BFS Trout Fishing

BFS Trout Fishing on the Ugly Trout Stream

Fishing in February can feel like an act of defiance, especially in Pennsylvania. The cold, damp weather has a way of testing even the most dedicated anglers’ resolve. I must admit, I’m usually among those who balk at the thought of February fishing; it’s often a challenging and uncomfortable endeavor.

However, there’s something undeniably appealing about pursuing trout under these conditions that isn’t widely celebrated. It was during one such dreary February day that my plans took a turn towards what I affectionately refer to as “the ugly trout stream.” It’s become a favorite winter destination to do some BFS trout fishing.

You might be wondering why on earth someone would choose a spot far from the picturesque ideal trout stream when Pennsylvania boasts numerous beautiful streams filled with fish by late February.

Circumstance played its hand – crowded favorite spots left me looking for alternatives, leading me to discover this unassuming gem. While lacking in conventional beauty, this overlooked stretch of water became a profound classroom for lessons no immaculate river could teach.

Join me as I share my journey through moments of persistence, revelation, and an unlikely fondness for a place not found on any postcard. And believe me when I say there is much more to uncover beneath the surface of this story than initially appears.

BFS Trout Fishing Combo
My Favorite Budget BFS Trout Fishign Combo: The Dark Wolf Ultra & Lemoren Windshadow

Fishing in February: A Challenging Time

Stepping into February presents its own set of hurdles for avid fishermen like myself. Old man Winter’s frigid embrace on Pennsylvania tightens, bringing with it at best rain and skies heavy with clouds – not exactly what most would call ideal conditions for casting lines.

More often it’s snow and frozen, hard water.

Yet, there’s a unique charm to fishing in this cold weather. The state begins stocking streams with trout towards the end of this chilly month, some of which welcome anglers immediately. While most of the state waters are closed-season for trout, there are a handful of “Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only” – also known as “DHALO” – streams that are open to catch and release fishing.

This fact alone makes this ugly trout stream a touch more attractive in February and March.

It also sets the stage for an exciting challenge: fishing stocked streams against the backdrop of unpredictable winter whims and weather.

Equipped with my trusty Dark Wolf Ultra on the Lemoren Windshadow fiberglass rod, I face these conditions head-on. Overcast days and falling barometers hint at major feeding times ahead, influenced by lunar phases and recent stocking efforts.

Despite my usual disdain for February’s unforgiving weather patterns, these signals fuel my optimism. Armed with layers and determined spirit, I wade through these waters filled with promise under grey skies — a testament to the persistent hope that defines every fisherman’s journey during this challenging time.

Stocking of Trout Streams

Pennsylvania kicks off the preparation for trout fishing season by stocking streams with trout towards the end of February. This effort fills our beloved rivers and creeks with hungry fish that are selectively bred to be aggressive feeders, setting the stage for memorable days of angling in the spring.

It’s a signal that stirs excitement among fishermen like me, eager to cast lines in waters teeming with stocked trout. They may be stockers, but they’re still trout!

As part of the DHALO regulations, it’s catch and release only; it’s an effort to keep fish in these specific streams until he end of spring.

Fishing Conditions and Gear

The combination of unpredictable weather and choosing the right gear makes every fishing trip to aven an ugly trout stream an adventure.

  • The cold, rainy February weather on this day meant not only waders, but a waterproof, hooded jacket as well.
  • For the rod and reel, I often take my shortest, lightest combo to this stream. There are rarely any sizeable fish, so sizing down keeps the enjoyment level high.
  • Fishing line choices can greatly impact your success. This trip marks one of the few times I’m using monofilament line, experimenting to see how it fares against my usual choices of finesse braids.
  • Spring season hints at changing conditions. As ice melts and streams swell, understanding these shifts is crucial for finding where trout might be hiding.
  • Stocked streams have their quirks. Knowing when the state stocks each stream helps plan trips for when fish populations are at their peaks. Fortunately, PA posts their schedule on the Fish and Game website.
  • Gear with sentimental value adds a special touch to each outing. My fishing setup not only serves its purpose but also brings back memories of past triumphs by the water.
  • Choosing the right fishing location within a stream makes all the difference. Areas with natural cover or bends often harbor more fish.
  • Weather conditions constantly evolve during spring. Preparing for sudden changes ensures comfort and safety while out in nature. So I dress in layers just in case.
  • Then there’s lure selection. I have a few favorites that usually work on this stream in winter, with a handful of others to try in the event those don’t catch fish.

This adventure into trout angling underlines how much preparation goes into each trip. From analyzing weather patterns to selecting the perfect gear combination, every detail contributes to creating memorable experiences on even the most unassuming streams.

The Fishing Experience

As I wade into the Ugly Trout Stream, the gentle rush of water against my waders fills me with anticipation. Casting my line, I carefully navigate the stream’s twists and turns, searching for that perfect spot where the trout may be hiding.

With each flick of my rod, I immerse myself in the everchanging challenges and rewards of fly fishing in this small but beautifully complex realm.

Changes in the Stream

The water levels were lower than expected during the fishing outing, and the rain of the day gradually caused the stream to become murkier as each hour passed. A previously shallow area has deepened, forming a fairly deep hole, while an undercut in the stream has changed since the last visit. My favorite tree has fallen into the stream, eliminating what was always a sure-fire place to hook at least one rainbow or brown.

Additionally, there’s been a significant difference in debris in the water compared to previous visits, likely due to last year’s low water levels combined with this year’s higher rain. Even though the water is still low, I can tell it’s been rising and falling, gathering debris from the banks with each cycle.

All of these changes remind me another year has passed. Time is fleeting, and it makes me happy I’m out here fishing on what is otherwise a dreary day.

BFS Trout Fishing Challenges

Part of what I enjoy about BFS Trout Fishing is the challenges each stream presents. Here’s a breakdown of the specific tactics and challenges I encounter:

  • Employing precise casting techniques is essential in trout fishing, particularly in smaller streams. This is where Bait Finesses excels.
  • Tailoring bait and lure choices to match the reaction times of rainbow trout in small streams. I know what usually works here in winter, because I come here every year. A Panther Martin or ARS spinner usually gets the job done for me.
  • I often Strategically switch between spinner baits for locating fish and finesse techniques for catching them.
  • IAdjusting strategies when the water becomes murkier, requiring a move upstream to find clearer spots, as one smaller tributary was really coloring up two of my favorite holes.
  • Addressing the challenge of ever – changing stream conditions and their impact on fishing success as the rain continued to pour down.
  • Because I also create YouTube videos of my trips, that rain created some challenges with my microphones and cameras as well!
  • I even managed to lose my footing and hit the ground pretty hard while walking between holes. Which is not uncommon for me on this stream either.
  • because this is such a small stream, the trout have a very limited amout of time to “follow” a lure before deciding to commit. Lure choice is critical on these tiny blue line streams.

But, the reward for working through these challenges and overcoming all the obstacles is the opportunity to feel that strike on a lure, followed by that familiar tug of a thrashing trout. And sometimes, getting to see that aerial display of a fish jumping in an effort to throw the hook.

Personal Significance of the Stream

The stream holds immense personal significance for me, as it is the place where I caught my first-ever fish on BFS. The timing is also particularly special, as the state stocks the creek with trout during the week of my birthday, making it feel like a unique gift from the Pennsylvania Fish and Game Commission.

But even more importantly, it is less than a mile from one of the offices where I spent large amounts of my time in my last corporate role. I was so busy and focused on work that I didn’t even know this stream existed, and was completely unaware of the great times I could have had if I simply dropped by after work.

It’s a very tangible reminder to me that working on someone else’s schedule is something I never want to do again. And that if we don’t open our eyes and explore the world around us we are truly missing out on some of the best parts of life’s journey.

This year’s trip has added another layer of enchantment to this fishing spot. I hope to make it an annual pilgrimage for years to come.


After a challenging start in the cold and rainy February weather, I ventured to the Ugly Trout Stream once again. The rain made finding the fish a little tougher. But I was once again successful in my quest to do some BFS trout fishing on this less than perfect, but perfectly special stream.

Despite these complexities, my dedication paid off when I had my first confirmed follow from a fish and caught a beautiful brown trout. This small stream may have its limitations, but it holds sentimental value that cannot be understated.

With perseverance and the right fishing gear, even an “ugly” trout stream can offer an unforgettable love story for any passionate angler.

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