Copyright 2014 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Letort Spring Run
The Letort Spring Run is a beautiful little limestone
spring creek located right in the town of Carlisle
Pennsylvania. In the upper section of the stream, it
is so clear that you can look at it in some ways as
not even being a stream because of the beds of
cress. In places it looks to be only a few inches
deep until you step into the water and find out it is
two feet deep. It probably only averages about
twenty feet wide. Some very large springs keep the
water flowing cool even during the hottest part of
A mile and a half of the little stream is catch and
release water only. The catch and release water
tends to have more larger brown trout than the
other water but it is more difficult to fish. The lower
end of the stream has some runs and riffles areas
and the faster water makes it a little easier to catch
trout. It has some open areas that are easier to cast
in and fish than the middle and upper areas of the
Fly fishing the Letort Spring Run will force you to
become extremely proficient in every thing you do.
A bad cast and you will need to move somewhere
else. Get a bad drift and you will need to cast to
another location. Let the trout see you and you are
finished in that area of the little stream. Hook a
good fish and you have yet another problem. You
usually have very light line and the brown trout has
all the cover it needs to wrap around and break
your tippet. They are very difficult to land in most
The Hertiage Trout Angling regulations (catch and
release with barbless hooks) covers a mile and a
half stretch from three hundred yards above the
bridge at route 481, down to the Reading Railroad
Bridge. The stream flows through Letort Spring Park
just below the Hertiage Trout Angling section. It
enters the Carlisle city limits just below the park.
There is another area of the stream that provides
good fishing upstream from where the Letort enters
Conodoquinet Creek. The lower section of the
Letort provides easier fishing.
Fly fishing Letort Spring Run is quite different from
fly fishing just about any other stream, including
most spring creeks. What makes it even more
difficult than normal is the amount of aquatic
vegetation in the water and the thick trees, bushes
and undergrowth along the banks. It is more like
fishing a jungle than anything I can think of. If they
had trout streams in the Amazon Forest, that would
probably be similar.
Letort Spring Run
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Recommended Tackle & Gear
4, 5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 &12 ft., 5 or 6X, Nymphing:
71/2 ft., 3 or 4X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly Supreme Four, Superb Five
or Ultimate Six
For 4/5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
There is really no best time to fish the
Letort. It is fairly tough anytime.
Spring is the best time to fish the Letort
because there are more hatches and the
fish seem a little more aggressive during the
Summer can be okay. There are some
sulphur mayflies in the stream and there is a
trico hatch that occurs in late summer in
parts of the stream.
Fly Fishing Guide to Letort Spring
The water forces you to fish very light
leaders and tippets. It also becomes very
evident that the closer the fly you use looks
and acts like the real thing, the better your
chances of fooling a trout. The Letort's
brown trout have most likely seen about
every fly and every angler that comes near
its waters. They are not easy to catch. It is a
very small stream with bushes and trees
surrounding most areas. It is tough to cast in
its tight conditions. The stream has large
beds of cress that in some cases almost
cover the width of the stream. The fish hold
in very difficult places for you to get your fly
to, much less get a good drift. The cress
swirls the currents in a manner that creates
conflicting currents just about everywhere.
When you wade you have to be extra careful
because the water is clear, basically shallow
and the trout are difficult to approach. When
you do get into the right position, you must
make a very accurate presentation.
You only have an area of a few inches to
land you fly in at times in order to get the
drift you need to get. You have to be very
good at fishing very small flies. When
something is hatching and the fish are
rising to it, you must capitalize on it. You
want to take advantage of the hatch
because it is probably the easiest time you
are going to have to catch trout. You can
catch them in deeper water on nymph,
cress bug and scud imitations but it is
usually more difficult than it is fishing a
Cloudy days are always the best days to
fish the Letort. Bright, clear days add
another problem to the already tough
fishing situation. The trout will hide in
heavy cover out of the sun and that makes
it just that much more difficult to catch
them. You are far better off fishing low light
conditions. Early morning, late evenings
and cloudy, rainy days are best.
Letort Spring Run Hatches and Trout
Our information on aquatic insects is based
on our stream samples of larvae and
nymphs, not guess work. We base fly
suggestions on imitating the most plentiful
and most available insects and other foods
at the particular time you are fishing. Unlike
the generic fly shop trout flies, we have
specific imitations of all the insects in the
Letort Spring Run and in all stages of life
that are applicable to fishing. If you want to
fish better, more realistic trout flies, have a
much higher degree of success, give us a
call. We not only will help you with
selections, you will learn why, after trying
Perfect Flies, 92% of the thousands of our
customers will use nothing else.
There are few aquatic insect hatches on the
Letort Spring Run. Most of the food for the
trout consist of scuds and sowbugs. There
are also some sculpin and minnows.
The first hatch that takes place in some
sections of the creek are the Blue-winged
Olives. This occurs about the first of April
and generally last about the entire month.
From all we can gather, this is not a large
There is a minor Sulfur hatch that takes
place in some sections of the stream in May
and June. This is not a huge hatch and
according to many anglers we have talked
to, doesn't even exist anymore. We have
talked to some that disagree and say it still
occurs. I think it may be just a matter of the
location on the stream.
Midges hatch throughout the year and
maybe the most important aquatic insect.
You should have imitations of their larvae,
pupae and of the adult midges.
We think streamers are important flies to
have with you. I would suggest small to
medium size one that imitate sculpin and
The most important flies, according to the
local anglers, are terrestrial imitations. Ants,
grasshoppers and beetles are all present
and eaten by the trout. Some of the
patterns for these flies were developed on
this trout stream. Another local favorite fly is
the Jasid or leaf hopper.
We hope you will try our "Perfect Fly" trout
flies here. We have the best scud and
sowbug imitations you can buy. Our Trico
imitations cover every stage of the hatch
and include flies for the male and females
that are different colors. If you haven't done
so already, please give them a try. You want
Tricos are the most important mayfly hatch
that takes place. It starts in June and last
through the most of September but it
depends largely on the location.
The main food are the sowbugs and scuds.
They are very plentiful. You want to be
certain to have imitations of these.
There can be hatches of BWOs in the fall
that are good.
Warm winter afternoons can be okay on
Letort Spring Run Fishing Report:
01/06/14 Customer reporting he caught a
couple of nice brown trout yesterday on our
Perfect Fly scuds and ordered more. It was
nice and warm for a change and the water
had a slight stain to it.
Thumbnail Images: Click to enlarge
Thumbnail Images: Click to enlarge
Fishing Report Updated 03/10/14
(Bottom Of Page)
01/13/14 Stream is a little high but clear
and warm near the springs. No reports of
anyone fishing this past week.
01/20/14 No reports for the past week but
one customer ordering more scuds to give
it a try. Weather should be some better
for the coming week.
01/27/14 We didn't receive any reports
from anglers this past week but conditions
are good for fishing this spring creek this
coming week. Let us have your reports.
02/03/14 The Letort is in good shape and
the water is warm near the springs. We
have not had any reports of fish being
caught but anglers should give it a shot.
02/10/14 One customer ordering flies
reporting he caught a couple of decent size
browns this pas week. He is using our
Perfect Fly scuds.
02/17/14 Much warmer weather is on the
way with rain in the forecast. Conditions
02/24/16 Customer ordering Blue-winged
olives and scuds reported fishing was
good this past week.
03/03/14 No reports from anyone fishing.
Weather is cold but the water near the
springs is in good shape and its normal
temperature of warmer than the air.
03/10/14 One customer ordering BWOs
and scuds. After mid week, the weather
should be back on a warming trend.
Stream levels are in good shape.