The top fly hatches on Pennsylvania Spring Creeks at this time are the following:
- Sulfurs (Ephemerella invaria (rotunda)) Size 14-16 Emerging late due to hot conditions. Trout will take the nymphs all day in some sections. Spinner falls are erratic and are now occurring in the early morning hours (4-5 a.m.) on many streams
- Tricos (Tricorythodes various species; but mostly minutus) Very sporadic and not reliable. The tricos have decreased dramatically over the last 20 years and you must be on the stream at the right time. Due to hot conditions strange emergence on most waters. Remember most of the males emerge at night and so if you see the males at night you probably will get some hatch early in the morning. Sizes: 18-22 Trout will take the nymphs during the hatch and sometimes they are the best flies to fish. Also, Macri’s Sunken Spinners work.
- Light Cahill (Stenacron various species) Size 16 These creamy flies are making a come back and they are popping on some spring creeks including Big Spring. Yellow Breeches has many of these although not in great quantities but they are coming off in numbers at night.
- Midges (Colors: Brown, Tan, Cream, Greyish-Brown, Red) Sizes 18-32 These flies are prevalent and are in great quantities and the emergence patterns although sporadic brings the fish out especially in the mornings and evenings. Fly anglers will have better success fishing imitations underneath the water.
- Caddisfllies Goera and similar small golden tan patterns around size 16-18 are popping sporadically throughout the day on most of the spring creeks. Small Elk Hair Patterns work well if the fish are feeding.
The conditions are not good for fishing. The extreme brightness and extreme heat makes fishing tough. Although the water temps in these streams are constant 46-50 f there’s not much insect activity until evenings and later. Insects tend to have some type of internal thermostat and will hatch at the coolest time of the day or night. The hatches have been getting later on most streams for the last 20 years due to the effects of global warming (yea I know this isn’t really occurring …well think again).
The best time to fish these spring creeks right after day break or after the sun goes down. Unfortunately, most of the best spring creek water is fly fishing and you must be off the water 1 hour after sunset. The fish may not yet be feeding because the hatches coming off will often wait till after midnight.
Spring Creeks are coming under attack world wide! You won’t read that on any state site that has spring creeks and with good reason they don’t want anyone to know. This is a world wide phenonomen and includes a steep decline in the insect and invertebrate populations. I spoke before about the chemical soup that enters our streams from the air, water, and land but most fly anglers don’t get it.
Well it’s getting close to the end and it may happen in the next 10 to 15 years. I have been doing studies and monitoring the famed English Chalk Streams which are pampered by the English River Keepers and they are showing the same problems! When you paint all streams with a broom scientifically this is what you get. The methods used to properly evaluate and monitor streams are a joke. You’ll still be able to fish the stream but they won’t be what they are now which isn’t great as compared to what they were 40 to 50 years ago. The states will just stock some hatchery pets in them and that’s what they will call limestone spring creek fishing.
To all the fly anglers who think this isn’t important, remember this: The Spring Creeks are the Best Trout Streams what chance do your freestone streams have!!!!! Chew on that for a while because the party is almost over.