JEFF KNAPP: The other Yellow Creek offers quality trout fishing
Mention Yellow Creek in regard to fishing around here and you’ll likely invoke images of trout fishing along a local creek, or perhaps bass fishing within a 750-acre lake. But as with many streams in the state, there are often several with the same name. Bedford County also has a Yellow Creek, this one a good, quality trout stream that harbors wild brown trout and stocked rainbows.
A relatively short section is managed on a put-and-take basis and falls under standard trout fishing regulations. The stream’s biggest attraction, in the mind of many anglers, is the nearly 1-mile stretch governed under Fly-Fishing-Only regulations.
Bedford County’s Yellow Creek provides an interesting physical contrast. In its upper reaches, near Woodbury, it’s a limestone spring-fed meadow stream, flowing through open pasture land. Here it has the look of a classic spring creek, its pools and runs well-lined with lush green beds of vegetation like watercress.
The main stem of Yellow Creek is formed by Potter Creek, Three Springs Run and Beaver Creek. These mergers are close to the town of Waterside.
In the vicinity of Loysburg, Yellow Creek flows through a narrow water gap, with a significant drop in elevation. The tumbling stream, speeding rapidly through a wooded valley, bares little resemblance to the spring creek appearance seen a few miles upstream. But the water holds the same limestone-driven alkaline richness, a property that allows a variety of aquatic insect and crustacean life.
Last weekend I paid a visit to Yellow Creek’s FFO area. Though I’ve fished it before, it had been several years since my prior visits.
The water was a bit high and off-colored, typically good conditions for a streamer like a Wooly Bugger. But after an hour of fruitless casting in a pool that I felt confident should hold trout, it was a time for a change in tactics. I re-rigged, this time with a flashback hare’s ear nymph, to which I tied to its bend another foot of 3X tippet as a dropper. I put a small olive-green scud on the dropper. A tiny split shot was added a few inches above the nymph. About four feet up the leader I fastened a foam, teardrop-shaped strike indicator.
For a long time I was a holdout regarding the use of a strike indicator, not willing to use a “bobber” while fly-fishing. But I must say, when I finally gave in, my catch rates and enjoyment increased significantly.
I’ve experimented with several strike-indicator designs over the past couple of years, being particularly fond of small foam indicators that use a slender piece of surgical tubing to hold them in place like the Float Master. This year I’ve also experimented with the New Zealand indicator, which I also like, particularly when fishing over low, clear water where the splashdown of a bulkier indicator (the New Zealand style uses a tuft of wool) is likely to spook fish.
Here are a couple tips concerning strike indicator use: Be willing to adjust the indicator’s position, so the fly occasionally ticks bottom. Make a sweeping hookset when the “bobber” indicates a possible bite, but sweep with the rod more parallel to the stream’s surface than straight up. This will reduce the times you launch your flies into the tree limbs behind you if you miss a fish, or set on a momentary snag. And use an indicator large enough to float your rigging without being dragged under the surface. This is particularly important as you add flies and/or weight to the rig.
The Yellow Creek FFO area extends nearly a mile, from the mouth of Maple Run up to Red Bank Hill. A nice walking trail parallels the creek, staying on the north bank most of the way. In the area of Red Bank Hill, which steeply drops the creek’s edge, one must wade to the opposite bank to cover the final stretch of special regulations water.
The put-and-take section of Yellow Creek runs from the mouth of Beaver Creek down to the start of the FFO area. The remainder of Yellow Creek is largely posted, some of it controlled by a private fishing club. The last few miles, before it empties into the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River, tends to get too warm for trout.
One of the main reasons Yellow Creek’s FFO area is so gratifying to fish, and in fact is still open to public fishing, goes to the Yellow Creek Coalition. The YYC, a nonprofit group that acts as a steward of this resource, can be thanked for many of the project’s improvements. This includes the parking lot that lies just upstream from the mouth of Maple Run. The group works with private landowners to keep it open to fishing, stocks trout and keeps an eye on things. More information on the YCC can be found at www.mltu.org/yellow creek.shtml.
The Yellow Creek FFO area is about an hour-and-a-half southeast of Indiana. Take Route 422 east to Ebensburg, Route 22 east to Duncansville and I-99 South to the Roaring Spring exit. Drive through Roaring Spring on Route 36, continue approximately 12 miles and then turn left on SR 1024 at the New Frontier restaurant. The lane to the parking area is about two miles on the right.