Eating Humble Pie on Penns Creek

Fly fishing is a pursuit that provides endless opportunities to learn. You can learn about the subtleties of the way a fly rod moves, the lifecycle of mayflies, the feeding habits of fish, and characteristics of a body of water. Just when you think you’ve figured it all out, you discover a new layer to peel back. And so it was for me this past weekend on Penns Creek (“Penns”) when this amazing trout fishery served me a big piece of humble pie. This wasn’t the first time Penns Creek served me. I still remember my first several visits to Penns Creek during my time at Penn State. I remember hearing about how amazing the trout fishing was, how large the brown trout were, and how prolific the hatches could be. On my first three trips, I didn’t catch a fish, let alone hook up with one. Penns has a funny way of either giving you the greatest day on the water, or grounding you and reminding you that even the most experienced fly fisherman can’t tame it.

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Carp on Lower Penns Creek

I still can’t kick this carp on the fly rod addiction. When I was up near Selinsgrove fishing for smallmouth I had taken some time in the afternoon to explore lower Penns Creek. The water on this part of Penns is deep and slow and large areas are covered with vegetation in the summer. It is vastly different than the portions of Penns that flows through Bald Eagle State Forest. I spooked several large schools of large carp when I was scouting this lower section. I couldn’t get those fish out of my head so on Saturday I was up at 5:00am and out the door heading north again. I got on the water around 7:00am and started wading my way through the thick vegetation towards some open water further upstream. This was the lowest I’ve seen Penns Creek all year. The water was slightly stained and I found one of the spots where I'd previously seen carp. This spot has a large tree that’s blown down into the creek and the branches make for perfect fish cover.

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Technical Water & Rusty Spinners on Penns

This past week I decided to make the trip to central Pennsylvania to fly fish Big Fishing Creek for the first time. Big Fishing Creek is a stream I’ve known very little about and it’s a stream I’ve rarely heard much about when talking around campfires with fishing buddies. The only time I hear the name of this stream is when someone is retelling the story of the state record brown trout that Joe Humphreys caught at night in 1977.

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