Road Trip !!!
During the week leading up to the weekend of June 13th & 14th, 2015, I started to develop an itch to go on a road trip to north-central Pennsylvania in search of the wild trout that inhabit the beautiful little mountain streams of that region. I kept my fingers crossed that the water-level gage on a particular stream that I monitor would stay above my minimum requirement for a worthwhile journey north.
By Friday the gage still looked favorable and my itch had turned into a severe rash. My plan developed quickly: I would fish locally in south-central PA on Saturday so that I'd be tired enough to go to bed extra early on Saturday night, then I'd get up early on Sunday morning for a trip to God's Country.
Since the mountain freestone streams near where I live in Blair County are all low, on Saturday morning I opted to fish a small stream fed by limestone springs. I knew it too would be low for mid-June, but I kept my fingers crossed that it wouldn't be too low to enjoy.
The trout were out feeding and hitting my White Bead Gold spinner well. After the first hour I had logged 16 little wild browns in my notepad, and after the second hour I was approaching 40 trout.
Spicebush offered some cover for the trout. Sadly, many of the trout were already congregated in the deeper pools for protection from predators. In one deep pool I cranked out a dozen brownies, all but two of which were between 10" and 13".
I was able to cast against the bank and under an overhanging shrub in one deep pool, and this 16" wild brown trout was my reward.
I haven't caught a lot of big trout this year, so here's another photo of the same trout to make it look at a glance like I was really into the big trout.
After 7.00 hours the action pretty much died. Overall, I tallied 107 trout. Considering the conditions I was very satisfied.
On Sunday morning I woke up before the alarm at 2:55 a.m. I was excited about my first road trip of the year. By 3:30 a.m. I had my chariot fired up and pointed north. My destination was a small mountain stream where I hoped the wild trout would be eager to attack my spinner.
I began fishing at 6:13 a.m. just as a hard rain moved in. It was so dark in the hollow that I could barely see my spinner dangling in front of me before each cast.
Occasionally a trout was landed, but the action was slow.
A doe snorted behind me as I stood in the four-foot wide stream. As I turned to look for the deer I caught a glimpse of something in the water near my feet moving rapidly. I blinked and instantly a second something, now identified as a little fawn, ran past me in the water like the first one not two feet from my hip boots. They ran up the streambed and then cut up over a steep bank. I was startled to say the least. The hair on my neck stood on end. Good thing I had packed an extra pair of undies in the back of my vest.
The stream was small and not flowing as much as I had hoped. Had I had a decent Plan B I may have bolted early.
But I knew from being there before that the stream changes character regularly and has some decent pools.
Gradually I settled into some decent angling and just enjoyed the surroundings as much as the tug on the end of my line.
Some pretty little native brookies were caught and released.
And occasionally a wild brown made the mistake of striking my spinner. I always like it when I'm fishing a little "brookie" stream to catch a wild brown because this increases my anticipation when I come to one of the better pools where a large brown may call the place home.
I saw just one specimen of purple fringed orchis all day, but it's been years since I've seen even one.
I also heard many birds while working my way upstream into the headwaters. Bird songs I could identify included a scarlet tanager, yellow warbler, black-throated green warbler, red-eyed vireo, ovenbird, Acadian flycatcher, veery, blue jay, ruby-throated hummingbird, belted kingfisher, rufous-sided towhee, American crow, and American robin.
The stream often changed characteristics and improved the farther I got upstream.
And a native brookie typically showed itself in each spot.
I was surprised when no trout hit in the deep area below and to the left of the middle whitewater.
But when I tossed my spinner into the right side of the pool I found out why. After catching mostly little trout, when this wild brown tapped my spinner and began to fight it about took my arm off. I knew I had on the prize of the day from such a tiny stream.
After 6.75 hours I decided to call it a day. My notepad showed 144 trout had been caught and released. It took me 84 minutes to walk back to my SUV and 2.50 hours to drive home. But I had a refreshing day in God's Country.
- Frank Nale -