Sunday, May 3, 2009

Fly Fishing the Grannom Caddis Hatch at Penns Creek

Two weekends ago 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.

After two fruitless attempts to catch trout at Penns Creek in the past few weeks, I decided to try a third time. On the night of April 25th, I headed back out to the big limestone spring-fed stream. As the sun sank back behind the ridges of the gorge, the wild brown trout began rising to grannom caddis flies, black quills, and a few stray blue-winged olives. I missed my first two fish, before landing two in a row. Both of these wild browns were over 15 inches long. Despite the impending darkness, I continued to fish. I ultimately caught two more wild browns. All four fish took a size 14 tan caddis (my two grannom caddis patterns were lost to the wild browns of Fishing Creek the day before).

The grannom caddis hatch is frustrating: while thousands of these speckled insects may line the riparian vegetation and erratically dart above the water, the trout often pay them little attention. I've found that waiting until dusk helps, as the trout sup on the dying adult caddis. During the daytime, I've been successful fishing caddis nymphs in fast runs. Dry flies occassionally produce during the day, but they aren't as successful as underwater options.

Penns Creek is an engimatic, lovely river. While its terrain is often harsh, its fish often fickle, and its water often discolored, the stream will reward a patient angler with a fly fishing experience on par with any offered by an eastern wild trout river. It is big; it is fast; it is tough; and it is my favorite river.

I took the following video of the hatch at about 2 PM. Enjoy!

Image #1 - My first brown
Image #2 - My second brown
Image #3 - Grannom Caddis
Video #1 - A view of the hatch

Overall Total: 18

River Breakdown:

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

Species Breakdown:

Brown Trout - 9
Wild - 9
Stocked - 0

Brook Trout - 5
Wild - 4
Stocked - 1

Rainbow Trout - 4
Wild - 4
Stocked - 0

Wild Trout - 17
Stocked Trout - 1

Trout 15+ Inches: 2

Fly Breakdown:
Olive wooly bugger, size 14 - 4 (4 Wild Brook)
Tan Caddis, size 14 - 4 (4 Wild Brown)
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 - 17 (8 Wild Brown, 4 Wild Brook, 4 Wild Rainbow, 1 Stocked Brook)
Spinning Rod - 1 (1 Wild Brown)

State Breakdown:
Pennsylvania - 18
New Jersey - 0
New York - 0


Colorado Angler said...

Nice blog. Although I have never fished out East, a friend of mine is from Pennsylvania and she's shown me some pictures that point to some really great fishing out in your neck of the woods. Thanks for sharing!

Oh...and as counter-intuitive as it may sound, sometimes pulling some nymphs through the mid-water during a rise can be more deadly than throwing dries.

Tight lines.

Matthew Bruen said...

Thanks for the kind words. Although I've never been out West, I'm sure that the fishing in the East could never compare. That being said, we do have some beautiful gems tucked away in various hard-to-reach corners. Let me know if you're ever in the area, and I'll be sure to follow your awesome blog!