Falling Spring Run Fly Fishing Guiding and
At one time Falling Spring Run near Chambersburg Pennsylvania was perhaps the best little trout
stream in the US. I know that's hard to believe for many people but consider that this little gem of a stream had
one of the longest Sulfur hatches from mid-April to November and the perhaps the best Trico hatch of any stream in
the country. The Tricos started in late May some years and went into November also. The stream attracted fly
anglers from all over the country. It was like fishing a small English limestoner where large trout would rise all day. In fact, this is
what made this stream such a gem: the fish would rise for insects throughout the day and into the evenings. To
put it bluntly we were spoiled. We used nothing but bamboo rods and fine tippets. It was probably the best few
years of fishing anywhere in the country. What happened to the stream? Well to put it bluntly this is not the
place to go into all the things that contributed to the decimation of the stream including the politics and
environmental destruction but a few things will explain Falling Spring' s down fall.(Mayfly shown is an early season Sulfur Dun (Male; Ephemerella rotunda Morgan;
Copyright 2007 E. Macri).
The beginnings of Falling Spring' s downfall start with the farming practices that occurred for
generations along the stream. This is extremely rich soil and produce some of if not the highest yields of corn and
other crops in the state of Pennsylvania. The runoff from the farms was destroying the substrate on the bottom of
the stream. The stream was getting wiped from sedimentation and the chemical from the fields. In 1979 a sewer
line went in along the stream for miles that put the
final touches on the stream. This sewer line is the reason that there is so much development now on Falling
Spring. The local TU (Falling Spring Trout Unlimited) has done some good work with stream improvement and a
greenway project and this has helped some but the stream never recovered no matter what anyone tells you. And
those nicely manicured lawns are dumping more than water into the aquifers and creek these days. The
cumulative and synergistic effects of all of this put an end to one of the best little trout streams in the
world.(Photo shows Falling Spring in Chambersburg PA. Note the cress and typical English
Spring Creek look; Copyright 2007 E.P. Macri)
Is Falling Spring still worth fly fishing? Absolutely! But please don't believe the lies that
many guides and fly fishing people are telling about the stream and it's
great hatches especially the Trico because you'll be sadly disappointed. You do get a few Tricos in the summer
months in a few sections especially where Falling Spring goes through Chambersburg but these emergence are
usually small and are hit or miss. At one time the Tricos were so thick on Falling Spring that they looked
like clouds of smoke. Because there is not the impetus for the fish to rise, the fish are very spooky in most
sections of the stream. This is important to understand because the stream is for the most part shallow and
any approach other than perfect on bright days will put the fish down. (This photo shows
the willows that line sections of the stream and springs that enter Falling Spring along its route; Copyright
2007 E.P. Macri).
Directions to Falling Spring
Falling Spring is right off of I 81 and Route 30 in Chambersburg. The following maps should get you
there if you need more info please contact us. The maps are in PDF files.
Highway Map to
Falling Spring Evaluation
Overall Ecological Condition: 1.9 out of 5
Fishery: 3 out of 5 (There is a good population of wild fish in many sections of the stream and few
big ones also. Although poaching is still a problem on the stream).
Hatches: 2.4 out of 5
Fly Fishing Pressure: 3.5 (higher number indicates less pressure)
Fly Anglers' Success Ratio: 2.5 (Note: refers to a skilled fly angler)
Falling Spring Notes
[ADSENSE_0000000557]Falling Spring is a shadow of what it once was and it makes me want to cry.
This little gem of a limestoner had some of the most prolific hatches I have ever witnessed on any water in the
country. The cumulative affects of the sewer line and development has put an end to that. The best strategy on
Falling Spring is to scope out an area and find a few fish. Watch the fish carefully. If the fish are on a feeding
station or lie you can probably have a chance with a small nymph. If you get lucky you may get a few sulfurs or
even a few caddis in the evening to bring the fish up. On some stretches you'll get a few fish rising for
terrestrials. Fur ants and deer hair beetles usually work well and don't forget to try a Letort Hopper or Cricket.
Midging trout against the banks can always be found if you have the patience and stealth to fish without spooking
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© 2009 E. P. Macri Jr.