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Old 11-14-2010, 07:47 AM
jjsjigs jjsjigs is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Bradford County
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Default towanda creek 11/13/10

I was interested to see how the Towanda Creek was looking. To be honest I've either hit the lower stretches near Monroeton for bass... or the headwaters outside of Canton for trout. Yesterday I thought I'd fish the "middleground". I knew of an area that would be chock full of the prime wintering over holes for any respectable trout or bass in the area. This area called the "Irish Cut-Off" and isn't fished much throughout the year. The Irish Cut-Off was formed in the early 1880's by the New York and Susquehanna Railroad Company. A defunct railroad venture that was attempted to haul timber and coal out of the Southern Bradford County area. Irish Miners were brought in to blast shale formations to create a "cut-off" for the railroad to get through a large mountainous geological "plant" outside of Powell, PA. Currently SR 414 runs on the old railroad bed. This railroad line was never completed since the NY & Susq RR went bankrupt in 1888. But the cut-off and parts of the RR ballast bed still exsist along the Towanda Creek.
Even though it is close to SR 414 access into this area takes the skills of a mountain goat. Most springtime trout anglers won't take the time to venture down in here since you have to wade to get there or scale down some pretty impressive rock faces. I chose to wade since I'm not too nimble climbing down rock cuts. The water was very tannic, like a strong brewed tea and quite cold. In the Irish Cut-Off area the sun doesn't warm the water much. Even in the sunny mid-afternoon I found some of the eddies iced up with frazil ice. The water temp's hung in the high 30's in the shade and in the sun the low 40 degree range.

Deep holes are found here and wading is very treacherous. A step in the wrong direction can put an angler in chest deep water since a lot of troughs and cut channels are through this shale rock. But within these "cuts" in the stream bank one may find a trout or bass who make this area "home".
I fished a tandem rig with a weighted nymph as the point anchor fly with a smaller #4 streamer as my "high fly". I first hit the large pool at the end of the Irish Cut Off.

This is one of the more deeper pools found on the Towanda Creek. Water clarity was so good that I could see the bottom of this pool. A large pod of suckers were at the bottom of this pool. I "guesstimated" the depth at least 15 to 20 feet deep. Like I said, this is a really deep pool and I struggled to get my flies deep.

I then waded upstream and found that even though the next pic looks like mud covering the rocks... it's not. The whiteish power on the rocks is actually powered aluminium due to the heavy metals found washed throughout this creek. This creek gets Acid Mine Deposition with heavy metals after a high water event from the old coal mines on top of the moutains in Barclay, Long Valley, and Carbon Run. These old coal mining "patch towns" are being remediated by limestone diversion wells to mitigate the AMD but still after a high water event the wells can't keep up with the pH imbalance and the sheer volume of run-off.

One of the nice things about winter fishing is that when all the ground cover is gone an angler can in fact find a lot of the spring seeps. In the summer you would not be able to even see this spring running into the creek. But when the ground cover is gone you can find the springs and fish the downstream side of the seep run off. The fish will stack up on the downstream end and bask in the warmer 50-ish degree water coming into the creek. Downstream about 50ft from where this spring run in I saw 3 trout and 2 bass holding in the warmer pocket of water. They didn't seem interested in feeding on what I had to offer.

I had a nice 3 hours of fishing with one distinct "hit" and tug... but I wasn't paying attention when I got the "hit" and after a second or two my line and leader went slack. But I enjoyed the hike and the solitude on the water.
- JJs Jigs
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Old 11-14-2010, 03:54 PM
Tom Boyd's Avatar
Tom Boyd Tom Boyd is offline
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Willow Street, Pa.
Posts: 1,443

Thanks for pics and the history lesson. The "Irish Cut-Off" sounds like a great spot to attract decent size fish in the fall and winter months.
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