Clarks Creek fly sction

wbranch

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More pictures of Clarks Creek.
 

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wbranch

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Man, I miss that stream as it used to be.
It surely was pretty and only an hour away for me. After seeing these pictures for the first time in years I may just go back for old times sake in late April.
 

krayfish2

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I live about 3 to 5 minutes from the creek. Probably have fished at once in the last 10 years and it used to be my favorite stream when I was growing up in Hershey. There was a threat about this in the last 2 years. At that time I drove up and posted pictures of the deadfalls downstream from the shooting range parking lot and from the center stretch. Without a doubt, all of the woody debris has changed the flow, redistributed sand and caused a lot more to be washed in. Several serious flooding events have gouged the stream banks pretty badly. Places that used to be a knee deep riff filled with fish rising the caddis are now silt filled holes up to your neck.

As Bam mentioned, many of these fallen trees are huge. It would take two people to get their arms around them. I've offered to lend my back and a chainsaw but this is going to require some type of machinery or 50 years of rotting. Truly sad as it was a good little creek. I haven't been up there enough in the past couple years to tell you if the redistribution of sand, log jams and high water events have impacted the hatches
 

Bamboozle

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I have a lot of great memories fishing there.

The very first time I went, I got lost in the dark because the great fishing just wouldn’t quit and I couldn’t find the end of the trail back to my car. This was pre-LED flashlights so for the first and only time; I had to use that spare bulb in the bottom of my mini Maglite.

Other times I’d leave my house 2:30 in the morning, get there in the dark, fire up a lantern and set up a small table, a camp chair and a stove, cook breakfast and make coffee in my usual parking area and start fishing in the first glimmers of light. Around 1:00 pm, I’d come back to my car lot for a leisurely lunch and some wine, go back to the creek with a nice buzz and fish until dark.

Once and only once, I caught an unexpected early afternoon Hex hatch there when I was under gunned both rod-wise and fly-wise. I was fishing a sweet 7’0” 4wt bamboo rod and a light tippet when these HUGE flies started hatching and the fish were going nuts everywhere.

I had no flies even close in size with me, but my fishing partner had some Green Drake patterns so I cut back my leader short & stout to try to turn those huge flies over on that diminutive rod. It wasn’t pretty casting and of course the fish decided to be fussy because our imitations were too small, but we both managed a handful of fish and had a lot of laughs.

Too bad, I never caught those Hexes again…

My Old Hole
 

McSneek

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Photos of photos from Clark’s Creek in 2003. My long gone good boy Jake was with me that day and my wife must have tagged along. This is the hole and stretch you would come to if you parked in the middle lot of the FFO and walked straight down the path to the stream. Great spot. Think there were some sporadic March Browns that day.

I hit a nice Hendrickson hatch there one afternoon after I waited out a brief thunderstorm in my car. The riffle and stretch below it where those bugs were coming off was filled in with silt after all the trees fell in. 4484CCFA F18D 4EE6 BE53 C1DA099EFACF 4D1797C5 25CE 469B A141 1140EA016205
 

Bamboozle

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Photos of photos from Clark’s Creek in 2003. My long gone good boy Jake was with me that day and my wife must have tagged along. This is the hole and stretch you would come to if you parked in the middle lot of the FFO and walked straight down the path to the stream. Great spot. Think there were some sporadic March Browns that day.

I hit a nice Hendrickson hatch there one afternoon after I waited out a brief thunderstorm in my car. The riffle and stretch below it where those bugs were coming off was filled in with silt after all the trees fell in.
I know that spot well, the parking lot up the trail is where I would do the breakfast & lunch thing.

If I am correct, below is a photo looking upstream from that very location two years later in 2005:

EOT  Clarks
 
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Fredrick

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I used to catch them there all the time.
I used to fish the upper section below Tower City a lot when I lived near Pottsville. You could see the brown trout in the really clear water on a sandy bottom. I could sometimes even see my dark nymph drifting, and the white of the trout's open mouth if he took the fly. There were a lot of pickerel and some smallmouth bass there also. This was during the 1970's.
 

wbranch

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It appears many of us have very fond memories of Clarks Creek. It is a shame that PFBC doesn't clear the deadfalls to let natural high water events flush out some of the silt and sand and bring the stream back to a viable and pleasant fishery.
 

Bamboozle

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I realize you know this, but for those that don't as I mentioned before, the Pennsylvania Game Commission owns the land and neither they or the Fish Commission is interested in undertaking a project of that magnitude. I know this because I asked both agencies a decade ago.

Another issue and reason the PFBC isn't interested would be the potential damage caused to the stream and surrounding area because for sure, heavy equipment as in bulldozers & backhoes would be needed to drag the huge trees from the stream bed and OUT of the woods to be disposed of. In other words, do the benefits outweigh the risks?

Like I also mentioned before, I read an article once about a similar situation where draft horses were employed to minimize that type of damage, but maybe the bigger question is, would it really be worth it to clear out the dead fall until ALL of the hemlocks are dead and have fallen?

I guess as long as the trees aren't causing problems with flooding that impact homes or roadways, which I believe isn't an issue, all we’ll have are memories of the way it was...

...which sucks for those of us that remember when it looked like the images above.
 

McSneek

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I know that spot well, the parking lot up the trail is where I would do the breakfast & lunch thing.

If I am correct, below is a photo looking upstream from that very location two years later in 2005:

View attachment 1641224050
That’s the spot. Little riffle right of the midstream rock in the distance always had some rising fish back then. Faster water upstream from there often held some wild fish.
 

redietz

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Another issue and reason the PFBC isn't interested would be the potential damage caused to the stream and surrounding area because for sure, heavy equipment as in bulldozers & backhoes would be needed to drag the huge trees from the stream bed and OUT of the woods to be disposed of. In other words, do the benefits outweigh the risks?
Would it really be necessary to remove the entire tree? What about just cutting a section from the middle (or one side) of each tree? That would allow water to flow more freely and anglers to pass. Plus, it would leave most of the LWD in the water, which is a benefit to the fish.
 

Bamboozle

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I'm not sure if that would solve all of the issues, especially bank erosion or enough of the problems to make it worthwhile, but as someone with chainsaw experience, I wouldn't want to tackle that many huge "leaners" while standing in water doing it. ;)
 

Canoetripper

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I spent a lot of time at the Clark's Creek FFO, but haven't been there since the mid 1970's. I was unaware of all of these changes. Thanks to all for educating me in the above and informative posts.
 

PaScoGi

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May 3, 2021
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I fished it in November (FFO section) & it was awful. Just too many downed trees. But trout are there & surviving. Bait fishermen do well, just toss some minnows or worms & jig them in front of the deep holes. I like to watch them & talk to them to be cordial & represent fly fishers. Plus it's nice to see guys catching trout even if it isn't me. Just make it all open regs is my input but too close to Harrisburg for that to change
 

troutbert

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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.
1.56 kg/ha is extremely low.

I wonder why a tailwater that flows cold in the summer would have such a low biomass.

How has the population changed over the years?

Have the logjams lowered the trout populations, raised them, or caused no change?
 

Bamboozle

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I'm far from a biologist, but keep in mind they only surveyed 10% of the entire section.

We should all be aware, that small of a sampling may not be indicative of the overall picture.
 

troutbert

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I'm far from a biologist, but keep in mind they only surveyed 10% of the entire section.

We should all be aware, that small of a sampling may not be indicative of the overall picture.
Agreed. Habitat on streams is highly variable. They may try to pick "representative" stretches, but that is easier said than done.

And where there is a lot of cover, such as that provided by logjams, many of the fish will not be captured.
 
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