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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
3 For 300

Despite low water levels and blistering heat, as well as my justifiably low expectations, I've been able to scratch out three decent outings this past week.

On Monday, July 11th, 2016, I pulled into a streamside parking spot about 5:00 a.m. This gave me enough time to boot-up and hike downstream to where I wanted to start casting spinners by first light.

As an experiment, I began about a hundred yards below my normal starting point where I had started a little more than two weeks earlier just to see if the trout were less educated in the ways of spinners there. The air temperature was 57-degrees and the water was 56-degrees.

My gamble paid off. In the morning's first light the wild brownies were hitting my homemade spinner like they had never seen metal before. A dozen trout were landed in the first half hour.



Then the action died when I reached my normal starting point. I couldn't resist quitting and walking about a third of a mile downstream to see if the trout would be uneducated there, too. But when I arrived downstream a fly angler was there so I walked back upstream to where I had quit and began casting again. Bummer.

Considering my lack of good options, I continued to fish despite just so-so action. Just after 8:00 a.m. this silvery 17.5" rainbow nailed my Pink Tread Silver spinner.



After some smaller trout were duped, this 15" wild brown grabbed my spinner.



Since it was a very attractive fish I kept it underwater and took a few more photos.



At a braid in the stream this 19" rainbow destroyed my spinner and put up quite a battle on my 5-foot ultra-light spinning rod.



I was lucky to land it despite having re-tied my spinner to fresh monofilament moments earlier.



Later, this uniquely black-spotted wild brown trout was caught. I know I've said this before, but the different colorations of wild brown trout in the same stream always amazes me.



While fishing I came upon a catbird in distress. Further investigation revealed a black rat snake up in a black willow tree likely intent on having young catbirds for lunch. The adult catbird sometimes hovered within inches of the head of the snake, likely trying to frighten it away. So goes nature...



I quit after 5.50 hours and 66 trout when two fly fishers, after stopping on a bridge and looking directly at me, seemingly discussing what to do, decided to start not twenty yards in front of me. Nice.

From there I went to my planned second stop, a medium-sized freestoner that was now a small freestoner. The WT was 62-degrees and the flow was quite low as expected.



The streamside scenery was nice.



My challenge was to catch 34 more trout for the day.

The stream holds some beautiful wild browns.



And I wasn't disappointed even though the action went back and forth from good to lousy at times. Thirty-five trout were caught in 3.00 hours, giving me 101 trout in 8.50 hours for the day.



The walk back to my SUV was a hot one.

I picked up a bag of litter on the way.



On Wednesday, July 13th, I went to a very popular section of a very popular stream hoping to capitalize on the fact that it was a Wednesday.

To my amazement, the trout were actually hitting quite readily in the low water. I didn't see much sign that the trout were grouping-up in the deeper pools like I had seen on other small limestoners. The riffles still held trout. Eighty-four trout were landed in 6.75 hours before I came to some "No Trespassing" signs.



From there I wanted to pick a stream where I thought 16 more trout could be caught in the low water. I chose a small mountain rivulet.

In 1.75 hours 16 trout were caught, including this little beauty.



For the day I ended with 100 trout in 8.50 hours.

On Friday morning, July 15th, I chose a small spring-fed stream lined with forget-me-nots.



The trout were hitting surprisingly well. In 7.25 hours 107 wild brown trout were pulled from its waters.



During the walk back to my SUV I found a clump of butter-and-eggs, a common wildflower in the snapdragon family.



Overall I had three unexpectedly good outings at a time when low water, high humidity, and intense heat would suggest the results should have been more like my low expectations.

Frank Nale -
 

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Those are some nice steelhead, I mean rainbows. Did they jump a lot after being hooked? I lost a few rainbows today as they leaped high into the air like most rainbows that I catch do. I am still intrigued by the steady and healthy flows of the limestone spring streams that you fish. I have hours and hours of research in trying to find the closest limestoners to me, but it always comes back to me having to drive at least 90 minutes, and that is only if I go into another state.
 

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Ya great pics Frank. You always have good shots but these ones are just crisp and sharp. Sounds like pretty 'normal' fishing from a hourly standpoint. Nice to be able to achieve this time of year! Good work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
troutdoorsman said:
Those are some nice steelhead, I mean rainbows. Did they jump a lot after being hooked? I lost a few rainbows today as they leaped high into the air like most rainbows that I catch do. I am still intrigued by the steady and healthy flows of the limestone spring streams that you fish. I have hours and hours of research in trying to find the closest limestoners to me, but it always comes back to me having to drive at least 90 minutes, and that is only if I go into another state.
The first rainbow was caught in riffles about knee-deep on a long cast of perhaps 60 feet. It fought pretty good but never went airborne.

The 19"er was more of a burrower, as it made several deep runs, a couple of which were into the brush. I was very lucky that it didn't wrap me up.

As far as limestone streams go, they basically start on the eastern side of the Allegheny Front, meaning Bedford, Blair, and Centre counties and to the east. I don't know where you live, but from what you've written it seems to be somewhere in the southwestern portion of the state. To my knowledge you won't find any limestoners in that area.

You probably know this, but the reason they maintain their flows better than freestone (runoff) streams is that they are fed by springs coming from aquifers. The way I like to picture it is having, say, a 3" pipe poking out and over to the stream from a quarry (blue hole) full of water. The 3" pipe represents the limestone spring, and the quarry hole full of water represents an aquifer. That 3" pipe would run steadily for a long, long time before it would drain the quarry full of water, and by then hopefully the aquifer would have been replenished by precipitation. The aquifer acts as a buffer against lack of rainfall.

Of course, not all freestone streams are created equal. I know of one, for example, that maintains a pretty decent flow even in drought. Though only a few feet wide, I've seen it flowing more than Kettle Creek during widespread drought.

I hit the limestone streams in my area pretty hard when rainfall is lacking like it is now. I pretty much rotate the streams or stream sections on a two to three week basis, so the trout get very educated. I'll be able to do this much more thoroughly than before since I got permanently laid off on June 24th.

By the way, I'm curious. Do you teach calculus? The reason I ask is that a number of years ago I met a guy at the Jaffa Outdoor Show in Altoona from southwestern PA who was a calculus teacher and at the time was just getting into spinner fishing. Could that have been you? Have you ever meet me?
 

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I teach physics, but I have an affinity for calculus. You almost met me last year, but my fishing companions backed out of the road trip to your spinner fishing seminar.

The limestone streams in Bedford are the closest in PA for me. I haven't visited them yet. I have fished some of the big name limestoners that are further away while on business trips or a trips with other anglers. There are some limestone streams in WV and MD that are about the same travel time. WV intrigues me and I think I will explore those streams in the future. I have experienced less competition on the WV freestone streams near me, and less competition during trapping season down there. I anticipate the same on their limestone streams since they don't have a "season" for trout.

I am sorry to hear about the lay off, unless it was for the better. Certainly trout fishing is better than working though.
 

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Great pics and some great fish!!!



Troutdoorsman, the wild rainbows I recently caught...many of them went airborne...none were BIG...but boy it's a sight...and I lost a good number while they were in the air...they absolutely freak out clean till I release them...

In April.. fishingthe same creek, I would tell a rainbow strike from the brookies nearly every time...they didn't jump in April...but they hit very very hard...

I've only steelhead fished once..(and got skunked..).and haven't caught a ton of even stocked rainbows...but after catching the wild rainbows I gotta go steelhead fishing this fall...if they fight like the wild rainbows I better bring my shark rods!
 

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If you go steelhead fishing in the Erie tribs, be prepared for very crowded fishing. Elbow to elbow in some places. Some people stomp right through the head of pools that others are fishing. I haven't fished the Erie tribs for years because of it, and don't intend to go back. Some people aren't bothered by crowded conditions; but I am.

Just wanted you to be prepared if you go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
One of the things I've observed in over 37 years of spinner fishing is that trout on catch-and-release streams generally don't fight as hard as trout that haven't been caught as often, regardless of species. They seem to know the drill and just want to get released as soon as possible.

I do agree that rainbows tend to fight the hardest and are the most likely species to go airborne.
 

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I agree. I sometimes catch trout on C&R stream sections that come in easily.

I catch a lot of rainbows that clear the water, but I also catch a lot of browns that jump. The highest jumping trout I ever caught was a 19 inch brown that jumped above head height three to four times in succession and a couple of lower jumps after that. I was fishing with a friend that day and neither of us had ever seen a trout jump like that.

Brook trout are the least likely to jump. It happens so rarely, that I'm shocked when it does.
 

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I've seen brookies jump maybe 4-5 times in my life.

When I was out west, I found that cutthroat are not jumpers although rainbow-cutthroat hybrids will. Bull trout fight deep and almost never clear the water.
 

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If I ever do go back to erie I'd go with a couple college buddies that I went with last time...don't remember where we were...they caught a few bit usually theu do pretty well...but there weren't many people...in fact I don't remember seeing really anyone..


Michigan has more true salmon and steelhead runs..not like the erie fish that are basically stocked and come back....i always left right as the salmon were starting in the fall..and by the time I got there in the spring they were gone...

Now, maybe I aughta learn to fish for them and go up once in a while when they are running...

I'd also like to fish the famous Hex hatch...they get some giant browns..bit the rivers are too big to go alone..
 

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The Erie tribs are all small streams except for Elk Creek, which is larger but still not big.

You are correct; there is not much natural reproduction of steelhead in the Erie tribs. Almost all of the fish are stocked as 6-8 inch fish. Brown trout of similar size have been stocked the last few years. There is probably a better chance of them reproducing than the rainbows.

I fished a tributary of Lake Michigan when I was in high school. It was a pretty large stream. It had both steelhead and salmon in it. Salmon are no longer stocked in the Erie tribs because of poor returns.
 

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Why can't I catch trout to.that degree of.success with spinners. In the Friday of the July 4 th weekend and friend and I floated the lower yough from ohiopyle to Brunner run. I didn't.catch anything. She caught one. But that was a whopper. She said I'm snagged. I saw her rod bending and said you have a fish. It exploded out of.the water a.good 18 inches. It was big. Under the raft it went I was able to spin the raft around. Again it jumped. Big. I finally got the net and it into the net. We released it. No photos. I would say close to 18 inches but fat. 5 foot rod with new 4 lb test. But I never catch the number of trout you guys do.
 

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Fishing from a raft is different than wading to begin with. I don't know why you're not catching many fish since I've never seen you fish. Many people use spinners that are too light (size 0 or 00). Ultralight spinners don't get down deep enough, which is critical. I never use sinkers when fishing spinners; it hurts the action. I recommend using spinners that are at least 1/8 oz. You can use larger spinners on large streams like the Yough.

Frank Nale has a list of tips that he presents at his Spin Fishing for Trout presentation. He has posted that list on this forum in the past. I'm sure he wouldn't object to posting it again. It's the most comprehensive list of tips I have seen.

I'm not saying that you attain Frank's level of success, but following those tips will definitely help you catch more trout.
 

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peddle-paddle said:
Thanks. That.trout was caught on a cp swing size 1
A CP Swing with a #1 blade only weighs 1/12 oz. and is too small for most streams. I believe most of your problem is your lure wasn't getting deep enough. I recommend that you use lures that are a minimum of 1/8 oz. The blade size of CP Swing that is 1/8 oz. is a #3. Just so you know, a #3 CP Swing blade is the equivalent of a #1 Mepps or Blue Fox blade. For large streams like the Yough, you can use a #5 CP Swing or a #3 Mepps or Blue Fox.

I recommend that you tie the lure directly on the line and don't use a swivel.
 
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