Penns Creek Trout Showing in High/Muddy Water

By: Isaac Zettle

Penns Creek is high and the water is murky. While this is intimidating for many anglers it’s prime time for fishing Penns. When the water is murky browns tend to bite well, much better than when conditions are low and clear. Considering rain is expected tonight and tomorrow I’m not anticipating clearing or falling water. The creek is still cold from all the snow runoff and with the snow in the mountains there’s more to come. Expect high and off-color water for at least the next week.


Over the years I’ve been told when the water is murky many folks around here think the browns see blue better than other colors. So what I’ve been doing is using the new Blue Fire Dye on live minnows. So far, I’ve been using blue exclusively because it’s been working so well, but I plan to use chartreuse this week. We’ve been hooking the live blue minnows through the back with a size 12 Eagle Claw salmon egg hook and running six-pound Stren low vis green line.


When dying the minnows make sure to follow the instructions on the bottle. The less water in the bucket the quicker they’ll dye. If you use too much it dilutes the formula. If you keep them on an aerator they’ll live all day. Prior to using these I was catching them on Natural Deluxe salmon eggs, but the blue minnows have been working so well I haven’t switched back to eggs.


Even in the muddy water we’ve been catching and releasing about five to 15 fish. These browns have ranged from eight inches to 18 inches. You’ll occasionally get a 20-incher, too. We don’t catch a lot of rainbows on Penns, but I did get one on a blue minnow this week. As a matter of fact, we’ve caught three nice rainbows on it the last few weeks. Meanwhile, we normally only catch one rainbow per 50 browns. This time of year the only rainbows we are catching are the larger ones, likely because we are targeting them below the stocked sections.


When the creek comes up the browns tend to hang near the bank in the slow current. Another thing to look for is rocks. When you find large boulder the browns tend to crowd behind it so they can save energy and use this as a place to ambush food. We’ve been catching multiple fish in areas like these.


Editor’s Note:

*For more info on Zettle Outdoors please visit

*Keep in mind Penns Creek from Spring Mills to Coburn is closed until the general trout opener. However, from Coburn on downstream is open to fishing.

*Pautzke’s new Fire Dye is available at, Bass Pro Shops and the following Walmart locations: Bradford, Clarion, Erie (West), Exton, Greensburg, Harborcreek, Harleysville, Johnstown, Latrobe, Mechanicsburg, Montoursville, Pittston, Reading (North), Somerset, Belfonte, State College, Tunkhannock, Washington, Waynesburg, Whitehall, Wilkes-Barre and York.