There's a reason why Thomas and Thomas fly rods was established in Chambersburg, Penn.
Chambersburg offers up some of the best fly fishing in the state, and while the Thomas and Thomas has since moved on, the fishing remains the same.
One of the most popular fly fishing destinations in the region is Falling Spring Creek, also known as Falling Spring Branch, where Chambersburg’s settlement began back in 1730 thanks to the water mills at its confluence with Conococheague Creek – another solid fishery that’s a tributary of the Potomac River. Unfortunately for some anglers in this region, the Potomac is listed as one of the Top 10 most endangered rivers in the U.S. and has also seen the introduction of snakeheads.
And if you’re looking for some history where you’re fishing, look no further than Falling Spring and Chambersburg, one of the only major northern boroughs burned down by the Confederate forces during the Civil War.
But enough of the history lessons, how’s the fly fishing on Falling Spring?
Fishing Falling Spring Creek
According to Ballard G. Hammond of Custom Tied flies and guide service (717-977-8804), in Chambersburg, the fishing is great on “any part of the stream from Walker Road upstream to the head of the creek at the end of Falling Spring Road.”
And the great thing about these wild fish? They fight, unlike some sluggish, stocked trout you’ll find around parts of the region. The trout have also been known to reach 12-to-21 inches in length, depending on the holes you’re fishing and what hatches are coming off.
“When these fish take, they really take,” Hammond notes on his site. “They are very acrobatic fish, leaping from the water and giving a very exciting fight.”
When it comes to flies, Hammond ties all of his own, with a local flair and patterns that are native to his hometown fishery. Flies such as a bug he calls “crystal meth,” I’m guessing because it’s an addictive fly the local trout just can’t say no to.
But the best hatches on the Falling Spring, he points out, “are the Sulpher May Fly, Blue Winged Olive, and Trico hatches and Terrestrial patterns.”
While certain dry flies will work during parts of the year, Hammond’s top tip for fishing Falling Spring is to “fish wet.
“The fish are wet,” he reiterated, “so sink your bugs and catch some fish.”
On Falling Spring, Hammond points out the area he outlined is open year round, but you’ll want to check state rules and regulations regarding limits and fly restrictions.
For example, as of this writing, a trout stamp is required as is fly fishing with barbless hooks only.
Fishing Conococheague Creek
In terms of Conococheague Creek, it’s a much smaller water but it does have a watershed that covers 566 square miles (in fact, the word Conococheague comes from the Delaware Indian term that means “Water of Many Turns).
But since this is a small fishery, you’re going to need a shorter rod. Hammond likes to use a 6-6, 4-weight rod, for high sticking the tiny riffles and runs.
At the same time, anglers should still have a stiff enough rod that they can get a few longer casts in when the fish are hiding out in the deeper pools midday.
Other than trout, anglers might be surprised to find a handful of other fish species available here, including yellow pearch, eel, horned chub, calico bass, rock bass and white suckers.