In the new winter issue of Hallowed Waters we take a super in-depth look at one of my favorite hallowed waters on the planet-spring creeks. I fell in love with them as a little boy on the upper Wieprza River in Poland off the Baltic coast when I spent a short stint there on my families farm. These crystal clean, slow meandering little streams that ran ice cold all year and through pastoral meadows of sheep and cattle always had that special allure to me. There I can sit for hours and watch the wild brown trout daintily feed on the surface; or scurry around to intercept emerging nymphs during a mayfly hatch.
My serious tutelage lasted for over a decade when I was in the hotel industry in Washington, D.C. Here I visited the limestone spring creeks of Pennsylvania emphatically on every weekend only a short hour and half drive from my Georgetown condo. It was here that I fished the legendary Letort, Big Spring Run, Falling Springs Branch and the Yellow Breeches. I made friends with some historic legends there who offered me their knowledge and streamside companionships. Here the great Vince Marinaro gave me some incredible insight into the wild brown trout feeding behavior on his Vince’s meadow in the months prior to his passing. And the late great master of the sculpin himself and leviathan chase: Ed Shenk, whom I maintained a friendship for many years after, explained the fine art of stalking Truttasaurus browns in those finicky trout selectivity ridden waters.
From Vince’s advice I eventually came to understand and visit the true Mecca of spring creeks where they are called chalk streams- England’s Hampshire country. In these legendary hallowed waters of Sawyer, Halford, Skues and the modern deans: Goddard and Clarke, the Rivers Test, Itchen and Avon were fairy tale waters come true. Their charm was sedating and the ultimate meditation for a stressed-out hotel executive always on the chase. In hindsight these little spring creek jewels were a refuge to normalcy from the neurotic big city life. The trout were always difficult and selective to catch it, so it wasn’t really about the catching! , it was the total escapement. I could have chosen more easily fished waters, but they just kept gnawing at me to learn their charms.
In this issue we are so proud of, we explore the winter/early spring intricacies of fishing these hallowed gems. We do a complete tutorial on the tactics, science, prey and presentation on getting immersed slowly to fish these waters. Neil Sunday takes you on a tour of his home waters of the Cumberland Valley limestoners that I so fondly admire. Greg Morret gives you a glimpse of little limestone gem: the Mad River in Ohio, that most would never think of fishing or even know its there. The noted author: Jason Randall, gets deep into the nuances and differences of winter fishing on his magnificent Driftless area coulee spring creeks that abound with their wild browns and brook trout-perhaps one of the last true unspoiled spring creek Meccas on earth that cover Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.
And finally its off to the big sky country of the west and the stunning Paradise Valley of Montana’s Yellowstone country. Here author Paul Weamer plies the little gems of the Absaroka’s on Depuy’s. Armstrong’s and Nelson’s spring creek. And in closing a little glimpse of a Yosemite gem I often fished when my hotel travels took me to San Francisco – the lovely Hot Creek nestled in one of the most beautiful valleys on the planet. These destinations along with some killer fly patterns and recipes will make you re-think your winter dormancy and don your waders and get spring creek bound.
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