At the start of May folks from FAOL met in Central PA and made the State College
area their base of operations. Our limestone streams, including Spring,
Penn's, and Fishing Creeks and the Little Juniata River, were finally
rounding into shape after a protracted spell of wet weather and concurrent
Three decades of experience on Central PA waters has shown me that falling
water makes for tough fishing. During high water periods, the abundant
vertebrate life, as well as sculpins and baitfish, get churned up and washed
out. The trout become satiated by the prevalence of so much available food
and catching them becomes a challenge.
FAOL flyfishers, thus, were confronted by less than ideal conditions
water-wise. This situation was only partially ameliorated by the start of
the Sulphurs on Spring Creek. The Sulphurs (E. rotunda and invaria) began to
hatch heavily just after FAOL left the area. It was classic case of "ya
shudda bin here the next week."
For most of the month of May, rainfall was scant or nonexistent in our area.
Swollen streams dropped to normal levels, and fishing was simply superb on
every Central PA watershed. It was perhaps the best dry fly May in recent
memory, with caddis, craneflies, Sulphurs, March Browns, and Gray Foxes
producing rising trout daily.
By the end of the month, however, the specter of another drought was on the
minds of every angler in Central PA. 1998 and 1999 had both been years of
extreme low water, and a repetition was suddenly feared. While we all enjoy
dry fly fishing during the major hatches, the lack of water became more
important than a month of fun.
After nearly four weeks of arid weather, a month's worth of rain fell in the
five days between 19 and 24 May. The heavy precipitation, after so long a
dry spell, had unfortunate and predictable results. Every drainage in
Central PA, including the major limestoners, was virtually unfishable. Worse
still, the high water coincided with the onset of the Green Drake hatch on
Penn's Creek. This hatch is one of the most eagerly anticipated emergences
in Central PA, and local and visiting anglers alike were disappointed by high
water heading into Memorial Day weekend.
As I write the final paragraphs in this article on Saturday, 27 May, rain has
begun once again. Our streams were just starting to fish well once more, and
Memorial Day weekend, really a fishing holiday in Central PA, may yet be
salvaged. Even though the wet weather and marginal fishing conditions put a
damper on angling enthusiasm in late May, the rain wiped out thoughts of
another drought and virtually assured good water levels into mid-June. The
Green Drakes will soon be over, but June fishing to Slate Drakes (Isonychia)
large Blue-winged Olives (Drunella), Cahills (Stenacron), and late season
Blue Quills (Paraleptophlebia) should be excellent.
Always feel free to contact us, or check out our
webpage for current conditions. ~ Steve Sywensky