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Spring Creek Report

September and October were extremely dry, resulting in low, clear water all over the center of the state. Even approaching the fish was difficult, and flies had to be #16 and smaller, with emphasis on the "smaller." Twenty four hours of steady rain late in the month changed all that, and at the time this update is filed, 3 November, Spring Creek is well above normal flow with only about a foot of visibility. I took my PSU class to the Paradise yesterday, and they had a tough time of it. The only fish caught was on a woollybugger. Spring Creek will slowly retreat to lower levels with more clarity, but it will not take too much rain to discolor it.

In a sense the rain was just in time, since the fish will begin to spawn very soon. The heavy flow scrubbed the bottom and got rid of algae and silt that complicate the process of redd (spawning bed) selection and preparation. More flow also shields the trout from Spring Creek's heavy population of predatory birds and provides more water to utilize. This brief discussion of the spawn brings up an interesting point--whether or not to fish during the spawn. Older anglers would have voted a resounding "no" on the issue of fishing at this time of year. The angler of today tends to fish year round, including now.

There is a middle ground between these two extremes. Most anglers believe that fishing to actively spawning fish is not sporting, so let's agree to avoid them and the places they most commonly use. Trout reproduce most actively in riffled areas of fine-to-medium gravel that are 12-18" deep. Another favored spawning locale is the tail of a long pool, just before the water breaks. When you do see fish on the redds, have the good sense to back away and let them to proceed with business. What makes central PA so unique is its abundance of wild fish and insects. They must spawn successfully for our outstanding angling to continue.

There are areas where fishing will not negatively impact the spawn. Trout working the water downstream from spawners for drifting eggs are not themselves spawning. Fishing for them will not impact the spawners. Similarly, nymphing deep runs is fine. Lastly, trout rising for midges are either finished reproducing or too immature to spawn. By mid-December the spawn is effectively over.

The PSU home football season is over with the exception of the Nebraska on 18 November.


Spring Creek Stream Gauge