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Limestone Stream....

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2010/8/9 16:23
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I'm a bit of a trout 'noob. So what exactly is a Limestone Stream; and what makes them so special?

Also, what is a free-stone stream? I've seen these terms used and am just a little unsure of what they actually mean.

Posted on: 2010/8/18 17:42


Re: Limestone Stream....

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From Bozeman
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Freestone rivers are primarily sourced by runoff, whereas limestone are sourced mainly by ground water. For this reason, limestoners have a natural pollution buffer, as well as more consistent temperatures. They also tend to be more fertile, since the ph is naturally regulated by the limestone and other nutrients dissolved in them.

Freestone streams do take on spring seeps usually, but the bulk of their flow is from rain.

Posted on: 2010/8/18 17:49


Re: Limestone Stream....

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Usually a limestoner originates as a spring creek which basically is a hole in the ground that gently spews water. As Jay says they are very fertile and as a result create a heavy nutrient base for scuds, shrimp, cress bugs, etc. Again, due to the rich nutrients, one often associates weed beds that you will not find in freestones such as cress, elodea, etc. I have found these weed beds more prevalent in Cumberland Valley limestone streams such as Letort, Big Spring, Falling Spring and certain creeks of VA. My understanding are some limestone streams outside of the Mid-Atlantic region, however most are concentrated in this area. Spring originating limestone streams are generally low gradient. As Jay mentions temp and flows are very consistent. If you want to see something funny, look at USGS gauging site for Big Spring.

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/pa/nwis/uv? ... period=7&site_no=01569460

<.5 celcius temp change and practically no change in flow. That is due to the fact that the spring originates the water, versus being dependent upon run off, snow pack, etc of a freestone.

Note that freestone streams often get shots of cold water from cold limestone creeks. A prime example of this would be Yellow Breaches where "The Run" from the lake dumps tons of cold, hard water into the stream. Someone can correct me on this, but I think LJR and Penns are both limestone influenced freestones as well.

There are a few limestone streams in your neck of the woods (NY). Of course the thing that stinks about limestone is the sinkholes that swallow your house up and the hard water that destroys appliances and pipes. It does make for great farm land, thus all the agriculture in central PA.

If you want a ton of info on limestone creeks, check out Mike Hecks book which is reviewed in the Book section of this forum. It is an amazing work on the subject matter of spring creeks and limestoners.

Posted on: 2010/8/18 18:55


Re: Limestone Stream....

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Thanks for the info. Are there any limestone streams in Central, NEPA, and SEPA?

Posted on: 2010/8/18 19:10


Re: Limestone Stream....
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Across PA, limestone streams are much less common - but are most common in valleys in SCPA (Cumberland and Franklin Cos)and central PA. They're also pretty common in the Lehigh Valley. Freestone streams are the more common, rocky bottom streams and rivers that you see across the state that are currently flowing low and warmer. Some streams in the areas where limestoners are common are sort of hybrids with characteristics of both. As previous posters have said, limestoners are spring fed. They are often weedy, slow flowing, and relatively small and don't flow too far. When I think of limestoners, I usually imagine watercress. They stay cool in ths summer and often don't freeze in the winter. An example of a classic, full bore limestone stream would be Letort, Little Lehigh, or Falling Springs. Mixed streams that have a bit of both would include Penns Creek or Yellow Breeches. Limestone streams are rare to non-existent across western PA or north of I80.

Posted on: 2010/8/18 19:35


Re: Limestone Stream....

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2009/9/24 15:02
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check out Mike Heck's book... "Spring Creek Strategies." It'll give you all the info you need to fish any spring creek you'll encounter. Not sure of his user name, but he posts on this board...

Posted on: 2010/8/18 20:27


Re: Limestone Stream....

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2007/1/2 11:55
From Bozeman
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Most well known trout streams in central and south-central PA are limestoners. The same is true of the lehigh valley.

SEPA has a few, but I ain't talkin'.

Keep an eye open for this book:

http://www.amazon.com/Trout-Unlimited ... one-Streams/dp/0811729443

DO NOT spend that kind of money for it. That's just amazon scammers trying to make a buck off idiots. I got it for $5 or so.

Posted on: 2010/8/19 9:57


Re: Limestone Stream....

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I have read both and found Mike Heck's book, "Spring Creek Strategies." to be much better. Just an opinion.

Posted on: 2010/8/19 11:57


Re: Limestone Stream....

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Agreed. I have both, but I was attempting to answer his question about where to find limestoners.

Armstrong's book lists them by region, so I think it would be helpful. It's basically a stream guide. Heck's book is more general use/tactics, and less stream locations.

I don't even really read the armstrong book. I just use it as a reference for where to go. I keep it with Meck and Landis in my car. Heck's book is more of a cover-to-cover reader.

Posted on: 2010/8/19 11:59


Re: Limestone Stream....

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Very valid point.

Posted on: 2010/8/19 12:05


Re: Limestone Stream....

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2010/6/19 16:43
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jayl, I agree too, I have both books." Armstrong's Guide to Pennsylvania Limestone Streams" is exactly that, a guide and/or a reference book. Mike Heck's book"Spring Creek Strategies" is more of a how-to book. Both books subject matter are completely different.

Posted on: 2010/8/19 15:59
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Re: Limestone Stream....

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2009/4/1 21:52
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From my own observations watercress and limestone springs usually show up together , clear cold water with watercress at the edges and it's usually a limestone.

Posted on: 2010/8/19 16:23


Re: Limestone Stream....

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2009/7/29 10:25
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great answers on limestone streams, but the question also asked 'bout freestone streams, and there's more to say about the differences.

Classic limestone streams have not only spring water that moderates water temps, but they may also have have actual limestone geology that acts to neutralize acidic water from decaying plants. The fertile/less acidic water in some limestone creeks may hold more subsurface and surface insects, and potentially more fish, and bigger fish.

Some freestone streams that drain swampy or hemlock-dense areas have tannic, more acidic water, and little limestone in the geology to neutralize the acid. A freestone stream like this is infertile and has less insect life relative to a classic limestoner that has both springs and acid-reducing limestone geology.

There will be fewer bugs and smaller fish in a tannic mountain freestone stream than a classic limestoner. Also, the fish in a tannic mountain freestone stream are less likely to be brown trout, and more likely to be brook trout, which evolved in colder forest water and better tolerate tannic water.... (note: there are limestoners with brookies, but there may be few brown trout in tannic streams that have a lot of brookies)

If a freestone streams drains undeveloped mountain land without limestone geology, it may be cold enough to have a good population of smallish brook trout (up to 10 inches, usually smaller). If so, it can be fun to fish with dry flies _because_ it is relatively infertile -- the lack of subsurface and streambred surface bugs leaves the fish with a summer diet heavy on bugs that fall in the water! Toss a dry fly... smack. Sometimes two fish clear the water trying to grab it.

Not much point in fishing flies that resemble subsurface watercress-dwelling insects in a tannic infertile mountain stream, because those bugs aren't there. (Still, fish in infertile streams have to be opportunistic, so they might hit whatever you toss 'em.)

But on a classic limestoner, sinking flies that resemble the subsurface "cress bugs" that the bigger trout gorge on may be the way to go. (see watercress comments above) The water may be clear, and the fish may be wary. I've had fish emerge from the undulating water weeds of the classic PA limestoner The Letort and smack a dry fly, but they have stuff to eat below the surface and can be tough fish to catch.

Great thing about this part of the country: we have nice stream examples that range from fertile classic limestoners to infertile brookie mountain tumblers.

Sometimes freestone versus limestone fishing can imply a change of scenery: at the extreme, mountain (freestone) versus meadow (limestone).

Posted on: 2010/8/19 17:36


Re: Limestone Stream....

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wsender,

Here's a post I made awhile back how i find some of the hidden limestone streams in our state. It goes more into depth about the differences.

Post

Posted on: 2010/8/20 1:44
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Re: Limestone Stream....

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2006/11/2 8:50
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Quote:

jayL wrote:
Most well known trout streams in central and south-central PA are limestoners. The same is true of the lehigh valley.

SEPA has a few, but I ain't talkin'.

Keep an eye open for this book:

http://www.amazon.com/Trout-Unlimited ... one-Streams/dp/0811729443

DO NOT spend that kind of money for it. That's just amazon scammers trying to make a buck off idiots. I got it for $5 or so.


Try some used bookstores in PA.

Also check Addall.com. They have some available at lower prices than Amazon. There's a copy for $10 and several in the $20-something range.

Posted on: 2010/8/20 11:55



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