It was a miserable weather weekend on the East Coast. Saturday was a steady mix of snow, sleet, and freezing rain, and good day to stay inside and tie flies. Sunday morning it was raining but by lunch time it had stopped. I decided to head up to Clarks Creek in Dauphin County to drift some nymphs. As I turned onto Rt. 325, I was disappointed to see that the creek appeared to be iced over. When I arrived at the middle parking lot in the fly fishing only section, there were no other cars in the lot. I rigged up my 5wt and headed down the path to the water. When I arrived creekside, sure enough, a majority of Clarks Creek was iced over. There was riffle water to the left that was open but the creek was low. I knew this was going to be a tough couple hours of fly fishing. I tied on a #18 Pheasant Tail nymph with a #20 Midge Pupa nymph tied off the hook. I walked upstream and fished the open riffle water I could find. After an hour of jumping from one area of open water to the next, I hadn’t had any hits and didn’t see a fish. Many of the areas that hold deeper water were frozen over and I figured the fish were tight to the bottom under the ice. The Pennsylvania Fish Commission stocked this section of Clarks Creek back in November so I know there were fish there.
I headed downstream from where I’d walked in. I noticed a couple of sets of footprints which must’ve been from the morning. I again found some open riffle water but it was very shallow. I fished what I could and walked a good two hundred yards. Eventually the footprints I followed stopped and I blazed a new trail. Once I arrived at the area that still contains a large number of blowdowns from the big storm a few years back, all the open water disappeared. It was entirely iced over from this point to as far as I could see downstream. I decided to call it an afternoon. Although the it was a gray, cold, and breezy day, it was nice to be outside. I was disappointed about the ice, but that’s cold weather fishing. Hopefully the Clarks Creek Valley will get some much needed rain and snowmelt from January through March so that the spring fishing will be more enjoyable.