Personally, my favorite type of fishing is going off the beaten path and exploring small
brook trout streams. This past weekend, my good friend Steve and I spent two days doing just that. Steve and I met up in East Stroudsburg early Saturday morning, where we discussed a general game plan before heading north to the Thunder Swamp trailhead in Delaware State Forest. Our plan was to hike the Thunder Swamp trail until it crossed Saw creek. From that point we would blaze our own trail along the creek, find a suitable place to set up camp for the night, and explore as much water as we could. We arrived at the trailhead around 9:15 a.m. After loading our packs, and doing some last minute gear checks we were on the trail by 9:30 a.m. Following some missed turns and quite a few map checks, we arrived at the creek around 12:45 p.m. and shortly thereafter we found a suitable place to set up camp.
Saw creek is a small, high quality-cold water stream in Pike County, Pennsylvania. It rarely exceeds ten feet across in its upper reaches, where meanders its way through the dense forests, swamps and bogs scattered across this part of the Allegheny Plateau. When we arrived on Saturday, the creek had flooded its banks and the water had a deep brown color due to the recent heavy rainfall in the area.
After setting up camp, we rigged our fly rods with short leaders paired with bushy dry flies and started up stream. Most of the water was slow moving and shallow, which only resulted in some creek chubs. We spent four hours fishing a mile upstream, which may not seem like a lot, but when you’re constantly walking through chest high grass and three inches of water, you tend to walk a little slower (especially since you can’t see what you’re stepping on). By 6:00 p.m. we still had not caught any trout.
At this point we were both worn out, with soaked and sore feet. We decided to head back to camp, cook up some food, relax by the fire and put down our fly rods until the morning. Side note, velveeta + can of chili, paired with single malt scotch = phenomenal camp dinner.
The next morning, I was up early at 5:45 a.m. as the constant yapping of the coyotes behind our camp made for a relatively restless night. After coffee and breakfast, we were on the water by 7:00. However, on this day, we decided to explore downstream from camp since the water upstream was not all that promising. It was not long before we found some nice water and were finally able to see some nice brook trout. Just after 9:00 a.m. I was finally able to land a solid small brookie on a size 14 prince nymph drifted through a slow moving pool below a long set of rapids. The no-hitter was broken.
As we made our steep hike out of the forest later that day, with sore legs and covered in ticks, we both gleaned with a sense of accomplishment – knowing that we achieved our weekend goals…and had a great time doing so.