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> > letort,breeches,or big spring

LittleJOctober 26th, 2007, 8:47 pm
Hollidaysburg Pa

Posts: 251
I'm looking to make my first trip down to fish either the letort, breeches, or big spring. I will probabley go either this coming or next sun. I was thinking this sun. because hopefully the rain stirred up the water a bit. But any way this is my first trip down and I really have no idea where to go other than following the delorme from top to bottom. so if any of you wouldn't mind sharing some popular places to go(i'm not asking for secrets)I'd appreciate it. and if you would recomend one stream over another, I am really not leaning in any direction i was just going to wing it and see where I end up.
thanks
Jeff
LamOctober 27th, 2007, 11:25 am
Lancaster, PA

Posts: 81
my 2 cents which is probably worth about half that is this:

On the yellow breeches you could go into the town of boiling springs and fish the narrow "run" that drains from the lake in the center of town. It's tough fishing but there are lots of fish. It's maybe 200 yards long if that. It flows directly into the breeches. I haven't fished the main yellow breeches in a while but you can always go down stream from the town of boiling springs and park at the allenberry play house. There is a pretty famous stretch of water behind the play house and I have heard from a few people it is fishing well right now.

As for Big Spring, I haven't fished the main stream there, ever. It looks nice but I have never seen fish in it but I never looked that hard either. I have only fished the "ditch" or whatever it's called. This is just below where the hatchery used to be. There are stream bred brooks in there along with browns (not sure about rainbows). This is also pretty tough fishing but worth it in my opinion. There is lots of vegetation and I have caught fish on scuds a few times. There seemed to be a lot of midge activity when I was there as well. Clear water and you can spot the fish (this goes for the "run" in boiling springs and the "ditch" on big spring.

Well, that's my limited knoweledge about them. I won't even speak about the letort because I haven't fished it enough.

Gene is probably the man with the most familiarity with the streams you mentiond. With any luck he will answer your questions for you better than I.

Good luck.
LittleJOctober 27th, 2007, 5:44 pm
Hollidaysburg Pa

Posts: 251
appreciate the advise, any place to start is better than where i was heading (which was arbitrarily pointing at a spot on the map).I decided to go next sun so if any one else will weigh in this week i'd appreciate it.
jeff
MartinlfOctober 27th, 2007, 8:43 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2968
Jeff, if you go next Sunday, call Yellow Breeches Outfitters and possibly Cold Spring Angler on Saturday to get some tips on what is fishing well. Both have websites, and fishing reports on them that give tips on what is working. There is a fisherman's parking lot in the Allenberry complex and you just walk down to the stream from it. A road actually goes down. The little run upstream is good also, and it is very easy to get to. It's upstream of the Allenberry stretch, just where the stream comes out of the lake. Downstream of the run and upstream of the Allenberry Dam is a slow stretch where fish often rise to midges. They can be devils--6X or 7X if the water is clear. You might find some olives hatching also. Scuds work well on Big Spring, and there are many streambred rainbows as well as brookies and some browns. Take a look at the upper end and at the parking lots downstream. Stay low and fish slow. Most folks fish the upper Letort, which I find very challenging. Good luck.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
GeneOctober 27th, 2007, 10:46 pm
Posts: 107Little J:

Big Spring is in the best shape of any of the limestone spring creeks in the area. The Breeches is fine but it will have a lot of pressure as usual. Big Spring from its source to below the bridge about 100 yards (total distance around 300 yards) has over 1000 fish. I was there for the electroshocking in August. The ditch (first 150 meters etc.) probably has the largest wild brook trout population per acre of any stream in the country. Unfortunately, these fish are wild..not the hatchery pets of yesteryear and the fish hide quite a bit.

There are wild brookies to 20 inches and there are lots of rainbows to 25 inches and a few browns in the same category. Below this area all the way down to Nealy Road there are a lot fish. A few brooks, lots of rainbows and a few browns (two browns are 30 and 31 inches)!

Your best bet for flies are as follows: scud patterns, cress bug patterns, sulfur nymphs, blue winged olive nymphs, Sawyer's nymph, soft hackle patterns in size 16-18 (tan, grizzly, and brown hackle varieties will work); midge larva, pupa and adults 18-26 (red, black, white or cream, yellow, tan etc); wooly buggers 10-14 in standard colors. A blue winged olive dries size 18-22 and perhaps a few adult caddis patterns size 16-18 would give you a good chance on the stream. Check my websites: www.limestoner.com and www.flyfisher.com for more on the flies and the streams. The info is free.

The fish are on stations on some sections midging this time of year so be careful with your approach.

Good luck..it's a beautiful stream if you don't mind working for big fish.

gene

tight lines
JOHNWOctober 27th, 2007, 10:55 pm
Chambersburg, PA

Posts: 452
Jeff,
If I can get "the warden" to cut me work release papers I would likely be able to go one better than pointing you to a section of the stream.

Big Spring is very intimidating in that it is always Crystal clear, flat, and weedy. The fish are almost invisible agains the light colored bottom and while you can walk up on some of them a low slow approach, as Louis suggested, is highly reccomended. Find the hatchery and just poke around the lots ranging downstream to Neely road (4th lot).
The Letort is an enigma and is best fished by sitting on the bank and emptying your hip flask. Then when you think you are ready to fish go back to the vehichle and drain the rest of the bottle. That being said the most important thing to remember these are very shy wild brownies and live in water with an average CFS in the low 30's and lots of weeds. The fish can be caught but for every one you get to eat you will spook at least a dozen. Areas to check out include Vince's Meadow, and Bonneybrook Drive.
The others have given you good info on the Breeches. The caveat is these are mostly stocked fish that have recieved PHD defense type pressure. They will hold very tight and simply swim out of the way of your drift if it isn't spot on. The other side of the coin is that this stream will probably be the most consistent for dry fly action if that is what you are looking for.

Flies to have include scuds and cressbugs from #12-#18 in grey and olive, BWO in 18-20, Shenks sculpins in #6-#12 in white and black, #8 weighted shenks minnows in white, pheasant tail nymphs (with/without beads) in 16-20, and some smallish green caddis larva.

I hope I didn't make it sound dismal however the CV Spring Creeks are pretty harsh mistresses even by the toughest standards.
JW

P.S. Watch out for redds as it is that time of year.
"old habits are hard to kill once you have gray in your beard" -Old Red Barn
GONZOOctober 28th, 2007, 7:39 am
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Jeff,

Gene, John, and Louis have given great advice about the Breeches, Letort, and Big Spring--and they all know whereof they speak.

The special reg. section of the Breeches is the most "artificial" and crowded of these three. Despite the extreme degree of pressure (the "Little Run" section is surely one of the most heavily pressured pieces of water in the world), I usually find those fish quite easy to catch. So easy, in fact, that I quickly lose interest in fishing it. The only interesting thing about this section is the way you can actually use the pressure and the competitive nature of these (mostly) stocked fish to your advantage.

The current "renaissance" that Gene describes on Big Spring is a remarkable story of what can happen when dedicated scientists and fly fishers like Gene, Dr. Black, the late Norm Shires, and others step up to revive and defend a precious and unique resource. The amazing turnaround that stream is experiencing is a testament to their efforts, and every angler who fishes there should thank them for saving this historic water for us and for future generations. With regard to the "brookie vs. brownie" thread, anyone who assumes that wild brookies are always pushovers should fish this stream just to be disabused of that notion. :)

The classic Letort has a reputation that often tends to intimidate visiting anglers. Because of this, the pressure is actually lower than on many other streams in the area that have lesser reputations. In places, the fishing can be very challenging, and the fish don't respond well to careless approaches. However, not all stretches of the Letort are equally difficult. On some, contrary to its reputation, the fish are really quite generous about accepting a fly. All I can say--without invoking the ire of those who know the stream well--is don't be afraid to fish outside of the more famous, classic stretches. ;)

Best,
Gonzo
LamOctober 28th, 2007, 10:10 am
Lancaster, PA

Posts: 81
|"Despite the extreme degree of pressure (the "Little Run" section is surely one of the most heavily pressured pieces of water in the world), I usually find those fish quite easy to catch."


Care to share any of your secrets, Gonzo?
GONZOOctober 28th, 2007, 1:05 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Sure, Lam, but they're not really "secrets" so much as aspects of a basic strategy that anyone who fishes extremely pressured water learns eventually:

First, recognize that pressure is the main issue to overcome, and that the very competitive situation--many trout crowded together--is your primary advantage in a stream like the Little Run (or the special reg. section of the Little Lehigh, etc.). The fish may be extremely suspicious due to the angling pressure, but they still have to eat.

Overcoming the influence of pressure is about not falling for the trap of just pounding the water with standard approaches and presentations. People do this on places like the Little Run or the Little Lehigh because sooner or later they manage to catch a fish that way, and then they think that it's just a matter of flogging away until another one makes a mistake. You end up with a sore arm, few fish, and no reason to ever expect more than that.

Because the stocked fish in these places don't flee at your approach, it's easy to think that it doesn't matter. But watch the reaction of the freely feeding fish when an angler appears--they don't flee, but they do know the angler is there, and they react with increased suspicion (even with regard to natural food). This is why the first cast or two to fish that haven't been alerted to your presence often succeeds in this situation, sometimes no matter what fly is presented. Often, a change of fly or presentation can also get a quick response, but after that the point of diminishing returns is quickly reached. However, sometimes you can play that tactic over and over again by finding a few "relaxed" fish; approaching them as though they were spooky wild fish; catching a couple; and then moving on to the next situation. On the busiest days, this approach has obvious limits.

When a hatch is on, the fish will often keep feeding even when being pounded, so "hatch-matching" flies or presentations that have a degree of novelty can succeed over a much longer period of time in one location. (The fish are getting confidence from every real bug they eat, and that helps.) Just remember that even the best flies and presentations can go stale if they are constantly shown to the fish. Sometimes "un-matching" the hatch can get a reaction from fish that start refusing your best imitations, but that usually is only good for a fish or two. Unique presentations can be every bit as effective as unique flies. I can't tell you how many times I've caught fish that had grown indifferent to the constant drift of my flies just by letting a fly settle on the bottom in the shallow water along the edge and waiting for a nearby fish to amble over and pick it up. What's known as "thinking outside the box" is often rewarded on pressured streams.

Another thing to keep in mind is the rule that fishing pressure is never evenly distributed, even on tiny, seemingly shoulder-to-shoulder places like the Little Run. If you look carefully, you'll notice that there are a few small spots that are hardly ever fished. These places are either tight because of overhanging brush or just more difficult places in which to cast or drift a fly. Play the laziness of others to your advantage, and you'll find that the fish that hide in these more difficult places are much easier to catch than the ones that sit out in the open under the constant flogging.

Finally, keep in mind that the social pressure among the fish is unusually high in these "artificial" situations--almost like a hatchery trough at times--and the competitive reactions of hatchery fish can often be their downfall. Sometimes, where the population is especially dense, a particularly appealing presentation (say, the sudden plop a fat beetle pattern or even an egg pattern hitting the water) will draw an instant reaction from a mob of fish that may all turn away at the last instant. When you see this competitive reaction, use it to your advantage. Even extremely "educated" stockers can be put off their caution by seeing a neighbor pursue a meal. Fish are naturally stimulated by the feeding activity of other fish, and when that activity gets competitive, they can be persuaded to make rash decisions. One way to exploit this is to rest the water for a moment or two when you see the gang reaction to a fly. Then present and withdraw the same fly several times in rapid succession. The frustrated fish will mill around excitedly, and when the fly finally appears without being withdrawn, one of them will usually be stimulated to do something dumb.

So, as for the true "secrets," Lam, I'll keep them to myself, thank you. But I hope this overall strategy and some of the tactics I've used as examples give you some ideas and lead to more success in these situations. Have fun, but don't get greedy. Remember that even the best hand can be overplayed. ;)

Best,
Gonzo
LamOctober 28th, 2007, 1:26 pm
Lancaster, PA

Posts: 81
First off, let me say "thank you". That was an overwhelming response with some excellent ideas.

I have fished the run numerous times but usually only for short periods. I have business in Dillsburg and when I go there I schedule a little extra time to make a quick visit to the run. I think my sporadic success is probably explained by falling into the "doing what everyone else is doing" mode. I have had great days and I have been skunked. But because of my time schedule, I am usually in a bit of a rush. I am guilty of approaching with less caution because I believed that the fish had become used to people milling about. You can pracitally stand on the fish but then again, they don't bite either. Next time I am there I will take your advice and approach with more caution and think outside the box as far as fly presentation and selection goes. I think I will walk to the end of the run and slowly work my way back up, so I am approaching from behind the fish and use the same stealth I would on other streams.

On a side note, I heard that people still feed bread to the fish and that "some guy" used a piece of white pillow foam tied to his hook and had great success. I'll stick to imitating insects myself, I like at least a little challenge.

Thanks again for the info,you are very generous.
GONZOOctober 28th, 2007, 2:43 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Lam, the "bread fly" has at least a forty-year history on the Little Run. I first saw it in action when I was twelve. It's a pretty loathsome tactic, but if you think about what it really says about stocked fish in pressured water, you can apply the lessons it teaches in more honorable ways. :)
LittleJOctober 29th, 2007, 4:36 pm
Hollidaysburg Pa

Posts: 251
wow...thanks to all for the great advise. I really appreciate it..this will save me hours of driving around aimlessly.
Jeff
LamOctober 29th, 2007, 6:32 pm
Lancaster, PA

Posts: 81
So LittleJ,

Where have you decided to go?
MartinlfOctober 29th, 2007, 6:50 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2968
OK, this should go in the favorite quotations section, but it was from this thread, so I'll note it here. The funniest comment I've seen in a while came above, from John W:

"The Letort is an enigma and is best fished by sitting on the bank and emptying your hip flask. Then when you think you are ready to fish go back to the vehicle and drain the rest of the bottle."

Amen. Though Gonzo's advice is also good.

John, still have the grass rod, of course. My G.P. recently diagnosed tendonitis in the right elbow (old fishing injury) and has me on the bench for a while, so your baby is still safely sitting in my closet. Let me know if you need it and I'll find a way to get it back to you.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
LittleJOctober 29th, 2007, 7:05 pm
Hollidaysburg Pa

Posts: 251
big spring....If I don't get t.k.o.'d in the first round I'll go back soon after to try my hand at the breeches. It sounds to me like a win win situation, it doesn't seem as though I could go wrong fishing any of them.
Jeff
MartinlfOctober 29th, 2007, 10:13 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2968
Best of luck, Jeff. One final bit of advice, something I'm sure you already know. If it's not going well, sit back, look around, enjoy the beauty of the stream, then try something new. New fly, more weight, less weight, longer tippet etc. Several times when I thought I was going to get skunked on a tough stream, sheer persistence and a bit of patience paid off. Like others, I wish you a great day.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
LamOctober 30th, 2007, 4:51 am
Lancaster, PA

Posts: 81
"It sounds to me like a win win situation, it doesn't seem as though I could go wrong fishing any of them."

You hit the nail on the head. It won't suck no matter where you go. And even if you don't catch anything, how bad can it really be as long as you are fishing? As the old saying goes, "A bad day fishing is better than a good day......(finish as you like)."
LamOctober 30th, 2007, 5:58 am
Lancaster, PA

Posts: 81
With all this talk of the run at boiling springs it reminded me of a saying that I heard there.

I was taking my rod apart to return to work and I met a guy who was just string up his rod. He had a heavy English accent. When I said I was going back to work he said, "Ahhh, work...the curse of the fishing class."

I got a kick out of it, I think the English accent helped a bit.
JOHNWOctober 31st, 2007, 10:50 am
Chambersburg, PA

Posts: 452
LittleJ,
If you would like to meet up on the stream feel free to shoot me a PM. Big Spring has amazing numbers of trout but they can be tricky to locate. I would gladly show you around the stream a bit. And Lois can vouch for what "showing you around" can translate to.

Be sure to have some stout leaders and tippet with you as there are some very robust trout to be found there.

John
"old habits are hard to kill once you have gray in your beard" -Old Red Barn
MartinlfOctober 31st, 2007, 11:38 am
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2968
I've been castrated by a missing u. Ouch.

Jeff, despite his spelling John is a great fishing partner and guide for folks who are getting to know his favorite streams. He won't fish unless you absolutely force him to, and he knows the waters well. I'll sure be enlisting his knowledge again on Falling Spring (and maybe on Big Spring too) next season when this elbow settles down.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
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