Fly Fishing Codorus Creek

Throughout the past two weeks, I have been exploring a creek located in southern Pennsylvania, just West of the small borough of Jefferson. The stream is called Codorus Creek, and it is only a twenty-minute drive from our Gunpowder River. Codorus is a small tailwater, about twenty to thirty feet wide, and flows year round from the cold depths of Lake Marburg. The stream has some interesting characteristics and features that are different from the Gunpowder. However, Codorus is similar in the fact that it is dominated by wild brown trout. Most of the stream winds its way through cornfield after cornfield. I have only fished the stream a handful of times but it offers some variety for the angler who is wiling to travel. Before I fished the river I talked with John McLain, the manager of The Evening Rise in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. John knows the Codorus well and he was able to point me in the right direction of where to fish. I also talked with my friend David Wallack who told me about the wild browns of Codorus. He specifically mentioned how fat and healthy they were. Dave said he had even caught fish in the 16 to 17 inch range. Fly Fishing Codorus Creek
On my first trip I decided to fish the Codorus at the section closest to the dam. I parked near the sawmill and fished up and downstream of Krafts Mill Rd. When I first got to the stream, I noticed how narrow it was. Codorus is small stream fishing and short rods, no longer than 7 feet 6 inches, can come in really handy. Codorus is a place where you have to take your time and approach pools with plenty of stealth. Be careful casting or you will find yourself in overhanging trees every few minutes. The stream bottom makeup is also interesting. In flat water and tailouts you will find sticky mud dispersed with small boulders and stones. In some of the flats closer to the damn, there are weed beds that cover the bottom of the river, making the Codorus resemble a spring creek. There are small riffles and runs and deep undercut pools where trees overhang the river from the banks. I spent more of my time fishing the shallow riffles and short pools than the flat water. Because it was windy and in the mid twenties, I decided to slowly nymph my way towards the dam. I picked up a few fish above Krafts Mill Rd on a size # 16 bead head pheasant tail nymph. I had the nymph suspended four feet under a small Thingamabobber indicator with a split shot. After lunch I headed downstream to Brown Road. I nymphed the riffles around the bridge and did very well. Within ten minutes I hooked three fish and landed two. They were both fat browns in the 12 inch range.
Codorus Creek Wild Brown Trout
Turning over rocks looking for bug life, I found an incredible amount of gray scuds in sizes #12-18. I also found caddis and mayfly nymphs in sizes #14-16. Many small green midges were present and I even saw a size # 16 small black stonefly that landed on my arm. On my next two trips I spent time fishing farther downstream around Thoman Road. I also had success here landing browns in the 10 to 12 inch range. I even spooked a fish out of the head of a riffle one afternoon that looked to be about sixteen inches long. Although it may not be as pretty as the Gunpowder, Codorus is definitely a fun stream to fish. The spring season should present the opportunity for good dry fly action. If your looking for a new stream to fish, give Codorus a shot.