My annual work trip to SC PA allows me to explore an area that I would otherwise not visit. Each year I plan a few new streams to try. This year I made it to two different streams. I fished a total of 7 hours over 2 days and didnít see any other anglers.
I am sure many will recognize the first stream as it is a popular limestoner. For the last few months I did some heavy reconnaissance on this stream. Most everything Iíve read said how difficult this stream is to fish, and how finicky the bite can be. This information didnít deter me though. I read the same thing about the last few limestoners Iíve tried and I did just fine.
One of my favorite things about fishing limestoners with the light colored substrate in the stream bed is the high contrast of trout as they follow a spinner in.
The lower reaches of the stream produced stocked trout almost exclusively.
Coming from the private property rights capital of the world in SW PA where every tree has a posted sign on it, I was amazed on how accommodating the landowners were along the stream.
The biggest trout of the trip was an 18Ē rainbow which came from a deep run adjacent to a perfectly manicured and landscaped backyard. The landowner said he had seen that fish a few times over the last two weeks but hadnít been able to catch it.
One of the last stocked trout I caught before the action switched over to all wild fish was a tiny little golden rainbow trout. I actually caught it in complete darkness inside a tunnel. I walked out to get a picture. Iím sure this type of fishing precludes many anglers from this section of water. Last year I caught 7 goldens, but the 3 years prior that that, I didnít catch any. I never go out of my way to catch GRTs but I do like to catch at least one each year. I was pleasantly surprised to get that out of the way so early this year.
For the next hour or so, as mentioned above, I spent an inordinate amount of time inside tunnels. I actually caught a few fish in the dark despite not knowing where to cast.
I followed a tributary that ďdead endedĒ where the stream seemingly spread out into a natural marsh/pond.
Further investigation showed that that tributary went from stream to marsh back and forth a few times before disappearing into a hillside.
Back on the main stream it was a 50/50 split between rainbows and browns.
Although I saw a big wild brown nearing 20Ē in length, the biggest wild fish landed was this 12Ē brown.
This rainbow was also 12Ē and nicely finned. It doesnít look as pristine as the wild rainbows that I catch from wild bow streams back at home, so I considered it a stocked fish.
5 hours on this stream gave up 68 trout. I ended when I reached a section where I was no longer allowed to fish.
As I was exiting the stream, a piebald doe crossed in front of my. It can be seen on the bank to the left of center in the picture below, between two branches. I had the zoom maxed out on my iPhone 4. There were a few sulphurs buzzing around, but nothing impressive. I didnít see any rising fish either, which was much different from a similar looking limestoner that I fished last year during the same week. Luckily, that had no bearing on me catching fish.
The next trip was to a mountain stream.
The fishing and wading seemed much more familiar on this type of water. Wild brooks and browns cohabitated here, with browns outnumbering the brooks around 4-1.
Pausing to take this next picture gave me time to notice the line twist I had accumulated. It was time to cut and re-tie.
The stream didnít seem to lose much volume as it wound deeper into the forest.
This trip lasted only 2 hours with 33 trout coming to hand. On my hurried walk out, I noticed an ash tree that still had some leaves on it. Averaging 14 trout/hour over the 7 hours I fished new streams was satisfying. I would have been happy with anything over 10 trout/hour on a work trip.
Each time I see one of these clinging to life, I wonder if itís the last green ash leaf I might see.
I already have my streams picked out for next yearís SC PA trip.
The last thing Iíll show is my new rod. I donít invest much in rods anymore. I used to buy high quality rods for top dollar prices but they just never lasted. The last two years, Iíve just been using whatever I can dig out of my garage. This past winter, I decided to assemble a usable rod out of components that would be considered garbage. The top section of my new rod was found along a stream last year. The top two guides were broken off so I shortened it and put a new end guide on. The only thing printed on the top section was the word ďgraphiteĒ. The bottom section of my new rod was also found along a stream. It is a Jimmy Houston Micro Master. The two scavenged sections did not fit together so I had to cut about 3 inches off of the bottom section so it was narrow enough to accommodate the top section. Finally, the reel was an old shimano that I had in a broken pile. I took it apart, cleaned and lubed it and now it works well enough. The resulting rod is 4í8Ē long. It reminds me of the maestro pool stick from Seinfeld. Its actually pretty stiff due to how much I cut from each section. I have incredible accuracy with it. It has been tested through about 1000 trout already, many snags, and a few falls.