Mike Heck's Trout Guides

Featured Streams


The Falling Springs is one of the three designated limestone wild trout fisheries, and fly fishermen nationwide recognize the Falling Springs as one of the best limestone waters in the East. The Falling Springs with its constant water temperatures makes for a great year round fishery. Most of the Falling Springs Heritage trout angling flows through picturesque meadows and historic homes. Here you can find a great population of wild rainbows, many reaching 20+ inches. There is also a good population of wild brown trout. The delayed harvest flows through Chambersburg. Surrounded by willows and beautiful homes makes it hard to believe you are fishing in town.

The entire stream is blessed with a diversity of mayflies and caddisflies. Some early season black stoneflies can be found late January into March.  Mayfly season gets kicked off with the BWO's wich appear from Mid Feburay into April.  Then they show back up in October.  Most popular are the hatches of sulphurs, black caddis and tricos. The black caddis will start in late April and go all summer.  Sulphurs will begin mid-May into June.  The tricos will appear from July into the fall.  Year round hatches of midges and the important terrestrial fishing rounds out the opportunities presented to the fly fisherman.


Limestone Belt

By Michael Heck



Much has changed since the hatchery has been shut down.  Big Spring is now fishing much like a wild trout stream. Now one can find trout outside what was locally known as the “ditch”.  This once dead stream is now on the rebound.  There is plenty of trout to be found within the catch and release water and good angling below the project water.  The stream is filled with some stream-bred rainbows and brown trout.  The past population of stream-bred brook trout is on the rebound.  Thanks to some stockings of brook trout fingerlings, many stream-bred brook trout have begun to appear within many reaches of the stream. I was fishing with Charlie Meck during the spring of 2005 and landed a nice 14” wild brook trout well below the ditch area. 

Trout here have become spooky and wary.  Fly angler must fish with caution.  Many of the deeper runs and riffles will hold trout and wading upstream is best of a low side approach.  A well placed cress bug or shrimp fished dead-drift will usually work since that is their primary food.  Other good nymphs include san juans, pheasant tails, caddis and streamers to complete the fly box.    

During the recent electro shocking survey, they found 1,500 catchable trout.  Future plans include more stream restoration to the catch and release section.

of wild rainbow trout.  There is also a healthy population of wild brown trout.  Both rainbow and brown trout grow to great lengths.  Many reach the 21-inch mark and over!  The average length lies within 12 to 18 inches. 

Out of all our South-Central PA streams, the Letort is by far the most famous.  This is where terrestrial fishing began. The brown trout of the Letort are extremely skittish.  Patience, the ability to sneak about and the proper fly presentation are all needed to be successful on the Letort.  Brown trout populations continue to rise and trout over 20” are present. Midges hatch year round. Blue Winged Olives, black stoneflies, sulphurs and tricos hatch during their given seasons.  Terrestrial fishing becomes the norm over the summer months and good streamer techniques are a must for this legendary limestone creek.

Many of the once heavy hatches of sulphurs, BWO’s and tricos have yet to fully recover with the pesticide spill in the mid 80’s.  But these flies still hatch and certainly provide for some nice fishing and will make the elusive Letort browns rise to these and other hatches.  Fishing a hatch can be an easier way to find the wary brown trout from outside their hiding spots—hint, hint!  Other hatches include early black stoneflies, black, tan and olive caddis.  Midges are always present and you can’t leave out the terrestrials. Remember, the LeTort is where terrestrial patterns find their roots!  So fly boxes should be full of patterns to match the hatches, streamers and don’t leave out the cress bugs and shrimp patterns

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The Yellow Breeches porvides many opprotunities for the fly fisherman.  The breeches is heavily stocked with browns, rainbows and broot trout that become very selective.  The breeches also has a very nice population of wild trout as well.  Most anglers fish within the 1-mile “catch and release” stretch of the Allenberry Resort.  Good fishing can be had for holdover and wild trout on the many, many miles of open regulated water.

The Yellow Breeches
has a wide diversity of hatching insects. Hendrickson and BWO's are the early season openers.  Little black stoneflies will be hatching as well.  The Grannons appear in April and a must fish hatch.  Of all the insects, the “Breeches” heaviest hatches are the black caddis, sulphurs and tricos. The most famous is the White Fly Hatch.  Summer will also boast a brown drake hatch during the evening.  One can not leave out the fantastic midge fishing. To round out the fishing, the Breeches is also well known for its terrestrial fishing.

That is just a quick peek at just four area streams.  If you add in so many other lesser know waters such as Antietam and the Conococheague along with all the little mountain native brook trout streams  the angler would not have time during the year to fish them all.  You could say are area is blessed a wide variety of fishing options.  Any skill level, beginner to advanced will be quite satisfied with the angling opprotunities here!  I invite you to spend a day or two with me.