Little Lehigh Creek, Saucon Creek and Monocacy Creek
The Lehigh Valley is home to a handful of very good limestone spring creeks that flow through urban and suburban settings. The great thing about these limestone spring creeks is that they maintain good water temperatures throughout the year that are conducive to growing larger fish and more fish. In the summer the streams usually run cooler and rarely get above 68 degrees and in the wintertime the streams usually run warmer and under extremely rare conditions do they ever freeze. Essentially these streams have a longer growing season compared to the areas freestone streams. The Lehigh Valley Limestoners are within striking distance for day trips from New York City, Philadelphia and New Jersey and are well worth a visit especially during the spring when hatches and flows are at a premium.
Little Lehigh Creek is a limestone spring creek that begins in Berks County and flows through Lehigh County where it dumps into the Lehigh River in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The Little Lehigh Creek is an important spawning tributary for the wild brown trout of the Lehigh River and it is unfortunate that the lower end of the creek doesn't have many special regulations to help protect the wild fish. There are large portions of the Little Lehigh that would probably do very well with some changes in regulations such as catch and release regulations from route 29 down to the mouth of the creek where it dumps into the Lehigh River.
While the Lehigh River is stocked in Berks County the best fishing and highest quality fish are found at Route 29 and below where the largest limestone springs contribute to the creek. At one time the Little Lehigh Creek had one of the highest densities of wild brown trout in the state and still has good numbers of wild fish but the fishery seems to have declined over the past 10-15 years. There are wild trout throughout the Little Lehigh and it is our belief that introducing hatchery fish has caused competition and overcrowding for the wild fish as well as brought many predators to the river ranging from anglers to an abundant number of avian predators. The stream could be a real gem with catch and release regulations and cutting back on stocking in areas of the stream that have good numbers of wild trout. If you want to see how many fish are really in the stream go there on any summer morning at first light and fish until 10:00 am. There is a good chance you will hit the trico hatch that seems to bring every fish out of hiding to surface feed.
Little Lehigh Creek offers convenient access throughout the Allentown park system as well as on Fish Hatchery Road at the Lil Lehigh Trout Nursery down the 24th Street Bridge in Allentown. This section of the Creek is managed under Heritage Angling regulations and requires barbless hooks and that all fish be released alive.
Light lines and tippets as well as small flies are the rule of thumb on the Little Lehigh. The wild brown trout in the Little Lehigh Creek are very wary and require a cautious approach. Avoid wading when possible, wear drab colored clothing and move slowly. Sitting and observing along the streambanks to find fish actively feeding and what they are feeding on will up your chances of being rewarded with the streams better fish. When you find actively feeding fish do your best to make the first cast count as the more casts you make your chances of putting them in the net are greatly diminished.
Saucon Creek is an underrated limestone spring creek that runs through the town of Bethlehem. Saucon Creek was a stream onces ravaged by mining and was treated as nothing more than a drainage ditch. With the stream restorations and improved water quality over the past 25 years the streams wild brown trout population has exploded.
There are two main access points where you can fish the Saucon and that is at the High Street Bridge in Hellertown and the Saucon Creek Park in Bethlehem. The hatches are very similar to the Little Lehigh and the size class of fish is similar but the lower Saucon has pretty good numbers of larger fish.
Monocacy Creek is not as well known as the Little Lehigh but it offers great fishing for wild brown trout in an urban/suburban setting and has great hatches. The main area we access the Monocacy Creek is at the Gertrude Fox Conservation area in Bethlehem.
HATCHES FOR LEHIGH VALLEY LIMESTONERS:
January: Midges, scuds, little black stoneflies, little brown stoneflies
February: Midges, scuds, little black stoneflies, little brown stoneflies
March: Midges, scuds, little black stoneflies, little brown stoneflies, Blue Winged Olives
April: Midges, scuds, little black stoneflies, little brown stoneflies, Blue Winged Olives, caddis, Blue Quills, Hendricksons
May: Midges, scuds, Pale Evening Duns, Sulphurs, Light Cahills
June: Midges, scuds, Sulphurs, Light Cahills, Caddis
July: Midges, scuds, Tricos, ants, beetles, crickets, hoppers
August: Midges, scuds, Tricos, ants, beetles, crickets, hoppers
September: Midges, scuds, Tricos, ants, beetles, crickets, hoppers
October: Midges, scuds, Blue Winged Olives
November: Midges, scuds
December: Midges, scuds