and maybe we can fish Oil Creek together. It's a tough stream to fish really, it gets a lot of pressure, it's fairly big water and it warms quickly once the summertime temps arrive. That said, it does have a diverse and numerous population of bugs. For whatever reason, this year has been very poor for finding fishable hatches. In fact, I hadn't really hit one until Sunday night when the Brown Drake hatch got going on the Tionesta. I blame it on the exceptionally mild winter. Happy fishin'!

    1. Next time that we are able to make it up to PA I'll try to get together with you and do some fishing. Hopefully whenever we go again we'll be able to stay longer than a couple days. Glad to hear that you got into a hatch on Tionesta! I've fished there once several years ago, but haven't had a chance to make it out that way in quite a while.


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