Welcome to Eye of the Guide

Part Sixty-five

Central PA Update

By Steve Sywensky,
Flyfisher's Paradise, 2603 E. College Ave., State College, PA 16801

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 high water.

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.

And the rains came 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.

Over the banks

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

©Flyfisher's Paradise-2000

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