By: Chris Shaffer
Trout fishing is quickly petering out in Eastern Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, not all streams have gone troutless yet. In fact, action on the Little Lehigh Creek last week couldn’t have been much better. Quality fishing should persist for another few weeks and while the PA Fish & Boat Commission has completed trout stocking here for the season we saw signs of fresh plants from clubs last week.
Having fished dozens of PA trout streams across the state in the last month what impressed us most about the Little Lehigh was the quality of trout available. While we did catch a few 10 inchers in the two evenings we fished (last Monday and Wednesday) the majority of the trout we caught ran 14-16 inches, which is rare.
Nestled in Little Lehigh Park, which is surrounded by Allentown, the Little Lehigh is no secret. We saw dozens of anglers nightly. Some kept everything that bit their line and others (like us) caught and released every fish to ensure trout remained in the system. The only disappointment we had was not seeing any golden rainbows. While filming Pautzke Outdoors here we were eager to catch one on film, but didn’t have the opportunity. We walked about a mile of the creek looking for them.
While fishing roughly a mile stretch of Little Lehigh Park we caught mostly rainbows. We hooked a few browns, but didn’t land any. As most locals can attest to, there’s a tremendous amount of pressure daily and the browns can be wary. The rainbows, on the other hand, were aggressive, at least when we floated Pautzke salmon eggs past them. We caught a few dozen on film and fished two hours the first night and three the second.
We only brought four different jars of eggs with us to film: Gold Label, Natural Deluxe, Pink Shrimp and Chartreuse Garlic. It didn’t take much effort to get the trout to bite any of these eggs. Meanwhile, the Natural Deluxe caught the most simply because every time we drifted them we got bit and didn’t change up until they got conditioned to them.
Meanwhile, our two largest trout came on Fire Bait. We didn’t fish Fire Bait much because the eggs were so effective. However, when the bite did get tough Fire Bait enticed the trout to feed. Garlic Salmon Egg and Feed Pellet Brown were the only two colors we used, most notably because they got bit every time we drifted them.
The Little Lehigh is easy water to read. It’s obvious where the trout are holding and with paths on both sides of the creek they are accessible to anglers. On the other hand, with high pressure and clearing water using light line is vital. Anything greater than four-pound test is too much, even with the quality of trout in the system now. While it’s not imperative, we used a float to drift salmon eggs a foot off the bottom and keep them from getting hung up. Others choose to bottom bounce the eggs. Each method is effective.