The stream conditions in Central Pennsylvania — the real central Pa., not the Harrisburg area, which is actually more southeast — have been superb and I’ve been out taking advantage them. The good flows and great water temperatures make it perfect for visiting some of my smaller wild trout waters — my secret streams.
During the past week I’ve cast my spinning lures into four small streams – two limestoners and two freestoners. All were very productive, including the one that I had never fished before.
The concept of a “secret stream” in this day and age would seem laughable to some, so let me clarify. You might be surprised, but in Pennsylvania, there are many small streams in out-of-the-way or not-so-out-of-the-way places that are rarely fished. There are an assortment of reasons for the lack of fishing pressure, including a stream’s tiny size, a lack of parking, brush or rhododendron shrouding the stream channel, past pollution events and/or removal from the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission trout stocking list.
Another explanation is that there are just fewer license buyers today.
I will not be so naïve to say that no other anglers ever fish any of these waters, but there was no sign that any human had fished there in weeks, and that was fine by me. While raccoon and great blue heron tracks peppered the muddy sandbars in many places, I saw no boot tracks, no Styrofoam bait containers, no monofilament hanging from the trees — absolutely no sign of any other human anglers.
As far as I know, no other fishermen had visited these streams this year.
For those of you interested in numbers, I caught a personal record number of trout on stream A — with the largest measuring just over 14 inches. Stream B, a tiny limestoner near Route 22, yielded 17 trout — all wild browns. On the third water, a freestoner that I had never fished before, I caught more trout that most would believe — this included two 9½-inch native brook trout and a beautiful 16¾-inch wild brown.
I caught 10 wild trout on the fourth stream in less than two hours of fishing — a mixed group of brooks and browns.
This is not to highlight the fact that I can catch and release trout, but rather to serve notice of the wonderful resource that we have in Pennsylvania. Get out and do some exploring.
Secret waters hold a special place in my heart. It is the memories of those exceptional days, missed big trout and unique moments that keep me going back. I am sure that many other anglers have their own secret streams, and those water’s exact locations are best kept to themselves.