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Lateral view of a Female Hexagenia limbata (Ephemeridae) (Hex) Mayfly Dun from the Namekagon River in Wisconsin
Hex Mayflies
Hexagenia limbata

The famous nocturnal Hex hatch of the Midwest (and a few other lucky locations) stirs to the surface mythically large brown trout that only touch streamers for the rest of the year.

27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
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Dawelch
Dawelch's profile picture
East Lyme, CT

Posts: 1
Dawelch on Sep 6, 2017September 6th, 2017, 1:42 am EDT
I have been in CT for 17 years fishing primarily the Farmington. Having recently retired, I can now either move closer to the Farmington (currently a 90 minute drive) or relocate to Central PA near State College. I'd appreciate any thoughts on how the fishing in Central PA compares to the Farmington.
Dan
Martinlf
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Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Sep 6, 2017September 6th, 2017, 12:48 pm EDT
Hmmm. I've only fished the Farmington once, for a few days in midsummer, so my experience there is limited. My buddy Mike loves the Farmington, but I'm not sure he'd express a distinct preference for either it or central Pa. If you are near State College you have access to a very wide variety of streams, including some of the best in the state. The Little Juniata, Spring Creek, Penns Creek and Big Fishing Creek come to mind first, and there are other less well-known streams in the area that fish well. I think if it were my choice, I'd probably take the State College area, but I know those waters much better. The Farmington certainly has the hatches, and the big fish. However, many of its fish are stocked, while the waters I list above are primarily wild streams in their prime reaches. Really, you can't go wrong with either area.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Sep 8, 2017September 8th, 2017, 12:20 pm EDT
Dawelch,

All the streams Louis mentioned are very well known and each has it's devoted followers. I would like to mention that Spring Creek in Bellefonte may have more wild brown trout per mile than any other stream save the West Branch of the Delaware. However if you are happy catching mostly 8"- 11" browns with a 12" - 15" once in awhile then SC is okay. It is quite crowded and it is hard to find any stretch worth fishing that does not have a few guys within eyesight.

Why go all the way to State College when you could get far more wild browns and rainbows, with a significantly larger average size, when you could go to the Delaware system and fish the East, West, and main branches of the Delaware?
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Martinlf
Martinlf's profile picture
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Sep 8, 2017September 8th, 2017, 3:25 pm EDT
Yes, if moving to the Delaware were one of the options, I'd certainly take that. However, the two biggest browns I've ever caught came out of one of those central PA streams, both well over 20 inches. And several of the other streams besides Spring Creek have a number of big fish, though not as many as the Delaware system, and you do have to work harder to find and catch them. Just ask Joe Humphreys.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Sep 8, 2017September 8th, 2017, 9:17 pm EDT
I don't want to work any harder than necessary. I can't say I have caught many browns "well over 20" in the Delaware, well over to me sounds like 23" -24". I have though caught literally hundreds from 17" - 20" and a couple dozen between 20" and 21". Two measured 23", one 23.75", and my personal best, on a streamer 26". Besides I have the cabin and the drift boat so my expenses are manageable. The water where my cabin is has very limited access. I am on private road. I post my property. I call the state police when there are trespassers.



Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Martinlf
Martinlf's profile picture
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Sep 10, 2017September 10th, 2017, 8:43 am EDT
Would that we all were as fortunate and talented as Matt!

I just didn't want this to be the final word on Central Pennsylvania:

However if you are happy catching mostly 8"- 11" browns with a 12" - 15" once in awhile then SC is okay. It is quite crowded and it is hard to find any stretch worth fishing that does not have a few guys within eyesight.


It's simply not the full story. But, if Matt gets sick of fishing again, and decides he wants to sell his cabin, I'll put in a bid. :)

"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Sep 10, 2017September 10th, 2017, 12:43 pm EDT
Louis wrote;

I just didn't want this to be the final word on Central Pennsylvania:


However if you are happy catching mostly 8"- 11" browns with a 12" - 15" once in awhile then SC is okay. It is quite crowded and it is hard to find any stretch worth fishing that does not have a few guys within eyesight.


And why can't it be the final word huh? It might not be the full story but it is a good story.

Actually I still have been fishing at least 3-4 days a week. I was at the cabin Wednesday, Thursday, and part of Friday. Great olives on Wednesday from 1 - 5:30. Landed six 13" - 18". Thursday landed a 19.5" brown, a couple 13" - 14" browns and a lovely 17" rainbow right in front of the cabin on 7X and a #20 olive emerger.

Yesterday I wade fished Columbia for smallmouth and landed two 17". Today I drove up to Clemson Island above Duncannon but it was a bust. I didn't have a bump, nor did I see a single crayfish or minnow in the river. It looked totally barren.

Recently a realtor came by to look at the cabin next to mine and gave me an evaluation of my place. She said I could easily list it at $95K empty or $110 furnished. I'm still enjoying it and hope to do so for at least another ten years. By then I'll be 84 and ready to sell it so my wife and I can move to Florida and start fishing down there.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Martinlf
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Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Sep 14, 2017September 14th, 2017, 7:42 am EDT
Actually, Matt, I've decided it's cheaper and fits my situation better just to pay for a hotel room wherever I want to fish if it's too far from home. That way I can move around more and fish Central Pennsylvania some when the big fish there are eating. Then head up to the Delaware from time to time. Or down to the SoHo. But you do have a sweet situation for sure! Tight lines.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Wbranch
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Sep 14, 2017September 14th, 2017, 9:49 am EDT
Louis,

I've decided it's cheaper and fits my situation better just to pay for a hotel room wherever I want to fish if it's too far from home.


I completely understand your point of view. You like to fish various trout waters in NY, PA, and other states. I on the other hand prefer, 90% of the time, to fish only the Delaware system. Considering I fish from late April to the end of October and typically spend between 50 and 60 days at the cabin during those months I would spend at a minimum between $3500 and $4500 just for a motel room. I would still need to go out to eat and where would I park the Hyde and store the two kayaks and pontoon boat?

I fished the Little J just two days all year. I fished Penns once, and I didn't fish SC at all and doubt I will ever go back there. Too far for a day trip to catch mostly wild fish maybe up to 12" long. Are there bigger fish I'm sure there are but not in the numbers that are available in the West Branch. I fished there last week for two days and landed one 17" rainbow, four 15" browns, three 13" browns and one 19.5" brown. All within 150 yards of my cabin. When I got hungry I went back and made a hot lunch and took an hour nap.

The only other water I fish more than a few days a year is the Missouri in Montana and I typically do a 11 - 12 day trip and have been doing it for the last twenty-two years. Well I forgot my forays for steelhead and of course for those maybe dozen days a season I have to stay in a motel.

I'm done with trout for 2017 and have been devoting my time to smallmouth on the Susky. I've fished for them five of the last seven days. I landed over a dozen on Tuesday and about half a dozen yesterday and ten this afternoon.

I would say the Susquehanna has recovered tremendously since the bottom fell out in 2005. I have been catching a couple of hundred bass a year ever since 2012. From late September to the end of October it is hard to find fish less than 15" long. Many 17" - 19" and an occasional 20".

Photobucket no longer allows third party posting unless you are willing to upgrade to an account where you pay an annual fee. I'll post up a couple pictures on the trip report page caught recently. Caution!! Don't look if the sight of a spinning rod will change your opinion of me.

Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Martinlf
Martinlf's profile picture
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Sep 14, 2017September 14th, 2017, 2:49 pm EDT
Matt, my nephew and I used spinning rods almost exclusively when he was up this June. See the photos from then.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell

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