This blog was born from a desire to document my adventure in searching for, and hopefully catching, the best native brook trout in Pennsylvania. I’ve been fly fishing for close to 30 years now throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia. I was lucky enough to grow up in an area that is full of native brookies. I’m even more lucky in that I moved back to this area recently from a stint (20 some years) in a big(ish) city.
Now that I’m back in brook trout country, I’ve found myself drawn to the streams that they inhabit in a very strong way. As I’ve grown older, and have a different outlook on things, I’m finding that the browns and rainbows don’t excite me as much as the wild fish. The truly wild, native fish of Pennsylvania that is.
I’ve made the mistake of looking at great northern destinations for brook trout. If you’re a fisherman, photos of 8 pound brookies from north of Quebec will send chills down your spine. I’ve got some pretty serious responsibilities though, and a trip up north isn’t in the cards for the foreseeable future. So I decided to seek out the biggest brook trout I can find in the PA, MD, VA & WV area. Enter, unicorn brookies.
How big can brook trout grow in Pennsylvania? Maryland? Virginia? West Virginia? I’m not really sure. I’ve fished for them off and on for quite a while, and the biggest specimen I’ve ever caught was in the 12″ range (I wish I had a phone, camera etc. back then). To clarify, I’m talking specifically about wild fish. My criteria has to be that the largest fish, must be pretty convincingly wild. Either from a stream with limited connection to a stocked stream, or a fish that is visually, clearly wild.
I suspect that fish larger than 14 inches exist in this part of their range. I don’t think they will be easy to find though. My goal is first to document a true, 12 inch long, wild brook trout. I don’t know how long that will take, but it’s my current mission. Some of the spring creeks in the more eastern part of PA do have wild brook trout in the 14 inch range. That’s going to be a last resort however. I’ll seek them out in freestoners first.
I hope to document my journey on this blog. If for no other reason, to have something to reflect on, and a loose collection of information that may, in some way in the future, be useful.