The morning after my meeting with Troutrageous, I had plans to meet up with one of my best friends and do some trout fishing for a few hours.
Now, at least on the surface, this was hardly the time to be out fly fishing for trout. Pennsylvania, like most of the country, has been wrapped up in a nasty heat wave, and hasn't had much rain, either. That usually means stream temps push into the upper limits of a trout's tolerance. Even if you an find trout in these water temps it is often advised to leave them alone and not stress them out.
All this is true. At least it is for most waters. But I wasn't going to "most waters". I was going to spend the morning on some special waters.
The Tulpehocken Creek, or Tully as it is locally known, is well known among fly fishermen throughout PA and NJ. The primary area of interest is the area below Blue March Lake, known as the tailrace. It has a well known, consistent trico hatch and receives heavy fishing pressure. I've fished these waters in the past, but not on this short trip. I was fishing the private headwaters.
The stream originates as the outflow pumped from a limestone quarry. The initial mile or so of the creek is a long standing private club with a hatchery license. The wait list to get into the club can be measured in lifetimes. The water is constant temperature and flow and supports the lush weed and aquatic growth prevalent in other PA limestoners. The stream is never wider than 20'. There is quite a bit of natural reproduction on this section, from both browns and rainbows. That's right - wild rainbows in PA. I know Falling Spring has some natural rainbow reproduction, and I believe there are a few others, but not many at all. The stream is stocked as well.
There are a LOT of fish in these waters.
The rule of thumb here is: if you want to catch a lot of fish, use tandem nymphs. Sow bugs, scuds, and pheasant tails are the order of the day. I always throw in my own wrinkle - usually a San Juan worm. And, I rationalize, if a plain SJW is good, a bead-head SJW with some crystal flash in it must be even better. You know - a stripper pole worm. You can pound some fish up on crickets, ants and beetles, but the action is far slower.
Our morning started after a hard rain at 8 am. It was about 84 out, and had to be 100% humidity. I decided to go straight after the numbers and used the stripper pole bright red flashy worm. And immediately got into rainbows. I landed 5, hooked and lost 2, and missed numerous strikes in the first run I fished. The first trout was a stockie rainbow; the others from this run were BEAUTIFUL natives.
And, (probably because I didn't check the camera settings before I started shooting pics) the pics are not very good. They are not focused well. Sorry.
I moved upstream, picking up fish pretty consistently. I added a second fly below the SJW - a bead head sow bug - and started picking up small, wild browns. Beautiful fish. Finally, toward the end of the trip, I picked up a big brown on a Pheasant Tail'
This water is always great, and very private. I certainly don't always fish private water, but I don't pass up the opportunity to do so when it presents itself, either. Especially when I have a very short amount of time to fish.
Again, I apologize for the picture quality, but the fish were so colorful that it shows even with the crappy photos.
Finally, next week I should have another posting on fly fishing for trout, as I plan to be out West. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it comes together!
A nice fish on
A wild rainbow in the water
Stream bred rainbow
Another wild 'bow coming in
Beautiful wild rainbow. The color on the gill plate, brightness of the band, white tips on the fins - just beautiful fish
Nice streambred brown trout