This has been a tough year for me due to personal and family issues and the pandemic. I’ve spent way too much time on the couch, but I did have plenty of time to do some projects that I had in mind. One of them was to organize my stream notes for Pennsylvania streams. The earliest page is from May 1, 1984 when I fished Buffalo Creek near Boggsville from 8:30am to 11:00am. The notes show that I drifted meal worms and maggots and tried a Royal Coachman streamer…and got skunked. Not even a bite.
Altogether there are 347 pages of notes from 19 different streams. Streams with the most notes are Pine Creek (115 pages), Yellow Breeches Creek (43), Slippery Rock Creek (34), Elk Creek (34), the Youghiogheny River (24), and Dunbar Creek (23). I first learned to use a fly rod with any success on Dunbar Creek and Pine Creek.
My goal for keeping stream notes at first was to find a pattern in the data that would help me to catch more fish, or at least a fish. The notes show things like water and air temperature, time of day, stream and light conditions, what baits or flies worked, and sometimes how many fish I caught and who I fished with.
But the stream notes are also important to me now because of the interesting stories they tell. Some of the best stories are about days when I should have stayed home but I fished anyway. Days like January 21, 2012 when I fished Twenty Mile Creek with my brother-in-law, Jack, and the air temperature was 19 degrees F. Another angler said maybe we should throw some big rocks in to break the ice. And then there was August 2, 2006 when I fished Big Spring Creek by myself and the air temperature was 101 degrees F. That was the first time I ever wet-waded for trout and the notes show it worked out pretty well.
Here are some pictures from Twenty Mile Creek on the coldest day I
ever fished. Actually, we gave up on fishing and decided to hike to the mouth of the stream at Lake Erie. I think these pictures tell a better story about that than the stream notes. It was a great day to be on the water.