Much like Spring Creek, the Little Juniata River suffered greatly from its unfettered use as a disposal system by upstream communities. By the mid 1960's municipal and industrial sewage had turned the Little "J" into a mess. Like most limestone streams, however, the river has amazing recuperative powers. Clean water legislation and its implementation caused a rapid rebirth of life in the river, and by the late 1980's, the Little Juniata was home to trout and prolific hatches. Although there was an as yet undetermined pollution event in 1996, by the turn of the millenium there were once more abundant insects and trout. There appears to be enough natural reproduction that the PA Fish Commission has discontinued the stocking of fingerling trout, once thought to be essential to maintaining the fish population.
There are many access points the length of the Little "J", but most anglers seem to prefer the water upstream of Spruce Creek or downstream near Barree. The Little Juniata is a river, and, because of its size and volume, proper attention to wading is essential, even during low flow periods. Major hatches to be encountered include Grannom caddis, tan caddis, March Browns, Sulphurs, Blue-winged Olives and Tricos.
Spruce Creek must be a footnote in this discussion. The bulk of Spruce Creek is club water, with acces by invitation only, or a private water maintained for fee fishing. A short but beloved, half mile stretch of this water owned by Penn State University is open to public fishing. It contains some of the prettiest wild brown in the state and is located near Coleraine State Park on PA Rte 45. This tiny but productive stretch is fittingly named after George Harvey, the dean of American flyfishing.
Map ©2012. Used with permission. "Trout Streams of Pennsylvania" by Dwight Landis