Saturday, May 22, 2010

Fly Fishing for Wild Brook Trout in the Poconos

I drove to the Poconos on the last day of April, ready to catch some wild brook trout. There are a number of wild brook trout streams in the Poconos; a quick glance at the PA Fish and Boat Commission website will reveal a list of them, by county, if you're interested. Because I grew up there, I know of a few that are not marked by the state (the joys of local knowledge). When I fish the Poconos for wild trout, I typically employ a 15-mile loop that covers six streams (Marshalls Creek, Mud Run, Poplar Run, Mill Creek, Rattlesnake Creek, and Devils Hole Creek). On the aforementioned late April day, I hit up the middle four of that list.

Mud Run
Mud Run is the "tailwater" of Snow Hill Dam. If you hike down from the Dam, the stream will start to cascade down big sandstone outcroppings. At this point, wild brookies begin to populate the water. It's not really a technical run, and there isn't much riparian vegetation in the way. That being said, I caught three wild brook trout on a small wooly bugger streamer. I also found starflower, fringed polygala, miterwort, marsh marigold, and some late hepatica.

Poplar Run
One of my favorite Pennsylvania wild trout streams, Poplar Run is located a few miles away from Mud Run, and contains a mix of wild brown and wild brook trout. During my time there, however, I caught all brooks (six of them, to be exact). I'm not sure where the browns were hiding; wild trout streams are unpredictable like that. Anyone who ventures to Poplar should consider wearing formidable protective gear. Brambles cover the banks, and hiking the Run is quite difficult.

Mill Creek
Mill Creek meanders through the village of Mountainhome, and also maintains a mixed brown/brook population. In fact, the only wild tiger trout (brown-brook hybrid) I've ever caught came out of the Mill. I was running short on time and the clouds were beginning to look ominous, so I left after nabbing a wild brown near the State Gameland border. Even though these streams are so close together, I always seem to run out of time!

Rattlesnake Creek
This small wild creek is a short three mile drive from Mill Creek, and is surrounded by Gamelands. For safety reasons, wear an orange hat, at least, and be aware of the various hunting seasons. As the rain started to fall, I caught a gorgeous wild brook trout on a wooly bugger (I mean, look at the picture; it's perfect), tossed it back in the creek, and ran back to the car.

In the end, I landed 11 wild trout. Not exactly a great fishing day, but I managed to add four rivers to my list.

Image #1 - Mud Run waterfall
Image #2 - Mud Run wild brook trout
Image #3 - Mill Creek wild brown trout
Image #4 - Rattlesnake Creek wild brook trout
Video Link -

Overall Total: 59

River Breakdown:
McMichaels Creek - 10 (5 Stocked Brook, 5 Stocked Rainbow)
Paulinskill River - 7 (7 Stocked Brook)
Poplar Run - 6 (6 Wild Brook)
Rockaway Creek - 6 (5 Wild Brown, 1 Wild Brook)
Teetertown Brook - 5 (5 Wild Brook)
Penns Creek - 4 (4 Wild Brown)
Sevenmile Creek - 4 (3 Wild Rainbow, 1 Steelhead)
Mud Run - 3 (3 Wild Brook)
Brodhead Creek - 2 (2 Stocked Rainbow)
Bushkill Creek (Pike County) - 2 (2 Stocked Brown)
Musconetcong River - 2 (2 Stocked Brook)
Raritan River, South Branch - 2 (2 Stocked Brown)
Bushkill Creek (Northampton County) - 1 (1 Stocked Rainbow)
Little Brook -1 (1 Wild Brook)
Marshalls Creek - 1 (1 Wild Brook)
Mill Creek - 1 (1 Wild Brown)
Rattlesnake Creek - 1 (1 Wild Brook)
Twentymile Creek - 1 (1 Steelhead)

Species Breakdown:
Brook Trout - 32
Wild - 18
Stocked - 14

Brown Trout - 14
Wild - 10
Stocked - 4

Rainbow Trout - 13
Stocked - 8
Wild - 3
Steelhead - 2

Wild Trout - 31
Stocked Trout - 26
Lake Erie Trout - 2

Trout 15+ inches - 3

Fly Breakdown:
Bead-head Black Wooly Bugger, size 14 - 11 (11 Wild Brook)
Bead-head Olive Wooly Bugger, size 14 - 8 (5 Wild Brown, 3 Wild Brook)
Bead-head Black Wooly Bugger, size 10 - 7 (4 Stocked Rainbow, 2 Stocked Brook, 1 Stocked Brown)
Bead-head Pheasant Tail Nymph, size 14 - 5 (3 Wild Rainbow, 2 Steelhead, 1 Stocked Brown)
Bead-head Red Wooly Bugger, size 14 - 3 (3 Wild Brook)
Bead-head Black Wooly Bugger, size 8 - 2 (2 Stocked Brook)
Bead-head Golden Stonefly Nymph, size 10 - 1 (1 Steelhead)
Bead-head Green Wooly Bugger, size 10 - 1 (1 Stocked Brown)
Black Caddis, size 16 - 1 (1 Wild Brown)
Tan Caddis, size 16 - 1 (1 Stocked Brown)

Angling Breakdown:
Fly Fishing Rod - 40 (17 Wild Brook, 6 Wild Brown, 4 Stocked Brook, 4 Stocked Brown, 4 Stocked Rainbow, 3 Wild Rainbow, 2 Steelhead Rainbow)
Spinning Rod - 19 (10 Stocked Brook, 4 Stocked Rainbow, 4 Wild Brown, 1 Wild Brook)

State Breakdown:
Pennsylvania - 36
New Jersey - 23


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CD said...

Great stuff. Nothing like wild trout.

Wbljr11 said...

Are you sure that is a hybrid?
All the browns I catch look just like that. I don't see the interlocking lines that are on the backs of all Brookies. Tigers Are completely covered with that unmistakable pattern.