Wild Brook Trout

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 bspring2Pennsylvania.  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 Sulfur Mayfly Dunfalls 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 surprise here.

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.

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