Stream Conditions

Here is a quick peek at a few area streams. If you add in the many other lesser know waters along with all the little mountain native brook trout streams in South Central PA, the angler would not have time during the year to fish them all. You could say are area is blessed a wide variety of fishing options.  Any skill level, beginner to advanced will be quite satisfied with the angling opportunities here!  I invite you to spend a day or two with me.

Falling SpringsBig SpringYellow BreechesConococheagueLetort

 

Falling Springs

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The Falling Springs is one of the three designated limestone wild trout fisheries, and fly fishermen nationwide recognize the Falling Springs as one of the best limestone waters in the East. The Falling Springs with its constant water temperatures makes for a great year round fishery. Most of the Falling Springs Heritage trout angling flows through picturesque meadows and historic homes. Here you can find a great population of wild rainbows, many reaching 20+ inches. There is also a good population of wild brown trout. The delayed harvest flows through Chambersburg. Surrounded by willows and beautiful homes makes it hard to believe you are fishing in town. 

The entire stream is blessed with a diversity of mayflies and caddisflies. Some early season black stoneflies can be found late January into March.  Mayfly season gets kicked off with the BWO's wich appear from Mid Feburay into April.  Then they show back up in October.  Most popular are the hatches of sulphurs, black caddis and tricos. The black caddis will start in late April and go all summer.  Sulphurs will begin mid-May into June.  The tricos will appear from July into the fall.  Year round hatches of midges and the important terrestrial fishing rounds out the opportunities presented to the fly fisherman.

River Flows 

The Falling Spring is a spring creek which flows very constant throughout the year. Right now the water temperature is 52 degrees and clear in the fly only area and clear downtown and 53 degrees. Flow is normal.

Hatch Info 

Midges, BWO'S, tan caddis, black caddis, tricos, terretsrials, 

Hot Fly Patterns 

Be prepared with a variety of patterns because these wild trout can be picky. Day in and out trout can be taken with properly fished nymphs, dries and streamers.

  • Dries: M.H. #20 baetis snowshoe emerger, #20-#18 BWO CDC emerger, 18-20 BWO com[para-dun, 18-20 BWO, 18-20 BWO parachute,20-#22 gray deer hair caddis and CDC caddis, #18 Tan caddis, #18-#20 black caddis and black CDC caddis, #22-24 MH trico snowshow emerger, #22-#24 male trico spinner w/CDC, krystalflash or antron wings, #22-#24 Female dun and #22-#24 Female spinner w/CDC, krystalflash or antron wing

  • Midges: Gray, tan, white or olive hackle midges and CDC in sizes #20- #24, #20-#22 Griffith's Gnats, #18-#22, ICSI midges in #18-#24,  Brassies and my Mike's Midge Pupa in sizes from 20 through 24, tied to 7X are good bets if you encounter midge sipping trout

  • Terrestrials: #14-#18 black fir, deer hair and foam ants, #16-#20 cinnamon ants and fire ants, #14-#20 black foam beetles, #14-#20 Crowe beetles, #14-#12 crickets, #14-#12XL Letort hoppers. 

  • Nymphs: #14-#16 Shrimp in olive, gray and orange, #14-#16 Shenk's Cress Bugs in olive and gray, #16 Mike's Sulphur Nymphs, #18 Mike's Baetis Nymphs, #16- #18 Pheasant Tail Nymphs and flashback PT's, #16- #18 Bead Head Pheasant Tail, #14-#18 Red, olive, cream and tan midge larva, #18-#14 Hare's ear nymph w/wo bead head, #14-18 red and pink san juan, #14-#18 green or yellow caddis larva w/wo bead, #14-#18 black stonefly nymph, #14-#18 Copper John's and other colors of red, chartreuse and black.

  • Streamers: Olive, black, brown and crystal woolly buggers #6-#10, Shenk's white minnows and sculpins #10-#6, Olive, black or gray zonkers #6-#8, #6-#8 black and tan clawdads, #4-#6 Big Eye Rainbows, even muddler minnows can entice a strike.


Big Spring

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Much has changed since the hatchery has been shut down.  Big Spring is now fishing much like a wild trout stream. Now one can find trout outside what was locally known as the “ditch”.  This once dead stream is now on the rebound.  There is plenty of trout to be found within the catch and release water and good angling below the project water.  The stream is filled with some stream-bred rainbows and brown trout.  The past population of stream-bred brook trout is on the rebound.  Thanks to some stockings of brook trout fingerlings, many stream-bred brook trout have begun to appear within many reaches of the stream. I was fishing with Charlie Meck during the spring of 2005 and landed a nice 14” wild brook trout well below the ditch area. 

Trout here have become spooky and wary.  Fly angler must fish with caution.  Many of the deeper runs and riffles will hold trout and wading upstream is best of a low side approach.  A well placed cress bug or shrimp fished dead-drift will usually work since that is their primary food.  Other good nymphs include san juans, pheasant tails, caddis and streamers to complete the fly box.     


During the recent electro shocking survey, they found 1,500 catchable trout.  Future plans include more stream restoration to the catch and release section of wild rainbow trout.  There is also a healthy population of wild brown trout.  Both rainbow and brown trout grow to great lengths.  Many reach the 21-inch mark and over!  The average length lies within 12 to 18 inches.  

River Flows 

Water level and temperature remains relatively constant throughout the year. The flow is normal, clear and 52 degrees. 

Hatch Info

Midges will hatch throughout the day.  BWO's and assorted caddis are very spotty.

Hot Fly Patterns

  • Midges: Gray and olive hackle midges in sizes #20- #24, #20-#22 Griffith's Gnats, #18-#22 Brassies and my Mike's Midge Pupa in sizes from 20 through 24, tied to 7X are good bets if you encounter midge sipping trout 
    Dries: #18-#20 M.H. Snowshoe Baetis emerger, #18-20 Traditional BWO's, BWO Compara-duns, BWO parachutes and BWO emergers,#20-#22 dark gray micro caddis, #22-24 MH trico snowshow emerger, #22-#24 male trico spinner w/CDC, krystalflash or antron wings, #22-#24 Female dun and #22-#24 Female spinner w/CDC, krystalflash or antron wing

  • Terrestrials: #14-#18 black fir, deer hair and foam ants, #16-#20 cinnamon ants and fire ants, #14-#20 black foam beetles, #14-#20 Crowe beetles, #16-#12 Letort crickets, #14-#12XL Letort hoppers.

  • Midges: Gray, tan, white or olive hackle midges and CDC in sizes #20- #24, #20-#22 Griffith's Gnats, #18-#22, ICSI midges in #18-#24,  Brassies and my Mike's Midge Pupa in sizes from 20 through 24, tied to 7X are good bets if you encounter midge sipping trout 

  • Nymphs: #14-#16 Shrimp in olive, gray and orange, #14-#16 Shenk's Cress Bugs in olive and gray, #16 Mike's Sulphur Nymphs,#18 Mike's Baetis Nymphs, #16- #18 Pheasant Tail Nymphs and Flashback PT's, #16- #18 Bead Head Pheasant Tail, #14-#18 Red, olive and cream midge larva, #18-#14 Hare's ear nymph w/wo bead head, #12-#16 brown and black stonefly nymphs, #14-16 Yellow Caddis larva w/wo bead, #12-#16 Green caddis larva w/wo bead, #14-#18 Copper John's and other colors of red, chartreuse and black,  #12-#18 prince nymph w/wo bead, #14-#16 sucker spawn in  green, yellow and pink. 

  • Streamers: Olive, black, brown and crystal woolly buggers #6-#10, Shenk's white minnows and sculpins #10-#6, Olive, black or gray zonkers #6-#8, even muddler minnows can entice a strike.


Yellow Breeches

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The Yellow Breeches porvides many opprotunities for the fly fisherman.  The breeches is heavily stocked with browns, rainbows and broot trout that become very selective.  The breeches also has a very nice population of wild trout as well.  Most anglers fish within the 1-mile “catch and release” stretch of the Allenberry Resort.  Good fishing can be had for holdover and wild trout on the many, many miles of open regulated water. 

The Yellow Breeches has a wide diversity of hatching insects. Hendrickson and BWO's are the early season openers.  Little black stoneflies will be hatching as well.  The Grannons appear in April and a must fish hatch.  Of all the insects, the “Breeches” heaviest hatches are the black caddis, sulphurs and tricos. The most famous is the White Fly Hatch.  Summer will also boast a brown drake hatch during the evening.  One can not leave out the fantastic midge fishing. To round out the fishing, the Breeches is also well known for its terrestrial fishing.

Most anglers fish within the 1 mile "no-kill" stretch at the Allenberry.  The regulation section is great but some outstanding water can be found outside the special reg. section.  In the "open water" one can find both streambred browns and holdover trout without the crowded fishing. It is a stocked stream and stocked several times a year. The Yellow Breeches has a wide diversity of hatching insects. Of all the insects, the "Breeches" heaviest hatches are the black caddis, olive-bodied tan winged caddis, sulphurs and tricos. Some good Hendricksons and brown drake hatches can be fished over as well.  The most famous is the White Fly Hatch and lets not leave out the fantastic midge fishing. To round out the fishing, the Breeches is very well known for its outstandingterrestrial fishing and toughest  midge sipping trout around.

River Flows

The Yellow Breeches is effected by runoff. If the main stem is high and muddy you can always fish what the locals call the "run" which is a spring feeder found in Boiling Springs.   Right now the breeches is 1.02 at Camp Hill, tinted and 75 degrees. 

Hatch Info

Sulpurs!!! Midges and few BWO's are light, gray caddis tan caddis black caddis, tricos.  

Hot Fly Patterns

  • Dries: #20- #18 CDC BWO emergers, #18-#20 M.H. Snowshoe Baetis emerger, #18-#20 BWO, #20-#18 BWO compara-duns, parachutes, #16-#14 crane flies. #18 Tan caddis, #18-#20 black caddis and black CDC caddis, #22-24 MH trico snowshow emerger, #22-#24 male trico spinner w/CDC, krystalflash or antron wings, #22-#24 Female dun and #22-#24 Female spinner w/CDC, krystalflash or antron wing
    Midges-Gray, tan, black, cream and olive hackle midges in sizes #20- #24, Gray, tan, black, cream and olive I.C.S.I. midges in sizes #20- #24, #20-#24 Griffith's Gnats, #18-#22 Brassies and my Mike's Midge Pupa in sizes from 20 through 24, tied to 7X are good bets if you encounter midge sipping trout 

  • Terrestrials: #14-#18 black fir, deer hair and foam ants, #16-#20 cinnamon ants and fire ants, #14-#20 black foam beetles, #14-#20 Crowe beetles,#16-#12 Letort crickets, #14-#12XL Letort hoppers.

  • Nymphs: #14-#16 Shrimp in olive, gray and orange, #14-#16 Shenk's Cress Bugs in olive and gray, #16 Mike's Sulphur Nymphs,#18 Mike's Baetis Nymphs, #16- #18 Pheasant Tail Nymphs and Flashback PT's, #16- #18 Bead Head Pheasant Tail, #14-#18 Red, olive and cream midge larva, #18-#14 Hare's ear nymph w/wo bead head, #12-#16 brown and black stonefly nymphs, #14-16 Yellow Caddis larva w/wo bead, #12-#16 Green caddis larva w/wo bead, #14-#18 Copper John's and other colors of red, chartreuse and black,  #12-#18 prince nymph w/wo bead, #14-#16 sucker spawn in  green, yellow and pink. 

  • Streamers: Olive, black, brown, white and crystal woolly buggers #6-#10, Shenk's white minnows and sculpins #10-#6, Olive, black or gray zonkers #6-#10,#6-#8 black and tan clawdads, even muddler minnows can entice a strike.


CONOCOCHEAGUE
& OTHER MOUNTAIN STREAMS

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River Flows

The Conococheague and many of the smaller mountain streams are freestone streams so they are affected by rain and air temperature. The water level on the Jig is 1.50.  Water is stained and temperature is 72 degrees.  

Hatch Info

Midges, caddis, tricos-lower end

Special Report

The PA fish and boat commission classifies the Conococheague as "approved trout water" The stream is closed to fishing from February 1 until 8:00am on the opening day.

Hot Fly Patterns

  • Dries:  #20- #18 CDC BWO emergers, #18-#20 M.H. Snowshoe Baetis emerger, #18-#20 BWO, #20-#18 BWO compara-duns, parachutes, #14-16 Adams, #14-16 March Brown, #14-16 Gray Fox, #18 Tan caddis, #18-#20 black caddis and black CDC caddis, #22-24 MH trico snowshow emerger, #22-#24 male trico spinner w/CDC, krystalflash or antron wings, #22-#24 Female dun and #22-#24 Female spinner w/CDC, krystalflash or antron wing

  • Terrestrials: #14-#18 black fir, deer hair and foam ants, #16-#20 cinnamon ants and fire ants, #14-#20 black foam beetles, #14-#20 Crowe beetles, #16-#12 Letort crickets, #14-#12XL Letort hoppers.

  • Midges: Gray, tan, white or olive hackle midges and CDC in sizes #20- #24, #20-#22 Griffith's Gnats, #18-#22, ICSI midges in #18-#24,  Brassies and my Mike's Midge Pupa in sizes from 20 through 24, tied to 7X are good bets if you encounter midge sipping trout 

  • Nymphs: #16 Mike's Sulphur Nymphs,#18 Mike's Baetis Nymphs, #16- #18 Pheasant Tail Nymphsand Flashback PT's, #16- #18 Bead Head Pheasant Tail, #14-#18 Red, olive and cream midge larva, #18-#14 Hare's ear nymph w/wo bead head, #12-#16 brown and black stonefly nymphs, #14-16 Yellow Caddis larva w/wo bead, #12-#16 Green caddis larva w/wo bead, #14-#18 Copper John's and other colors of red, chartreuse and black,  #12-#18 prince nymph w/wo bead, #14-#16 sucker spawn in  green, yellow and pink. 

  • Streamers- Fishing streamers on the Jig can be the ticket for stocked trout or native brook trout. A good selection would consist of #14 Mickey Finns, #12-#8 woolly buggers in black, white, brown or olive, #8- #12 Shenk's white minnows and black sculpins.


Letort

 

Out of all our South-Central PA streams, the Letort is by far the most famous.  This is where terrestrial fishing began. The brown trout of the Letort are extremely skittish.  Patience, the ability to sneak about and the proper fly presentation are all needed to be successful on the Letort.  Brown trout populations continue to rise and trout over 20” are present. Midges hatch year round. Blue Winged Olives, black stoneflies, sulphurs and tricos hatch during their given seasons.  Terrestrial fishing becomes the norm over the summer months and good streamer techniques are a must for this legendary limestone creek.

Many of the once heavy hatches of sulphurs, BWO’s and tricos have yet to fully recover with the pesticide spill in the mid 80’s.  But these flies still hatch and certainly provide for some nice fishing and will make the elusive Letort browns rise to these and other hatches.  Fishing a hatch can be an easier way to find the wary brown trout from outside their hiding spots—hint, hint!  Other hatches include early black stoneflies, black, tan and olive caddis.  Midges are always present and you can’t leave out the terrestrials. Remember, the LeTort is where terrestrial patterns find their roots!  So fly boxes should be full of patterns to match the hatches, streamers and don’t leave out the cress bugs and shrimp patterns