Below is a link from pennlive.com which highlights the opening of the Spring Creek Canyon to the public. I drove down to catch the end of the festivities, and it was quite an affair with dignitaries, town-folk, and what must be every PA Fish and Boat Commission agent in the state. The link includes a couple photos from the event.
Today I have a little more good news. On January 1, 2012, Spring Creek anglers will receive another gift of even more fishable water. And this time, I’m happy to report that I had a little something to do with it.
A couple years ago, I was invited to speak at a Bellefonte Borough Council meeting. Spring Creek flows through Bellefonte, and the council wanted to ask me a few questions about the fly fishing industry, to see if there is something more they can do to generate fly fishing related business to their B&B’s, restaurants, and other businesses. I don’t usually enjoy doing these types of things, but I was looking forward to this one. A productive stretch of Spring Creek in Bellefonte is posted, and fishing is not allowed. The creek flows along Talleyrand Park and beside a high, stone wall adjacent to Water Street (Route 150) before fishing is allowed again below the Lamb Street bridge. This section has been posted for a very long time, for as long as I can remember. I wanted to know why a stretch of Spring Creek, full of wild trout and flowing through public property, was off-limits to anglers.
One of the first questions I was asked was, “How can we encourage more fly fishers to come to Bellefonte?” My response was that maybe its not a good idea to have some of the only posted water on Spring Creek running through Bellefonte. “Why is it posted anyway,” I asked. The commissioners looked at each other, and there was a brief pause in the room. One of them looked at the rest of the group and said, “I don’t really know.” “Its just always been that way.” Well it turns out that the water was still being posted for no other reason then just because it had been that way for a long time. No one had really thought about it, and surprisingly, no one had asked about it before. The commissioners agreed to look into the matter, and I left the meeting happy to have been there, and to have said my piece, but not really expecting much to happen. But it did.
The commissioners got to work after the meeting, looking into the regulations for this section of Spring Creek and exploring the pros and cons of opening it for fishing. Ultimately they decided that it should be open, and they worked with the PA Fish and Boat Commission to make it happen. I spoke with representatives at the Fish and Boat Commission Northcentral Law Enforcement division in Bellefonte today, and they assured me that even though the 2012 rule book will not mention the regulation change, you will be able to fish Spring Creek, beginning January 1, 2012, between the Lamb Street and High Street bridges, downstream of Talleyrand park. Though the stretch which runs through Talleyrand Park will still be closed.
We’re not talking about a long stretch of creek here. But, nonetheless, its opening is still important. Politicians in 2011 seem to seldom have the public’s best interest in mind, but the Bellefonte commissioners do. They saw a problem that they could fix, and they made their small part of the world a little better for anglers. If you enjoy fishing Spring Creek then you owe these people a thank you. They’ve done all anglers a great service.
The guys at the fly shop have been getting a big kick out of this, now referring to the soon to be open water as “Weamer Memorial Park.” I give them a hard time often enough, so I guess I deserve that. But don’t you have to be dead to get a memorial park named after you? I’m beginning to wonder what they really have in mind.