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limestone streams

Joined:
2012/2/12 13:45
From Stewartstown PA
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Looking for a little bit of advice on fishing limestone streams.I am comfortable on freestone and tailwater streams but not on limestones.I was fishing on Big Spring Creek this past weekend and never really felt comfortable. I fished primarily tandem nymphs , usually a scud or cress bug with a zebra midge.I tried with a small thingamabobber indicator,a dry fly as an indicator,no indicator and high sticking.I did get one small rainbow while using a dry fly as an indicator. I did not try swinging any soft hackles that day.Any advice on techniques for this type of steam would be most helpful.

Posted on: 2015/1/6 9:13


Re: limestone streams

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2010/6/26 11:19
From Along the Lehigh Above the Gap
Posts: 132
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Single fly.

Posted on: 2015/1/6 10:16
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Re: limestone streams
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Quote:

atticus wrote:
I fished primarily tandem nymphs , usually a scud or cress bug with a zebra midge. Any advice on techniques for this type of steam would be most helpful.


Your fly choice was fine. Your experience is a common one when FFers first visit the Cumberland Valley.

My usual advice to CV newbies is to embrace the reality that trout in these creeks are bottom feeders and live on a year round diet of scuds, sculpins, midge pupa, and cress bugs. This isn't to imply that you won't find rising fish, you can, and there are hatches as well (mainly sulphers and BWOs) but for someone used to fishing upstate or in the Catskills....it's often a big disappointment. You can fish for days (esp this time of year) and not see any surface activity around here. This fact combined with the slower, weedy nature of the stream makes it even tougher as the fish are often not visible. As for tips, I advise moving slow, avoiding wading as much as possible, and sitting down to watch the stream. When you see a fish, present a small scud (scuds around here are grayish/olive and small, #16 and under are best) or cress bug and you can often hook up. In areas where there is current, fish a scud/cressbug just like you would any nymph anywhere else. These sections with current are often good places to catch fish. In the summer, terrestrials can produce too (including hoppers) although, in my experience, the terrestrial bite is not as great as it has been made out to be by many angling authors.
Fishing weedy creeks such as those in the CV is a tough learning curve . To learn more, take some time to read thru the many reports and discussions on these creeks here on PAFF - you're not the first person to ask about this challenge. I'd also highly recommend you get a copy of the book Spring Creek Strategies (Mike Heck, Harrisburg: Stackpole Books, 2008).

Posted on: 2015/1/6 10:38


Re: limestone streams

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2015/1/2 18:13
From Cumberland Valley
Posts: 67
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I fully agree with Fishidiot. With my self being within a half hour of the Breeches, Letort, and Big Spring, I have plenty of time to learn from these creeks. These fish in Big Spring do mainly feed on scuds and cress bugs and rarely come to the surface. Even though some days where there is a good hatch going they might come to the surface, I almost always stick with scuds, cress bugs, and an occasional midge. Hint: try using a blood midge, always works for me. I also recommend Mike's book Spring Creek Strategies. Fishing the Cumberland Valley spring creeks is not the easiest place to fish without practice. Once you fish it a few times and get to know how the fish act in the stream, then you will catch more fish. I started fly fishing Big Spring and the Letort when I was a kid, trust me, it is not that easy so don't get discouraged. If I'm on Big Spring and I catch 2 fish all day, that is a good day. The same with the Letort. The biggest thing to remember for these creeks is that the water is gin clear giving the fish an advantage, there are loads of cress where they can run to cover or spend all day rooting around in to get scuds and cress bugs, and finally it once again is all about presentation. I hope these tips help you out fishing Big Spring. Good luck and welcome to spring creeks. Breeches

Posted on: 2015/1/6 11:28
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Re: limestone streams

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2010/7/6 20:36
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I am by no means at all an expert on spring creeks and I am not claiming to be. But I feel as if I can offer some advice here. When I first started fishing limestoners (big spring letort) I always felt like I was doing something wrong. I would tell myself, I am spooking everything, My leader is to heavy, my fly is wrong so on. To add to all this frustration I NEVER saw many fish.

Than one day i just said to myself you know I have been fishing since I was 4. I have caught fish by every method known on hundreds of bodies of water. I KNOW HOW TO FISH! Why was I stressing out so much when I got to these streams. The myth and legend of these streams is intimidating to newbies (me included) that people forget to just relax and fish. Once I just said to hell with it. If I spook every fish so be it. I am going to fish how I know and just have fun. Than and only than did I catch a few fish. Now I kinda think of it like bass fishing. Those trout are in those stinkin weeds its just my job to get them out. Also just like bass fishing you just cant be affaird to get hung up and loose flys. Its going to happen and at some point those streams are going to make you look like a fool.

Also as others have said scuds, Cress Bugs, Streamers is basically all you need. I know lots of gentlemen on this board get into dry fishing I just personally have not witnessed it. From my limited experience Id say dont count on it. I have Fox's " This Wonderful world of trout" and Marinario's "Modern Dry Fly Code" and the streams they describe of lots of free rising fish is far from what my eye's have witnessed. But I suppose that is 70 years of development and Progress.

I also second the advice of fish slow, do not wade and observe.

Posted on: 2015/1/6 17:25


Re: limestone streams

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2014/8/2 20:20
From Mechanicsburg
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Don't get down about it. Big spring sees a lot of pressure for how small it is. After some weekends it looks like an army marched right along the banks.

Fishidiot's advice of observing the stream is spot on. Don't just sprint up to the water flailing a rod around. Sit back and really analyze the water, and how you should best approach it.

I'm always curious about stories that it was loaded with huge fish. Don't get me wrong, I've seen and caught some large fish in it. Were those storied fish stockies?

Posted on: 2015/1/6 17:45


Re: limestone streams

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2012/10/24 19:22
From Landenberg, PA
Posts: 389
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oh i've seen some real nice bows - over 20" and i've only fished there twice.

two were sitting under a downed tree, and the other one was sitting in 18" of water a foot off the near bank near that big concrete block just above the car park opposite T351.

i also saw a bunch at the mill race opposite Springfield - i think that may be the start of what you call 'the ditch' maybe ?

and when i was packing up once a young lad showed me a picture of a 22" bow caught nymphing that morning in the fast where the log triangles are.

there is an awful lot of water to fish on big spring, what you see depends on where you are - i haven't even fished the weed beds up around Oak Flat rd...

Posted on: 2015/1/6 18:46
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Re: limestone streams

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2007/5/29 14:32
From SE PA - Montgomery County
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Quote:

geebee wrote:

two were sitting under a downed tree, and the other one was sitting in 18" of water a foot off the near bank near that big concrete block just above the car park opposite T351.


Not anymore . . .

Posted on: 2015/1/7 11:51


Re: limestone streams

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There are big fish but you should have seen it 30 years ago. They were in the ditch. It was nothing to see 25 fish in the 4-5 pound range and a handful in the 6-9 pound range. There were also some found way below the ditch section if you knee where to look. It's really changed and hold fewer browns in the first mile or two.

Fishing the CV classics can make you second guess yourself. Observe first...fish second.

Posted on: 2015/1/7 12:08
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Re: limestone streams
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2006/9/9 9:29
From Monessen, PA
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I have fished many limestone creeks, including Big Spring Creek and Letort Spring Run. I was never frustrated by the fish or fishery, but was often frustrated by my fishing.

Posted on: 2015/1/7 12:21
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Re: limestone streams

Joined:
2012/10/24 19:22
From Landenberg, PA
Posts: 389
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Quote:

CLSports wrote:
Quote:

geebee wrote:

two were sitting under a downed tree, and the other one was sitting in 18" of water a foot off the near bank near that big concrete block just above the car park opposite T351.


Not anymore . . .


my last visit was in August, so i think he may seen a few flies since then

Jack, any clear water trouts are an education that is for sure.

imho on spring creeks and tailwaters, if you can see fish and are not thinking about your fishing, you are probably not catching any fish.

Posted on: 2015/1/7 13:00
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Re: limestone streams

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2006/9/11 11:34
From Lehigh Valley
Posts: 52
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One sucky day doesn't mean much...I would trust the advice given but mine is keep trying

Posted on: 2015/1/8 19:32


Re: limestone streams

Joined:
2013/3/7 12:27
From Sintrul Pinnsiveenya
Posts: 160
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Ain't nae fish'n 'em cricks ...

Posted on: 2015/1/8 20:40

Edited by JG63 on 2015/1/8 21:25:10
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Re: limestone streams

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2013/8/6 21:44
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Quote:

JG63 wrote:
Ain't nae fish'n 'me cricks ...


Has the Cumberland Valley been taken over by Scots, or old timey pirates?

Posted on: 2015/1/8 20:55


Re: limestone streams

Joined:
2013/3/7 12:27
From Sintrul Pinnsiveenya
Posts: 160
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a wee bit o' Scotch Irish ta be sure.. But seriously, as stated before there is no shame in a one fish day on our CV Spring Creeks. CLOUDY DAYS, skinny tippets on 14 foot leaders, and keen observation are force multipliers. Look into the stream not at it. I still get skunked after 30+ years on Big Spring and Letort.

Posted on: 2015/1/8 21:18
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