The heavy rain let up completely by the time I arrived at Letort Spring Creek in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The famous stream’s parking lot, at a meadow near Spring Garden Street, is also located just south of busy Interstate 81. It’s the heart of an idyllic wild spot in an otherwise urban atmosphere.
Ninety minutes just isn’t enough time for an outing on this southern PA limestone water. The LeTort is considered one of the toughest wild trout streams to fly-fish anywhere, on par with England’s Test. Ninety minutes is barely enough time to remove your hat at the memorials to Charlie Fox (riverkeeper and author of Rising Trout) and Vince Marinaro (author of A Modern Dry Fly Code), to acknowledge you’re on sacred piscatorial ground. Hell, it’s hardly enough time to study the tiny Blue-winged Olives sailing above the currents (relatively clouded by the rains) and to experiment with a dry fly or a nymph rig.
I rigged up a long leader tippet with a #20 dry fly, for tradition’s sake, if not for an actual hook-up. Nothing doing. Next came a tandem rig with a midge pupa and a tiny Pheasant-Tail. That helped me land a small brown, along with another brief hook-up, my only fish of the day. When I switched to a larger soft-hackle and beadhead Pheasant-Tail, the wild browns simply ignored me. As I said, ninety minutes (en route to metro-DC) isn’t time enough to fish a special place like this.
“The LeTort is a hard task master…” said Vince Marinaro. Indeed. Many anglers from around the states, and even the world, come to pay respects at the stream but then go to fish the nearby Yellow Breeches instead. They go where the fishing is considerably easier and more productive.
“A man is the substance of the things he loves…” wrote Charlie Fox, LeTort master and, along with Marinaro, one of the most famous and revered fly-fishermen since Izaak Walton.
A naturalist or angler or outdoor lover connects with mountain, stream, ocean, desert, or other environment. He or she loves the world that nurtures the soul, and wants to live most fully with particular places. If you walk Vince’s Meadow, or fly-fish its wonderful stream, you too will feel the substance of something reaching out pleasantly in your direction.