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Fly Fishing Spring Creeks

Spring Creeks are streams or rivers, whose source comes from underground.  They generally have several favorable features for trout.  They have a stable flow and near constant temperature.  The water also tends to be high in mineral content which promotes highly concentrated organic life.  The enriched water has a high alkalinity that supports dense insect life. 

Compared to freestone streams, which ebb and flow greatly within a season or even a week, and tend to rush and tumble.  Spring creeks tend to meander and flow at a leisurely pace.  They tend not to be great for stoneflies, especially giant stones and sometimes less than great for caddis.  They do generally have thriving midge populations which love the cold.  Midges can hatch year round as do small mayflies like Blue Winged Olives, which also tend to be prevalent in spring creeks.  The colder the temperature the more important role BWO’s and midges play in the eco-system, this is truer the closer to the source of the stream you are fishing.  As you move downstream away from the source, the insect life becomes more diverse but less dense. 

Fishing spring creeks requires stealth and patience.  Generally quite clear and slower moving, a clumsy approach could easily spook fish.  And since the populations are dense; spooking fish can put down fish for quite a while.  Pausing and watching activity on the water can help one to identify an approach.  Fish are often working right below the surface especially in the morning or evening.  It is useful to try casting to one fish, timing your casts and drifts, carefully watching the affect currents play on your presentation.

If there is no activity, fish are probably using the normally abundant cover that spring creeks are known for.  Seams or edges between water current speeds, under cuts, hanging brush are all good places to try.  Just because they are not actively feeding does not mean they won’t accept an offer presented in the correct manner.

Many spring creeks also have decent damsel fly hatches, sculpins, crawfish, and other bait fish thriving in the rich water.  These are further considerations in your approach to these enjoyable and challenging waters.