Fall in the Midwest

October 20, 2019 Comments Off on Fall on Penns Creek Fishing, Uncategorized

Fall on Penns Creek

Jordan Baker told Daisy Buchanan, “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” While Jordan or Daisy aren’t very likable characters in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby, there is some truth to these words.

Fall is one of the busier times of the year in my life. Back to school has me running around like a chicken with its head chopped off. However, a long-weekend fly fishing with a breath of fresh air on a trout stream does the soul a lot of good. Visiting The Feathered Hook in Coburn, Pa is no exception. Jonas and his crew do an excellent job hosting and preparing breakfast at this Bed-and-Breakfast nestled right on the banks of Penns Creek much to the enjoyment of me and my dad.

Low water on Penns Creek in mid-October
Low flow and sunny skies made the fishing challenging on Penns Creek.

You don’t need a meteorologist to tell me or anyone else, it’s been dry around these parts this fall. Penns was flowing around 90 cfs. This was much lower than the 550 cfs we experienced back in May. With exposed boulders and water moving at a snails pace, 6x and small flies were a necessity to catch these weary trout.

Fishing a size 18 SOS nymph pattern, I found myself to be reasonably successful when approaching from downstream only. With an October Caddis as a dry on top, this fly served as a serviceable dropper, picking up a good share of fish when considering the conditions.

Brown Trout in water
A Healthy Penns Creek Brown Trout that fell for an SOS

While the water may have been low, cool nights made the water temperatures very safe and productive to catch some trout.

The night’s ended with trips to Elk Creek Cafe & Aleworks in the neighboring town of Millheim. For those in the Central Pennsylvania region, this spot must be checked out. Locally sourced food supports the local economy. Their food is no exception as in the year I’ve been going there, I’ve never had a bad meal or beverage.

Brown Trout should be spawning very soon. This pre-spawn mode usually triggers a good bite window and aggressive fish. Many of the folks at The Feathered Hook were talking about the desire to streamer fish. With flows as such, streamers probably weren’t the best idea although admittedly if given the opportunity, I would have fished them.

Brown Trout in net
Trout are in pre-spawn mode and beginning to pack on the pounds before winter

This recon to Central Pennsylvania wasn’t super successful in terms of numbers of fish. But one week later, I’m longing to be back there. The refreshing purpose the trip served has me eager for more. You know you have a fly fishing sickness when you spend the ride home discussing when your next trip will be. I guess the void is filled by writing about fly fishing instead.

Winter is Coming, to quote Game of Thrones. We’ll be locked indoors for a few months very shortly. I just hope there are breaks in the weather to get outside. I guess I’ll start filling the steelhead boxes with eggs and swing flies in the coming days. Will that fill the void of trout fishing? No, it will not. There is no substitute for Brown Trout. The Brown Trout is a survivor and has adapted to conditions in American rivers for over 130 years. It is a rewarding fish. It will test your patience and angling ability. When you leave the river, it’ll make you a better angler and thankful for each opportunity you have. For those who can’t appreciate trout, I’m sorry. I guess it’s just an addiction I’ll have to live with.

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