Friday, June 24, 2016

Skinny Water and Wild Trout

First Trout of the Trip
This year, I was determined not to make the same mistake I did last year when school let out for summer. That mistake being doing too many other things, and not enough fishing. With that in mind, I figured what better way to kick off summer break than by taking the brother-in-law (and proud dad of my new niece) Trent along with me and do some searching for a few wild trout. We decided that since he had a new daughter at home we might not want to make an all day event out of the trip. With that in mind, it narrowed our choices down to a few streams within an hour or so of home.

Wild Rainbow
After talking it over, and going back and forth between a smallmouth trip or a trout trip, we decided with temperatures in the mid to high 90's at home, a trip to the mountains in search of cooler weather and cold water would be our best bet. Once all these important decisions had been made, we decided to go fish a stream that is about an hour from my house. I've written about this particular stream several times on here before, and it is located in a section of national forest that was one of the first in the east. This particular creek has a few advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are the ease of access and short travel time compared to some of the places I like to fish. The only real disadvantages are that the area sometimes seems to be full of campers, and the fish tend to be in the 6"-8" inch range. If you're looking for big fish and solitude, this may not be the best place to go. However, for me going fishing always beats not going, so I tend to make it up here several times during the year.

Parr Marks
With all these things in mind, we hit the road early hoping to beat the heat and other fishermen. After an uneventful drive, we made it to the creek and decided to start at the sign commemorating this as the first national forest tract purchased under the Weeks Law in 1911. This is toward the lower end of the designated Wild Trout waters, but it does include some nice sized holes and plunge pools that sometimes hold a surprise or two. This is one of my normal starting spots, and from there you can fish all the way into the uppermost headwaters without leaving public land. Lower down the creek flows through private property for a short while before returning to public water as a designated Delayed Harvest stretch that is periodically stocked. Today however, with the catch and release season over on the Delayed Harvest, we were looking for the wild cousins of the trout to be found lower down. The trout we were after had been born and raised right there, instead of a hatchery.

Trent's brown
Beautiful Colors
Once we made our way down to the creek, we both noticed that it was already looking a little low. It was not the lowest I'd ever seen, but some rain is definitely needed soon. A few weeks before, I had been fishing in Pennsylvania, and had hoped to hit a sulfur hatch. That didn't work out, so I decided to experiment a little with one of the sulfur parachutes I had tied for that trip to see if they would interest a few fish closer to home. It didn't take long, and a pretty little wild brown trout decided that it looked like breakfast. This would be the only brown trout that I would catch this trip, although my brother-in-law did catch a nice brown on further upstream later in the morning. For both of us, it was more of a rainbow trout kind of day. We each caught several pretty little wild rainbows, although the creek didn't give up any big fish this time. We had success fishing several of the usual summer dry flies, and the trout didn't seem too particular as long as the drift was good. However, the low water did make it a challenge, as we both spooked a lot of fish, no matter how carefully we were trying to wade. This was one of those days that fish could be caught, but they weren't going to put up with any missteps.

We fished through the morning, and as lunchtime approached the heat came along with it. We decided that it had been a successful morning, and headed on back toward home with a detour for a hamburger on the way. Hopefully it won't be long, and we will be back in the high country in search of some more beautiful wild trout. In the meantime, I've got plans to do a little fishing and exploring close to home.

- Joseph


  1. It's been awhile since I hit a wild stream. This post is giving me the itch.

    1. I know how you feel. Writing this post made me want to go back! Hopefully you get a chance to scratch that itch soon.

  2. There's nothing that can beat the beauty of wild trout from a small stream.
    Well done.

    1. Thank you! Wild trout and the places they live never cease to amaze me.

  3. Pretty fish, all of them! Nothing but skinny water in PA right now.

    1. Thanks Bob! Hopefully we both get some rain soon.


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