Green Drakes – Penns Creek, Pennsylvania

Just a quick update on the Green Drake hatch this year. I met up with my buddy Maurice to fish lower Penns last night. We checked out several spots including Weikert, Pardee, and Glen Iron. There were drake duns along with many other bugs in Pardee last night. By far the most coffin flies were still found down in Glen Iron. While the storms last night chased us off the water and forced the bugs back into the trees it was still a good time. Penns is still turbid and running at 746cfs as of this writing. A cautionary note to catch and release anglers: the previous days were very warm and so hopefully the lower creek cools with the weather over the next several days. That being said, we took temperature readings over 70 in Glen Iron last night. While many fish in that area are stocked, you will find stream-bred wild fish there as well. The water temperature was 67 in Pardee last night. I write this only as a friendly reminder that we are heading into summer and our bigger waters in PA will be transitioning. If you’re a catch and release trout angler and you don’t have a thermometer now is a great time to pick one up!

Mo with a nice Penns Creek brown trout.

If you plan on chasing the drakes be sure to bring a little bit of everything to keep yourself in the game. Nymphs and duns appeared all afternoon but don’t overlook opportunities for other action. Dead drifting big stoneflies, jigging hellgrammites, and swimming mayfly nymphs are all fun ways to pick up fish during the day. I also had some success striping and jigging streamers in likely lies. Be sure to bring a wading staff and headlight with you if you plan on staying for the drake action, it happens right at and after dark. Know the water you are fishing and don’t take chances, no fish is worth your life and accidents can happen quickly in higher flows.

Coffin Flies gather in Glen Iron before another line typical Pennsylvania late-spring thunderstorms roll through.

With the flows up you can anticipate finding fish in slack water, current breaks, and holding close to the bank. Be sure to fish areas before you wade into them, you may be surprised what you find. Many times I see anglers wading where they should have been fishing. Take your time and drift before you step. It helps if you slow down and take a solid minute to read the water before wade in. Think about where you should start and where you need to position yourself to make proper presentations for the water you intend to fish. Take a moment to look in the trees and bushes, look up in the sky, and up and down river and notice any activity. Slowing down and taking in the moment will make you a more effective angler.

Coffin Flies in flight during last light

Finally, it’s been a rough year for small businesses across Pennsylvania. If you can, be sure to check in with the local fly shops. Penns Creek Angler has a great selection of flies and all the supplies you could need. The Feathered Hook is also a great shop and both store’s staff will be happy to point you in the right direction. This year might be one of the best years for fishing drakes as far as weather conditions. Bruce from Penns Creek Angler posted some great tips on his Facebook page about fishing the hatch. One of my favorites basically reminded people that this is a social event. There will be crowds of anglers, you will see other people if you are in the right place at the right time. Be sure to practice respectful angling and responsible recreation. Adhere to recommended guidelines and enjoy your time on the water. It’s always an event and an experience every fly angler should enjoy at least a few times. There’s something magical and mysterious about the drakes that draws fish and fishermen alike to the surface waters of Karoondinha. Enjoy the show this year!

High over Penns Creek green drakes fly into skies right before dusk
Evening thunderstorms in late May can force drakes back into the trees to wait out the weather or return to the water the next night.

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