It’s really hard to believe that it’s the middle of September! The past six months have shot by! The weather has cooled down now and that’s not a bad thing for trout. Ideally, Rainbow trout like water in the 55 to 60 degree temperature range and are highly sensitive to changes in water temperature. So as the hot days of summer wane, the water temperature drops making the trout a bit feisty.
Rainbow can live up to 11 years but that’s pretty rare in Central PA where fishing pressure can result in most stocked fish being caught in a matter of a few weeks! In natural habitat, however, Rainbow can grow to about one pound in four years. The two Rainbow I caught in Spring Creek (and one Brown) you see here were 13 and 12 inches respectively. I was fortunate enough to land these beauties well below the bridge in Milesburg, PA. Hard to tell if they were stocked earlier in the year but they were firm and very healthy. There is a possibility that they were native because there’s a lot of stream above where I fish that is zoned ‘catch and release.’
The amount of water that pours into Spring Creek from the Bellefonte Borough Big Spring, a groundwater source from the Gatesburg Aquifer, is tremendous and always produces a constant flow. The fish never experience water that’s too low or too warm. Even in the driest months, the fresh cold water rushes down stream to fill Sayers Dam a few miles away, providing the main attraction for Bald Eagle State Park. So there is never a chance of fish expiring due to unfavorable water conditions.
I caught these trout on night crawlers. Instead of using the whole worm, I cut off the head less than an inch down and used the soft part of the worm. This way the fish can smell the cut worm and can easily bite into the soft bottom portion, increasing the chances of hooking the fish. Fish have a better developed sense to smell (olfactory) than humans. Additionally, they can smell and taste with taste buds on their lips, tongue and throughout their mouth (gustatory system). Unfortunately, this ability to smell can be suppressed in polluted waters but this is not a problem in Spring Creek where the water has been judged the “best tasting water” in PA. Let’s hope it remains clean!
As fishing season gives way to hunting, I’ll still show up from time-to-time on area streams to enjoy the beauty of fall and winter in the hopes of having the thrill of catching a few trout. After all, during the months to come you can have most streams peacefully to yourself! But watch out for the poison ivy!
Bank Side Poison Ivy