This has been a great February for fly-fishing in Pa with warmer temps and rain helping conditions improve. While the rains earlier in the month have certainly helped we are still in need of more water to help ensure a good spring. Drought conditions still affect several parts of the state. These low water conditions can make fish spooky and difficult to catch. Bright and sunny winter days can be particularly difficult for fly anglers stalking low, crystal clear waters. However, these conditions can be managed with some thoughtful positioning, long leaders, and careful casting.
Anglers in some parts of the state are reporting early black stoneflies (EBS). EBS can be black or dark-brown and you usually see them crawling around on stream side snow-banks. My friend Eric Richard from Coveted Waters Guide Service pointed out to me that these can make up an important part of a trout’s diet over a low and clear, warm winter. When creeks get low it can get the trout looking up not only to protect against predation (so watch your false casts) but also as a predator looking for an easy snack. EBS are typically size 14 or 16, I like a bead head prince nymph or black copper john as a wet fly pattern. I have used black caddis or even darker stimulator patterns to imitate dries.
Midges, scuds, and sculpins have made up the typical winter trifecta for my spring creek fishing. You really can’t go wrong with that combination anytime of the year on our spring creeks.
Pray for rain and get out there and enjoy this mild winter!