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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
August of 2016 has been very challenging as far as trout fishing. It has been more challenging for me since I am a "homebody" when it comes to trout fishing. I rarely drive more than 30 minutes to fish. It has been really dry here in august. All of the storms seem to be missing us to the north or the south.

I watch the precip maps every day and have noticed one tiny tiny (maybe 10 square miles) area near me that has been getting a lot of rain every time we just get a sprinkle. For example, the general area recieved half an inch of rain the other day, and this area showed 3 inches. When rain would miss the south, this area got in on the action. This pattern has been occurring all summer. This area does include some 2800ft ridges that are further west than any other mountains in the state, which explains why they get dumped on with precipitation. However, this area is so small that there are only 3 tiny native streams within its watershed. I have spent some time there while everything else was all but dried up and caught many fish like this.

You can see how small the stream is. It was pretty neat to find a microclimate like that, and it gave me a few days of fishing when everything else was a no-go.


Elsewhere, things have been as usual for august, waiting on storms and trying to time my trips at the high end of the receding and clearing water.


The trout were usually cooperative when I timed my trips correctly.



Prolonged periods of low water make stocked trout vulnerable to predation, even if the predator only gets to eat a dorsal fin.



The horse chestnuts here were already turning color.



But I have found larger streams that would normally be around 64-66 degrees, warm significantly when storms drop rain through 90 degree air. The WT at some places was just too warm to fish. I checked the temp one such wild trout stream, and before turning right back around, threw one cast and was not surprised by the result...


When spinner fishing opportunities are scarce, I tend to do more fly fishing just to keep me out there.


I caught this chubby 17.5" brown on a wax worm fly on an exploratory mission waaayy below the stocking limits of a popular stream in a section that I have never really fished before.



Today was a great day for fishing. I was able to make it out to a wild brown trout stream that has been too low for over a month. Today, it was just inside the "fishable" zone.


While climbing down over the bank, before any casts were made, I stepped down within an inch of the largest water snake I have ever seen. When I initially noticed its scales through the grass, and saw the girth, my first thought was "rattlesnake".

This water snake had the girth that only the largest of rattlesnakes have. After quickly pulling my foot away(Ok, I jumped backward), and looking again, I realized what kind of snake it was and I pulled my phone out for pictures. I spent maybe a minute trying to get a good picture, and it struck at me 4 times.

I forgot about snakes once the fishing started.



Then I spotted a more modestly sized water snake hiding in some beech leaves.

This snake never moved as I walked right past it. The curvature of a snakes body is what really sticks out to me. After seeing relatively straight and angled sticks all day, a smoothly curving line in the water is easily spotted.

The serpentine action wasn't over yet. I made it back to my car, and for the 2nd time this year, a copperhead was waiting for me, literally right under the drivers door, reminding me not to let my guard down even when I thought I was nice and safe at the car.



I have seen dozens of snakes this year, but also a relatively high number of venomous snakes (7). All of this is done while trying fairly hard to avoid them.
 

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I thought ya may have been able to get out this week. I've been watching the rains in your area and building anger as they all break apart on there way across the state but figured you'd had enough to get out a little. Did you find the trout to be pooled up a little following the long period of low water? That's the one thing that always gets me after long periods of low water that concentrate trout into major holding areas. You can get all the rain in the world but the trout need time to spread out. This usually happens on lesser streams. Typically Class As have decent habitat all over the place.
 

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Glad you were able to get out and catch some fish. Those are some really great pictures. I would surprised at the size of the watersnake.

You've seen 7 poisonous snakes this year? I've seen one rattlesnake and 2 copperheads while fishing in my life. Either they are more common where you fish or else I just don't see them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yep, 6 copperheads and 1 rattlesnake since June 1st.

Two larger streams were shown in this post. One of them had trout spread out nicely, and the other had them pooled together.

Today's smaller wild brown stream had them spread out to the point where I was catching them in a lot of "in between" spots. I spoke with a DCNR forester today in the parking lot and he said they will be timbering along the stream starting tomorrow and ending in 2018 so I'm not sure how that will affect the fishing in the future
 

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'ALONG THE STREAM' hopefully means they'll be a buffer!! If so then you should expect so much as a blip in the fishing after one summer. If they are logging right up to the stream like a certain brookie stream you and I both fish then yes it will have a huge impact like it did there. It's amazing that idiots in the logging industry and the gov are smart enough to just leave a small shade duffer. There are plenty of trees elsewhere.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The forester mentioned setting up a buffer on that particular stream so it shouldn't be a problem. There is another class A that I fished on july 31 that will soon be logged and there were quite a few trees that were partially growing in the water that had the "cut me down" orange slashes painted on them.
 

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I beleive that it was last year that the laws regarding raparian buffers were revoked and that you no longer are required to do so in most cases. I'm not 100% on the law though as a lot of Class A stream are 'exceptional value' (but not all). I think EV and HV (High Value) streams do still have buffer requirements. I'm currently working on a very large project in the poconos and we have a monster buffer around a small feeding stream to a class A water. We'd of had it regardless since I'm in charge but I was fine with the mandate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I thought about that too, but it didn't have the hog "nose" that a hog nosed snake has, nor did it do anything like hog nosed snakes do such as play dead or flatted out its neck. I had some close up pictures of its head but I have since deleted them. Some quick research on hog nosed snakes from PAherps says that hog nosed get up to 20-33" in length, and this snake was 5ft long at least. It was also sitting in grass right beside the water, and took to the water after I upset it . Then it hid underwater in a tangle of branches. Here is one more picture of it retreating and you can see how long it is.
 
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