- Last Updated on Sunday, 04 December 2016 09:13
The long, successful Penn State football season is over, at least the part that impacts on fishing in, travel to, and lodging around the area. Who would have guessed in September that the Nittany Lions would be heading to the Big Ten championship game in Indianapolis? But proud PSU alum or not, I digress.Rainfall has continued to be intermittent and sparse this autumn. The bottom line is that stream levels are still as low as they have been in recent (or for that matter, not so recent) memory. Trout are spawning in places they usually do not utilize, and spawning has to this time at least been much less prominent than in normal falls. Conditions have been far less than ideal for trout, and they have not improved. What we need is a abundance of precipitation in the remaining warm days of the year and a good deal of snow this winter if we are to rebuild the water table. Having gotten that out of the way, fishing has been better than the conditions would seem to dictate.I have spent much of the fall at Fisherman's Paradise, both for my own fishing and while bringing PSU students out to the stream. As long as I have fished small (#16-20) nymphs, fishing has been at least good. It is challenging, but it is rewarding. I have also caught a few very good fish while fishing streamers when the fish were getting ready to spawn. Rising fish have been almost nonexistent, however. A few midgers have been observed here and there, but certainly not enough to deter me from nymphing. The last BWOs seemed to have hatched weeks ago, and there were not many of those.Best patterns include sowbugs and shrimp in #16 and #18. These tiny crustaceans, of course, are 24-7-365 trout food on Spring Creek and other limestoners in the area. If you like to fish tandem rigs, trail a #20 or #22 Zebra Midge or Spring Creek Midge behind the bigger fly. 5X tippet should be fine enough for the point fly, while the trailer can be tied to a short section of 6X. Because of the lack of water, add weight in the form of #6, 8, or #10 shot and be prepared to change weight often. This kind of nymphing is "technical fishing" at its best. In low water such as we have, sight fishing is fun, too.Another fly to try is sucker spawn in gold or pale yellow. Try tying and fishing it in #18 to suggest trout eggs that have not adhered to the redd. Surprisingly, trout that ignore most bright flies will often take a pass at a spawn fly, since there are quite a few eggs in the water. Fishing any fly to actively spawning trout, however, is truly unsporting and counterproductive. If you see fish on spawning beds (redds), let them be! That's one of the reasons that I do fish the Paradise. Since wading is not allowed, it is tough to disturb spawning activity.