Stream Information:

Middle Branch White Clay Creek
(Updated 8/23/17)

Pheasant Tail nymph, #16 and smaller

Blue Wing Olive, emerger and dun, #18-22

Rusty Spinner, #18-22

Walt’s Worm, #16-20

Olive Zebra Midge, #16 and smaller

Black Zebra Midge, #16 and smaller

Al’s Rat, #22

Griffith’s Gnat, #22-26

Various midge patterns, adults and pupae, #20 and smaller

Various ant patterns, dry or wet, #14-22

Beetles, black or brown, #14-20

The longer nights of August are slowly but surely bringing cooler water temperatures to The Middle Branch of White Clay Creek. It’s still wise to let hold-over stocked trout recover from the summer heat a bit longer before targeting them. Once water temperatures stay below 70-degrees throughout the day the fish will start feeding more actively and it will be safe to catch and release them.


Thanks to the abundant rainfall this summer White Clay is a bit higher than normal for this time of year and perhaps a bit stained, particularly after rainfall events. This makes for less spooky trout and slightly easier fishing.


The most consistently successful strategy is to stalk and present to rising trout rather than trying to cover the water. The successful summer angler will spend a lot more time looking for “targets” than casting.


August hatches are few, so terrestrial patterns are generally the best bet. Ant and beetle patterns are fine choices. A bee or wasp pattern makes a good change-up. Perhaps the best all-around fly pattern is a Black Ant. Terrestrial insects are at their peak of numbers and size during August, don’t be afraid to go to larger fly sizes.          


If you want to try something different, with potentially dramatic results, try a big Annual Cicada pattern. These insects, which we hear in the trees every summer, have been around for over a month now and the fish have seen enough of them to recognize them as a nice, big, tasty bite of protein. If you know where a large trout lives, a Cicada pattern at this time of year is your best chance to hook that fish, short of night fishing—and on the surface.

If you don’t have a Cicada pattern, a size 4 or 6 black or white bass bug makes a good substitute. Stalk into optimal position carefully, and wait a while for the fish to forget any disturbance you made with your approach. Your first cast is your best chance, so make it count.


I tried fishing a Cicada pattern on a memorable summer morning several years ago. The air was warm and humid, the water cold, and a layer of white mist hung near the surface of stream. Although I didn’t hook up any trout I had some very explosive offers at my fly.



Cork or foam poppers and sliders, #4-8

Dahlberg Divers and other hair bugs, #2-10

Various Woolly Buggers and other streamers, #4-10

Unweighted soft hackle wet flies, #10-12


Warmwater fishing in the Middle Branch of White Clay Creek should be good to excellent during August and will continue to be productive at least through mid-autumn. Fish populations are at their yearly peak in both numbers and average size. Whether wading or fishing from a boat, the odds of finding abundant and cooperative fish are definitely in your favor.


Stream fishing for warmwater species is a great change-up from trout fishing. You can use a lot of the same flies and tactics, it’s just a lot less fussy. One key behavioral difference is that warmwater species tend to like a fly presented much more slowly than trout do.


Reading the water is different with warmwater fish than for trout. These fish don’t like the faster water that trout generally prefer. They are far more likely to be found in slower currents and even slack water. Where water depth allows, try wading carefully down the middle of the stream and make short casts to bankside cover so that you can see the fish approach your fly. It won’t take you long to learn what works with warmwater fish and what doesn’t.   It’s a hoot teasing a big Redbreast Sunnie into attacking your fly.