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Monday, March 29, 2021

Scouting Tobyhanna Creek

The first day of Trout Season in Pennsylvania arrives this weekend!  Kathy spent some of her cold winter days researching the best trout streams in our area, and it turns out that Tobyhanna Creek, which is only an 8 minute drive from our cottage in the Poconos, is one of our better options.  It's a Class A trout stream, and the closest stretch is just below where the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission stock Tobyhanna Creek.  Hopefully, the section of the stream we are looking at will still have some trout left after the decimation that will occur this weekend on the opening of Trout Fishing Season.

Today was cold and windy, but sunny, so we decided it would be a good day to scout the section of Tobyhanna Creek we want to fish.

Here was the parking area and the trail we want to use to reach streamside:

We reached the banks of Tobyhanna Creek in short order, and Kathy hurried out to the stream to check for pools and runs:

The stream is beautiful, in a fetching mountain setting.  All that is lacking is Spring:

Our side of the stream seems to offer the most channels and pools for casting our little artificial flies.  We will check access to the opposite bank, but we believe this side will be ours:

We reached the confluence of Hummler Run with Tobyhanna Creek, which will be a great place to fish for trout, because the food will come streaming down Hummler Run and be gobbled up by the trouties as they wait at their feeding station in Tobyhanna Creek. 

Here is a view of the junction of Hummler Run with Tobyhanna Creek:

This was the end of the trail for us on this leg of our scouting expedition.  We turned up Hummler Run back toward Highway 423, where we would walk the road back to our Jeep.   Here is a section of Hummler Run we saw as we approached back to Highway 423:

Overall, Hummler Run, as is the case with Cross Keys Run and Frame Cabin Run -- two streams designated as "Wilderness" class by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania -- do not look attractive for us to fish, because, if they bear any fish, it will be very small brook trout.  We'd like to catch a few fish closer to a foot in length, if you please.

We walked the road to our Jeep, hopped back in, and drove further down Tobyhanna Creek to where it crossed back under the highway.  Here, we parked and continued our scouting hike along the Eastern bank of the stream.  We reached Cross Keys Run, in order to check how it might drop food for the fishies into Tobyhanna Creek:

Unexpectedly and interestingly, the confluence of Cross Keys Run with Tobyhanna Creek show evidence of a constructed millrace:

We walked along the millrace to where it dumped the waters of Cross Keys Run into Tobyhanna Creek and scouted the opportunities for trout to find food (and, hence, for us to find trout):

Just beyond the old millrace, the trail made obvious that it was continuing along an old railroad grade.  There was evidence that a siding had been built as well near the millrace and presumptive site of a former lumber mill.  Both the main rail line and the siding had been built up above the ground level with extensive stone work.

We followed the trail along the old rail bed a little further until we came to a large bend in Tobyhanna Creek.  This was all riffle, and there was no evidence of a fruitful pool further downstream, so we decided to make this the turnaround point for our scouting expedition.  Coincidentally, we spotted a spectacular campsite, with informal fire ring, on the opposite bank, just where we turned around:

We hiked back to the Jeep and felt we had found two fishing days' worth of stream.  We were happy to get home and warmed up after that windy, cold hike.

Tomorrow we plan to meet some friends for a more classic hiking experience.  We'll tell you that story in the next blog entry.

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