By: Isaac Zettle
It’s an exciting time for brown trout in Central Pennsylvania. For the first time in almost a year we’re starting to see vibrant color on these fish. We’re starting to see those red spots with white rings around them and that deep, vivid yellow that tells us winter is only a few months ahead. The browns continue to get darker as the days get shorter and the temperatures drop.
Fishing pressure has been minimal on Penns Creek since spring. There’s barely been anyone out there. On the other hand, there’s still plenty of fish around. In fact, as water temperatures cool with the coming fall action has improved. We’ve seen brown trout become far more active in the past few weeks and that should only continue as cooler air and water temperatures prevail.
While there’s a lot of water to cover we are catching most of the browns in areas that aren’t easily accessible from the road. If there’s a downed tree you can bet there’s going to be a brown lying under it. The same can be said where’s there’s big boulders. Basically, anywhere there’s structure in the creek you’re going to find browns.
In the fall the browns can be found from eight on up to 16 inches, although we have caught a few to 20 inches. The key is putting time in. There’s a lot of fish out there and you can’t expect a big one on every cast. However, action has been persistent. If you put your time on the water you can catch more than a dozen fish a day.
While many people are out fly fishing right now we’ve been catching and releasing tons of browns on Pautzke salmon eggs. I usually use six-pound Stren monofilament and then a two-foot leader of three-pound test. The water is clear this time of year and the trout are line shy. You’ll need to go with light line or bites can be a chore to get. I’m fishing all eggs under a small float or an indicator and because of how clear the water is you’ll have to use a small float or risk spooking the fish.
This fall most of our action has come on Yellow Jackets and Silver Label eggs. Because the water is so clear I’m only using one egg at a time on a small, size 12 Eagle Claw single salmon egg hook. We aren’t using any trebles. It’s important to keep a small profile, which is why we are using one egg.
Editor’s Note: Isaac Zettle operates Zettle Outdoors. For more information please visit https://www.facebook.com/isaaczettle28. Anglers should consult fishing regulations from the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission prior to going to Penns Creek. Some sections have bait restrictions. Please check the regulations here: http://fishandboat.com/regs_fish.htm.