You will get a variety of responses when you mention spring creek fishing to anyone who fishes routinely. Some will say that the flies are too small, the trout are selective, you have to be sneaky or the leaders are too long. The beauty of fishing is that it has something to offer for every palate. Spring creek fishing may be a complex task, but it brings a lot of satisfaction to anyone who tries it. Spring creeks offer just the right amount of challenge, a combination of angling intimacy and can be found in different places throughout the world. But, what exactly is spring creek?
A spring creek is formed from flowing water or springs that emerge from the ground and have enough flow to produce a stream or creek that’s cool and large enough for harboring trout. While a majority of the spring creeks are not more than 50 feet wide, there are some exceptions.
Silver Creek in Idaho, DePuy, and Amstrong creeks in Montana and Big Spring Creek in Pennsylvania. Spring creeks pose a challenge because they have consistent and clear water flow and the aquatic environment boasts a similar consistency. Spring trout get used to this stability and they adapt their behavior accordingly.
Trout feed in abundance when a prolific hatch occurs as they are opportunistic, but they often feed on a specific insect during a particular phase of a hatch. The crystal clear waters, the higher density of macroinvertebrates and the glassy, smooth currents create challenging fishing conditions and highly spooky and selective trout. Creek fishing may have a difficult nature, but it is cherished by avid fishers who enjoy the chess match that takes place in the water every day.
Here are some great tips that can be immensely useful in spring creek fishing;
Get as close as possible to the feeding trout
While spring creek trout can be extremely spooky, it is still recommended that you try to get as close to them as possible before you make a cast. The spring creeks have complex currents and if too much line is left out, it can become immensely tough to get a drag free drift on either dry flies or nymphs. You can go with a slightly lengthy minimum casting distance when the spring trout are feasting on the skinny flats. However, anglers can get a lot closer to the trout when trout are in deeper waters or faster riffles. You need to sneak into position very slowly and taking your time will definitely pay off.
Understand the hatch sequences and life cycles of spring creek insects
The wide array of aquatic insects that you will come across in spring creeks is quite staggering. Trout tend to become very selective during hatches because they have a lot of food at their disposal. Any offerings will be completely ignored by fish except for the ones that imitate the insect that’s hatching currently. Luckily, the diversity of insect species is considerably lower in spring creeks, which can simplify the process to some extent. Nonetheless, the insect diversity may be limited in spring creeks, but they make up for this lack with the sheer abundance of species that can be found. It is essential for you to understand when the hatches happen as well as the time of the day of the emergence as this will impact your success. Temperatures and water levels are also important factors that need to be considered.
Give fishing emergers a shot during hatches
The mayfly hatches of spring creeks are well-known. Creek trout become very selective at the time of thick hatches and they prefer to take crippled duns or emergers. As compared to traditional high riding duns, you are going to produce more hookups when it comes to emerger patterns.
Take advantage of flies
When spring creek trout are in fast or deep water, presentations of flies and nymphs up and across can be quite effective. During hatches, the trout shift into shallow glides and in this situation, it is a good idea to position yourself slightly upstream and directly across from the fish. The flies are able to move onto the fish before they can see the tippet and this gives your hookup percentages a boost. Specialty casts can also be accommodated by this casting angler such as curve casts and reach casts, which are helpful in presenting the flies first.
Look for water that allows a drag free presentation
As opposed to freestone rivers, the trout populations in spring creeks are much denser as they have a high production of insect life. These creeks are teeming with wild fish and one of the most important aspects of being successful on these technical and challenging waters is to look for runs that enable a drag free presentation. The spring creek waters are clear as gin due to which it can be tough to pass up the opportunity of trout when you can observe them feeding aggressively.
It is vital for anglers to learn how to read currents in spring creeks and choose runs that will not generate drag on both nymph and dry fly presentations. When you have found a run that is just right for the drift line, it will turn out to be a solid producer each year. Sometimes, in a run, when you move your body position a few feet downstream or upstream, it will change the geometry enough to get you the hookups you want.
These tips can be quite beneficial when you decide to give spring creek fishing a shot. There are some additional tips that can also be handy for beginners and can help them succeed. Let’s take a look:
- Change your angling attitude: You need to bear in mind that spring creeks are not found everywhere and this means that your expectations and objectives when fishing a spring creek are also unique. You need to pay special attention to the angling process when you are fishing a spring creek. Your satisfaction should not depend on the quantity of the fish you catch and should rely more on the quality of your experience. Spring creek fishing should be embraced as a valuable opportunity to appreciate and improve your angling instead of reaffirming your skills in a simple situation.
- Enjoy the problem and don’t scoff: If you take some time and interest in understanding the hows and whys, it will lead to more enjoyment.
- Watch the feeding of the fish: Is it eating insects on the surface, below the surface or near the bottom? These questions can come in handy when you wish to select the right fly and tackle adjustments. Small adjustments can often be very crucial. For instance, changing the size of the fly from 20 to 22 can make the difference between observing and catching. Your emerger pattern will tend to float more naturally when, instead of using a dry fly gel, you opt for a dry fly powder and this will entice a strike rather than a refusal.
- Your tackle should be more sensitive and lighter: Fish supple fly lines and smaller weight rods. Select leaders that are softer and longer and not more than 12 feet long. Tippet sections tend to be smaller in diameter and are longer due to which 5X is not suitable for most spring creeks. If you are using weighted nymphs in sight fishing, it is best to choose a micro-sized split shot for obtaining the best drift.
- Know that it is a bug’s life: It is vital to have in-depth knowledge of trout entomology. You should learn the lifecycles of caddis, mayflies, and midges. It is also necessary to understand the difference between an adult, an emerger and a spinner and how to identify them on water. Observe riseforms as the surface is breached by trout. If you see a mouth or nose, it means they are eating adults. If you see a tail fin and back, they are probably feeding on emergers. Splashy rises could mean they are keying on adult caddis or emergers. No breach, but nervous water is an indication that they are feeding on active nymphs. The bottom line is that you need to observe before you make a cast or choose a fly.
- Learn some crucial skills for better drifts: It is paramount for you to present your fly in a way that fish thinks it’s natural. One of the key components of a proper presentation is to master a drag-free drift. It is a must to learn a stack cast, reach cast and pile cast. You also need to practice adding a slack line so your fly can float longer and more naturally throughout the drift. Mastering these refined skills is not very difficult, but they require lots of patience and practice.
Similar to the water that emerges from the earth to form a spring creek, the passion for spring creek fishing has deep roots. You need to understand the process and embrace the unique approach to succeed in it.