Pine Creeks. From Coburn downstream for an additional fifteen miles. This section is considered prime wild trout water
and rivals any trout water in the state. There's more trout water downstream in Buffalo Valley but it receives
supplemental stocked trout. The feature attraction to Penns Creek, is the huge Eastern Green Drake mayfly.
A well known angler, fly shop owner, and fly fishing writer, once told me that when the word was out that Green Drakes
were hatching on Henry's Fork of the Snake River in Idaho, to get my caddisfly box out and catch lots of trout. I've
never forgotten it. He was being sarcastic about the highly praised Green Drake hatch. He didn't mean to degrade the
Green Drake hatch at all. What he meant was that once the word got out from guides, fly shops, or anglers that Green
Drakes had been spotted at the Harrimon State Park on the river, every angler fishing (that would be a lot of them)
would have a Green drake dun imitation tied on, casting it from daylight to dark. At the same time, the water would
often be covered with Caddisflies, mostly Spotted Sedges, with trout eating the emerging pupa and egg laying adults
from early afternoon to dark.
The point is, anglers often let a lot of hype completely control their strategy, and therefore, fail to catch trout when they
could be doing very well imitating other insects. I guess you're now wondering what this has to do with Penns Creek.
Well, it is exactly the same situation with the Eastern Green Drake hatch on Penns Creek. Now, don't take this wrong in
either case. Both Green Drake hatches, which are completely different species of insects, do hatch in great numbers
and do get eaten by hungry trout. It is just that many anglers, if not most anglers, focus solely on the large easy to see
drakes and forget there are other insects hatching than can bring about good success.
When the Green Drakes begin to hatch on Penns Creek, they start in the lower end of the river and gradually move
upstream day to day depending on the weather. The water is warmer downstream and the hatch moves upstream as it
warms. The only problem is, cold spells can slow the progress and very warm spells speed it up. Just because the
hatch has started, doesn't mean that any and everywhere you fish the several miles of water in Penns Creek, you can
catch trout on imitations of Green Drakes. Penns Creek has one of, if not the most diverse and plentiful aquatic insect
populations in the Eastern United States. On any given day during the spring month, there will likely be more than one
and sometimes several insects hatching. The trout will always feed on the most plentiful and available ones. That is
nature's way of their survival. Failing to understand this, and focusing on only one insect, especially the popular, large
Green Drake mayfly, can be a big mistake.
There are few major eastern species of mayflies that doesn't exist in Penns Creek. In addition to the mayflies, there are
over a thousand species of caddisflies, craneflies, stoneflies, midges, black flies, and other aquatic insects present.
There's a large population of crustaceans and baitfish as well as terrestrial insects and other trout food such as
aquatic worms. If your looking for an easy stream to fish, this one isn't for you. The trout can be very selective and as
just mentioned, have the option to choose from a huge variety of foods. If you enjoy a challenge, along with a chance
to be rewarded with one or more large brown trout, then Penns Creek is a choice destination for you.
Angie and I have spent several days during four different years collecting samples of the aquatic insects from Penns
Creek. Some of our Perfect Fly patterns were developed from photos and video of those insects.
Penns Creek, Pennsylvania
n enns Creek, could rightly be called a river. It is a large stream that begins at the mouth of Penns Cave, where it
is a small spring creek. It flows for about thirteen miles through beautiful Bush and Penn's Valley, adding water
from several small springs down to the little town of Coburn, where it receives more cold spring water from Elk and
Great Fly Fishing Destinations
June 2017 Issue
Copyright 2017 James Marsh
by James Marsh
Author fishing Penns Creek
during a rain shower
Eastern Green Drake Male Spinner called Coffin Flies