Our road trip took us to the State College, PA area to fish some of the creeks Doug had been to when he was out there at the US Youth FF Team Clinic, a few weeks ago. He wanted to show us some of the rivers he fished, and because the streams in our area were high, we decided to go for it. Our schedule was tight, and made tighter Sunday by directional complications (we got lost). Even so, we had a great time, caught fish, and look forward to going back again.
On Saturday we got to Spring Creek late in the afternoon, and before I was barely out of my car, Doug was geared up and on his way to the water. The river was in perfect condition; at a good level and slightly off color, with only two other anglers within sight. The river here is a series of pools with fast runs at their heads, and table top tail outs. Trout Unlimited has done some significant stream improvement on the river, which provides great holding water for all of the browns and rainbows that inhabit the creek. The weather was about as good as it can get; mostly clear with lots of puffy clouds drifting by overhead and the air temps in the mid 70's, and calm
And we made the most of it, with Doug starting off strong by hooking and landing a nice brown well before I had my waders on. As I quickly got my gear ready, I watched as he hooked a couple of more fish. When I got down to the stream where Doug was, he was beaming and talking faster than I could listen - the gist of which was that I needed to get my ass in the water and start fishing. He was fishing a two nymph rig without any split shot, just as he had learned at the clinic for competition fishing. Seems he has it figured out.
We slowly worked our way up the river, fishing all of the water you see in this photo as far up as you can see.
As we worked our way upstream, Doug continued to fish nymphs with good success. The first hour or so I fished nymphs as well, and took a few nice fish before the rising trout around me convinced me to switch to dries. There were freshly hatched cinnamon caddis hovering a few inches over the water surface, which indicates an emerger is in order. I tied a #16 Iris Caddis to the end of my 6X tippet and shortly was into a nice brown. As the evening wore on we continued to take fish - Doug with nymphs, and me with dries. By eight o'clock or so, Sulphurs were hatching well, and the trout switched over to feed on them. I changed flies to a Sulphur Usual, and took a bunch more fish before it finally got too dark to see (or were we too hungry to fish anymore?). In short, Doug and I both did quite well, catching landing the same number of fish each. Here's a typical Spring Creek brown.
On Sunday we drove (the long way) to Penns Creek to give that a shot. The river was on the low side and slightly off color. I found a nice wide riffle and soon Doug was planted along side of it drifting his nymphs through the milky water. The sun was hot and the air was very humid, sometimes cooled by a breeze. I sat downstream of Doug on a concrete bridge and watched as he carefully worked the entire riffle with tuck casts, and good rod and line control. He hooked many fish, and landed quite a few. Very impressive for this being his first time on this water in less than ideal conditions. Here he is working his "comp" two nymph rig through the run.
Sunday afternoon we went back to Spring Creek to give that another go. By then it was hot, humid and really not the best weather for fishing, but that's what we had and we made the most of it. The river was clear and cool, and a trout friendly 64 degrees. Both Doug and I fished nymphs, working the water as we did the night before, and we took fish. The action was as you would expect on an afternoon like this - we had to work for our fish.......and a snake. Yep, Doug managed to hook a 4-foot long water snake in the tail! Now that was fun. At first he wanted to save his flies, so I tried to get it close while holding his leader, but the fast water we were in finally broke the tippet and the tired snake made it's way to the bank, flies still attached. It was much too pissed off for us to even attempt to get near it, so we left it alone and worked our way upstream.
That was our latest adventure. This weekend we have planned another. This time with Austin, who is joining us from Birmingham, AL, whom Doug met when Austin was a guide at a ranch out in Wyoming.
Ya'll stay tuned....and sharpen your hooks.