American Fly Fishing

Forgotten Limestoner
By Ralph Scherder

Yellow Creek, PA Trout

Every trout caught in Yellow Creek is its own reward. Whether stocked or wild, these fish are challenging, and each catch makes a good day on a beautiful stream that much better. ALL PHOTOS BY RALPH SCHERDER

Yellow Creek is perhaps the least known of Pennsylvania’s limestone streams, but it just might be the best. Of course, least known doesn’t mean least fished, and it can be intimidating pulling into the parking lot of the fly-fishing-only section to find a dozen other vehicles already there during the late-spring Sulphur hatch. Don’t be discouraged. The creek offers plenty of water, and every bit of it provides excellent fishing.

Yellow Creek is a 21-mile-long tributary to the Raystown Branch Juniata River. Rising near the town of Woodbury in Bedford County, the stream flows south toward the town of Loysburg.

In its upper stretch, Yellow Creek is a typical limestone spring creek, meandering through pastureland and meadows. Fishing access can be difficult because of sections of barbed-wire farm fences and posted private property, but plenty of water is open to anglers and stocked with trout. When in doubt, be sure to ask permission to fish. In addition to stocked fish, wild trout inhabit this entire section, but it does suffer significant siltation and runoff problems.

Fortunately, Yellow Creek is nothing if not dynamic, and it transforms dramatically as it reaches Loysburg. This region of Bedford County is a part of Morrisons Cove, an eroded anticlinal valley surrounded by mountains. Water passes through these mountains in only three places, called water gaps, and one of those is located just downstream of Loysburg. As Yellow Creek flows through the Loysburg Gap, it resembles a big mountain stream tumbling down between huge rocks and limestone hillsides. Cold springs pour into the stream throughout the gap, setting the stage for a tremendously fertile fishery downstream.