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Fly Fishing Getting Started - Spring Creek Winter Flies

Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 01/19/2015 (4033 reads)
Winter fly fishing can be a good opportunity to get out and take a break from your fly tying bench. The opportunities are certainly a little more limited during the winter months with many streams possibly iced up. Southcentral Pennsylvania can often offer several options in in the region during the winter with spring influenced streams and wild trout.

Trout during the winter are not as active as you might normally find them in the spring and summer. Spring fed streams offer a much more consistent temperature often in the 50's year round and thus more resistant to the cold weather conditions. Some of these popular winter streams in Southcentral Pennsylvania include Yellow Breeches Creek, Big Spring Creek and LeTort. The wild trout in these streams can be incredibly challenging when the weather is warm, so have some realistic expectations for your first trip to the region.

Dave Weaver offered some solid ideas in the forums. "My usual advice to CV [Cumberland Valley] 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."

Fly Fishing Getting Started - Spring Creek Winter Flies

Dave Weaver on LeTort Spring Run


I asked Southcentral Pennsylvania fly fishing guide, Mike Heck, what are his favorite flies are for wild trout on his local spring fed streams. Mike shared, "If I had only the option to carry just a few flies. Toss all boxes in my vehicle and pull out five flies. I would without a doubt carry shrimp, cress bugs, black sculpin, BWO parachute and a olive CDC midge. These fab five should be just enough to fool a trout and cover any stream condition I may encounter."

Take a little time planning before you head on a trip to any spring fed stream in the winter. Knowing where you want to go, what flies to bring and tactics to try can really make a difference. There are other streams outside the Cumberland Valley that are spring influenced and open during the year. Doing a little homework can offer a few quite locations. I would suggest looking through the forums with key words like #spring creeks, #limestone and #winter to get you started. I also recommend you get a copy of the book Spring Creek Strategies (Mike Heck, Harrisburg: Stackpole Books, 2008)
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