When I was a boy in the 1960s growing up in the village of Spring Creek, I would often see old Will Wetzel fishing somewhere on the Little Lehigh. He loved to hunt and fish but at his advanced age he mostly fished then. He lived in the stone farmhouse next to the railroad crossing on Creamery Road. The amount of fish and pheasants and rabbits and groundhogs and deer that he killed in his lifetime would have made a very big pile.
i remember on hot summer days walking the railroad tracks out to the quarry and there would be old Will sitting along the stream bank at one of his favorite fishing holes trying to catch one of the big carps that lived under the overhanging bushes. At that time of his life, Will Wetzel loved to fish for big carp. And he caught many of them.
The most famous fish in the village of Spring Creek, or for that matter probably in the whole township, was the giant trout that lived in the deep cold pool under the railroad tracks where the Spring Creek Road bridge is currently being rebuilt. This was before my time, back in the 1940s I think, but I heard the stories. Old Will told me about when he almost caught the lunker. He had the 33-inch fish hooked for a long time and finally half landed it before it got off the hook and Will jumped on it but it slipped out of his grip and back into the water. The story is the fish warden finally shot the trout with a rifle because it was eating too many younger trout.
This pool in the cold waters of the Spring Creek was the number one fishing hole in the area, in my opinion. The Spring Creek is so named because it is fed by lots of limestone springs along its short two-mile path from Trexlertown to where it joins the warmer Little Lehigh behind Ancient Oaks West. I grew up as a teenager on the property where these two great streams join together. You stand in the Little Lehigh and then step into the current of the Spring Creek and the water temperature drops drastically. It was great trout water.
When the creeks began drying up in the 1960's the neighborhood kids saved thousands of fish that were trapped in the shrinking pools of water in the dry stream beds. The Spring Creek pool under the railroad bridge produced the greatest number and variety of fish of any hole we rescued. I remember circling around the hole with nets and sticks trying to capture the frantic fish. At one point I remember seeing a long thick tentacle-like thing being flipped half out of the water and I didn't know what it was and we didn't get it. Later we heard that some kids from Alburtis had fished out a five-foot long eel.
We would load the fish into buckets and carry them out to the quarry and dump them in the quarry water. That quarry then became a great fishing spot for the next few years until it too almost dried up.
Probably one of the most amazing and sad sights from the creek drying was the countless dead mussels that protruded upright out of the dry creek bed. I remember seeing them everywhere, thousands and thousands poking out in their death throes. Of course we never knew they even existed until we saw them dead. I wonder how many live in the creeks now.
In its day the Little Lehigh was home to an enormous amount and variety of fish - trout, suckers, carp, bass, perch, chubs, sunnies, grass pickerels, eels. It also had loads of snapping turtles which we also captured when the creek went dry. I doubt the Little Lehigh or the Spring Creek have recovered from the terrible drying and then the silting and dirty stormwater run-off from the land development that began in the 1960s and has continued unabated since.
The village of Spring Creek is roughly the triangular neighborhood bounded by Route 100, Creamery Road and Spring Creek Road.