By: Chris Shaffer
Eastern Pennsylvania is littered with quality trout streams. Meanwhile, many of the smaller systems get fished out within a day or two of being stocked by the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission. Fortunately, that’s not the case at McMichael Creek. Popular with anglers in the greater Stroudsburg area, McMichael is large enough to support big numbers of trout and has enough volume to enable a portion of the trout to make it past the first few days of a trout plant.
We filmed Pautzke Outdoors on McMichael Creek last week and spent about two hours a day for three days on the creek. The section we focused on hadn’t been stocked in a week and did receive a tremendous amount of pressure while we were there. We saw anglers keeping any trout they could catch. However, we caught and released several dozen trout, without keeping any. Hopefully, they are still there for you to catch. Last week’s heavy rains didn’t blow out the creek. We were able to catch trout even after large cells moved through.
What we enjoyed about McMichael was the different kind of water available. There are slow moving runs, waterfalls, deep pools, slots and riffles, all of which harbored trout. Meanwhile, we did have to bring an arsenal to maintain success each day. There was so much fishing pressure that the trout were clearly skittish. We managed to catch rainbows, brooks and a few browns, but didn’t see any golden rainbows left in the system.
Our filming took us to several different spots, all roadside water, which is heavily publicized and easily accessed. Not surprising, most anglers we ran into focused on fishing within a few feet of their car rather than exploring holes that are less targeted. We found trout in those areas and also downriver away from the crowds. I don’t want to give the wrong idea; the creek wasn’t loaded with trout, but we were able to pluck trout out of almost every hole we fished. On the other hand, there weren’t 50 trout in each pool as there would be on opening day or following an in-season stocking.
The most productive method on the larger fish was with Chartreuse and Blue Fire Dye minnows. It didn’t matter if the minnows were dead or alive. The key was twitching and giving them action. When they were drifted under a bobber with no action bites were minimal. However, when they were jigged/twitched we caught all three species of trout, particularly while other anglers struggled to catch them with non-dyed minnows.
We caught trout on FireBait nightly. Chartreuse Garlic and Peach Garlic spurred strikes when plunked in holes and drifted under a bobber. The Natural Deluxe, Pink Shrimp and Chartreuse Garlic salmon eggs got bit constantly. Nonetheless, we didn’t find a pattern that pinned one color better than the others. Instead, we constantly switched colors until the trout became conditioned. Plucking the eggs in pockets, behind large boulders and at the bottom of riffles was the key.
There weren’t many large trout left. Unfortunately, most of those seemed to be picked off by anglers. Meanwhile, we did catch several brooks and rainbows up to 14 inches. Many of the region’s streams turned muddy following the constant showers last week, but McMichael maintained clarity even as it rose. This forced us to use four-pound test and small Water Gremlin BB split shots to keep from spooking line-shy trout. The eggs, minnows and dough bait were pierced on size 10 to 12 hooks.
Editor’s Note: Pautzke salmon eggs and Fire Bait are available at Walmart and Bass Pro Shops. For more info on fishing in Eastern PA and updated trout stocking schedules please visit the PA FBC at http://www.fishandboat.com/Fish/PennsylvaniaFishes/Trout.