View Full Version : Harrisburg Area/PA

05-29-2006, 11:18 PM
Any info appreciated. I'm familiar with the famous names such as Yellow Breeches, Letort Spring Run, and others. I'm just curious if late October is too late for any decent fishing? I might be in the area for a short period of two to three days. I'm going to be in the Harrisburg metro area and I am willing to drive an hour or so one way, to a fishing spot.

Many Thanks

05-30-2006, 10:54 AM

A couple of considerations for October:

1) Water levels are down

2) Most streams in this area are on private property. It is very difficult to find public access with suitable fishing capabilities. There are a couple of lawsuits going on in this area now. Apparently there are a few landowners who actually have recorded deeds to the stream bottoms which means anyone wading in the streams could be charged with trespassing. The issue is now in the state Supreme Court. It has been my personal experience that the best fishing, especially in the limestone streams, occurs in the Spring and early Summer.

05-30-2006, 12:13 PM
I figure the water levels be down like they are everywhere that time of year. I just can't pass up fishing if I'm in the area anyway. I guess Letort Spring Run have some fly fishing only sections. Are you saying that section is involved in the lawsuits?

05-30-2006, 01:17 PM
From what I have read, one is Spring Creek but I honestly do not recall the other one. As I stated, the Supreme Court is now hearing the case but the PA Dept of Fish and Wildlife, TU and others are watching closely for the decision because of the potential ripple effects on other streams.

05-30-2006, 03:09 PM
Thanks for the info. I guess I have to wait and see. I might try some of the brookie waters instead of the more famous rivers. I am determined to fish if I go up there.

06-01-2006, 01:02 PM

*Hans, I saw your request and I joined to give you this info. The site above will give you info on flyfishing in Pa. There is a message board also. I used to live around Harrisburg and grew up there. In Dauphin County ( Harrisburg), there is public access to Clark's Creek and Stoney Creek. Both are 10 minutes north of Harrisburg. The Yellow Breeches, and Letort Springs are in Cumberland County. Public access is readily available to either. They are perhaps 30 minutes or more to the Letort and the same to Yellow Breeches. If you are staying near Harrisburg, the streams in Dauphin and Cumberland counties are the ones to go to. The creeks up near State College are over 60 to 90 minutes away.
Hans if you get on the message board above, there will be guys willing to set you up.

A few years ago on the Southern Flyfisheman board , you gave me some useful info about fishing the Smokies that was very helpful. I hope this info can help you.

06-02-2006, 12:16 PM
Thanks 18inchbrown. I did some research and yes I have been to that board but did not ask any questions. I kind of figured the streams you are mentioning are the ones to go to. The only negative feelings about going there is the comments from a previous poster that the water levels and the acess might cause a problem. I also noticed that several commercial sources that I have researched never mention fishing in october and certainly late Oct. Do you think it is too late in the season? The more I think about it I wish the trip was in the spring. I might have to talk to my wife and try to reschedul. Many thanks for your info and I appreciate you remembering me from another board. Was it flyfishsouth? or southeastflyfishers forum? I can't remember.

06-02-2006, 12:35 PM

Hans, I posted the link above to the Clark's Creek Trout Unlimited Chapter. I have not lived in the Harrisburg area for 28 years. Clark's Creek is where I did most of my trout fishing, although at the time I was a spinner and dare I say it a bait fisherman. Clark's is a tailwater I believe , from the Harrisburg water resevoir? Clark's is comparable to the Little River in size from my recollection. The chief moderator(Padraic Farrel (sp.)) on the Paflyfish forum is a memeber of the Doc Fritchey chapter.

The forum , you helped me out on was the flyfishsouth forum.

06-02-2006, 12:43 PM
Hans, just another note. You mentioned your wife. Another stream is the Manada Creek, it is near Hershey, Pa. Yes that is Chocalate Town. There is a lot going on in Heshey that your wife would love. Hershey is approximately 20 minutes from Harrisburg and there are a lot of nice places to stay in Hershey. I would suggest getting in touch with some of the locals to find out about the fishing in October.

Jack M.
06-27-2006, 05:02 PM
In Harrisburg area, you have many choices. *There will be no problem with it being October. *In fact, if you have not had a lot of opportunities to fish the pure limestone streams like the so-called "chalk streams" of England, Letort is the one you want to visit. *there is plenty of open water. *October is Trico time on Letort. *You'll want to be on stream around daybreak. *Walk the banks looking for clouds of the tiny mayflies beginning to accumulate over riffles. *The spinners come down like clockwork most days at 800 AM. *When they do, the trout will work the surface. *There will still be dry fly activity for other parts of the day with terrestrials as well, so have hoppers, ants and beatles. *Under the surface, the scud is the primary forage and works year-round there-- wooly buggers can catch the bigguns too, but there is a fair amount of vegetation to negotiate. *It is unlikely Letort will suffer any noticable effect from low water. *Less than 30% of its flow volume is runoff-- really probably much less. *There may be more water than normal and less water than normal depending upon recent rains, but it rarely is blown out, nor rarely too low to fish. *The water will be cool no matter how hot the air. *Wild Brown trout are abundant, though bigger ones can be hard to come by.

Big Spring is of similar character. *There are Browns, rainbows and brookies, some wild and some stocked as fingerlings. *Yellow Breeches has more of the freestone characteristics, but is heavily limestone influenced. *It will also have tricos. *Also, if you are there at the right time, there may be white mayflies that provide great topwater action. *There are all varieties of trout as well, mostly stocked, but some wild. *

Stoney and Clarks are freestone, but Clarks comes out of a bottom-release reservoir and stays cool year-round as it flows under a fairly heavy canopy. *As long as there has been near normal rainfall, it should fish well, too. *It has stocked and wild trout.

These maps ffrom the PFBC will help you locate the creeks: http://sites.state.pa.us/PA_Exec/Fish_Boat/map/pfbcmaps/cumberlandmain.htm
(for Letort and Big Spring) and http://sites.state.pa.us/PA_Exec/Fish_Boat/map/pfbcmaps/dauphinmain.htm (for Clarks and Stoney).

Finally, the streambed ownership issue involves the Little Juniata River, further West than Harrisburg. *A nice destination in and of itself. *Presently it is in the trial court, waiting on the Judge to decide if the water is "navigable." *If so, the Commonwealth owns the streambed and if you can get legal access to the water, you can wade where you please. *If not navigable, landowners may own the streambed and prevent wading on their side of the creek to the middle of the streambed. *The private litigant owns (and/or leases) both sides of the river for a couple miles and runs a private fishing club. *He attempts to exclude the public from wading that entire stretch of river and has signs informing rafters not to fish as they pass through.

You can definitely pick up better advice at the www.paflyfish.com message board. *Posting over there closer to your trip will get you up to date info. *good luck!

Jack M.
06-27-2006, 05:12 PM
Here are a few pictures of Letort I took on a trip last year:





06-27-2006, 08:56 PM
Thank you very much for a very detailed post. I know for sure If I am going to be able to make the trip later this year. I'm still waiting on a decision from my wife and her work situation. Thanks a lot.

Jack M.
06-28-2006, 09:35 AM
I should have mentioned with Letort, though there are plenty fish, it is notoriously stingy in giving them up. *I fished it 3 times before I caught a thing. *On my fourth try, I partially cracked the code (probably an equal amount of luck) and caught 2 trout. *On subsequent trips, I still considered one fish an hour a phenomenal success, but if you catch them surface feeding, you can have a much better rate. *If you want a good chance at a lot of fish, Yellow Breeches and Clarks are better options. *But visit Letort anyhow and if it is being stubborn, you can always move to Plan B. *

I think the key to Letort, for topwater action anyhow, is to stay back from the creek and observe. *Getting a top-feeder to give himself away before he gets spooked is your best chance to catching them. *If Trikes are hatching/falling and you locate the mating cloud (or if any other hatch is on), put yourself downstream of a likely holding area and watch the water carefully. *The creek has an abundance of undercut banks and though you will sometimes find risers mid-stream, you will more likely find them on the edges. *Be conscious of your shadow and keep out of the water except to cross or if needed to get proper casting position. *If you're in the water and are going to reposition more than a few yards, it might be prudent to go to shore or at least to walk gingerly to avoid spooking fish upstream.

Jack M.
06-29-2006, 10:32 AM
I apologize that I may have mislead you. In re-reading your original post, I see you will be there in "late" October. There is a good chance that Tricos will be done completely by then. Midges are always hatching on Letort though, along with the presence of terrestrials.