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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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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Mysteries & The Wild Brown Trout of The Codorus Creek

After spending a lot of time indoors over the Thanksgiving holiday, I was itching to get out and wet a line on some local trout water in southeastern Pennsylvania. I knew I’d have most of the day Saturday to fly fish, so rather than make a long trek out of town, I decided to fish a stream that had been on my list of waters to revisit. The Codorus Creek is a freestone tailwater of Lake Marburg in York County, Pennsylvania. The state classifies this body of water as a Class ‘A’ Wild Trout Stream. I first ran across the Codorus Creek back in July of this year when I was out fishing the East Branch of the Codorus Creek. I’d fished a majority of the accessible water on the East Branch and was looking for another creek. The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission online app mentioned the stream so with limited time I decided to stop by and take a look. When I first laid eyes on the creek, I was struck by how good the water depth was. I was equally surprised by how cool the water temperatures were in the middle of the summer. I fished the stream for maybe an hour that afternoon but never brought a fish to hand. The place intrigued me and I swore I’d be back and so Saturday was the day I’d go back.

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Three for One, Fly Fishing the Tunkhannock, Pohopoco & Little Schuylkill

On Friday, the AccuWeather app on my iPhone was sending me flash flood notifications for southeastern Pennsylvania. I knew this was going to eliminate any chance of fishing for smallmouth bass anywhere in the Susquehanna Valley on Saturday. I looked at the weather map and all the precipitation was moving south of Rt. 80. I started thinking about fishing options for Saturday and Friday night decided in the morning I’d continue my Keystone Select video series on the South Branch Tunkhannock Creek in Wyoming County.

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