Fly Fishing for Brook Trout on Spring Creeks
Eugene P. Macri Jr.
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© 2010 E. P. Macri Jr.
The Cumberland Valley of Pennsylvania is blessed with many of the finest spring creeks in the
world. Unfortunately, the state has done little to protect these natural treasures. Nevertheless,
the return of Big Spring Creek near Newville, Pennsylvania shows what can be done with science in
managing a stream rather than the politics of a hatchery truck. The Brook Trout in Big Spring are
amazing creatures. These fish grow all year in a water temperature range of 46 to 50 f. This stream is
within a few hours of major metro areas throughout the East Coast and can produce fish that look like they came
from the wilds of Labrador.
The fish are beautiful to say the least. Here is a wild Brookie from Big Spring Creek in
Pennsylvania. Unlike many Brookies in
freestone streams these Brookies will rise. Big Spring has the return of a great Sulfur Hatch
(Ephemerella rotunda (invaria). These mayflies emerge from early May into October. On any
given day or afternoon you are likely to see rising fish many of them Brook Trout. The trout also
respond well to spinner falls of the Sulfurs during the evening.
These trout however are very tough to catch even for experienced fly anglers. Anyone who thinks Brook
Trout are not selective because they fished for them in a sparse mountain stream environment is in for a
In this stream the fish may drive you nuts at any given time because of fly selection, approach,
wariness, or even the size of your tippet. You have been warned. This selectivity is a result of the
penthouse living conditions of the trout. There is always something to feed on in this stream including
scuds, cressbugs, mayflies, caddisflies, stoneflies, and sculpins just to mention a few.
One of the most demanding problems is the fact that mayflies and midges may emerge all year long on
this stream. Brook Trout especially seem to love midges both the larvae and the adults. There's nothing
like trying to catch a 20 inch midge sipping Brookie on a size 26 midge! Don't worry we have some secret
patterns and methods to give you a better chance at hooking one of these monsters.