05-13-2020
New Hope Creek at Johnston Mill Nature Preserve
Booker Creek where it exits from under the Starbucks parking lot

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Decided to give New Hope Creek a try again today. From the USGS streamflow data site, I knew the water level was going to be fairly low and not much current, but wow... I didn't realize just how low it would be. The first spot I walked up to, the water was probably no more than 6-7 inches deep anywhere I could see. And almost at a standstill as far as you could tell with the naked eye. And the water was crystal clear. Sounds like a recipe for no fish, right? Indeed. I figured that if I could find any spot with some slightly deeper water, it would probably be stacked with fish that had fled the dropping water looking for something deeper. And that theory may well be true. But I couldn't find the spot. I walked up and down that creek in both directions from my origin point, covering probably a mile and a half or so of creek, and never found any really deep spots. The best spot I found was maybe a foot deep. And while I know fish will sometimes hold in water that shallow (if not shallower) there was nothing to be found here.

I guess the combination of the crystal clear water and the shallows had the fish dug in super deep. Maybe they were in cracks between rocks, or up underneath undercut bank edges. I'm not sure. I had hoped to find some vegetation or a laydown or something near some deep water, expecting that that would be the magic combination to hold fish, but again, I just didn't find anything like that. Maybe if I'd kept going down the creek one way or the other I would have found it eventually, but I finally gave up and went and fished in that hole behind Starbucks a bit. Caught two bluegill, including one that is probably the biggest one I've caught. I didn't deem him big enough to even bother weighing on the scale, but for a bluegill he wasn't bad.

I may go back out there tomorrow, wear shorts and take my wading boots, and try to make my way further downstream. Today I was blocked by thick brush and what-not from going any further downstream on the bank. There's got to be a hole or pocket somewhere holding fish out there. I mean, all the fish that normally live out there didn't just disappear, right?