Low Water & Wild Trout on Cumberland Valley Creeks

Christmas weekend 2016 just wrapped up and the air temperatures have been relatively mild for late December. Highs reached the mid 40s on Saturday and Sunday and they’re supposed to get as high as 50 degrees by this Wednesday. Today I decided to take a trip to Boiling Springs to fly fish the Yellow Breeches Creek (“the Breeches”). I arrived at the Iron Furnace parking lot at 10:30am and got rigged up. There was one guy fishing “the Run” and three other guys were walking back from the Breeches. Even from twenty yards away, it was apparent the Run was at a below average flow for this time of the year. When I’d driven by the Children’s Lake in town, I could see the water line around the perimeter was down considerably. After I was set to start fishing I headed straight to the Breeches and skipped the riffles on the Run. I started fishing just below where the Run dumps into the Breeches. I had a my 5wt Winston with me and I was fishing a #16 Beadhead Hare’s Ear nymph with a trailing #20 Black Midge nymph on 5X fluorocarbon tippet. The water levels were very low.

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Iced Over On Clarks Creek

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.

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Cold December Rainbows on The Tulpehocken Creek

Watching the forecast this past week I knew it was going to be a cold weekend. On Saturday there was a good breeze going and I didn’t want to deal with it on the water. I opted to take the fly rod out on Sunday. When I headed outside to pack up my truck at 10:00am it was 28 degrees outside. I broke out the heavy long johns and headed to the Tulpehocken Creek in Berks County. I haven’t fished the Tulpehocken (“Tully”) since this past July. I knew the state had completed a fall stocking back in October. And I also knew that TCO Fly Shop had stocked a large number of small fingerlings back in November. There are problaby more trout in the Tully this time of year than any other body of water in southeastern Pennsylvania. Typically when the state stocks the Tully, they put fish in the same locations each time. I figured it was a safe bet to start fly fishing in the riffles below Rebers Bridge Road. I arrived at the Rebers Bridge parking lot around 11:00am and started getting geared up. While I was there a gentlmen who’d been out fishing stopped at my truck and offered me his hand warmers, saying they still had a couple of hours left in them and that I’d need them.

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December Buck & Wild Browns on The Little Juniata

Late last week I was torn between spending my Saturday on a Pennsylvania trout stream, or sitting in a treestand hoping a whitetail buck would walk by. I ended up opting for the treestand. I had spent a lot of time chasing fish in October and November and it took away from time I might have spent in the woods. I was fortunate to have some incredible encounters with a couple of bucks during the rut in early November, but the right shot never materialized.

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