Sunday, March 17, 2013

Preparations for Spring Creek


Preparations for Spring Creek

  Hunters and fishermen do a lot of preparations before the actual activity, at least this one does. From wearing a favorite shirt each time out for luck, preparing a lunch a certain way or training bodily functions. Yes, I actually had a friend who, a week or so before hunting season, started training his body to go to the bathroom at 5:00am in the morning than at 7:30am or so from his normal routine during the work week. He explained to me how one’s body gets into a habit, just like expecting that coffee each morning or your body will go into withdraw. Nothing worse than starting out in the freezing cold early morning hunt and having to find a tree to lean on to drop a stool.
  A couple of my preparations, not necessarily for luck, but just a ‘habit’ is as follows. When my gramps and I would go deer hunting he told me to always carry a dime in case I get lost, I can call for help. You have to remember I grew up when there were phone booths outside every mini market or gas station and such. I kept the tradition only by carrying a quarter now even if there isn’t many telephone booths around. One thing I always wondered, but never questioned, was that I never seen a telephone booth in the woods, even if I ever would have been lost to make that call!
 I still pack a lunch during big game season of buttering both sides of the potato bun so my sandwich wouldn’t get stale. Heck, I’ve found salami potato bun sandwiches in the back of my hunting coat months later and the bread was as soft as a warm pancake, it looked like one also!
  When it comes to fishing I prepare myself for the streams I plan on fishing. I bring full flexed rods for slow calm dry fly fishing days. I bring a fast action rod for windy days and streams I know I’ll need long casts and medium fast as my every day creek rod. Different floating lines on their own spools help also. When I go fishing for a three day weekend I also bring some fly tying material especially when I’m not familiar with the waters or have been fooled before on such waters. So my past weekend trip to Spring Creek, near Bellefonte, I brought along some tying material to help from not being disappointed.

  Friday was a good St. Practice day on the stream. Though the underwater fishing didn’t produce many trout, the top water hatches during the day were more successful. Only problem was the fish WERE selective as usual and not all the trout were craving for the same size, shape, color of Blue Wing Olives. Along with the rearward tree branches that also consumed many imitations Friday, I was glad I brought along the tying kit.

  This brings me to Saturday’s eventful day along Spring Creek. I woke up in my van around 6:30am without setting the alarm. I guess going to bed at 8:30pm the night before, for the lack of anything else to do, made for a restful night and early morning. It was dark and cold in the morning so I wasn’t anxious to go outside just yet. As I warmed up the van I started to tie some BWO’s in a couple of different styles to make up for the ones I lost the day before plus a couple of different shades. I did this on the top of my cooler while sipping on a hot cup of tea and eating hot oatmeal. When it became light I was still tying without fear I’d miss something in the below freezing weather outside. I think it was around 8:00am when my stomach told me that I needed to excrete some waste. I put on a sweatshirt and headed to the outhouse behind the camp I was parked next to.
 It had to be just above freezing but without the gusting wind as the day before. The bare ground, bare trees and natural surroundings were of an early morning brisk spring day,, with a few falling snowflakes that gently drifted like goose down feathers. The first thing I noticed, after taking a seat, was there were no windows. Being it was a bit dim outside at the time I kept the door slightly opened. After my eyes adjusted to the dullness inside the second thing that caught my attention was the broom by the door. Now I’ve used many a outhouses in my hunting, camping and fishing adventures and I have to admit I never seen a broom in an outhouse. I mean who actually sweeps a rustic outhouse floor? Besides that there was the more common plastic lidded coffee container that I was sure that kept the ‘T’ paper dry and from being used as a rodents comfortable living quarters. Next to the seat bench, to my left, was some kind of magazine and a pump spray bottle of air freshener. The air freshener was of vanilla ice cream scent! Now, normally I’d expect to see pine aroma or some kind if outdoorsy scented air freshener. Anyhow I left the inside of the outhouse smelling like vanilla ice cream with a touch of chocolate chit aroma!!

 As a light offering of snowflakes fell I got my warmest clothes on and headed for the location I intended to fish. On the drive over, snow started to fall with more abundance as the morning sky brightened quizzically. By the time I got my waders and boots on the snow fall was getting quite annoying and started to accumulate upon the ground. With cold hands I assembled my two piece Scott five weight and with cold fingers knotted on fresh tippet and my double duo offering. By the time I headed up creek it looked like it was the middle of winter with a major snow squall developing. I wasn’t too thrilled with the situation but I had nothing better to do and I was going fishing! I really didn’t expect to catch much, in fact, 1 beneath would be just fine due to conditions, so I decided the morning just might be for picture taking and cigar smoking. I lit up a Sinclair ‘55’ sun grown and went on my way.
 I found an open snowy path to the water just beyond the snowy walk bridge and took it. The water was a bit high but had the perfect green tint to it. Stepping into the water I felt the temperature difference but it wasn’t too alarming. As I drifted my offering in pocket waters and along the bank shore I listened to the chirping birds along with the soothing sound of tumbling trout waters. Two ducks fed and played nearby as the snow thickened occasionally passing like fog. At times I took chances of taking pictures but after a spell decided not to take the chance as the fluffy snowflakes changed to overly wet flakes and at times small drops of hail.
(Notice the snow accumulation in the background)

 Along with the snow I developed problems with trying to roll cast the tandem rig with my gloved left hand while trying to keep my right fingers warm in my coat pocket. By the time I reached the van I had lost a couple of nymphs, a few feet of tippet with nothing to show for it except a few duck pictures. I stopped by, got a drink, put a hot-hand pouch in my right pocket and decided to work my way down creek.
  The snow decided to tease me as I got further and further down stream from my van. The only excitement was a trout took my drifting worm pattern, near the rocky bank, and struggled with me into the faster current. After a good enjoyable tussle he became free and I was thankful not to get my hands wet. After an hour or so playing in the water in the snow fall I headed back up to the van for another drink. After that I went back up creek and began to fish my way back down with different patterns. Each time I’d have to wipe off my bifocal shades to make sure my cold fingers were tying the knots correctly. This time when I got to the van there were at least a couple of inches of snow that had gathered about and the wind picked up. My coat was a bit heavier than when I started due to the thick moisture in the absorbing snowflakes that happen to fall and lay upon my coat now and than.
  It was near 1:30pm when I decided to drive back up creek towards camp. Aside the road I decided to warm up a bit and listen to the Pen’s game on the radio. I woke up a bit later and munched on crackers and cheese till the end of the second period. The sun was out and the snow flakes just about quit…..until I was about 40 yards from my van down stream.

I noticed a few risers in the riffling water as it entered the calmer larger pool. I tied on a bit of 6X tippet and knotted on a CDC BWO. Casting out towards the risers I was befuddled by the lack of visual contact of my dry. The white snow on the hillside, beyond the road, mirrored it’s brightness upon the water that even my polarized shades couldn’t diffract. I tried playing vicinity, guessing were my fly was, but failed to connect 98% of the time. The one time I guessed right on the rise was my biggest brown of the day and on a dry fly at that!!!
  I crossed over to the road side to possibly cut down on the glare but the snowy bank, on the far side, yielded no relief. Getting frustrated I made my way to the road and hurriedly walked down the road where there was a good BWO hatch the day before. That pool was shaded more and also wasn’t as turbulent so seeing a #20 and #18 BWO imitation should be much easier.

  When I arrived at the pool another fellow was wading and fishing the near bank exactly where most of the trout were rising the day before. I crossed the creek in the shallows downstream and than took a position down creek from the guy on the opposite bank not impeding with his upstream casts. In a short time a few trout rose in the middle of the creek but it took my eyes awhile to adjust to the small winged imitation upon the water. After the guy left a few more fish rose but very few at that. Under the snowfall and changing of brightness under the moving cloud color I did manage a few more caught trout on my dry fly patterns. It wasn’t long after I got there that my back and body was feeling the effect of the heaviness of my water soaked coat from the absorption of the wet snowflakes. The air got colder as time went on and a light drizzle began. I had enough ‘fun’ for the day and waded out and walked back up to my camp-on-wheels.

While drinking a cold Labatt Blue I changed into dry clothe and put my gear away. I had planned to stay until Sunday afternoon but the weather didn’t appear to be much more promising. I have to admit the cold, snowy wet weather had gotten the best of me. Two days of wild trout fishing on Spring Creek had been moderately successful thus far so I decided to pass up the last day and head homeward.

When I reached the interstate I pulled out a Victor Sinclair Series ’55’ Cameroon. The darker outer leaf and the thought of a good Cameroon sounded pleasing. After the light up I tilted the Captain’s chair drivers seat back a bit, put down the armrests, and tilted the steering wheel down. With cruise control on and a fat Churchill in my mouth puffing away it was like guiding a cruise ship through calm water, with maybe a drizzle now and than as the sky darkened.




  1. If nothing else the weather made it a memorable outing. Sometimes those are looked back on more fondly than the ones with big numbers of fish.

    I've fished that stream once in mid-winter and need to get back there again sometime.

  2. cold bad weather makes for more quiet moments without the crowds. you are right though, these days are well remembered!

  3. I could use a trip to Spring Creek to get me going. Too much other stuff interfering with any potential fishing trips. Way to get out and get time on the water. Thanks for sharing.