Copyright 2016 James Marsh
Fly Fishing On Spruce Creek In
Spruce Creek is a wonderful little brown trout limestone
spring creek. The only problem it has is the very limited
access the public has to fish the stream. Most of the
creek is on property owned by clubs or private
individuals. Fly fishing Spruce in the public access areas
is usually very good though.
Most of the public access for the public is a section
owned by Penn State University. They use it for a study
of the brown trout. It is located above the little town of
Spruce Creek. It is about a half-mile long section of the
stream that is strictly "catch and release" with artificial
lures and flies only.
The stream is an excellent limestone spring creek with
cool water flowing through it year-round. There are
plenty of wild brown trout and some that are stocked by
the local clubs. It has very good aquatic insect hatches.
Fly fishing Spruce Creek can range from easy to difficult
depending on how well you can match its hatches.
Spruce Ceek is a tributary of the Little Juniata. State
highway #45 borders the stream fairly closely its entire
This stream is located in a very scenic valley in beautiful
Central Pennsylvania. It is a perfect little limestone
spring creek capable of growing large brown trout , with
numerous aquatic insects and great fishing. Its only
problem is the lack of access.
Unless you fish in the public section owned by Penn
State, you are going to pay to fish. Of the thirteen mile
long stream, this is the only public area you can fish. In
addition, there are currently three sections you can fish
for a fee.
When you are fishing Spruce Creek you know exactly
what your target species is because there are only one
species of trout in Spruce Creek - the brown trout. This
should help you in many ways because knowing the
habitats of the browns helps you pinpoint their location.
The larger brown trout tend to stay hidden during the
day and only come out to feed during low light
conditions such as rainy day when there is heavy cloud
cover. Early mornings and late afternoons and early
evening are always best. That is not to say that it is
impossible to catch a large brown during the middle of
the day on a dry fly, but the odds of doing so are not
very good for sure. By far the best time to catch the
trout during the day out in the sun so to speak is during
a hatch. The food causes the trout to lose a lot of their
Another good time to catch the larger brown trout is
during pre-spawn conditions. The brown trout become
more exposed during the day prior to building redds and
spawning. They also become far more aggressive. They
don't feed as such but rather don't let any intruders get
near their areas.
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Recommended Tackle & Gear
4, 5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 &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.
We do not condone fishing for spawning trout
but catching those not holding on redds is not
only fair play, it's often done accidentally. If
your fishing in areas during the legal season
when the trout are spawning, you don't have
much of a choice other than refusing to fish.
When you are fishing for wild trout, and the
brown trout in Spruce are all wild trout, one of
the most important things you can do is to
match the most plentiful and available food the
trout are focused on at the time. That can vary
the locations of feeding trout within the stream.
The water coming out of the spring on its
upper end stays a constant temperature but
of course changes the farther downstream it
You can fish the stream during the winter
and using midge imitations, usually catch
The best time for fly fishing Spruce Creek is
during the spring. It has a tremendous
number of hatches and the fishing can be
Fly Fishing Guide to Spruce Creek
Spruce Creek is a small, narrow spring creek
with heavy tree cover and bushes along its
banks. There are basically two approaches to
use fishing Spruce Creek. One is to fish the
hatches as mentioned above. This also
includes fishing the pre-hatch stages. By that
I mean if a certain mayfly is hatching, you
should fish the nymphs in the areas the
mayfly hatches during the morning or up until
the hatch starts and then change to an
emerger or dun pattern. You should also fish
the spinner fall.
When nothing is hatching, the brown trout
and especially the larger ones, stay hidden.
To catch them you are going to have to put
your fly where they are likely hiding. Undercut
banks, under the heavy tree cover near the
banks, under any deadfalls or other things in
the water that provide cover for the brown
trout. Undercut banks, areas in the dark
shaded areas under the heavy tree cover
near the banks, under any deadfalls or other
things in the water that provide cover for the
This doesn't mean you need to "match the
hatch" anymore than you need to "match
what is going to hatch". Matching the insect
nymphs and larvae is just as important as
matching the adult insects - mayfly duns,
caddisfly, midge and stonefly adults. Using
Simi-realistic imitation of crustaceans,
sculpin and baitfish, such as our Perfect
Flies, will also prove to be an advantage.
This is normally done using a nymph or
caddis larva imitation such as a Green
Rock Worm. Streamers also work okay for
this provided you can get the fly where you
need to get it without constantly hanging
Catching trout in Spruce Creek isn't always
easy. You earn what you catch but they
are certainly not impossible to catch. It
challenges your skills like any good trout
stream should. It takes good
presentations, carefully planned
strategies, and often a close match of your
fly to the most available insects, or those
that are hatching at the time. Mistakes will
cost you. This isn't a stream you should
expect to catch twenty or thirty trout a day
on even though that is very possible. Big
brown trout have been called "wise",
"smart" and many other names they
probably didn't rightly deserve in a
technical sense. However, it is very easy to
understand how those names came about.
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 the
Spruce 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. 1-800-594-4726
This little limestone stream has a huge
aquatic insect population. When major
hatches occur, the brown trout almost feed
exclusively or selectively on the particular
insect that is hatching. That can be both
good and bad. If you match it correctly, you
can usually catch some nice brown trout. If
not, you can do a lot of casting and spook a
lot of trout.
During the winter, midges are about the only
game but imitations of them will catch fish
most any day of the winter. In the early
Spring, the Blue-winged Olives start hatching
around the first of April and last past the
middle of May. They will hatch a second time
starting in September and last until about the
middle of October. They are one of the most
important hatches on the stream due to the
length of time they hatch.
Other than the BWOs, the Blue Quills and
Hendricksons are the first of the mayflies to
hatch. They both start around the first of
April. Usually the Blue Quills are the first to
hatch. Both hatches last less than a month
depending where you are fishing the stream.
Just prior to the start of these mayfly hatches
you will find the Little Black Caddis or
American Grannom caddisflies hatching. The
hatch last less than a month. The Green
Sedges start about the same time but last
through the month of June. The Cinnamon
Caddis hatch for about two months starting
around the first of June. There are several
other minor caddisfly hatches that occur.
Slate Drakes and Sulphurs both start to
hatch about the first of May. The Slate
Drakes hatch is off and on for the next five
months or longer. The Sulphur is one of
the better hatches on Spruce Creek. It last
until about the middle of June.
The big Eastern Green Drakes will hatch
near the end of May and last about two to
three weeks. Light Cahills hatch starting
about the same time and continue for
approximately a month.
Tricos hatch starting around the first of July
and last through August. About the time
the hatch ends the White Flies start
hatching keeping some type of mayfly on
the water during the late summer and early
fall. The White Flies, called White Drakes
by some anglers, will hatch until about the
end of October.
The terrestrial season gets underway on
Spruce Creek about the middle of June.
Grasshopper and beetles are usually the
first insects you will notice but the ants get
large enough to get the trout's attention
not long after that. Another thing you don't
want to overlook is the little green inch
worms or moth larvae. They fall off the
trees lining the stream and are eaten by
the trout. Caneflies are another insect you
shouldn't ignore. They become important in
the late summer when few hatches are
The best procedure to use for selecting
flies is to look at our "Perfect Fly" Spruce
Creek Hatch Chart and select the flies you
need from it. Specific imitations of what is
hatching and/or most available are much
better than generic or attractor flies on
Spruce Creek. You may want to carry a few
streamer flies along. They are good when
the water gets a little off color from heavy
With the cool spring water and the canopy
of trees and bushes along the way, the
water stays fairly cool all summer long. It
can become low during low water years
when there is little snow and rain.
some of the larger brown trout move out of
the Little Juniata up into Spruce Creek to
Thumbnails: Click to enlarge
|1. Email us (email@example.com)
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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 is
low but the water is cool and the
fish are active and feeding. You
just have to stay low and hidden
from them to catch them. Perfect
flies in that regard. The fish can
see them well under the low, clear
water conditions. Blue-winged
olives are hatching good along
with some others. Sculpin
streamers will catch those over
aggressive pre-spawn brown trout.
Keep track of the latest info by
clicking the above link to our
weekly updated fishing report.
10/18/15 Brown trout are in the pre-spawn and actual spawning stage and of course, very
territorial. Streamers like our Brown Sculpin will catch them off guard. Great Autumn Brown
Sedges are at the peak of their hatch and bringing some big trout to the surface to feed on
the female egg layers. There are lots of Blue-winged olives hatching. Stream levels are about
10/25/15 Good conditions except the stream levels are low and the water is clear. This
makes it tougher to stay hidden from the trout. Use longer and lighter leaders and tippets.
The brown trout are still in the pre-spawn stage and will take flies like our Brown Sculpin very
well. Blue-winged olives in two sizes are hatching, 20's and 16's.
11/01/15 The brown trout are in their actual spawning time slot and they are very aggressive.
The Brown Sculpin and White Belly sculpins will fool them at this time very well. Blue-winged
olives will be the main hatching insect but scuds will also work well. Good stream levels and
weather should provide an good week of fishing.
11/09/15 The weather is getting colder and that does have an effect on the sections of the
stream a good distance away from the springs. Brown trout are still spawning and some are
in the post spawn stage. They will take the Brown Sculpin fly very good. Hatches are getting
down to mostly species of Blue-winged olives and Midges.
11/15/15 The creek has been high and dingy recently from all the rain. It is falling fast and
near a normal level. We have been getting some very good reports of big brown trout being
caught. Conditions are looking very good for the coming week. Hatches are down to BWOs
and midges but don't forget the Brown Sculpin Streamer. It has been big fish fly lately. .
11/29/15 As mentioned in the report, Spruce Creek has a big population of brown trout and
some very big ones for a little stream. Most of them have spawned and many are in the post-
spawn stage feeding heavily. The Brown sculpin fly produced again for one of our regular
customers. Blue-winged olives and midges are still hatching as week.
12/06/15 Spruce Creek should be a very good destination for any fly angler this coming
week. There is great weather in the forecast, excellent stream levels and maybe even some
good hatches of Blue-winged olives. There are a bunch of hungry brown trout willing to take
your Brown Sculpin Streamer. We added Winter stoneflies to the list. They should start
hatching soon in the fast water sections.
12/13/15 Spruce Creek has been producing some large brown trout for those who have
worked at catching them. The Brown Sculpin Streamer fly has done most of the work on
them. Midges and BWOs are likely to hatch and Winter stoneflies are hatching in some
sections of the creek. The stream levels are fine and some rain is on the way tomorrow to
keep the levels up.
12/20/15 What a good time to catch a big brown trout. This coming week should be excellent.
There is a lot of rain in the forecast, so I wouldn't wait too long about fishing it. It could be fine
every day though. You will just have to keep a close check. Midges, scuds and BWOs are the
insects you need to imitate. The BWOs will probably hatch. As always, sculpin streamers are
a good choice.
12/27/15 Spruce Creek is just a little above normal levels right now but there is rain in the
forecast every day through Wednesday, so the levels are likely to increase. The cloud cover
should make the Brown Sculpin streamer a good fly choice. It has been catching big browns
for the past six weeks for our customers. Midges and BWO nymphs are also working. You
may give the winter stonefly nymph a try in the fast water sections.
01/03/16 The weather has returned to a more normal pattern as I'm sure you local know.
That means colder water temperature and that means you should avoid fishing the fast
current. Fish can't survive holding in fast current in very cold water. Midges and Winter
sttonefly nymphs should be the key flies to use. The sculpin streamers, like our White Belly,
work good under low light conditions.
01/10/16 Spruce Creek is running high at this time but should get back down to wadable
levels fast. The rain has ended and there is only some snow for a day or two. Midges and
winter stonefly nymphs are the best choice of flies to use. With the water high and the skies
cloudy, the White Belly sculpin is a good choice.
01/17/16 There is a little more snow left to go for the next three days. That shouldn't be
enough to bring the stream levels back up too high. Right now they are just a little above
normal. The White Belly sculpin has been a good fly when the skies were cloudy. Midges and
winter stoneflies are the other flies you should have.
01/24/16 The creek stream levels are about normal for this time of the year and very clear
and in good shape. The weather is looking about as good as it gets in January, with highs
above freezing most days. The spring water comes out of the ground at about 49 degrees at
the coldest and fishing is better near them. Midges, little BWO nymphs and Scuds are the
main flies you should be fishing.
01/31/16 There is some rain in the forecast the first of this week, but other than that,
conditions are excellent. The level is good right now and the water averaging about 40
degrees. Little BWOs, could hatch. Winter stoneflies are hatching. The Brown Sculpin
streamer should work great the first of the week with the cloud cover.
02/07/16 Spruce Creek is flowing above normal but falling fast. With only a couple days of
snow and no rain in the forecast, it will continue to fall and be in good shape to wade within
the next two or three days. Midges, mostly red but some cream, are the main insects to
imitate. There are some winter stoneflies hatching. The White Sculpin streamer is a godo fly
to use when the skies are cloudy.
02/14/16 The stream is back down to a normal level and clear. The weather is turning colder
and there snow forecast for three days, but that shouldn't affect the stream levels much.
Midges are the main insect to imitate, but little BWO nymphs, scuds, sowbugs, winter
stoneflies and sculpin are other foods worth imitating.
02/21/16 The stream is flowing high and slightly off color. There is more rain or rain/snow
forecast for the middle of this coming week but maybe it will be down and safe to wade by this
coming weekend. Midges, winter stoneflies, scuds, and sculpin are the foods you should be
02/27/16 The creek is high and very stained. It will take a couple days or more for it to clear
up. There is more rain a couple of days this coming week that will also affect it. Midges,
winter stoneflies, little Blue-winged olives, scuds and sculpin are the foods you need to be
03/06/16 Spruce is in very good shape. The stream levels are down to safe wading levels in
most places and the water clear. Blue-winged olives and midges are hatching. It won't be
long before many other aquatic insects begin to hatch. You can fish just about anywhere you
want to right now, but the canyon section is usually the best choice under these conditions.
03/13/16 The creek is in great shape. The levels are fine for wading but you should keep a
close watch on them. There is a chance of rain about everyday this coming week, although
none looks to be heavy. Midges and Blue-winged olives, sizes 20 and 18's are hatching very
good. Keep in mind, the Brown sculpin streamer works great for the big wild brown trout.
03/20/16 The stream levels are a little low and the creek can be waded just about anywhere.
Trout can be caught in the stocked sections as well as the wild trout sections including the
canyon. Midges and little Blue-winged olives are hatching. There is only a little chance of rain
this coming week, and conditions should remain good al week. The Brown sculpin streamer
will get you larger fish. .
04/01/16 Spruce Creek is a little low but that makes it easy to wade. Just make sure you stay
hidden from the trout and use a little more stealth. The water is getting warmer and we
should start seeing more hatches take place. Little Black Caddis will be one of those. There
is a little cold snap taking place this week, but otherwise, conditions are great.
04/10/16 Spruce is down and in good shape but there is some more rain on the way through
Tuesday. We don't think that will affect the level much. The water temperature is down,
slowing the hatch activity but it will warm back up fast. Midges and little BWOs are the insects
you should imitate right now. Scuds and Sculpin are the other foods plentiful for the trout to
eat right now. Major hatches will begin very soon.
04/17/16 This is the kind of conditions on Spruce Creek we all have been waiting for. The
stream levels are in good shape for wading. The water is clear and getting warmer. Lots of
Blue-winged olives are hatching along with Blue Quills, Little Black (Grannom) caddis and
soon to be, if not already, Hendricksons/Red Quills.
04/24/16 Now is a great time to be fly fishing Spruce Creek. It is as good as it gets, with large
numbers of several different aquatic insect hatches taking place and our customers catching
lots of trout, mostly on top. Dry fly fishing is great and should continue to be this coming
week. Stream levels are just a little low but providing easy wading.
05/01/16 The creek is a little low right now, but that won't be the case very long. There is a
lot of rain in the forecast this coming week. Our customers have been catching a lot of trout
recently and some big ones at that. Some of them are being taken on the dry fly. Scuds,
sculpin and sowbug imitations are working in addition to the aquatic insects that are currently
05/08/16 The creek is in great shape. The levels are just a little high but the water is clear.
The hatches are a few days ahead of schedule and there are a lot of them. We are getting
some good reports from our customers who are catching some nice size and good numbers
of trout. There is some rain coming this week, so watch the levels.
05/15/16 The stream levels are currently in good shape and you can wade most sections
with caution. There is some rain on the way, so watch the levels. They are not expecting any
heavy amounts. The weather is going to be a little cooler and may slow the surface actions
so fish nymphs until you see surface feeding and you will catch more trout.
05/22/16 Conditions are great right now and hopefully will reman that way. There is some
rain in the forecast. Being cloudy is generally a good thing. Higher water that has a slight
stain is also a good thing, so the chances of rain are not all that bad of a thing. Lost of
hatches are taking place. We received two good reports from the past week.
05/29/16 The creek is in great shape and anglers, many of which are our customers, are
catching some very nice trout. There are several different insects hatching. The stream
levels are good and the weather forecast looks like the coming week should be a good one.
Sulphurs and Eastern Pale Evening duns called Sulphurs are hatching. Slate Drakes have
started to hatch.
06/05/16 The creek is in as good of shape as it has been in a long time. Lots of trout, yes,
including browns, are being caught. The Sulphur hatch has been going good along with
others including a lot of caddisflies. Make sure you fish late to catch the spinner falls and we
hope you get the opportunity to fish it soon.
06/12/16 Spruce produced some big browns for one of our customers this past week. Fish
the Sculpin streamers early and late in the day. The Sulphur hatch is going strong with lots of
trout being taken on the dun, or dry fly. There are a lot of caddis hatching as well. Late
afternoon spinner falls and egg laying caddis is giving anglers a lot of opportunity to catch
several in a short time.
06/26/16 The stream level is down quite a bit and you will need to use caution to stay well
hidden from the trout. They will be easy to spook. Dress to conceal yourself with the
background. There are still a lot of hatches taking place, so I wouldn't pull out the terrestrial
insect imitations just yet. There are caddisflies laying eggs every afternoon late and that is
producing some good catches.
07/03/16 There are still a lot of hatches of insects taking place. The stream is low but that
should soon change. There is rain in the forecast most every day this coming week. The late
afternnoon egg laying caddisflies and little Yellow stoneflies is putting a lot of trout in the net
in a short time. One customer reported catching three large browns this past week, and tow
of them on the surface on Sulphur duns.
07/10/16 It is a tendency for anglers to go to terrestrials in favor of everything else far to
soon in the early summer. Remember, they only get in the water accidentally or washed in by
water or blown in by high wind. There are still lots of insects hatching on the creek and you
will keep the highest odds of success up by sticking with what is hatching and or laying eggs.
07/17/16 The creek is in good shape throughout. The stream levels are fine, wading mostly
easy anywhere and lots of insects still hatching. Keep in mind they vary greatly depending on
the section of water you are fishing but mostly, Little Yellow stones and Caddisflies. The
Sulphurs are getting to be sparse hatches.
07/23/16 The water is a little warmer and much cooler near the springs. Hatches are getting
sparse except for Tricos and caddisflies. There are still a few Little Yellow stoneflies hatching
in the fast water areas. Fish the egg laying caddis late in the day near dark. Early morning
streamer fishing, especially our Sculpin patterns, should produce some larger browns.
07/30/16 Spruce is in good shape and should get a little better with the rain that should come
soon. It was getting a little warm in places but remaining cool near the springs. We didn't
receive any reports this past week from anyone fishing. There are still some hatches taking
place and White Drakes should be starting soon. The caddis egg laying takes place late in
the day and is the best time to fish.
08/07/16 The creek is in good shape thanks to the many springs along the way and the
many overhanging trees that helps deep the water cool. The levels are back down a little low
but still okay. You do need to use stealth and stay hidden from the trout. There are still
hatches taking place and terrestrials are also working good.
08/14/16 It is still hot weather and we are recommending you fish early mornings with Sculpin
streamers. That has been producing some good catches for our customers. There are lots of
caddisflies and huge Trico hatches taking place. Terrestrials are really working good -
Carpenter ants, Japanese beetles and grass hoppers. Scuds are also working well. The last
two hours of daylight is also a good time to fish.
08/21/16 Thanks to the limestone spring water, the creek is cool throughout its length insects
are still hatching in good numbers. We received more reports of scuds working good. Tricos
and White Drakes are also hatching in addition to the others that have been around for a
while. Some very good brown trout have been caught early in the morning.
08/28/16 The creek is still in good shape, level wise. Remember, normal flows are low in
August, so you do need to stay hidden, dress the match the background and use slightly
longer, lighter leaders and tippets. Hatches consist mostly of three species of caddisflies and
Tricos. Fish the morning Trico spinner falls. Ants, beetles and hoppers are also catching
09/04/16 It will turn cool one of these days, meantime, Spruce Creek is one of the better trout
streams to fish at this time. The water stays cool from the many springs as well as
overhanging trees. Brown trout lie beneath the undercut banks waiting on food to drift by.
Fish streamers like our Brown sculpin in the early mornings. Fish the caddisfly egg laying
activity late in the day.
09/11/16 The stream is a little low for this time of the year but otherwise, in good shape. The
weather is going to be much cooler this coming week, and that will help big time. There are
beginning to be some good Blue-winged olive hatches and there are still plenty of caddisflies
hatching. Terrestrial continue to catch trout for our customers. Imitations of brown and green
hoppers, ants and beetles will work.
09/18/16 The creek is low but the water cool and the trout are active. The trick to catching
them is to stay hidden from them, but that's not exactly easy. Terrestrials are still working
good but some anglers tend to over do it fishing them. When hatches are taking place,
you're better off matching them than fishing terrestrials. We have added some new ones to
the fly list.
09/25/16 The creek is in very good shape. It is back down a little below normal but there is
more rain in the forecast and the levels should remain good. The weather is much cooler and
that is helping big time. The trout are active and it won't be long before they start looking for
spawning areas. There are lots of insects hatching and our customers are reporting good
catches on terrestrial imitations.
10/02/16 The creek is in very good shape in all respects. There are lots of insects hatching
for the first of October, including Mahogany duns, Blue-winged olives (larger baetis) and
October Caddis. Terrestrials like Japanese beetles and brown hoppers are also working
good. The brown trout are in the pre-spawn stage and aggressive.
10/09/16 The stream is low again but thanks to cooler water, there is no problem with
catching the trout as long as you can keep them from seeing you. The low, clear water
makes that difficult. The lower you stay, the less the fish can see you. It help to dress to
match the background. Longer, lighter leaders and tippets will help.