The streams in Southern Chester County are pretty low and its hard to find water that is even capable of holding trout at this time. Rain has been scarce all summer and over the last 30 days there has barely been any. I decided to head north in search of bigger water and cooler temperatures. I didn't have to travel far. 90 minutes north is the Lehigh River that is controlled by a few amazing dams. This is a photo of the reservoir side:
Francis E. Walter Dam
The road in goes over the top of the dam and this photo doesn't really demonstrate just how high up you are. Its a great place to get some photos and there is easy access down to the reservoir and to the river. Its incredibly clean and well maintained.
I fished the lower section about 20 miles south of here near the second dam, the Beltzville Dam. I didn't go up to the dam and from the photo it doesn't appear to be like the Walter as far as recreation. I am not sure though.
On my first day the water was very high for this time of year. They released water from the Beltzville Dam which was upstream of where I was fishing. A local man told me it was because they needed water at the Budweiser Brewery. I don't know if that is true, but I like it. It was about 49 degrees to start the day, but it didn't seem that cold. No wind and it was humid. The sun came up with no clouds and it was bright. I had to deal with a blistering sun reflecting off the water as I was facing east. I actually got a sunburn through my tshirt. The water was very swift.
I decided to use the Thomas EP Spin 1/4 oz. It was heavy enough to handle the current and I could cover the entire width of the river with its casting spread.
The fish were not aggressive by any means. The water was crystal clear. It was about 6 feet deep and I could see the bottom 50 feet away. I saw a few swipes at my spinner at some distances. When you are using a larger spinner fish may see this as a threat to their space and not necessarily as food. Their passes may be more of a warning to your spinner to stay away than an attempt to consume it.
I pressed on throwing my 1/4 oz. of brass for hours until finally after 2 reel turns, of an 80 foot cast, I connected. I suspected by the location in the fast current it was a trout, but in a river like the Lehigh you can never be certain. This fish seemed to choose the path of least resistance and swam in my direction so despite a very strong current it was not a epic battle. When he got within about 30 feet I could see it was a rainbow of about 15 inches and healthy proportions. He was hooked perfectly by one one hook n the side of the mouth for an easy release.
Soon the sun was over the trees, the shade was gone and so were the trout. I caught a few Smallmouth Bass which are always fun, but the trout are the motivation.
The trout in the Lehigh are stocked by a great non-profit. The Lehigh River Stocking Association. I strongly suggest that if you fish the river you join the club. Its only $25 a year or $250 for life. The $25 pays for fish food and supplies that are needed to maintain the fish until they are ready to be stocked. Their labor is all volunteer. I paid for the $250 lifetime membership to catch one rainbow and I feel like I got a bargain. Just knowing that there are trout in a river in September is worth $250 whether you catch any or not.
Below are some photos I took while fishing.