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Manatawny Creek, Berks County, 4/18/2014

Joined:
1/6 7:27
From Lancaster, PA
Posts: 278
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I grew up in Kutztown and spent a lot of time in the Oley area with friends. For years I crossed the Manatawny every day, but back then I wasn't interested in trout fishing. Fast forward 25 years and after living out of state for the last 20 years, my wife and I moved back to where she grew up, in Lancaster County. My brother-in-law and nephews had gotten into fly fishing while I was away and they got me out back in December and I was hooked. Seven more fly rods later and months of nymphing behind me, it was time to get out on a spring day and hope for a hatch. I've enjoyed finding new places to fish; one of the streams I knew I wanted to fish was the Manatawny. With lots of bugs, odds were good that something would be hatching.

I asked a few friends to join me, and in the end only one of them made it. We left a little later in the morning than originally planned as the forecast was for cold temperatures. We arrived at our chosen spot at about 10am and there were already a bunch of guys out on the stream--although all of them but one were spin or bait casting. It was cold--about 45F--and nothing was hatching, so we went to the nymphs. Knowing it had been recently stocked, we also put on some stocker-bait: I went with a pink San Juan and my friend tied on an egg imitation. I hooked into a trout pretty quickly but lost in the rocks--the bottom on Manatawny is surprisingly rocky for a stream that flows through a lot of agricultural land. My friend lost one too then hooked a nice stocked brown.

We worked downstream slowly over the next two hours without getting much action. However, the temperatures were rising and we knew others had been fishing the same pools, so the trout were likely spooked. Around noon we got into an area that others had not fished as heavily and in the first deep run I pulled out a nice stocked rainbow that was about 15" long. Not long after that I lost a bigger one, and my friend landed one in the same size range.

We moved into a wooded area and he pulled two very pretty wild browns out of a hole. The wild browns on the Manatawny look a little different than the ones I'm used to seeing in Lancaster and York counties, with more spots that are also darker, but they still have the typical dark spot behind the eye. Both of his fish were in the 8-9" range.

The sun came out and the temperature started to rise right around 1pm, just as I came to a deep run that ended in a long deep pool. The runs had been good no doubt in part to the fact that the bait fishermen avoid them. Sure enough, I quickly pulled in two very nice stocked rainbows, both about 14" long. One of them appeared to be holdover as the fins and scales were in great condition and it was brightly colored relative to the recent stocked fish we were catching. My friend joined me and promptly pulled out a beautiful holdover brown trout and a nice rainbow.

I moved to the back of the pool and switched up to a generic Baetis emerger pattern as the bugs were starting to hatch in profusion now the temperature had risen to about 60F. That was the ticket, and I hooked into a very nice holdover brown. He gave a great fight and after I tired him--and hurt my sore elbow doing so--I brought him to the net. He was 16.5" and looked great--fat and healthy. My friend switched as well and landed another holdover brown--that's the one in the video link.

We spent almost two hours working that hole and combined for seven or eight fish. Moving downstream to a long run I saw several trout starting to rise. There were stoneflies, caddis, midges and some red quills hatching, so tied on some dry flies and gave it a shot. Within a few minutes we both had a brown trout on. Mine was a very nice 14" holdover brown, and his was a slightly smaller recent stocked brown. Unfortunately my fish popped out of my hand before I could get a photo--it was my first trout on a dry fly. What a blast! Unfortunately we had wife deadlines to meet, so we had to run just as it was getting good. Definitely a stream I'll go to again!

http://vimeo.com/92366073

Jeff

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Posted on: 4/19 18:45


Re: Manatawny Creek, Berks County, 4/18/2014

Joined:
2007/5/29 14:32
From SE PA - Montgomery County
Posts: 617
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I was fishing the Manny on Friday as well. I think the bugs you were referring to may have been Hendrickson's. They were coming off strong starting around 2:30-3:00 once the temps warmed a bit and were going good until nearly 5:00. We caught a bunch of stockers and a few wild browns mixed in. Fairly crowded that day.

The stocked browns I caught looked much like yours will all of the spots.

Posted on: 4/21 13:01


Re: Manatawny Creek, Berks County, 4/18/2014

Joined:
2006/12/3 21:01
From Mechanicsburg, Pa
Posts: 509
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Nice report thanks for sharing

Posted on: 4/21 16:29


Re: Manatawny Creek, Berks County, 4/18/2014

Joined:
1/6 7:27
From Lancaster, PA
Posts: 278
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Quote:

CLSports wrote:
I was fishing the Manny on Friday as well. I think the bugs you were referring to may have been Hendrickson's. They were coming off strong starting around 2:30-3:00 once the temps warmed a bit and were going good until nearly 5:00. We caught a bunch of stockers and a few wild browns mixed in. Fairly crowded that day.

The stocked browns I caught looked much like yours will all of the spots.


The Red Quill is the male Hendrickson, so yes--they were Hendricksons, although if you caught a few you'd see that most were males. It definitely was crowded in some stretches, but not the one area we hit.

There were a bunch of differences between the recent stocked browns and the holdovers like the one in my photo. The recent stockers were much more pale in their coloration and had a lot of fin damage. The holdovers were like the big fish in my image: The fins have healed and look pretty good and the color is much darker and richer.

The top fish I posted--the smaller one--is a wild brown. Note the dark blue spot behind the eye and the different color/spot pattern relative to the stocked fish. What surprised me is that there were quite a few holdover browns. We fished a stretch that I think may not have been stocked, unless they float stock the stream. It was in that stretch were we caught the wild browns and the holdovers, and no rainbows.

Jeff

Posted on: 4/21 17:16


Re: Manatawny Creek, Berks County, 4/18/2014

Joined:
2006/11/10 8:32
Posts: 1757
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The PFBC has in recent years produced fresh stockies that look like the fish that is being called a holdover here. That fish does not necessarily look like a holdover to me. For instance, the pectoral fin in the bottom pic has a tattered or frayed edge. Additionally, the caudal fin is rounded on both lobes, which should not be the case on a holdover fish (unless the fish's position in the vegetation gave the fin lobes a rounded appearance). The lobes should look like those of the wild fish shown in the photo series provided or the tail should be square. This particular color pattern and the limited fin damage in comparison to many other fresh stockies made me do a double take the first year that I saw that color pattern. Regardless, at least the stream produced a good day of fishing and whether or not this particular fish is a holdover is not that important to me in that we are aware that trout hold over in some portions of that stream.

By the way, Manatawny was one of the three local streams that I frequently fished while growing up.

Posted on: 4/21 20:56

Edited by Mike on 2014/4/21 21:24:17


Re: Manatawny Creek, Berks County, 4/18/2014

Joined:
2010/1/24 10:09
From Secane
Posts: 180
Offline
I just fished the Manny yesterday. I got there late but there were risers from the moment I arrived. It was a mix of caddis and Hendricksons. I caught three on Hendrickson flymphs. Great day and by the way is was the first time I fished there.

Posted on: 4/27 20:59


Re: Manatawny Creek, Berks County, 4/18/2014

Joined:
2012/10/24 19:22
From Landenberg, PA
Posts: 1636
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that top brownie is a beauty. what a little gem of a fish.


Posted on: 4/28 17:27
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