Clarks Creek fly sction

Biggie

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Sep 16, 2006
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825
I feel the same as most guys about the FFO section. Better fly fishing in the open water up through the AT area. I went back to the FFO section last spring and it hasn't change much since I gave up on it after the trees fell. If they are going to keep it as FFO, the powers that be should open up the creek by cutting those log jams out. If not, might as well open it up to all types of fishing. IMO.
 

Bamboozle

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Dec 7, 2006
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Berks County, PA
I just got off the phone with the Area 7 Fisheries Biologist in regards to the wild trout population in Section 4, AKA the FFO stretch. While it was sampled recently, they only sampled 10% of the stream section.

Keeping in mind the entire stream is on the Natural Reproduction List, they found both wild brook trout & wild brown trout at the two sample sites located more or less at opposite ends of the stretch. However the numbers surveyed are well below the minimums required for a Class A biomass at 1 kg/ha for BT and .56 kg/ha for ST.

That is sort of in line with my catch rates of a few wild fish per outing.

In regards to the trees (my opinions only)...

Woody debris is a good thing to a certain extent as it provides cover and other things for fish, it just sucks for fishermen, especially as much as is lying in Clark's Creek. A while back I asked the PA Game Commission who is responsible for SGL 211 through which Section 4 flows, about removing the trees. I was told unofficially they wouldn't nor would the PFBC.

The other issue is potential damage to the stream, stream bed and surrounding area using heavy equipment to extract the trees. I once read an article about a similar situation where draft horses were employed to accomplish the same thing with less impact, however I wouldn't hold out hope for that remedy.

Another possibility might be swapping sections and making the FFO Section 3 and changing Section 4 to Stocked Trout. However, I don't know how bad the tree problem is in Section 3, meaning will that accomplish anything or if anyone at the PFBC would consider that as an option to maintain a Special Regulations section on Clark's Creek versus just eliminating it because of under utilization.

Bottom line, at some point the trees will decay and/or get washed out of the stream. I just don't know if I will live long enough to see that happen...
 

Bamboozle

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Berks County, PA
The trees in Clark's Creek aren't being dropped intentionally, it is a whole different issue.

They are dying because of the hemlock woolly adelgid, an invasive aphid-like insect that is killing hemlocks across Pennsylvania.
 

afishinado

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Chester County, PA
there was just a post recently about how they are deliberately dropping trees across the water to improve habitat. Can't have it both ways. :)

https://www.paflyfish.com/threads/why-is-someone-dropping-trees-in-stream.52004/
From the post you referenced above "DCNR for example has guidance documents on how many trees to cut, felling angles, tree selection etc."

Just dropping any tree or any number of trees into a stream and doing it haphazardly is no guarantee that habitat will be improved.

There are many events like tornados, hurricanes and floods (and add in an invasive insect species killing riparian trees) which have damaged and not improved the habitat of a stream.

Witnessing what the Clarks FFO section looks like now, I believe it can be classified as damage and not as an enhancement of the stream, and it will take many years for nature to repair it.

Changing the regs for the section to open it up to all forms of fishing may be a good thing, especially given the info posted by Bamboozle about the recent survey showing the lack of wild trout that now inhabit that section of Clarks.

I share a sense of loss with many of the posters above about a great spot to FF now gone.
 
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Letort

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Dec 14, 2008
Messages
224
I have fished Clark’s a lot, both FFO and open water. This stream was also very badly impacted by 1-2 severe flooding events over the past 8-10 years that effectively channelized certain parts of the stream, filling in what were some significant holes. That brought many, many trees into the stream. Also seemed to silt a lot of the bottom.
 

troutpoop

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Jun 23, 2010
Messages
663
I live about 30 mins away. This was a "go to" location in the summer for cool water. There are now long stretches of dead silted water with deadfalls here and there. Bummer.
The locations where fish hold are either fished to death or inaccessible.
 

Bamboozle

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Dec 7, 2006
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Berks County, PA
I personally witnessed THOUSANDS & THOUSANDS & THOUSANDS & THOUSANDS & THOUSANDS of perfectly green & healthy hemlock needles carpeting the forest floor years ago which is an indication of a severe problem related to the hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA)

Trust me, any flooding events or other issues may have exacerbated a problem, but the bottom line is the issues at Clark's Creek regarding the deadfall are solely and exclusively related to the HWA.
 

wbranch

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May 26, 2009
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York
Well to add to the already lengthy litany of reasons not to fish CC - I too used to love going there in mid May (horrible time though for black flies) to enjoy the tranquility of the area and to catch the colorful stocked brookies. I used to be able to land a dozen or so 10" - 12" brookies and have the stream almost to myself. It seemed like every year there would be another deadfall across the stream. I was already in my late 60's and bushwhacking around the deadfalls and big branches was getting to be a nuisance. I went back a few times more but the fishing was so and the deadfalls where creating dead water pools where there once had been moving water. I haven't fished CC in about eight years.

I had a very close encounter with a big bear one afternoon. I guess the wind was coming down stream. I was in the midst of tying on a new tippet and fly. I was standing very quietly just at the edge of the creek. At that point the creek was no more than 15' wide. I heard some rustling behind my left shoulder and saw a little movement. I just turned my head and a bear, about 250#, was ambling just on the other side of the creek. No more than 25' away. It woke me up out of my reverie for sure!! I stayed totally still until it got past me and quickly rummaged in my vest for my print film camera. This was well before I had a digital camera. I must of been shaking more than I realized because when I had the film developed all that could be seen was a black blur.
 

laurelrun

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Mar 7, 2014
Messages
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Clarks is very sandy in places, as opposed to muddy. My experience fishing it last spring is a lot of the holes I normally would hit are filled in. But that tends to change after high water events. The deadfalls are near impossible to fish in some places, but the fish do seem to congregate there. In my last walk through the FFO section, I could not buy a hit. I found a single log that I could see 20+ trout under. I threw the whole box at them to no avail. It's clear and cold with a beautiful setting, technically challenging, fish tend towards the smaller side when you do find them, and gets a ton of pressure. I fish it when I want to enjoy the scenery and a nice walk in the woods. But I no longer go expecting big numbers.
 

Bamboozle

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Dec 7, 2006
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Berks County, PA
When big trees fall in, a lot of times it radically changes the flow causing all sorts of redistribution of sand, gravel and rocks.

I'm not talking about Clarks, but another stream I fish regularly has normal dead-fall events. When a BIG tree drops in, especially one that touches or almost touches bottom, it creates scouring underneath, new sandbars and rocky points where there were none before. The only good thing about this particular creek is when it floods, it rages a lot more than Clark's so even those massive trees get pushed out in short order after a heavy rain.

Back to Clark's...

There is a hole I loved on Clark's in the middle of the FFO, just above a long sandy stretch with a slight drop off at the head that has a REALLY high wall beside it. I think some guys called it the "Wall Hole." There was even a second trail from one of the larger pull-off parking areas and another path from the road that took you right to it.

Maybe 15 years ago, a massive tree fell smack dab in the middle of that pool essentially ruining the great drifts you could get through it. That turned it from a favorite spot into a hole I skipped over or where I made one or two halfhearted casts into a foot or two of open water versus the pre-tree days of fishing for hours.

Well, unless something has changed recently in the last handful of years since I stopped fishing Clark's, that tree didn't budge in all those years prior and was still there the last time I fished.

That's why I'm really not optimistic I'll ever see things improve at Clark's.
 

afishinado

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The flow for Clarks Creek is controlled by the DeHart dam, therefore high water/flood events are most times averted or minimized not allowing flood waters to sweep through and move some of the fallen trees.
 

wbranch

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May 26, 2009
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York
A scene from CC and a few fish.
 

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