Winter Brook Trout Fishing in Pennsylvania’s Blue Mountains

Everyone was talking about winter storm Harper late last week. The storm was moving across the Midwest on Friday and was expected to make landfall in Pennsylvania on Saturday afternoon. The weather report was telling me I was going to have a four or five hour window on Saturday to fly fish. The air temperatures were supposed to hold steady in the mid-30s into Saturday morning and this was actually an increase from earlier in the week when overnight temps were dipping into the low 20s. My experience is that any gradual and sustained increase in temperatures in the colder months can mean active brook trout.

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Nescopeck Tributary & The Wild Brook Trout of State Game Lands 187

The wet weather continued in Pennsylvania last week. A storm system dumped rain across the state overnight Thursday into Friday afternoon. Any big trout waters that were on their way to normal December flows once again pushed out of their banks. I’m thankful that Pennsylvania has so many spring-fed streams in its mountains. The blue ribbons that fill the map of the keystone state wilderness make me feel alive.

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Losing Daylight & The PA Wilderness Trout Stream

In Union County, Pennsylvania just west of the town of Mifflinburg, there is a thirteen-mile Class A Wild Brook Trout Stream known as North Branch Buffalo Creek. The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission designates North Branch Buffalo Creek as a Wilderness Trout Stream. This means that humans have not encroached upon the stream and it provides the fisherman a true wilderness experience. The stream is referred to as providing Exceptional Value. This spring fed creek is a tributary to Centre County’s Buffalo Creek.

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Pre-Spawn Wild Brook Trout in Bald Eagle State Forest

Each year during the months of September and October, Pennsylvania’s wild brook trout begin spawning. The start of the spawn is different in every stream and is typically touched off by a change in water temperature. During the spawn, the male brook trout begin to change color. The orange on their fins and bellies becomes vibrant as they prepare to join females on redds. There is a lot of controversy around whether or not it is ethical to fish for brook trout while they are spawning. Some folks feel that fishing has little to no impact, as long as careful catch and release is practiced. Others believe that it is the worst thing a fisherman could take part in and avoid fishing entirely.

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