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Approaching a Spring Creek Vol. 4 - The Letort is a Girl

2006/9/9 17:18
From lancaster county
Posts: 1190
I was unable to attend the 2012 Newbie Jam and give this presentation due to work obligations. I apologize and really put a lot of work into my presentation. I know some of you had been looking forward to it and here is the written version I've been sitting on for awhile. I hope you enjoy!

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Part 1:

"Tim Johnson reached the side street that ran in front of the Radley Place, and what remained of his poor mind made him pause and seem to consider which road he would take. He made a few hesitant steps and stopped in front of the Radley gate; then he tried to turn around, but was having difficulty.In front of the Radley gate, Tim Johnson had made up what was left of his mind. He had finally turned himself around, to pursue his original course up our street. He made two steps forward, then stopped and raised his head. We saw his body go rigid....Come here...Don’t you go near that dog, you understand? Don’t go near him, he’s just as dangerous dead as alive."

The above was some quotes from to Kill a Mockingbird published in 1960. It is you every second your on the stream fishing for spring creek trout. Its true.

As a Lancaster County angler I have forever been under attack by one of the most unpredictable animals ever made, farm animals. Ever been? These are not only creatures of burden and they have an angry curiosity that is extremely dangerous. Ever been attacked by something while fishing? Geese and ducks are the same way with nests and young. I can't even tell you the amount of times I've been chased, bit, kicked, completely wet from swimming away and almost had my heart explode! I have even been scared by a deer! It all comes down to one little word. Proximity. The Bull doesn't really hate me and I know not to fish wearing red, but he hates my location. He saw me, hes curious and I'm scared. I'm in is territory, so I really should be scared. Really though, take time to think about this now and not at the time it happens to you because then its only time to run.

Just pick a way to fish. The problem with you and nature is you are foreign. I don't know if it is our minds that have disconnected us from nature with the use of things like technology, but we have alienated ourselves. Indians were more in tune, just ask Manitou and a brook trout. So now your going to fly-fish for these amazingly shy fish. Honestly.....and you expect to have success? We are a walking cancer & virus on this earth and people are nothing more but king of it all to these animals. Stop and breath in the sweet honeysuckle for a moment or look at the flickering sunlit leaves. I'm proposing you take a trip to a classic limestone spring creek, knee deep in muck and leave your rod at home. That's right, don't fish. Enjoy nature, take your time...........slow down. Take the entire day and even pack a lunch. I want you to creep along somewhere in the transitional borders of shade and grassy wind swept sways, and prowl like a swamp tiger. Move slow and do not make a sound. Blend in. Sit still for long periods of time, watching and waiting. Sit still so long that you start to get the feeling the birds don't notice you, until you feel nothing short of accepted. See that dog, hes not barking is he?

All this time not trying to multitask on spring creeks as been more special than the trips fishing for the trout in them. Before you end up like Tim Johnson with the poor mind at Radley gate with a mean dog, take these trips and give yourself up to the Letort. She will show you vast wonders that boggle the mind. See poor Timmy didn't know which way to go, stutter stepping and turning around all hesitant and such. When you go without a rod things become easier because you now have one simple goal besides enjoying the day and stream. You will see more fish and as long as you stay back and observe, she just might let you peek too because Mrs. Letort, is a total tease. No reason to get “trout fever” and go bum rushing into a bad situation, just smell that sweet sweet honeysuckle.
Because she, well she's a total b*^%% to fish!

“Come here...Don’t you go near that dog, you understand? Don’t go near him, he’s just as dangerous dead as alive."

I think that dog is just as useful too.

Part 2:

The Art of Stealth

Spring creeks really are the proving grounds. Go there to test your medal they will tell you but its really testing your mental. They look at you funny when they tell you, “you do know that was never going to work” or well “you shouldn't have done that!” I just agree and then catch 100's of fish every year the same way I was told it wasn't going to work, sometimes right beside them too. Most of them are small trout, but then again they dominate the population. The art of not spooking a fish is very intricate and often harder than the art of spooking a fish which is highly over looked, both will work on many difficult Pennsylvania trout.

The Art of Stealth goes further than stay low and moving slow or what clothes you wear but these all are important. Those will be the first three pieces of advice someone will tell you to do on a spring creek. Well how low and how slow? Got a ruler or a dashboard attached to you leg? I think to begin this process we must look into what a trout sees.

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You remember seeing this picture on the forum? Ed was kind enough to post this and it really is a good base measure for what a trout sees. It tells me that for every 19.685 feet I better only be 3.28 feet off the ground. Simple. If im not the fish will see something. Easily accomplished without a fly rod. Your tool is the issue men!

So figure your casting side arm! Low most the time and way ahead and side of the fish. Your going to spook fish because its a crap shoot people. Unless you go often and think you know where most the fish are, there are 1500 of them. You don't see them all. Now it gets complicated because one spooked fish can destory a hole. Sunlight is your friend when you do not take a rod, you can see the fish but they cannot see you, it is your enemy while fishing. So are the trees and grass and muck and cress and the tickle on your nose or the bird that almost attacked you........ All of that doesn't even matter except for the bird.

Just stay back and respect the fish your targeting. Remember a failure is never the problem only lack of determination.

The one thing lacking in the photo you see is water depth, clarity, recent weather event, sun refraction due to time of day, time of the year, shadows and broken water. Wow thats a lot. So suddenly angles and other things are worse or they are better. I would go over all of this but frankly, you can find plenty of resources online to help explain all of these variables.

The Art of Spooking a Fish

Its a thing of beauty.

I suppose you could call this my Letort Thesis, but that is to say one can own anything about the Letort. She has many faces and changes them on you all the time. Her bittersweet carass can change the way you look at things in fishing and in life. It really is unusual and its what makes these streams unique. I showed you one way I got the trout to part like the Red Sea on Volume One. The Art of Spooking Fish is a fun thing to watch. Nice fish flying downstream, rod pointed down like a weapon just before you unhook the fly from your rod and all in the glory of the overcast dreary day. The bigger target fish just upstream, didnt even know you were there. There are two types of spooked trout IMO. The one that just sits there and you didn't see him till he was right beside you and its too late. This fish you almost can learn nothing from. Its the one that sees you from a distance, an instantly moves flying down stream. This runner tells you two things, distance and height for those given conditions. You can use this too your advantage when targeting a specific fish. One thing you can do on your local freestone or limestone streams is mark all the conditions in a log book.


March 12th 2012 12pm
Little Lehigh
CFS: 100
Clarity: <2
Distance at which fish spook and run: about four foot in height = about 25 feet away.

Reference these past trips for future trips before you go and you will see a pattern emerge during the same time of year and conditions. You can add recent weather or any thing you want.

Figure on destroying a hole and one spooked trout can destroy more than a 50' section on the Letort. The Letort Browns are as unforgiving as she is and this is why it is very important to break the stream into 50' foot sections at least. Sometimes the Letort is flat and straight, this is hard to approach with a fly rod and you will fail many times. Your going to spook fish because its a crap shoot people. Even if you go often and think you know where most the fish are, there are 1500 trout per mile give or take, so you won't see them all. That really is the crux of it all, Timmy was having difficulty and didn't know which road to take. You can not always plan the perfect approach to a fish because maybe a bush makes it impossible to cast to that fish, maybe its a tree, maybe its a ufo....whatever it is......there is no way around it. That is why I have said the statement in bold above twice, that is when it hit me on how I must fish these streams.

Stream study is a must and lets look at a typical situation:

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Excuse my crude drawing here but it works. Here is a small bend with deep pockets on both sides. I made them bigger fish because why not Cress not included but pretend she is there lining the banks. Between the 2 fish is a dead spot or even shallow water. You are real low looking over the edge. See Timmy would try being behind the closest or all fish and spook him forward into the other fish, and its just not possible for what ever reason. It could be trees or bushes lining the bank making it impossible to approach the fish from behind. After trying to get the first target fish, if you feel you have spooked this fish, use your rod at the fish like a herons beak and he will usually try to turn around. He wants no part of you and the more threatening you are the better. Stay low get close and scare the Jesus out of that closet fish and cast one back and up to the above fish. Side arm straight back like your shooting the other fish. See we can pretend to shoot trout They can be frustrating and frankly deserve to be shot when your pulling your hair out.

Why would you do this? I mean purposely spook fish? Well mainly because she is the most spiteful, ever changing and at times hateful, while being so beautiful Letort. She has obstacles that include muck, trees, full bore swamps of silt and a muskrat that ruined your hole. Sometimes you can get into a good position and sometimes you can not.

If you really want to catch a nice fish they sometimes roam in packs because the habitat for a nice little stretch of stream is big fish conductive. Where I usually find a 20” fish you will find a 17” fish. Sometimes its two monster Letort Browns. I have seen this type of pack like behavior related to habitat on the Lackawanna River, Pine Creek, York County and all over PA. The closer you are to target fish the better chance you have to catch him, all the while controlling the one thing that really kills you, your target spooking other fish. Know when your battle is over and move on. Unless you feel like harassing a fish. Which can work too

I have said before that I believe 80 percent of the spring creek trout you catch, knew you were there already. You can up your chances buy herding the sheep like a shepherd. 1200 -1500 might as well be 3000 trout per mile in this little stream. They are everywhere and you are going to spook fish.

Jesus can walk on water all he wants but even he would spook a Letort Brown.
You are a cankerous eyesore in the midst of the veiled backdrop of paradise and fear surrounds you.
Walking in the shadows you turn this place into the valley of death and life escapes you ever so quietly.
Admit it.
And put that &*%#*&! dog on a leash already Timmy.

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Posted on: 2012/7/20 0:33

Edited by salvelinusfontinalis on 2012/7/20 1:07:31

Re: Approaching a Spring Creek Vol. 4 - The Letort is a Girl

2012/1/20 1:57
From The Frozen Tundra of WI
Posts: 0

Posted on: 2012/7/20 1:30
I think remorse ought to stop biting the consciences that feed it.

Re: Approaching a Spring Creek Vol. 4 - The Letort is a Girl

2006/9/9 7:33
From Hatfield, Pa.
Posts: 28
That was a lot of work, good job.
Thank You.

Posted on: 2012/7/20 11:01

Re: Approaching a Spring Creek Vol. 4 - The Letort is a Girl

2012/1/9 19:50
From Etters,Pa
Posts: 0
Awesome job Sal! Thanks

Posted on: 2012/7/20 11:27

Re: Approaching a Spring Creek Vol. 4 - The Letort is a Girl

2009/11/16 19:34
From Nazareth PA
Posts: 50
Thanks Sal. I couldn't make the jam so I missed this. I'm glad you posted it. All your stuff was very informative.

Posted on: 2012/7/21 15:40

" It has always been my private conviction that any man who puts his intelligence against a fish and loses has it coming"...John Steinbeck

Re: Approaching a Spring Creek Vol. 4 - The Letort is a Girl

2010/5/18 17:34
From Leola, PA
Posts: 37
A nice work or art. Thanks Sal, I enjoyed the read.

Posted on: 2012/7/24 22:31

Re: Approaching a Spring Creek Vol. 4 - The Letort is a Girl

2009/9/9 13:21
From North Central PA
Posts: 8

Posted on: 2012/7/26 18:01
_________________ It's NOT the fly... you suck!

Re: Approaching a Spring Creek Vol. 4 - The Letort is a Girl

2010/1/28 14:17
From Abington
Posts: 76
Great read and great info! Thanks!

Posted on: 2012/8/1 20:11
You can't run through a campground. You can only ran through it 'cause its past tents.

Re: Approaching a Spring Creek Vol. 4 - The Letort is a Girl

2009/2/23 16:32
From Wrightsville
Posts: 54
Thanks man. I'd love to read a few more posts like this one.

Posted on: 2012/8/1 21:50

Re: Approaching a Spring Creek Vol. 4 - The Letort is a Girl

2012/6/19 23:17
Posts: 0
Excellent post. I have hunted for years, including archery, and found the art of being stealthy useful in so many ways. Sneaking out of my toddlers room years ago, so as not have one wake and be crying for two more hours! You think about every step and every move before you make it. Using airplanes to cover your noise, etc.

Movement is typically the deal breaker and in FFing you just can't avoid it. This was a great tutorial on how to manage your movement and maximize your chances by taking control.

I went to a limestone creek, new to me, yesterday. No rod. Just walking it and looking around. I regretted not being better suited for a hike though, as a longer walk up and downstream would have been more beneficial. I did have a notepad and pen with me and documenting things in the future will be an asset for sure. I did notice how small browns, tucked "under" the bank, would just shoot out, as I walked slowly and quietly along the edge. More skiddish than a mature buck or a groundhog that's for sure. Should be interesting....

Thanks again!

Posted on: 2012/8/2 11:56
Honey, when I die, sell my fly gear for what it's worth and NOT what I told you I paid for it.

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