Spring Creek - Caledonia, NY

Spring Creek - Caledonia, NY

Postby Eperous » Sat Jan 16, 2010 1:49 pm

Since the mid-1960's I've had the good fortunate to sample all of the Catskill trout streams that Mac Francis writes about in his two excellent books, Catskill Rivers and Land of Little Rivers, plus quite a few more not as well known, and some with no names --- only numbers on regional DEC fishery maps. And, I've had the opportunity to wet a line in many other trout streams of this great state of ours. Over all that time, the three hardest trout streams - IMHO - to seduce its fish out of are, in no particular order: the lower Neversink below NYC's Reservoir (no, not the stocked fish), the Battenkill in the Special Reg section just downstream of the VT border, and Spring Creek up in Caledonia, NY. There's something very special about each of these rivers, but the rest of this thread will focus on Spring Creek.

A few years ago, our oldest daughter with her husband and first born lived in the Southern Tier of NYS just off of Route 17, in Cuba, NY. My wife and I loved visiting and over time I got to fish several rivers up there including the Wiscoy Creek and Genesee River. But the stream that caught my fancy was the Spring Creek, in Caledonia. My first visit was more from a historical aspect wanting to see/experience Seth Green's legendary hatchery, along the banks of this wild trout stream. The stream, however, left a lasting impression in my mind, and I fished this very short section of gin clear, spring creek full of wild trout - some of the prettiest browns that I've ever touched - every chance I had, until our daughter's family relocated to the Albany region.

I don't think I caught a trout that first time, but was lucky enough every time thereafter, mostly fishing to selectively rising trout using #22-24 cdc dry flies except for one time I happen on the stream during a snow squall when the trout got dumb, slamming a little streamer until the foul weather passed.

If you want to experience some history - Seth Green's hatchery, now run by NYS DEC and challenging fishing, I would highly recommend the Spring Creek in Caledonia.

Spring Creek:

Image

Colorful wild brown:

Image

BTW - I never caught a trout over 13", but I am told a few very big trout call this creek home. I guess they tend to move up into it from the Oatka Creek, which it joins downstream of the hatchery.
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Re: Spring Creek - Caledonia, NY

Postby dwyer » Sat Jan 16, 2010 5:37 pm

And Oatka is my home water a wonderfull area to live in outside of the Catskills of course :)
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Re: Spring Creek - Caledonia, NY

Postby upstatetrout » Sun Jan 17, 2010 4:46 pm

I can attest to the difficulty of catching fish on Spring Creek as I have fished these waters many times. It has wonderful trico and sulphur hatches.Some of you may know
Bob Herschon (Bohemian Bob)He is a professional fly tier who ties for the Dette's, Frank Kutner and most of the other local fly shops.He is a very interesting person and lives on the banks of Spring.Bob only fishes bamboo and specializes in night fishing. I have been to his house and seen the mounted Browns he has caught from Spring(up to 9 pounds)Truly amazing from such small waters. In case any of you are opposed to the mounting of large cannibal trout they should be be removed to protect the younger generations. You would agree too if you have ever seen one on a rampage in the middle of the night and seen the killing spree. Spring is very diferent from catskill streams as as its name suggests it is a
Spring Creek with most of its waters in the hands of private individuals.

Tom
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Re: Spring Creek - Caledonia, NY

Postby FredStoss » Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:47 pm

There are 20+ inch fish in Spring Creek. They are DIFFICULT to catch, but if/when you do... HOLD ON. I think I have netted and released a FEW, but have caught a good number of 14"-18" fish over the years. Several years ago the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation changed regulations for this stream: NO KILL from October 1st to April 1st. I noticed positive results almost immediately. Many anglers practice catch-and-release, which is great to see.

I began fishing this stream in 1972 with a few flies and tips from Carl D. Coleman. I still get a few flies and tips from Carl 40 years later!

May and June are my favorite times on this stream and I actually prefer it over Oatka Creek, into which Spring Creek flows. The stream has CHANGED a lot in the past 40 years, and I am proud to have been part of a team of Seth Green TU Members that proposed and built a stream protection strategy between the stream and the pathway upstream from the NYS Fish Hatchery in 1990. It worked in many ways to protect the stream and to establish some positive relationships between the NYSDEC and anglers. It was a good win-win scenario.
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Re: Spring Creek - Caledonia, NY

Postby Eperous » Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:40 pm

FredStoss wrote:There are 20+ inch fish in Spring Creek. They are DIFFICULT to catch, but if/when you do... HOLD ON. I think I have netted and released a FEW, but have caught a good number of 14"-18" fish over the years. Several years ago the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation changed regulations for this stream: NO KILL from October 1st to April 1st. I noticed positive results almost immediately. Many anglers practice catch-and-release, which is great to see.

I began fishing this stream in 1972 with a few flies and tips from Carl D. Coleman. I still get a few flies and tips from Carl 40 years later!

May and June are my favorite times on this stream and I actually prefer it over Oatka Creek, into which Spring Creek flows. The stream has CHANGED a lot in the past 40 years, and I am proud to have been part of a team of Seth Green TU Members that proposed and built a stream protection strategy between the stream and the pathway upstream from the NYS Fish Hatchery in 1990. It worked in many ways to protect the stream and to establish some positive relationships between the NYSDEC and anglers. It was a good win-win scenario.


Fred - don't know ya... but I do believe you... there's a member of this board, not dropping his name to protect the man--- but he's a retired career U.S. Marine... he's told me of these BIG trout... caught a few himself-- night fishing... and he has a friend who caught one TEN POUNDS, maybe only nine--- my memory ain't what it use to be, but BIG...

So yes, I believe you Fred...

BTW - I think it's one of the hardest wild trout streams in NYS to catch trout in... most of the few trout I have caught here succumb to #24 BWO's, and I've talk to folks who fish smaller flies... once I did fish this brook during a snow squall, and the trout grew real dumb while snow flakes fell... but as soon as it stopped, they developed lock jaw... :oops:

Ed
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Re: Spring Creek - Caledonia, NY

Postby Ron` » Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:52 pm

My best friend and fishing partner grew up fishing Caledonia as a younger man. Many stories of patience and technique. As close to spring creek fishing as it gets in NY. He took me back to my roots of fly fishing born well over 40 years ago. I truely believe the skills he gained on that stream as a youth make him the great dry fly fisherman he is.
"By the time I had turned 30, I'd realized 2 important things. 1: I had to fish. 2: I had to work for a living." Z. Grey "The trout do not rise in the cemetery, so you better do your fishing while you are still able." - S. G. Hackle
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Re: Spring Creek - Caledonia, NY

Postby SgtMajUSMC » Sat Jun 30, 2012 1:57 pm

Tough fishing as always, and very weedy this year. I fished it last night and it was as technical as I've ever seen it. Even more difficult to night fish with big flies, due to the amount of aquatic weed growth.

Best,

Tim
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Re: Spring Creek - Caledonia, NY

Postby catskilljohn » Sun Jul 01, 2012 5:24 pm

SgtMajUSMC wrote: Even more difficult to night fish with big flies, due to the amount of aquatic weed growth.


I always wondered about this exact thing. Without the "cleansing :roll: " our freestones get, would they eventually get choked like farm ponds sometimes do? I dont mind getting hung up on rocks, but river grasses are a pain :lol: CJ
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Re: Spring Creek - Caledonia, NY

Postby ewpeper » Sun Jul 01, 2012 5:35 pm

catskilljohn wrote:
SgtMajUSMC wrote: Even more difficult to night fish with big flies, due to the amount of aquatic weed growth.


I always wondered about this exact thing. Without the "cleansing :roll: " our freestones get, would they eventually get choked like farm ponds sometimes do? I dont mind getting hung up on rocks, but river grasses are a pain :lol: CJ


In a word, CJ? Yes. Sections of the Henry's Fork seem to get weed-choked every year, some worse than others, so bad that landing a fish borders on the miraculous. A lot of factors contribute to weed density in tailwaters, including stability of flow (a flush helps alleviate weeds), amount of sun (shade doesn't help weed growth), water temps, etc/ The Firehole experiences the same problems, but there it is a question of overall fertility exacerbated by high water temps in late season.

Either way, it makes for some really nasty wading, let alone fishing.

Eric
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