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April Trip Report to Central Pennsylvania

Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 04/19/2021 (343 reads)
This year more than ever I have been very anxious to get away to spend some dedicated days fly fishing. My winter cabin fever fueled with some Covid sequestering added to my desire to escape. An invitation from Rick Nyles to join him and some others to Central Pennsylvania in early April was the ticket. 

As we got closer I would nervously eye up the ten-day weather forecast and bring up the USGS gauges to calculate the water levels for the trip. Everything was shaping up to have ideal conditions, which is rarely the case for April.  

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More importantly, Rick was including a few guys I have known for many years but had not yet had a chance to share any time on the water. Dave “Wetfly” Allbaugh and I had just done a presentation together in March, Dave “Oldlefty” Rothrock catch up at the Paflyfish Jams, Shane “sbecker” Becker, William Kosmer and Ray Herbine were all part of the crew at different times during the week.  

I left early on Wednesday making my way up to Keystone Project along the way for early evening fishing. Several previous warm days and sunny weather fueled some early Hendricksons coming off the water that night. Not a lot of risers, but I switched over to rusty brown spinner and enticed several up and made a few things come together. 

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Navigating my way past the onslaught of Amish buggies lite-up on the road, I made my way to the farmhouse Rick had arranged. A really beautiful place in Centre County along a fishing creek. 

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Thursday Rick, Shane and I made our way to Penns Creek. We were pretty optimistic about some topwater fishing. Water levels were at about 450 CFS and the water temperature was at ~60 degrees. We very shortly found some Hendricksons coming off and some risers responding. The morning worked out pretty well, but once the mid-day sun hit things got pretty quiet. We worked the stream pretty hard but eventually called it quits. 

Dinners on fly fishing trips are usually late and quick, since we left the stream a little early we took the time to enjoy some crab cakes that I brought up from Maryland. Not your normal Central Pennsylvania entree, but much appreciated with some bourbon and beers after being on the stream. 

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We attacked Spring Creek on Friday. Dave Rothrock joined in for the assault and was pleased to find very few anglers on much of the stream. Cloudy conditions offered some BWO hatches and sporadic risers. Shane and Dave did well with nymphs, but pretty slow on top.  

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After some lunch and finding some provisions of cinnamon sticky buns in Milesburg, Dave Rothrock and I went upstream. I had a great time as he was pointing some casting tips and using his drop shot nymph rig. I had fun and did well with that for a while. As we moved further upstream a nice BWO hatch occurred with some risers. I felt obligated to switch up to some topwater and landed a few. Never as many as you think you should.

We returned to the farmhouse for more libations and fly fishing stories. Probably one of the more fun things I enjoy is hearing about everyone's experiences from Pennsylvania, Montana, and Canada. I do miss traveling right now and hearing all those fun stories encourages hopefully get out next year. Mousing in Labrador for brook trout is one I have to try. 

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Dave Allbaugh


Saturday we were in full force to hit some more streams. We had seen a few already and got a few texts about grannoms in the area, but driving in over one of the streams the windshield got pummeled with caddisflies. We got to our first stop and saw more caddies than I think any of us can recall that morning. It was like a river of insects flowing upstream. Not a lot of risers, but I did manage to find some along the banks. 

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The caddis continued even when we went over to Spring Creek. Dave, Dave, and I found few more good spots during the day with waves of caddis and responding trout at different times. I plugged away headhunting with my grannom green egg sack imitation that seemed pretty popular all day. 

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We wrapped the trip up with another good evening just hanging in the kitchen eating some homemade onion rings. Kudos to Ray and finding some more drinks to discuss the blizzard of caddis. It was a great trip to get away, but more importantly, get on the water with some friends. Nothing beats getting outdoors, catching some fish, and sharing a few bourbons with friends to close out a day.  

A special thanks to Rick Nyles, Dave Allbaugh, Dave Rothrock, and the guys at Sky Blue Outfitters for their awesome hospitality for the trip. Great fun and fun and fishing. 
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