11-27-04 - A rough weekend in PA!
Waters Fished: Raccoon Creek, Crooked Creek, Walnut
Creek, Trout Run, 16 Mile Creek
Fish Caught: 1/1...seriously.
Outing Date: 11-27-04
Weather: Rainy in the AM
Air Temp: mid 40's
Water Temp: N/A
Water Level: up from rains but dropping
Water Color: Raccoon - 2' vis, stained, Crooked - Muddy, 6"
vis. max., Walnut - creamy, 3' vis, Trout Run - stained.
Pattern Fished: white / cream eggs were the ticket!
Pattern Color: as per above
Fishing Quality: tough
Harumph - this would be the last day with the Nikon
for a while. We headed out early to find Ed Clary on a dirt road
by Raccoon Creek. After seeing some strange signs regarding what
was accessible (and what was strictly forbidden), Randy, Chris,
Ed and myself made our way down to Raccoon Creek.
I spent probably 25 minutes futzing with my camera
and finally, with much effort, managed to get it to fire off a single
shot - Ed fishing a tight bend. While screwing around, I noticed
that Raccoon, in many respects, reminded me a lot of the Indiana
tributaries...much of Raccoon was slow, deeper pockets, winding
and bending through forest. Furthermore, there wasn't the shale/gravel
composition of most of the PA streams; Raccoon was silty and sandy
much like the tributaries in Indiana. The only real difference between
Raccoon and the Indiana Tribs? Raccoon is probably half the size
of the smaller IN tribs! Well, maybe a second difference was that
Raccoon's water was somewhat clear and tannin stained!
Randy and Chris returned from upstream, and having
only seen one or two steelies we all decided we should move to our
next stop in the ongoing "tour of PA tribs". Crooked Creek,
another stream Bart and I had looked at in 2003, would actually
get fished this time around. As we pulled into an access point,
we noticed Tom Gribble's truck parked there.
Getting down into Crooked Creek was a bet treacherous;
tons of mud and leaves made up the path; the banks were high and
almost required you to jump in! We all meandered upstream on well
worn (but still slippery) bank paths. While most of my buddies disappeared
upstream, I stopped high on a bend and again fiddled with my camera
for a good 30 minutes, trying to get off even one shot of this pretty
stream. Before I finally gave up, three guys fishing the bend managed
to hook up with at least as many steelies. Definitely better than
Raccoon so far.
I finally found a spot on this crowded little creek
and did my best to hook up, swinging the Dragon's Tooth but also
employing the largest hot orange glo bug I could find in my box.
About this time Tom managed to find me while coming downstream and
stopped to chat. While I fished (and time watched) the guy downstream
from me managed to hook up with steel; he fought it for several
minutes before finally losing the fish. Randy and Chris arrived,
not having much better luck upstream (only a foul or two) so again,
I figured it would be time to move! Next stop - the "famed"
"Project Waters" of Walnut Creek.
Ed had been itching to hit Elk Creek, but we convinced
him that he should at least take a look at Walnut. I'll tell ya
now he didn't stay long. Can't say I blamed him one bit. The Walnut,
by far, is the worst, most crowded stream I have ever seen. It was
like the Root River's "first bend below the weir", except
that it continued on for at least a MILE. At several spots, guys
literally fishing "shoulder-to-shoulder" and I mean TOUCHING
Despite the crowds, we moved up to a particularly
popular hole and did our best "Root River" sneak in, gradually
working our way to the fish as people got hauled downstream by steelies.
Randy, Chris and I decided we'd each get a fish and then we were
out of there. 3 steelies later, it was time to go. The hot color,
surprisingly, was WHITE. I happened to ask where Ed was...apparently
he left a LONG time ago :)
So my bro pretty much had to leave to head back
to NJ, but we decided that perhaps he needed to see Trout Run before
departing. A shot jaunt back there, and he was finally initiated
to PA steelies! While we were milling about, we ran into Bart and
Margaret. Despite a line of anglers, the four of us decided we should
at least give the lake a go. Bart, Margaret and I would fish spawn
while Randy stuck with the fly rod.
To sum up the fishin' at Trout Run, the action
was sporadic and it definitely seemed that you needed to be standing
right in front of the mouth if you wanted a hookup. Finally agitated
beyond belief, we gave up fishing here as well.
Bart and M. were off to Elk Creek; Randy was itching
to take another whack at 16 Mile. Me, I was again content to pretty
much sit in the car and try to relax - nothing other than total
frustration had me considering my camera was now totally and utterly
defunct. The worst part, there was now no way I could meet my unofficial
goal of fishing and PHOTOGRAPHING every publicly accessible tributary
in the state. DAMN!
After dark, Randy returned having landed a couple
steelies. We did some scouting on 20 Mile and 12 Mile with the spotlight
and decided that either would be good places for our last day in
PA. Personally, I took the opportunity to make a vow; rather than
let my camera's demise get the best of me, I would give it my all
tomorrow and concentrate on catchin' fish! Oh and hopefully Rich
would arrive WITH his camera!