Last week I went to Pennsylvania’s Spring Creek in Centre County. Spring Creek, a limestone stream, is fairly rich in trout foods. It is also the kind of stream, that can be pretty tough at times. It’s not a mountain brookie stream. I’ve never have much luck walking along prospecting with an attractor dry-fly on Spring Creek. When there’s no hatch you go under with a nymph. Usually,when I’ve been successful it has been during hatches,matching the hatch, or during non hatch periods using a fly that represents a common food on Spring Creek. The go-to fly for me has often been something that imitates a sow bug. Lately, however, I’m leaning to the idea that when there’s no hatch going on, the important thing is getting the fly in front of the fish (while not spooking them), rather than any specific fly. Specific pattern may not be as important as I previously thought – within bounds obviously – and with the exception that sometimes it matters. Pattern vs. presentation and all that…you know the arguments – I suspect the discussion on that topic will never end. So who knows? Rather than deal in generalities, let’s just say the last few times out on Spring Creek, I’ve been fishing generic nymphs and catching enough fish to keep it interesting.
I’ve never really stuck to “traditional tenkara” flies on Spring Creek – I’m not sure why. Old habits, I reckon. So this time out I decided to give it a go. We got on the stream in the afternoon – it had been raining, but was now intermittently drizzly with some sun here and there. Generally fairly gray and dreary. Good fishing weather in other words. The stream in this section consists of flat sections interspersed with a short riff – and a slightly deeper faster run, then flat smooth water again.
I started fishing dead-drifting through a riffle with size 12 Red Takayama Sakasa Kebari – and suprise! A fish. Then nothing for a while, then bang! Another one hit while the fly was on a rising swing. Occasionally risers were picking off some kind of emergers. I never caught a bug – but they were tiny and most likely some type of BWO. So, I switched from dead-drifting to purposefully lifting the fly while it was in a fishy looking spot. And it worked. I caught maybe six fish out of one small pocket. Every riser that I saw gave the Takayama a hit. I “matched” a tiny BWO with a size 12 red Takayama Sakasa Kebari. Notch one up for technique over fly. Of course, I’ve been fly fishing long enough not draw too many conclusions from one incident.
The most important thing in any fly fishing outing is dinner. We hit the Big Bowl Noodle House in State College for a delicious and nutritious ending to the day. I opted for noodle soup with pork dumplings, spring roll, and steamed buns. Yum.