Copyright 2016 James Marsh
Fly Fishing On Spring Creek In
Spring Creek, a limestone spring creek, is one of
Pennsylvania's best trout streams even though it flows
through a rather populated area. The stream has more
wild brown trout in a given amount of water than any
stream in the state. Fly fishing Spring Creek ranks at the
top of many northeastern angler's top trout stream list.
Spring Creek is located in the northern part of Central
Pennsylvania. At one time the stream was highly
polluted but years of efforts on the part of many
different organizations has brought about a great
recovery, making it one of the top Spring Creeks in the
Spring Creek is known best for its large population of
wild brown trout. It's high pH level provides a lot of
crustaceans, baitfish, sculpin and aquatic insects for the
trout to eat. The average size of the brown trout range
from 10 to 14 inches but some grow up to over 20
There's an area of the stream a mile long that falls
under the Heritage Trout Angling regulations. It extends
from the lower boundary of the Spring Creek Fish
Culture station to the Stackhouse School Pistol Range.
Spring Creek is easy to wade in most places and there
are plenty of points to access it. The "catch and release
only rules" should insure Spring Creek stays a top
quality trout stream. A large portion of the stream is
rated a Class A stream by the PFBC.
The upper section of Spring Creek is small. From its
springs that form the creek to the Cedar Run
confluence, it probably over averages ten to fifteen feet
in width. Most of this area is on private property and
posted. Access is difficult from the Quarry at Oak Hill to
Houserville and from there downstream to the Benner
Springs fish hatchery.
The added water from springs located at the Benner
Springs Hatchery increase the flows and improves the
downstream habitat. From the Fisherman's Paradise
area, downstream to the confluence of Bald Eagle Creek
at Milesburg, Spring Creek is at its best. There are some
areas of private property but there's still plenty of water
Logan Branch and Buffalo Run adds more limestone
spring water to the flow near Bellefonte. It's a great little
spring creek fishery itself and adds much to the quality
of Spring Creek. The majority of the stream can be
fished from nearby roads that follow the stream just
about its entire length. There are some special
regulations including the mile long Heritage water at
Spring Creek Pennsylvania
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Recommended Tackle & Gear
4, 5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 to 12 ft., 5 or 6X Nymphing:
71/2 ft., 3 or 4X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly Supreme Four, Superb Five
or Ultimate Six
For 4/5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
The opening of the Spring Creek Canyon in
2011, provides access to a stretch of water
from the Benner Springs Hatchery
downstream to the Fly Fishermen's Paradise.
There is a new parking lot and extended
trails that provide easy access to these new
sections of water.
The new water offers a slightly remote
section of water in an otherwise busy area of
There's a big difference in small brown trout,
or for example, those under twelve inches
long, and large brown trout. They tend to
change their feeding habitats at about that
size range. The smaller trout often feed
much like rainbows. During a hatch, out in
open water on the surface. Large brown
trout tend to feed more beneath the surface
and usually on the bottom. During the day,
especially if the lighting conditions are bright,
they tend to stay wedged up under
something - a bank, long, or rock.
Fly fishing Spring Creek is good
Springtime brings about the best aquatic
insect hatches and usually the best fishing.
Fishing is good all summer long because
the stream usually remains fairly cool.
Fly Fishing Guide to Spring Creek
The best way to catch trout consistently on
Spring Creek is to fish what is either
hatching or about to hatch. Its wild browns
will often feed selectively on one insect.
The uppermost section of Spring Creek,
starting at its source near Linden Hall is a
very small spring creek that flows through
meadows. From Houserville downstream to
Fisherman's Paradise is considered the
middle section of the stream. From
Fisherman's Paradise downstream to the
confluence of Bald Eagle Creek is called the
lower section. This is probably the best
section. It is larger with more insects than
the middle or upper sections.
Spring Creek is different from many
limestone spring creeks in that it has an
ample amount of pocket water. It is easy to
wade and not chocked with vegetation like
many spring creeks. There are plenty of
plants in the water but you can usually get
around fairly well most places.
Don't overlook the small tributaries. They all
have stream-bred brown trout. At Oak Hill,
Cedar Run comes enters Spring Creek. It is
a open meadow type spring creek.
Downstream a short ways, Slab Cabin Run
enters the creek.
They feed mostly under low light
conditions. As with most brown trout fishing
and most spring creeks, fishing a nymph or
larvae imitations usually produces better
results than fishing on the surface. It is
rather rare for a large brown trout to feed
on the surface in broad daylight.
Using good, simi-realistic imitations of the
natural food found in Spring Creek, such
as our Perfect Flies, will greatly improve
your catch. You should imitate the most
plentiful and most available food at the time
you are fishing. It's more of a matter of
matching what's about to hatch than what's
Two more tributaries enter near Bellefonte.
Logan Branch enters about the middle of
Bellefonte. It is a nice little stream with
some large browns. Buffalo Run enters at
the lower end of Bellefonte. It also has
plenty of stream-bred brown trout.
Trico hatches are very plentiful on Spring
Creek. From about the middle of July all
the way through the month of September
you will find large hatches of the White
Winged Curse. Spinner falls can produce
some good fishing.
One good thing about fishing Spring Creek
is that the trout eat midges year-round.
They are especially important during the
cold months of the year. From November
through the month of February, don't
overlook these tiny flies. You can
experience some good fishing in the middle
of the winter.
At one time, several years ago, this was a
bad polluted stream. Many insect species
that once existed there are no longer
present, including the Green Drake.
Although this was terrible, today you will
find it clear, free of pollution and one of the
best streams in the state of Pennsylvania.
Spring Creek Hatches and Trout
Our information on aquatic insects is based
on our stream samples of larvae and
nymphs, not guess work. We base fly
suggestions on imitating the most plentiful
and most available insects and other foods
at the particular time you are fishing. Unlike
the generic fly shop trout flies, we have
specific imitations of all the insects in
Spring Creek and in all stages of life that
are applicable to fishing. If you want
to fish better, more realistic trout flies, have
a much higher degree of success, give us
a call. We not only will help you with
selections, you will learn why, after trying
Perfect Flies, 92% of the thousands of our
customers will use nothing else.
From the end of March through the middle
of May, hatches of different species of
Blue-winged Olives hatch. These hatch
again from about the last week or two of
August until mid October.
Little Winter stoneflies hatch during
February and March. From about the last
week of March through the first three
weeks of April, you will find a few Quill
Gordon mayflies hatches in the fast water
areas of the stream. At almost the same
time, hatches of Blue Quills will be coming
off. It can last until the first week or two of
The Hendrickson mayflies start about the
second or third week of April and last about
a month. Chocolate Duns hatch during the
month of May for about the entire month.
March Browns will also be found hatching in
the fast water areas from the first of May
throughout the month. By the way, this is
the same mayfly as the Gray Fox.
Eastern Pale Evening Duns, called Sulfurs
by many start hatching by the middle of
May and continue on through mid June.
Sulphurs start about the last week of May
and last through most of June. The Sulphur
hatch is a good one on Spring Creek.
Green Sedges hatch from the middle of
April through the middle of June. The
Green Sedge larvae are called Green Rock
Worms. Imitations of them will work
Cinnamon Sedges, net spinning caddis of
several species will hatch from about the
first of June through August. This is the
most common caddis on Spring Creek.
There are other species of caddisflies but
these are the most important ones.
LIght Cahills hatch during the month of
June. You will find them mostly where there
is faster water. You will find some hatches of
Yellow Drakes during the month of July.
Slate Drakes hatch from about the first of
August all the way through the month of
October. Mahogany Duns, called Blue Quills
by many locals, hatch from about the middle
of July through September. There is more
than one species of these little mayflies.
Tricos, or the little White Winged Curses,
hatch from about the first of July through
September. They can be prolific.
Don't overlook midges. If you fish Spring
Creek during the early or late season when
the water is cold, imitations of their larvae
and pupae will produce for you. Sometimes
the adult patterns work.
Streamers are very important flies on this
creek because the large brown trout eat
small baitfish, sculpin and even small
crayfish. Make sure you have a good
selection of streamers.
Craneflies hatch in huge quantities at times.
Imitations of their larvae work anytime.
Starting about the middle of June through
September, imitations of terrestrial insects
work on Spring Creek. Imitations of grass
hoppers, ants and beetles are popular
One of the main sources of food for the
trout are scuds and sowbugs. The creek
has a good population of these
crustaceans, especially in the areas spring
water makes up most of the flow. Make sure
you have imitations of both.
We recommend our Perfect Flies for Spring
Creek. They have been tested and proven
effective on this stream. They are by far the
most realistic flies you can purchase. If you
haven't tried our Perfect Flies already,
please do so. You will be very glad you did.
Autumn is when the brown trout spawn and
a great time to catch a trophy. Just don't
catch them from their redds.
Wintertime fishing is possible and often very
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|1. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Email us (email@example.com)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
Headlines: The stream levels are
up from the recent rain but almost
back down to normal levels. This
should really help. It is going to be
much cooler this coming week but
that too, should help. Brown trout
are in the pre-spawn stage and
some probably spawning. Don't
wade through their redds, please.
Blue-winged olives are hatching
very good. Keep up with the latest
info by clicking our weekly undated
fishing report linked above.
Map; of Spring Creek
10/18/15 Stream levels are in good shape and the rain coming down right now should keep
them in good shape. Look for cooler water this coming week. Great Autumn Brown sedges
are at the peak of their hatch. Fish the pupa during the hatch and the adult during egg laying
activity. Blue-winded olives are hatching in two sizes/species.
10/25/15 It is raining as I am writing this and the rain is needed. The stream is low and clear
and not so easy to fool the trout. You much stay hidden and use long, lighter leaders and
tippets. Blue-winged Olives are hatching again in two sizes, 20's and 16's. Great Autumn
brown sedges are still hatching good.
11/01/15 Good conditions exist right now on Spring Creek. The water was a little high for
three days or so but is back down to a good level. If your careful, you can wade the creek in
most places. No rain is forecast for the coming week other than today. Blue-winged Olives
and scuds are the two main foods to imitate at this time.
11/08/15 Spring Creek is as good of a cold weather trout stream as the state has to offer.
You can fish it just about any day during the winter. Hatches are already getting down to
mostly different species of Blue-winged olives and midge. The Brown Sculpin streamer fly is
still a good one to use for the post spawn brown trout.
11/15/15 You have a good warm fall week ahead with good stream levels and trout just
waiting to grab your Perfect Fly. Seriously, it is a good time to fish Spring Creek. Conditions
are as good as they get this time of the year. Hatches are mostly Blue-winged olives and
Midges. Don't forget the Brown Sculpin Streamer fly. It has been hot.
11/22/15 The stream levels have been staying a little high but you can wade in some areas.
Blue-winged olives in two sizes have been hatching good. Cream midges and Light Green
midges are also hatching. But as for the past month, the Brown Sculpin streamer has
produced more trout than any fly for our customers.
11/29/15 The water levels are fine but will be stained pretty soon. They are expecting some
heavy rain but it affects this stream much less than some. In fact, it sometimes even helps.
Midges and little BWOs are the only hatches. The brown Sculpin Streamer has been the top
fly lately. It does a good job of fooling the hungry post-spawn brown trout.
12/06/15 The creek is in great shape for this time of the season. The weather is going to be
nice and warm with little chance of rain for the next week. Hatches of midge and Blue-winged
olives are probable and the water a good temperature and clear. We recommend starting out
with a midge larva and pupa fished in tandem, or you fish early or late, the Brown Sculpin
12/13/15 This is probably the best fly fishing destination you could select for the coming week
in the state of Pennsylvania. The stream level is good and the water warm. Most likely some
BWOs will hatch but if not, midges will for sure. The winter stoneflies are hatching in the fast
water sections of the creek. Rain is expected tomorrow but that should only help.
12/20/15 Great conditions for this coming week. Good stream levels exist and it is going to be
nice and warm with cloud cover. Midges, scuds, little Blue-winged olives are the main aquatic
insects to imitate. The BWOs could hatch this coming week. Don't forget the Brown Sculpin
Streamer. It has been catching some big trout for our customers.
12/26/15 Spring Creek is flowing slightly higher than it normally is at this time of the year.
That's usually good, rather than bad. There is more rain coming, so you will need to keep a
close check on the levels. Midges and little Blue-winged olive nymphs, size 20, should get
you plenty of trout. You may also try a Winter stonefly nymph in the fast water sections.
01/03/16 With the weather turning to a more normal wintertime pattern, midges and Winter
stoneflies are becoming more important. It still isn;'t very cold and Blue-winged olives can still
hatch on overcast and cloudy days. The White Belly sculpin has been catching a lot of larger
size trout and works best on overcast or cloudy days.
01/10/16 Spring Creek is high right now but shouldn't stay that way long. The rain is gone
and only a day of snow remains for this coming week. Fish the upper, smallest sections of the
creek and as near any springs as you can fish. Streamers like our White Belly Sculpin is a
good choice with the high, off color water.
01/17/16 Spring Creek is back down to a normal level for this time of the year. It's water is
much warmer if you fish near any of the spring outlets. Of course, most are in the upper part
of the creek and as a general rule, the further upstream you fish, the better. Midges, winter
stoneflies and sculpin are the main foods you need to imitate.
01/24/16 The creek is in very good shape, down to normal levels and clear. The water
averages about 36 to 40 degrees, depending on where you measure it. It is warmer near any
spring source of water. Midges, winter stonefly nymphs and scuds are the main foods you
need to be imitating. It is a good time to fish this stream.
01/31/16 There is a couple of days of rain forecast for the first of this coming week but
shouldn't be heavy. The weather is much warmer and the stream at a good level and clear.
Blue-winged olives, size 20, could hatch this week. The Brown sculpin streamer has been
catching some nice trout recently.
02/07/16 One thing about Spring Creek is the fact when it gets a lot of rain or snow, it clears
up fast and continues to produce trout for those that pursue them much sooner than many
streams. The water is a little high now from previous rains but should be fine for wading within
a couple to three days at the most. Scuds, Midges, little BWOs and Winter stoneflies are
subject to hatch.
02/14/16 The weather is turning colder through the weekend but will warm back up next
week. The stream levels are in very good shape. Midges, are the main insects you should be
imitating. Some sections have hatches of winter stoneflies and when it warms back up,
Blue-winged olives will come back into play. Scuds are always good to imitate.
02/21/16 The creek is flowing at high right now and there's some more rain and snow in the
forecast for the middle of the week. Maybe the levels will be down low enough to wade safely
by the next weekend. Midges, and little BWO nymphs are the main insects you should be
imitating. Sculpin streamers work great under the higher water conditions.
02/27/16 The stream is high, not to high to fish, but too high to safely wade. You can fish it
from the bank. It is small enough in many sections to cast all the way across. The weather is
going to continue to be good. Midges, little Blue-winged olives and scuds are what we
recommend imitating. There are some winter stoneflies in some sections of the creek.
03/06/16 The creek is in great shape from its headwaters to the lowest section. The weather
is getting to be much warmer and the water temperature should rise a little this week. It won't
be long before more, larger hatches begin. Midges, little Blue-winged olives and scuds are
the most important foods right now. I should also mention Sculpin. There are plenty of them.
03/13/16 The weather continues to be warmer than it normally is at this time and that is
making it comfortable for anglers to fish. Blue-winged olives and midges are hatching big
time. There is a chance of rain about every day for the next week, but we don't think it poses
a threat to the stream levels. Conditions are about as good as they could be.
03/20/16 The creek is in good shape from the uppermost section to the lowest section. You
should be able to catch plenty of trout about anywhere you want to fish. The weather is going
to be warm with little chance of rain. Hatches of Blue-winged olives and Midges should
continue. Fish sculpin streamers early and late and when it is cloudy. That should get you
some large browns.
04/03/16 Spring Creek is still a little cold but the latest cold front will be ending soon, and
some new, larger insects will begin to hatch. Little Black caddis are one of the first ones.
Locals call them Apple caddis at times. The water level is low but that makes it easy to wade.
Just use more stealth and make good presentations.
04/10/16 The cool spell put a stop to hatches we were expecting to take place but it is over
and warming back up. Little Black Caddis (Grannom) should begin to hatch before the week
is over. Blue-winged olives and midges are hatching good. The Sculpin streamers have been
producing good for our customers.
04/17/16 We have a great looking week ahead with little rain until Thursday and warming
water temperatures. Lots of Blue-winged olives, little Black Grannon Caddis, Blue Quills and
a few Quill Gordons are hatching. Look for Hendricksons and Red Quill to be hatching soon,
if not already. Good stream levels exist for wading.
04/24/16 Great weather and stream conditions should continue this coming week. The
stream levels are a little low but great for wading. All the insects listed in our fishing report
linked above are hatching. The weather looks great for next week. The rain is needed and
shouldn't adversely affect the levels. Our customers caught lots of trout this past week.
05/01/16 Excellent conditions exist right now with lots of aquatic insects hatches and lots of
trout being caught. There is a lot of rain in the forecast but the levels are low now and the
creek can use some rain. You can catch trout from the uppermost part of the stream to the
very lowest section. Our customers are catching a lot of them on the dry fly.
05/08/16 The stream levels are good and our customers are catching lots of trout. The
hatches are about 10 days ahead of schedule. There are lots of them, depending on the
section of the river you're fishing. Conditions are about as good as they get. There is some
more rain in the forecast this coming week.
05/15/16 The stream levels are great and you can wade most sections safely with caution.
There is some more rain but no heavy amounts are expected. The weather is going to be a
little cooler for a day or two and that could mean you need to fish subsurface a little more on
top a little less. I don't think it will affect the hatches much at all.
05/22/16 The creek is in great shape from the headwaters to the lowest section. Our
customers are giving some good reports on the numbers and sizes of trout caught. Many are
being caught on the surface on dry flies. There is some rain in the forecast but it appears it
will not be significant. This should be another good week to fish the stream.
06/29/16 Spring Creek is red hot. Anglers, many of which are our customers, are catching
lots of trout. There are several different insects hatching, including the large Drakes. It
depends on the section of water you are fishing. The most important hatch of the year, other
than the Blue-winged olives, or the Sulphurs is underway. It provides some good dry fly
action each day.
06/12/19 the past week has been one of the best so far this season. We received several
good reports form customers. The Sulphur hatch has increased the dry fly action and the
Little Yellow stoneflies are bring surface action all the way to dark. Good wading conditions
exits. In short, it is about as good as it gets. We hope you get the chance to go soon.
06/19/16 The creek is in great shape from one end to the other. Customers are sending us
some good reports with large numbers of trout being caught. The Sulphur hatch is going
strong and providing a lot of dry fly action. Stream levels are good and the water very clear.
Don't forget about crustaceans. The stream is full of scuds. Stay hidden for the trout in the
clear water and you will catch trout.
06/26/16 The creek is in very good shape with lots of trout being caught. The water is a little
low but that lets you wade some sections that you normally couldn't wade. You do need to
stay well hidden from the trout. Blend in with the background as much as possible and stay
as low as possible. The late afternoon egg laying caddis are bringing a lot of trout to the net.
07/03/16 The stream level is a little low and stealth is required. You have to stay hidden from
the trout to catch them. That should change soon. There is rain in the forecast most days this
coming week. There are still a lot of hatches taking place. Our customers are sending in
good reports as to the numbers of trout being caught during the late afternoon egg laying
caddis and little yellow stoneflies.
07/10/16 The creek got some rain water this past week and that was a big help. It will help
insure that is doesn't get too low. There are a lot of springs along the way, and of course, in
the upper end of the stream, and it usually stays cool all summer. There are still plenty of
insects hatching so don't overdo the terrestrials yet.
07/17/16 The creek is in good shape. We recommend the upper and middle sections but the
lower river is also producing some trout. Fish the Brown sculpin streamer early in the morning
for a shot at the larger browns. The best time to fish is the last three hours of the day.
Caddisflies and Little Yellow stoneflies are laying eggs and you can get a lot of action in a
07/23/16 As I'm sure you know, the weather is going to be very hot. Fish near the many
springs and spring creek tributaries. Fish early and for sure, the last two or three hours of the
day. The egg laying caddis are bringing a lot of trout to the surface to feed at that time.
Tricos have started to hatch. Stay hidden from the trout as they will be easy to spook in the
07/30/16 The creek is getting into better shape, thanks to some rain and cooler weather.
Some parts of the stream were getting warm but those near springs held their own well. We
received mixed reports from customers this past week. Terrestrial are working good but I
wouldn't put them in priority to any hatches.
08/07/16 The creek is running a little low but still in good shape. There are many springs
along the way that helps keep it cool. Insects are still hatching in good numbers, especially
caddisflies. The late afternoon egg laying activity of the caddis is bringing a lot of trout to the
surface to feed. Terrestrials are also working good. Fish as late as you can.
08/14/16 You will hear some say that Spring creek always has a lot of anglers fishing it. Well,
yes, and the reason is it is one of the best streams in the state. You can fish it just about any
day and catch trout. We get reports from anglers every week. There are sill plenty of hatches
and don't forget scuds and terrestrial insects will also work good.
08/21/16 The creek is flowing at the normal level for this time of the year and the water is
cool. There is rain today but then clearing for the next week. There are still a lot of insects
hatching including White Drakes, Tricos, little Blue-winged olives, Cinnamon Caddis and
others. Terrestrial imitations of the Carpenter ants, Japanees Beetles and grass hoppers are
also working good.
08/28/18 The creek is still in great shape in spite of the continuing warm weather. The
hatches are slowing down, with the exception of the three species of caddisflies and Triocs.
They will soon be changing some, provided the weather turns a little cooler. Terrestrials are
working good. Use the Japanese beetles, Carpenter ants, color brown or black and green
09/04/16 There are still a lot of insects hatching. In addition, Sculpin streamers are catching
trout for our customers in the early morning. Tricos, the white winged curses, have spinner
falls in the late mornings followed by hatches. Caddisfly egg laying brings trout to the surface
to feed late in the day. Spring Creek is as good of a destination as you can get in the state at
this time of the season.
09/11/16 The stream is a little low but otherwise, in great shape. The weather is turning a
little cooler this coming week and that will help keep the water temperature down in sections
where there are few springs. Our customers continue to send in good reports. Tricos,
Cinnamon Sedge, Little Sister caddis, Slate Drake and some BWOs are hatching. Scuds and
sowbugs will work well at this time.
09/18/16 Spring Creek is in good shape although the stream levels are low. Thanks to the
springs and cooler weather, the water temperature is down and the fish are active. You do
have to stay hidden from them to catch them. There are some new hatches starting up
including larger BWOs, Mahogany duns and Great Autumn Brown sedges. Sculpin streamers
fishing early mornings is still working good.
09/25/16 The stream is down a little below normal but otherwise in very good shape. There
are multiple hatches taking place and the few anglers fishing are catching plenty. The
weather has turned much cooler and there's enough rain in the forecast to keep the levels in
good shape. Now is a great time to be fly fishing the Creek. Brown trout will soon be coming
into the pre-spawn mode.
10/02/16 The creek is in good shape in all sections with good stream levels and flows. There
are several hatching taking place including some baetis Blue-winged olives and plenty of
Mahogany Duns. Great Autumn Brown sedges are hatching in some sections. Brown trout
are aggressive and entering the pre-spawn stage. It is a good time to fish the stream.
10/09/16 Please be reminded that the brown trout are in the pre-spawn mode and building
redds and to please not wade through them. There are still a lot of hatches taking place.
There are two species of Blue-winged olives hatching. The brown sculpin streamer is still
catching a lot of the aggressive brown trout. All sections of the river are in good shape.
10/16/16 The creek is low but the water is cool. Wading is easy about anywhere. The fish are
active and feeding. Oh, I forgot. You have to let them only see your fly, not your, your fly line,
leader, etc. That's isn't exactly easy, so consider it just a little added challenge. Perfect Fly
patterns will help you big time, since the trout can see your fly very well under these