Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fly Fishing Central Pennsylvania's Penns Creek, Elk Creek, and Fishing Creek

This past weekend I fished a number of central Pennsylvania trout streams; indeed, I was lucky enough to fish Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I will thus recount these three days in three separate posts.

On Saturday Jackie and I decided to enjoy the fabulous weather at Penns Creek. The heat, however, prevented us from thoroughly enjoying ourselves: Jackie found it difficult to work outside, and I found the fishing to be impossible. Despite a robust grannom caddis hatch, the trout were not rising and were not actively taking nymphs. The intersection of unseasonable temperatures and high water may have been the reason for the sluggish fishing. Or maybe I'm just not that good! That being said, it was nice to spend some time at the enigmatic limestone stream. I would return the next night with significantly better results.

After leaving Penns Creek, we stopped briefly at Cherry Run - a small freestone stream that has recently been designated catch-and-release. A few years ago the state decided to transform this once-stocked stream into a wild trout water. This transformation has yet to take complete effect and the wild brook trout population is still rebounding. I didn't catch anything, but near the stream Jackie and I photographed some stunning moss phlox (image #2). After taking the aforementioned pictures, we drove through the Bald Eagle State Forest back to PA Route 45. At this point, I decided to head to Fishing Creek for what I hoped would be a twilight caddis bonanza.

On the way to Fishing Creek, we stopped briefly at Elk Creek. I'd never fished Elk, and walked away impressed after spending 45 minutes wading in its limestone green water. Most of the land around Elk is privately-owned, but a majority of the landowners allow anglers the opportunity to fish the beautiful stream. It is thus designated as a Class A wild trout water and possesses numerous wild brown trout in its fertile riffles and pools. I landed one on my spin-casting rod: a lovely 8 inch fish (image #4). I know that I will be back to Elk sometime in the near future.

Once we arrived at Fishing Creek, Jackie and I photographed some periwinkle, garlic mustard, and dwarf cinquefoil (image #3). While she sat and worked in a grassy field, I fished the grannom caddis hatch. Of all the central Pennsylvania hatches, including the vaunted green drake, I enjoy the grannoms the most. I love how they cling to the riparian vegetation and dart erratically through the air. I also thoroughly enjoy trouts' appetite for these insects. I ended up catching two wild browns on a size 14 black caddis (image #5). It was a very nice day capped off by a delicious dinner at Lewisburg's Vic's Pub.

Image #1: Me fishing at Fishing Creek
Image #2: Moss phlox at Cherry Run
Image #3: Dwarf cinquefoil at Fishing Creek
Image #4: Wild brown trout caught at Elk Creek
Image #5: Wild brown trout caught at Fishing Creek

Overall Total: 14

River Breakdown:

Spring Creek - 5 (4 Wild Rainbow, 1 Wild Brown)
Marshalls Creek - 4 (4 Wild Brook)
Fishing Creek - 3 (3 Wild Brown)
Elk Creek - 1 (1 Wild Brown)
White Deer Creek - 1 (1 Stocked Brook)

Species Breakdown:

Brook Trout - 5
Wild - 4
Stocked - 1

Brown Trout - 5
Wild - 5
Stocked - 0

Rainbow Trout - 4
Wild - 4
Stocked - 0

Wild Trout - 13
Stocked Trout - 1

Trout 15+ Inches: 0

Fly Breakdown:
Olive wooly bugger, size 14 - 4 (4 Wild Brook)
Black Caddis, size 14 - 2 (2 Wild Brown)
Green Weenie, size 14 - 2 (2 Wild Rainbow)
Bead-head Green Weenie, size 14 - 1 (1 Stocked Brook)
Blue Quill, size 16 - 1 (1 Wild Brown)
Blue Winged Olive, size 18 - 1 (1 Wild Rainbow)
Golden Stonefly, size 8 - 1 (1 Wild Brown)
Scud, size 16 - 1 (1 Wild Rainbow)

Angling Breakdown:

Fly Fishing Rod - 13 (4 Wild Brook, 4 Wild Brown, 4 Wild Rainbow, 1 Stocked Brook)
Spinning Rod - 1 (1 Wild Brown)

State Breakdown:
Pennsylvania - 14
New Jersey - 0
New York - 0


James said...

Would you be able to provide general directions from Milton on how to get to Penns Creek? I am having difficulty finding it. Thanks

Matthew Bruen said...

Hey James,

Here are my directions to get to Penns from Milton. Cross the West Branch and head down 15 south. Turn right (west) onto PA Route 45/Market Street in Lewisburg. Take this for about 20 miles. After you pass through Hartelton, turn left onto Fairground Rd. At the stop sign go straight(ish) onto Hassenplug Rd. At the next stop sign, turn right onto Weikert Rd. After a few miles, Penns will begin to follow the road. If you continue on Weikert Rd far enough you'll end up in the special regulation area where I fish. It's pretty well-marked. I figure it will take about an hour or so from Milton. Good luck, and let me know if you have any more questions.