Tiny Baetis mayflies are perhaps the most commonly encountered and imitated by anglers on all American trout streams due to their great abundance, widespread distribution, and trout-friendly emergence habits.
Wbranch on Jul 25, 2008July 25th, 2008, 9:34 am EDT
Here is a picture of a truly wild, gorgeously colored, brookie caught at the flume at the top of the "Ditch" on Big Spring back in the early 1990's. I watched another guy, catch, and kill this fish. It was about 14" long.
Wbranch on Jul 27, 2008July 27th, 2008, 8:47 am EDT
I live in York, PA. Big Spring is in Newville, PA about an hour and a half drive NW from my home. At one time there was a large PA fish hatchery situated at the uppermost end of Spring Crrek. Others here can correct me if I wrong but the hatchery was actually slightly above the springs that form Big Spring. The hatchery dug wells for the trout races and the water flowed out of the hatchery and into the stream. This outflow far exceeded the normal cfs rate of Big Spring and for many years the water literally gushed out of some sluice gates immediately below the hatchery.
I liked the flow then and while the "heyday" of wild brook trout thoroughout the creek was long gone there were still a surpising amount of wild brookies in the 10" - 15" range in the swift water and throughout the entire length of what is called "The Ditch".
Effluent from the trout hatchery degraded the natural ecosytem of the creek and the immediate land adjacent so after much verbal wrangling the state of PA closed the hatchery. I don't know the date of the closure but it was about four years ago.
I never liked the fishing in "The Ditch" when the hatchery was present and now after the closure the natural outflow of the underground springs are so minimal that there is very much less water flowing in the creek. I would never recommend Big Spring as a "destination trip" for anyone who lives more than half a day's drive away. In my opinion the fishing is boring, there is only about 150 yards of water that has any depth to it, and most of the fishing is done with midge nymphs and those stupid indicators.
Some proponents will likely say that there has been an improvement in the fish holding capability below the iron bridge but I've yet to see any fish in the crystal clear water rising or even just finning in the current.