Copyright 2013 James Marsh
Hatches and Trout Flies for Penns Creek Pennsylvania
The image of the large mayfly shown above was taken when the fly decided to light on
Angie's shoulder. She continued to fish while I snapped the shot. When the Shad Flies (as
the locals call them) or Green Drakes start hatching on Penns Creek, you may think you are
seeing flocks of hummingbirds rather than mayflies. It is a sight to behold. They come up on
the surface and ride the water for a lengthy time, provided they are lucky enough not to be
eaten by a trout. The hatch goes on in the afternoon and later on, when the sun is setting
and darkness is approaching, the sky is filled with clouds of spinners. Below them, waiting
patiently are plenty of large, wild brown trout ready for a meal. If you are lucky, you will be
one of the many anglers watching with a fly rod in your hand. Some anglers stay on the water
to midnight, sometimes during overcast conditions when the moon is hidden, casting towards
the noise of trout feeding on the spinners.
From the end of March through the middle of May, hatches of different species of
Blue-winged Olives hatch. These hatch again from about the last week or two of August until
Little Winter stoneflies hatch during February and March. From about the last week of March
through the first three weeks of April, you will find Quill Gordon mayflies hatches in the fast
water areas of the stream. At almost the same time, hatches of Blue Quills will be coming off.
It can last until the first week or two of May. The Hendrickson mayflies start about the second
or third week of April and last about a month.
Chocolate Duns hatch during the month of May for about the entire month. March Browns will
also be found hatching in the fast water areas from the first of May throughout the month. By
the way, this is the same mayfly as the Gray Fox. Eastern Pale Evening Duns, called Sulfurs
by many start hatching by the middle of May and continue on through June. Sulphurs start
about the first of June and hatch through most of July.
Little Black Caddis, called Grannoms by many, hatch from about the first or second week of
April for about a month. Green Sedges hatch from the middle of April through the middle of
June. The Green Sedge larvae are called Green Rock Worms. Imitations of them will work
year-round. Cinnamon Sedges, net spinning caddis of several species will hatch from about
the first of June through August. This is the most common caddis on Penns Creek. Great
Autumn Brown Sedges hatch in September. There are other species of caddisflies but these
are the most important ones.
From about the last week of May, through the first two or three weeks of June, the famous
Eastern Green Drakes hatch. This is the big event on Penns Creek. LIght Cahills hatch
during the month of June. You will find them mostly where there is faster water. You will find
some hatches of Yellow Drakes during the month of July. Slate Drakes hatch from about the
first of August all the way through the month of October. Mahogany Duns, called Blue Quills
by many locals, hatch from about the middle of July through September. There is more than
one species of these little mayflies. Tricos, or the little White Winged Curses, hatch from
about the first of July through September.
Don't overlook midges. If you fish Penns Creek during the early or late season when the
water is cold, imitations of their larvae and pupae will produce for you. Sometimes the adult
Streamers are very important flies on this creek because the large brown trout eat small
baitfish, sculpin and even small crayfish. Make sure you have a good selection.
Craneflies hatch in huge quantities at times. Imitations of their larvae work anytime. Starting
about the middle of June through September, imitations of terrestrial insects work on Penns
Creek. Imitations of grass hoppers, ants and beetles are popular flies.
One of the main parts of the diet of the trout are scuds and sowbugs. The creek has a good
population of these crustaceans, especially in the areas spring water makes up most of the
flow. Make sure you have imitations of both.
We recommend our Perfect Flies for Penns Creek. They have been tested and proven
effective on this stream many times. Our imitations of the Green Drake nymph, dun and
spinners are the most realistic and effective flies you can purchase. If you haven't tried them
already, please do so. You will be very glad you did.
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