Fishing in Central PA has been fantastic this season. Currently the Green Drakes are making their way up Penns Creek and anglers should be able to find good fishing up and down the creek, along with many other anglers. Please be courteous to the land owners and each other. We’re all here for the same reason. If a parking area is full, take a look elsewhere. Try not to be in a hurry and let one evening of rushing to the stream lead to losing access forever. Remember, we’re all in this together!
We first started to notice Green Drakes last Sunday May, 21 both in the Coburn and Weikert areas. Throughout the past week the hatch has spread over Penns Creek. When I arrived back in the area Thursday May 25 and we had several cooler nights. This cooler weather was really needed as water levels are dropping and temperatures rising. This has been the driest May on record and Pennsylvania could really use a nice steady rain to help bring our creeks back up but there’s no rain and rising temps in the immediate forecast. Other important hatches include, sulphurs, light cahills, and black caddis – be prepared with reddish-brown spinner patterns for both the sulphurs and cahills.
If you do come to the area, be prepared to fish early mornings (7am to 11am) or evenings (4pm to 9pm). Folks have been reporting slow days nymphing during the midday, though your milage may vary on location and ability. If you’re looking for good dry fly-fishing opportunities don’t be afraid to think on your feet, avoid the crowds, step out on your own and explore the creek…slowly! We’ve found plenty of healthy, Green Drake feeding fish, well out of sight of the masses. These conditions are where being a good caster can really make the difference between a great day catching fishing and a nice day spending time in nature. Both are a good way to spend your time.
I’ve found many nice fish feeding near cover like overhanging trees or bushes, larger rocks, bridges, and shelves. Water-features, or areas where there is a disturbance in the surface of the water, are great places to keep an eye on and stay back from as they often hold fish. Use longer casts with longer leaders (9ft+) to keep from putting fish down. I like to use a 12ft leader built from a 9ft Maxima knotless tapered leader and add 3ft of either 3x or 4x tippet to the end to allow extra silkily smooth and drag-less drifts. I use Maxima ultragreen tippet also like Orvis Superstrong tippet and leaders as well as RIO Powerflex – they all have strong enough butt sections to turn over bigger Drake sized flies and their tippets resist twisting commonly experienced with bigger dry flies.
Another helpful trick to remember is to be able to mend your line when fishing across different speed currents (which in low water conditions is almost everywhere). I will often use a reach cast or an aerial mend to ensure a great presentation to my target. It’s good to get comfortable with these skills and have them in your arsenal for the technical conditions early summer can present dry fly tacticians and practitioners on Pennsylvania trout streams.
Speaking of summer, the season certainly doesn’t end after the Green Drakes and Coffin Flies disappear from our skies and waters. There are many more great hatches on the way, but we definitely could use wetter-cooler weather to keep the creeks safely fishable for trout. Without rain or cooler conditions, we might see some of the creeks pushing into the caution or even lethal levels for trout fishing temperatures. Check in with the local fly shops like Penns Creek Angler, The Feathered Hook, and TCO Fly Shop in Central PA for the latest details and information on weather and stream conditions.
Get out there while the getting is good! Enjoy the hatches – don’t forget, out longest hatch (terrestrials) is here and it’s often overlooked. Meanwhile, pray for rain and cooler temperatures! If the creeks do get too warm for trout, try bass fishing on anyone of our amazing bass waters in PA – we’ve got a lot of them with a lot of hungry hippo smallies, they can be very greedy eaters on a fly rod!