Monday, May 25, 2015

Variety on Kettle Creek

Variety on Kettle Creek
5/15 thru 5/17/2015

 Every year I trek up to Kettle Creek for a weekend of fly fishing. Doesn’t matter if it’s April, May or June I find trout that will rise. I’ve been up during big hatches of Mayflies, medium hatches of a few Mayflies and times when there was nearly a bug on the water. Even on the windiest days or rain I’ve made trout rise. This weekend was a no hatch weekend. Sure there were a few caddis about and very few Mayflies now and than at times during the day but nothing that I would call a good Hatch.
 In the bar I heard how disappointing the dry fly fishing had been. I heard how the hatches are late due to the weather. On the stream I seen guys using spinning rods and telling me their fly rods are in their vehicles but didn’t get them out because of no risers. I had to go to nymph fishing this weekend at times but I still used dry flies most of the time and most of the fish I caught were on dry flies. A couple of caddis patterns and March Browns took most of my top water catches. I also caught a couple of fish on a Hendrickson pattern and missed a couple on a small Sulphur pattern. The last few fish I caught on top on Friday was on a beetle pattern, go figure?


 I arrived at Kettle Creek about 4:00pm Friday. Near the Leidy Bridge stretch fishermen and woman were lined and spaced out like a back country turkey shoot contest, fire at will. Their weapons being spinning rods, spin casting reels as well as fly rods of all sorts of sizes. I continued on the twisting road to route 144. Along the route to Cross Forks, and beyond, fisher people of all shapes and sizes were lined up along the creek like the first day of the trout season. Even the sprinkling of rain didn’t hamper the go getters. When I got to the fly fishing only project waters there were only 4 vehicles so I pulled in.
 I had just got a new fishing vest and I already had it packed where everything was in a specific pocket. Being it was sprinkling out at times I put everything I thought I needed in my fishing raincoat. I attached my two piece SAS Scott rod, which I usually use in rainy conditions, and to that a large arbor reel with weight forward line. I left the camera in the van because of the rain but did grab a few cigars before heading out.
 There were two fellows fishing just up from the bridge and I seen two others under the bridge keeping out of the rain drops. I noticed the water was much lower than when I was here in April. I already knew where I was going to spend the last few hours of the day and headed along the path along the creek.
 The water was clear so I kept back from the far side of the creek but also kept a good distance from the near bank side vegetation for long back casts. The surface water was a bit slower along the far bank but I knew that’s where the trout hang out. Even if I don’t get a cast right in that slow crease against the bank if the trout are hungry they should venture out with a well placed dry fly in the slow riffles.

 My cast was ¾ the way across creek, this side of the rippling water and into the flow where the shallow riffles smoothed over the deeper section. A trout rose to my dry fly, I pulled back and set the hook and my first trout was on.
 I placed the dry fly in the beginning of the slower flow of current along the bank. Maybe not as close as I would have liked but it close enough. It was only setting there for a second or two before a trout reached up and mouthed it with a noticeable swirl. There wasn’t much slack in my line so a quick wrist set the hook.
 My long cast was calculated, after a few shorter casts, that landed the dry fly smack down along side the logs along the far bank. The #12 dry fly drifted upon the slow current and a trout porpoised up upon the surface for it. Somehow I missed the take. It looked like a nice size trout. He never did come up again after that miss.
 I caught one more trout and missed one within another 20 minutes but after that I couldn’t get one to rise for anything. I even tried underneath without success. I decided to head down creek some and found a nice deeper pool along a deadfall and before a next set of shallow riffles. I pulled two trout out of there on a dry and one on a nymph. These trout were much smaller than the ones I caught upstream. Just before dark I returned to the spot I started and fished there till it got dark. I ended up catching two brook trout on a beetle pattern under an overhanging tree. If it weren’t for the white wing post I would have never been able to see where my beetle fell.
 That evening I settled down and cooked up some hot sausage and string beans for supper and washed it down with a couple of beers before bed. Saturday I was to meet my friend Jeff and his girlfriend for some more fishing activity. 


It had rained some throughout the night but not enough to show any different effect to the stream height or color. After a breakfast of hard boiled eggs and cereal I strung up my custom 4 weight. I put on my hip waders and wading boots before leaving my camping spot in this way I was ready to fish as soon as I parked.
 There were a few anglers already out and about on the water. Where I was to meet Jeff there was no one parked there so I pulled in with good intentions of catching some trout without being hampered by other fisher people.
 At 7:15am it was a bit chilly out but I knew it was going to get much warmer as the day progressed. It was quite foggy also so I couldn’t get a good read on the sky color so I wore my raincoat just to be on the safe side. I wasn’t sure when Jeff was going to get around to meeting me but there was plenty of room and space to fish before he showed up. Down at the bank I stepped into the water and waded across creek to the far bank. From there I walked along the path and visually took notice of the water conditions as I walked up creek to the fast water.
 Of course I started with a bugger but switched to nymph fishing the deeper riffles soon after. I was anxious to dry fly fish. So far all I seen was a few light caddis about but no risers. When I seen my first Mayfly I was hoping for more. Within a couple of minutes I couldn’t stand it any more and decided to knot on a dry fly. I seen what I was pretty sure a Hendrickson come off the water. I thought it was a bit early in the morning for them but that’s what I pretty sure I seen. I knotted on a #12 Dark Hendrickson and started to cast onto the surface water without seeing a rise at the moment. It wasn’t long before I seen a rise in a slower current crease in the riffling water and went for it.

 My cast was a little down and across creek. I let a lot of slack in my line when the dry Hendrickson fell at the beginning of the crease so it would drift without drag for some time. About in the middle of the pocket a trout rose pretty aggressively and I was Jerry on the spot with a quick lift and hook set. The trout battled within the riffling current and I felt I had complete control of the situation. It wasn’t long before my first trout of the morning was in my net before 8:00am. A nice brown with a Hendrickson stuck in his lip.
“It was going to be a good day” I just knew it!
  I continued on but went to nymph fishing for lack of any risers or Mayflies coming off. A couple of fellows waded down creek past me just before Jeff cruised down the road and beeped letting me know he had arrived. I suppose it was after 9:00am by then. I took a break and lit up a Sancho Panza while searching for any surface activity.

The morning went ok as far as catching went. I had caught a few trout underneath and a few on dry flies on the surface. Most of the trout were on the smaller size. Jeff didn’t do very well. Gail fishes with a spinning outfit and said she had a few chasers but they wouldn’t grab anything.

Later on, in the afternoon, Jeff and I headed to the project waters while Gail hung out in the sunshine. There were quite a few fishermen along the creek but we kept on walking to the section we wanted to fish. When we got there, there was already three other fishermen fishing the deeper section of water. We headed a bit further up creek. Jeff began to fish a good current flow leading into the deep pool whereas I kept walking up creek. I found some shallow riffles and a few deep pools where I began to catch some small wild trout.
 You can read about these at;

 After the others left Jeff and I started to fish the deeper section. He caught his birthday trout on a dry March Brown I had given him.

 I ended tagging one on a bugger and caught a few more before we headed back down to the parking lot.

 After a quick meal in the town of Cross Forks we headed back out, down stream, for the evening hatch. There wasn’t much of a hatch at all. We did pick up a few trout before Jeff and Gail called it quits. I had then still rising to my March Brown pattern.

 I stuck around for a bit longer and ended up catching a few brook trout practically in darkness.

 Back at the campsite Buster and I enjoyed a bottle of wine as I relaxed.

Sunday would be another day. (To be continued)



  1. Some of my best days of dry fly action have come when there wasn't much of a hatch going on , conversely I've had some days where the bugs were coming off non-stop and I couldn't buy one on a dry. You just never know until you tie one on and give it a try!

  2. I agree. How many people i talk to won't knot a dry fly on unless there is a hatch with tons of fish rising. I think they're missing out.