Big Spring Creek

Craig Coder on Big Spring in February

Craig Coder on Big Spring in February

Last Sunday afternoon showed temperatures to get to 45 degrees so Tim Brookens, Craig Coder and I decided to go to Big Spring in the afternoon. Bad news – the temperature never got above 35 degrees. Good news – Blue Winged Olives were present and there were occasional risers.

We managed to get a handful of takers on midges and BWOs and landed 2 rainbows and a brookie. Nothing big,  but it was a good start for 2015 even with cold weather conditions. Expect to see stoneflies there in a couple weeks.

Pennsylvania Spring Creeks – Late Summer Fly Fishing

Took Coder on Big Spring

Took Coder on Big Spring

Falling Spring Brown

Falling Spring Brown


Craig Coder - Falling Spring catch

Craig Coder – Falling Spring catch


The great thing about spring creeks is that they maintain relatively consistent temperatures throughout the year. We are lucky to have creeks like the Falling Spring, Big Spring and the Yellow Breeches in the Cumberland Valley. Tactics change from creek to creek and the time of day.

Falling Spring:

The “Spring” is divided into 2 sections – Delayed Harvest (town side) and the Heritage section (upstream from route 30 to where it starts). The Tricos hatch has been very good on the Heritage side especially around Quarry Road in the morning but the fish are extremely wary. 7X tippet with size #26 or #28 flies are a must. The Delayed Harvest section has been good in spots in the afternoon fishing with small caddis, midges and ants. In both sections, you can catch quality fish.

Big Spring:

We have not found many rising fish due to limited hatches, so our tactic has been to fish Big Spring like a wild brookie stream, casting caddis into the runs. Most of our catches have been small rainbows but there are some huge fish to be had.

Yellow Breeches:

I look at the Breeches as 2 sections like the Falling Spring – the regulation area near Allenberry Playhouse and the upper section near Huntsdale fish hatchery. Most of the fish in the regulation area are stocked. The upper section is loaded with wild browns and 20 fish days are not out of the question. Our tactic on the upper section is to fish caddis and attractor flies in the runs and ants in the quieter pools.

Fall should continue to good fishing on all of the Spring Creeks. As my buddy Tim Brookens says, “you got to go to know”.

Falling Spring (Quarry Road) Chambersburg, PA

Falling Spring Brown with 2 flies

Falling Spring Brown with 2 flies

My son Craig decided to check out the Tricos hatch off Quarry road yesterday and see if fish were rising. His report was that there are plenty of Tricos and pods of fish eating them. Over 100 yards upstream he broke off on what he thought was a decent sized fish. Therein is the beginning of my fish story.

I decided to go back there today. After 3 phone calls to Craig, I found the exact tree where he found some rising fish and also where he broke off…..and a few fish rising just like he said. As it frequently happens on the heritage section of the Falling Spring, the fish shut down after several casts….. even with 12 feet of leader tied down to 7X and a size 28 gray hackle midge. So, I waited. Finally, another rise and I was back in business. This time, a 16″ Brown cooperated. Now the rest of the story.

After guiding the fish closer to the bank so I could get a quick picture,  I dug out “my fly” and dropped the fly attached to my hemostats with leader attached in the water so I could release the fish. To my amazement, the fish started swimming away but still attached to the leader on my fly rod. This time I removed MY FLY. Craig’s fly and leader was the first one removed. I stung one other fish later in the am but left with one good story. Thanks to Craig!

Yellow Breeches Creek

Craig Coder with Lance and Chip Hill on the Breeches

Craig Coder with Lance and Chip Hill on the Breeches

Leah's catch on the Breeches

Leah’s catch on the Breeches

Over the last several weeks, we have had great success fishing the upper stretches of the Yellow Breeches for wild brown trout. My son Craig and I have explored fishing some new stretches and found most to be productive. I also had the opportunity to fish with my granddaughter Leah and nephew Lance Hill and his son Lance (Chip).

Lance and Chip spent 2 days fishing the Breeches (fly fishing for the first time) and by day 2 were making good casts and catching fish. Leah and I also got out for a day and I was impressed to see her cast and catch fish on her own.

The great thing about the upper section is that there are tons of fish, lots of structure and very few fishermen. We use caddis, parachute adams, cracklebacks and various attractor flies. Ants are the ticket on some of the quieter pools.

Due to recent storms, the water conditions are high – should be fishable later this week.

South Holston River/Watauga River, Bristol TN

Jim Rebok with guide Blake Boyd on the South Holston

Jim Rebok with guide Blake Boyd on the South Holston

Motion and Altra Fly Fishermen

Motion and Altra Fly Fishermen

Laylon Cox on the Watauga

Laylon Cox on the Watauga

We had a return visit to the South Holston River Lodge ( last week. The fishermen consisted of Laylon Cox, Guy Hendrix, Jay Carawan of Motion Industries and Ted Banakis (Altra) and myself (retired from Altra).

South Holston River: Low water conditions due to limited release of water from the reservoir caused a change in tactics this year – an opportunity to wade the river. Fishing was still productive and the upper section had a sulphur hatch with rising fish in the afternoon.

Watauga River: Several of the guys got the opportunity to fish the Watauga and it proved to be “hot”. Ted and Laylon caught around 60 fish on the first day…mostly rainbows.

This was another great fishing experience including the accommodations, food, and outstanding guides who work hard to find you fish and improve your fly fishing skills. We all gave this trip a “thumbs up”.

Fly Fishing Local Streams to Franklin County

Craig's Falling Spring Brown

Craig’s Falling Spring Brown

Breeches Wild Brown

Breeches Wild Brown

Wyatt Dietrich on the Breeches

Wyatt Dietrich on the Breeches

Bear Run  Brookie

Bear Run Brookie

Spring fly fishing in Franklin County had been a challenge due to a combination of high and sometimes murky water. Streams like the Yellow Breeches are just now getting into good shape for dry fly fishing but without any significant hatches. It’s now Tricos season but so far they have been sparse to non-existent. The good news is that there are still options.

Bear Run: My son Craig and I fished this little gem last weekend and caught 20 wild Brookies using caddis. Bear Run is located in Bear Valley and near the picnic grounds.

Yellow Breeches: Until the last week or so, the stretch near the Allenberry Playhouse has been high and stained. We have had some good luck on the upper stretches near the fish hatchery. Most of the fish you catch in this stretch are wild browns and in the 8-10 inch range. Wyatt Dietrich, local bamboo rod maker ( and I fished together last week on this section. Wyatt had an exceptional morning – landed 16 wild browns. Craig (Coder) and I had another great morning on Saturday. In addition to catching 26 wild browns, we caught 2 exceptional ones measuring around 12 inches.

Falling Spring: Craig and I have fished the Spring on both the heritage section (sulphurs close to dark) and on the Delayed Harvest section. Ants and midges have been the ticket. A good day is catching 2 or 3 and we have caught some quality fish in the 15-17 inch range on ants.

Looking forward to fishing the Tricos hatch on Spring Creek, Tulpehocken and the Little Lehigh!

Fly Fishing in the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon Region

John Haney's first catch fly fishing

John Haney’s first catch fly fishing

Pine Creek Brown near Slate Run

Pine Creek Brown near Slate Run

This year marks the 14th anniversary of our family vacation to the Rough Cut Lodge ( located on Pine Creek in Tioga County. We have 3 generations of family members (35 total this year). During this early June vacation there are outside games, rafting, cookouts, and yes fly fishing. The fly fishermen range from those in their early 60’s to 8 years old. Some of these younger fishermen are already catching fish on a fly rod and “hooked”.

The great thing about Tioga and Potter counties is the versatility of fishing. We fish smaller streams like Slate Run, Lyman Run, West Pine and Cross Fork for wild browns and brookies. We caught some good fish on Kettle Creek and the Allegheny River above Coudersport and of course Pine Creek – behind the Rough Cut Lodge on Rt. 6 and where Slate Run empties into Pine.

In addition to the versatility of water, we saw numerous bug hatches including brown drakes, green drakes, slate drakes and more consistent hatches of sulphurs, caddis and blue winged olives. Depending on the stream, time of day and weather conditions, we caught fish on sulphurs, BWOs, caddis, brown drakes, slate drakes, adams patterns and attractor flies.

Family fun, a beautiful setting, fly fishing and good comradery… what more can one ask for!

Fly Fishing the Shenandoah National Park

Fishing Weather???

Fishing Weather???

Spent 3 days fishing the mountain streams in the Shenandoah National Park with Tim Brookens. We did our research by attending the Lancaster Fly Fishing show and by visiting Murrays Fly Shop ( Harry Murray, owner has written books on fishing the forest and was extremely helpful.

We stayed at a cabin (Skyland) on Skyline Drive. Fishing the streams (locals call them rivers) requires hiking for a minimum of one hour and sometimes closer to two. Our 1st day was highly successful fishing the Rose River – landed 30 wild brookies. Day 2 was more challenging as it rained all night and then most of the day while fishing. We did tough it out on White Oak Run.

Because it snowed during the night before day 3 and the temperature dropped to 17 degrees, we decided against a 2 hour hike to the Hughes River. We opted to drive to the east side of Skyline Drive and fish the Rapidan River and a feeder stream called Staunton Run. The heavy rain and temperature drop caused the rivers to be swift and cold – only one fish!

The pictures show the beauty of fishing these mountain streams….an adventure worth taking.


Tim Brookens on the Rose River

Yellow Breeches (Allenberry, Barnitz Mill, Stuart Road)

After checking the stream report on the Yellow Breeches Outfitters (, learned that both Grannom Caddis and Hendricksons were hatching. Between Tim Brookens, my son Craig and I, we fished several section of the Breeches and found the hatch to be most prevalent at the Barnitz Mill section. Unfortunately, we had to contend with too many fishermen mostly fishing bait. Between the 3 of us over a couple days of fishing, we caught over 30 fish, mostly on Caddis.

I was fortunate enough to retire the end of March, and received a Sony video camera which can be used underwater. I am in the “work in progress” stage, so the video included is my first shot using my new toy. It shows Craig Coder casting on the section above Stuart Road and a wild Brown after he released it. Hopefully, I will improve on the quality in the future. Stay tuned!

Spring Creek (State College) PA

Craig's 15" Brown

Craig’s 15″ Brown

After receiving some input from the Flyfisher’s Paradise fly shop (, Tim Brookens, my son Craig and I decided to make a trip to Spring Creek. The input was that BWOs were coming off and fish were rising.

After breakfast at Topp’s Diner in Huntington, PA, we arrived around 10:00 am. No fish rising until around noon and they were sporadic due to the wind. Stream temperature was 40 degrees. Needless to say the wind made the fishing very challenging.

Tim caught a few trout on nymphs but Craig and I stubbornly stuck with dries with less success. Craig did catch a nice 15″ Brown on a flying ant after many refusals of an Olive. We also each stung a fish or 2. I did land one fish on a #24 gray hackle fly and spent an hour getting totally frustrated on an active riser.  I could not solve getting a drag free drift in the wind.

Although not highly successful, it was great breaking the ice. Trout season has arrived!