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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
On Friday, I went to one of my favorite places to fish. It has beautiful water, all three major PA wild trout species, some big trout, and abundant wildlife.

I had discussed fishing this area with Mauser06. He had fished one of the tributary streams a couple of months ago and was anxious to try the main creek. We intended to leave a car at the upper end and then drive to where we would walk into the upper tributary stream and then down to the main creek and fish up to the second vehicle. Doing that saves the long walk back to the car. Unfortunately, he couldn't spare a whole day due to family obligations, which I totally understand. I was very happy to see that he was able to get out part of the day and catch a big brown and his first wild tiger trout.

I parked the car at a large gas line cut and made the long walk in. I saw two deer on the way in. I reached the tributary stream and I decided to fish upstream of the cut for a little while. I often walk down to the main creek and return to the trib if the fishing on the main creek is poor. The action was very slow, which was not unexpected due to the unusually cold overnight low temperatures, which were in the low 40s. I caught two wild rainbows and one native brook trout in the half hour I fished.

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The water temperature was only 49. I decided to walk down to the main creek and possibly fish the trib later. The walk down to the main creek took one hour.

I crossed the creek and walked down to a good holding spot. A small brown and then a medium sized brown followed my spinner without hitting.

I moved up to a nice pool and on my first cast, a dandy 15 1/2 inch brown took the spinner on the drop.
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The action the rest of the first hour was typically slow for that stream. In addition to the nice brown, I caught three small wild browns and a native brook trout. The water temperature was 51 at the beginning of the hour.

Hour two was a very productive. I caught two 15 inch wild browns before coming to this spot. Such a place simply has to have a big brown in it.
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It does!
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When I dropped the spinner under the log, the brute zoomed out without hesitation and took my spinner. I had to work hard to keep him from diving under the heavy cover but after several minutes, I landed, measured, took a picture, and released him.

Shortly after that, I caught a nice 14 1/2 inch wild brown. During the second hour on the main stream, I landed 9 wild browns and 1 wild rainbow.

The next hour produced 10 more trout; 7 browns and 3 brookies. The largest was an 11 inch brown.

Beautiful water abounds on this stream.
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Hour #4 had similar action, with 11 trout coming to hand (8 browns, 3 brooks). I lost a trout in the 15 to 16 inch range that I feel I should have landed.

I came to a spot that I hadn't fished in three years, but it's another place that screams big trout. On the first cast, I felt the weight of a heavy trout. It tried to burrow under the bank, then zoomed downstream. I kept it from hitting the fast water below me and brought him to hand. It measured 17 inches and was my second hog of the day.
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A little while later I cast to the head of a riffle and caught this nice 16 incher.
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8 trout (6 browns, 2 brooks) were caught in that hour.

The last 1 1/2 hours I fished produced 16 more trout, plus another lost trout in the 15 inch range. The last trout of the day was a very nice 9 3/4 inch brook trout. Unfortunately, the picture did not come out well. I saw a raccoon along the creek, highly unusual in the daytime. I watched him very closely to see if it behaved erratically. As soon as it saw me, it bolted up the opposite stream bank.

I fished up further than I had intended, due to the good action. I faced a dilemma; walk back to the mouth of the tributary stream, then walk up that stream to the gas line cut, then scale the hill and go back to my car. Estimated walking time: 3 1/2 hours, based on making this walk three years ago. The other option was to walk upstream to the gas line cut on the main stream, go up the steep hill, then descend to the tributary stream, then scale that hill and walk back to the car. Estimated walk time: 2 hours. I chose option #2.

I saw three more deer walking up to the gas line cut, including a fawn that bolted out of its hiding spot.

I made sure I took my time scaling the first hill, since it was so steep. I didn't want to lose my footing and fall, or put too much pressure on my heart, which is not used to this level of exertion. I also kept an eye (and ear) out for rattlesnakes.

The distance between the top of the first hill to the point where I would descend was longer than expected, but I finally made the long trip down the first hill to where the tributary stream flowed at the base of the next hill. I took off my vest and sat down in the creek to cool off. I took about a 20 minute break before getting ready to ascend the next hill. Finally, I could see the gate in the distance with my car on the other side. As much as I enjoyed the day, I was relieved to finally arrive safely at my car. I saw one more deer as I pulled out and headed home.

Overall, I caught 63 trout in seven hours of fishing. I had caught over 60 trout in one day on that watershed before, but most were in the tributary stream, never in the main creek. My previous highest day on the main creek was 41 trout. This day I landed 60 trout there. I had at least 12 trout hit and get off. In addition, I landed three trout of at least 16 inches, my previous best big trout day there was two.

It is obvious from the appearance of the larger trout that they are very fat and healthy. It is a fertile freestone stream. I didn't see many rising trout, but the stream has some mayfly hatches and lots of caddis flies. There are a lot of minnows in the creek and crayfish. I'm sure the bigger trout are also eating some of their fellow trout. In past trips, I didn't see many small trout there, so I was very encouraged to see a great year class of 5-7 inch trout.

The day exceeded all expectations, I thoroughly enjoyed it, despite the brutal walk out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
mauser06 said:
Glad you had a good day! And got into some very good fish!!


We'll have to try again sometime this summer!

Sure! Possibly the same stream provided it gets rain beforehand or some other stream.

I was going to fish today but when the alarm on my phone went off, I was hesitant to get up. I looked at the stream flow gauge of the stream I was going to fish and it had gone down and was lower than I would have liked, so I went back to sleep.

It turned out to be a good decision; the cloudy forecast with rain did not materialize. That stream fishes poorly when it's sunny.

I may fish tomorrow, but not that stream.
 

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Nice fish!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks guys. Because of seeing a bear in a different stream in that watershed on my previous trip, the number of bears I've seen there, and how active bears are this time of year due to it being mating season, I took my bear spray with me that day. I've only taken it with me a couple of other times and blessedly never had to use it.

I didn't see any bears. Although bears are common in that area, on most trips I don't see one.
 

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How long was that first brute?

You have a knack for pulling large wild browns from rather small freestone streams. I'm lucky to catch more than one or two big trout from such small freestoners in a year, much less one day. The remoteness of that watershed probably plays into the stream holding some big browns.

Congrats on catching three wild species in one day. You earned them with all of the walking you did.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks Frank. Sometimes I catch big trout in small freestoners because I use plugs or larger spinners, but that wasn't the case on that particular day. I used a larger spinner than you use but I'm sure if you had been there instead of me, that you would have caught the same big trout with your spinners.

The first big trout was the biggest of the day at 17 3/4 inches.

The stream's fertility and its remoteness along with suitable holding water account for the big browns there.

It's always nice to get three wild species in a day since so few streams have wild rainbows.
 
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