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December 08, 2016
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(Not so) secret spots; Finding a favorite spot

Fishing a riff of one's own
Photo by Jeff White

In my own fishing across this country, I’ve had my fair share of spots that I considered secret and special. Some of them are truly secret waters, miles into the mountains from the nearest road, while others see tons of anglers who just happen to walk right by where I like to fish.

The West Branch of the Delaware is what I consider to be my home waters, and I feel I know virtually every bump, boulder and run by name. This river is far from a secret, as it is one of the best trout streams in the country. There is plenty of public access, and it is fished frequently by a goodly number of anglers, meaning that the existence of a pure, true, secret spot is virtually impossible.

As this is the case, I feel I can safely reveal one without repercussion. On the Upper West Branch, there are two Pennsylvania State Game Land public access points on the Penn-York Road. Once you reach the water’s edge from the lower access, you will be greeted by a shallow run with an island about 40 yards across the river. On the other side of this island is my (not-so) secret spot: Elephant Rock—a huge boulder partially on shore and in the water that is so named because it appears wrinkled like an elephant’s hide.

Not only is it hard to see from the opposite shore, but plenty of anglers will pass by this run due to its depth, and the difficulty it poses in presenting a fly. This intimidates many, making it a fairly ignored stretch, as secret a spot as you can get on such pressured waters. The hatches can be tremendous, and there are plenty of big browns and rainbows lurking in the swirling depths below this rock, which are two other factors that make me hold it in such high esteem.

Of course I have many other spots I consider secret that are overlooked by the weekend warrior and career guide as well. These are hidden rocks, small channels buried in a large flat, or just a seam that looks completely unproductive. They are spots that I know hold fish, and places that make me turn into the above mentioned bass-man—casting in the opposite direction from the fish, moving the boat or walking away at the first glimpse of another angler.

Feel free to ask me about these, as I may give up their location. Okay, not really. We all need our secret spots, after all.

[Bart Larmouth is general manager of the Delaware River Club (DRC) located in Starlight, PA. He also authors DRC’s daily blog and river reports. He is certified as a casting instructor by the Federation of Fly Fishers.]