My favorite nymph patterns

I've had best success with these nymph patterns in central Pennsylvania freestone streams: (Click photo to enlarge)

    • little brassie
    • pheasant tail
    • copper john

I love to tie and experiment with more novel patterns, but these three amigos seem to consistently work for native and stocked trout and steelhead. I dead-drifted them across riffles and into heads of pools. The pheasant tail is my go-to on any given day.

Penns Creek native brookies

Caught eight native brookies on Penns Creek near Coburn, PA between 2 and 4:30 pm. today Most strikes were on the good old standard - the basic Dave Sawyer's pheasant tail nymph pattern on #14 hook, dead drifted over the riffles, keeping the rod tip high. No fly line even on the water - just 9-ft leader and tippet exposed beyond the end of the rod.

Kettle Creek macroinvertebrates

Spent a week inventorying stream restoration structures on Kettle Creek. A variety of structures have been used by the watershed group to reduce bank erosion and improve trout habitat. I've looked a many streams in north-central Pennsylvania and these structures are holding up better than most. Here's an example of a cross-vein type structure in the upper catch-and-release section of the stream:

(Click photo to enlarge)

We were focusing on the channel morphology and so didn't have time to turn over many rocks or assess fish populations. Nevertheless, we saw a lot of macroinvertebrates and all indications are that this is healthy trout stream which has recovered nicely following decades of intense logging around the turn of the century. Here are some photos of caddis, mayfly, dragonfly larvae:

(Click photos to enlarge)