The state of Pennsylvania boasts of over 15,000 miles of designated wild trout fisheries, each offering more incredible fly fishing opportunities than ever before. It is also a gold mine for anglers looking for new fly fishing adventures. We’ve covered some of the best Pennsylvania has to offer here.
Keep reading to discover them all.
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14 Places for Pennsylvania Fly Fishing Opportunities
1. Lake Erie
Lake Erie has immense fly fishing opportunities. Apart from popular species like the Rainbow and Brown trout, you can also find the Smallmouth Bass. That is why this area of Pennsylvania is rapidly growing as a popular destination to fly fish.
The lake hosts a huge population of fish which grow to sizes that you may not find easily in other systems. For instance, a Smallmouth usually weighs about 5 pounds, but you may get a chance to fly fish 6-7 pounders here as well.
Lake Erie has approximately 46 miles of shoreline, which makes this Pennsylvania location a perfect destination for fishing Smallmouths and Trout. However, you have to keep in mind that wading may prove to be challenging in these parts. If you don’t mind the challenge, you can head over to the Presque Isle State Park and fish the drop-offs. Because its public land, you will have unrestricted access to these productive waters.
If you want to fly fish an aggressive species, try using Articulated Streamers or Zonkers, Buggers, and Heavy Streamers to reach a depth where they will be hiding.
2. Penns Creek
Penns Creek is arguably one of the best areas for fly fishing trout in the whole of Pennsylvania. It also doubles as one of the best spring creek trout fishing destinations in the country.
Penns Creek begins from Penns Cave and moves through Bush and Penns Valley where it joins with other rivers. From Penns Cave through Pine and Elk Creeks, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission rates the water as class B. You will always find natural populations for trout fishing in Penns Creek. For the best fly fishing trip, however, you must consider the 15 miles up from Pine and Elk Creeks, which is rated class A. In these parts of Pennsylvania the fish reproduce naturally and you can have the time of your life fly fishing here.
Since this entire PA fly fishing area is spectacular and well-maintained, you will be set for creekside adventures. Furthermore, these parts of Pennsylvania are all-season fishing grounds with year-round hatches. The bugs hatch year-round too. Green Drakes and Giant Mayflies are common, Stoneflies hatch around February and March, and the March Browns and Gray Fox appear in June and July.
3. Spruce Creek
Spruce Creek is a gorgeous limestone spring creek that is home to some of Pennsylvania’s largest brown trout. Bushes and trees along its edges cover the narrow spring creek making casting a lot more challenging and fun.
The water in the spring-fed creek stays cold all through the year, so the local trout population thrives. For this reason. Pennsylvania’s private fishing clubs also stock the river with fish during slow fly fishing years.
Although most of the fly fishing areas in Spruce Creek, PA, are privately owned with restricted access, public access is available along the section of the river owned by Penn State University. Some of the best flies to use are Green Drakes towards the end of May, Cinnamon Cadis in June, and Blue Quills in early spring.
4. Big Springs Creek
Big Springs Creek is a very clear medium-sized limestone stream located in South-Eastern Pennsylvania. It provides a great opportunity for catch and release fly fishing for both wild and stocked trout. The stream is also home to the native Pennsylvania Brook Trout. These trout can grow to an impressive 20 inches, one of the main reason anglers visit these parts of Pennsylvania.
5. Yellow Breeches Creek
If a catch and release fly fishing trip to Pennsylvania is what you are after, 30-mile long Yellow Breeches Creek, which drains into the Susquehanna River, is a great place to stop.
Apart from the wild rainbow trout, it also has a large population of stocked trout and most catch and release fishing takes place in Boiling Springs. Because most of the population is stocked fish, catching them isn’t tough — all you need to do is attach the imitators and attractors and you will be good to go.
Make sure that you concentrate your fly fishing around springs bringing in cold water because the wild trout will be more active especially during summer. You can always pass by a fly shop if you need more gear or flies.
Don’t forget to catch and release!
6. Little Juniata River
Popularly known as the Little J in Pennsylvania, the Little Juniata River is a tributary of the Juniata River. Although it may be smaller in size than its big sister, it is actually one of the best fly fishing rivers on the East Coast.
The best place to fly fish here is downriver of Tyrone. The water there is enriched with nutrients because of the limestone around the small streams. The towering cliffs offer breath-taking views and the surroundings are beautiful too.
The brown trout in this river can go to impressive sizes, but they can be particular about the food they eat. It would be best if you passed by a fly shop to gather supplies and advice if the hatches don’t quite do the trick.
7. The Allegheny River
The Allegheny River in Pennsylvania is located in the beautiful Allegheny National Forest and it’s famous for its monster trout. The river in Pennsylvania enjoys all year round flow because it is formed by the Kinzua Dam.
Although the river comes with plenty of amazing fly fishing spots, you may want to head over to the 9-mile long Trophy Section for the best populations. However, you might be surprised when there are holdovers. Brown Trout that can grow to over 18 inches are common here.
If you want to succeed at fly fishing in these parts of Pennsylvania, you should keep an eye for the water levels because when they are low the fishing slows down, when they are higher wading is unsafe.
8. The Slate Run Creek
Slate Run Creek is a tributary of Pine Creek, located in remote Pennsylvania. Slate Run Creek is a freestone creek that has incredible pocket power, which holds down the Brown Trout and the wild Brook Trout. While these aren’t the biggest fish you will reel-in in the region, you’ll have great fun while you are at it.
Although it has a fantastic seven miles of flow, it cuts through a gorge that can make some parts a challenge to access. Nobody said it wouldn’t be a challenge to discover new fly fishing spots in Pennsylvania.
It is also important to remember that while fishing you may only be allowed to fish with single, barbless hooks.
9. Falling Springs Creek
The small limestone creek located in Pennsylvania is loaded with shoals of big Rainbow Trout and wild Brown Trout. They can grow to incredible sizes of up to 18 inches long. They aren’t alone though, there many more varieties of fish available.
If you have been looking for a great spot for dry fly fishing, then this is the one and it is only about 25 feet wide. You can go in subtly to land your trophy.
10. Letort Spring Run
The Letort Spring Run in Pennsylvania has such clear water that it’s hard to distinguish between the bottom and the top layers. It’s a relatively small creek that is less than 20 feet wide and it’s cold all year.
It has a small catch and release only section, which means you can expect some incredibly large fish. Despite the fact the only fish species you will find here is the Brown Trout, you may reel in quite a catch.
If you are still new to angling, a small creek like this one may be a great place to learn new fishing skills and grow your experience. You will also learn how to deal with big fish in small water, which can be quite a challenge.
11. The Susquehanna River
The Susquehanna River is the longest river on the east coast. A part of it flows through Pennsylvania and it is a great source to fly fish smallmouth bass on. The months of June and July are the best to try dry fly fishing on its shores, as the Mayflies bring in amazing surface action. August, September, and October are also a good time to visit here.
12. Little Lehigh Creek
The Little Lehigh Creek is a tributary that runs for almost 20 miles and most of the area consists of limestone spring creek. That is why most of its area stays cool throughout the year. Consequently, it also supports aquatic life summer long, especially the trout population. It isn’t surprising this location has amazing dry fly fishing spots.
The designated fishing spots in these parts of Pennsylvania are the T-510 and the T-508 bridges. These two locations are great for stocked and wild trout of decent sizes. However, at Little Lehigh, you have to make sure that you’re using barbless hooks while you are fishing.
13. Kettle Creek
If you are in the northern part of Pennsylvania, Kettle Creek is the ideal spot for a fly fishing trip. Although it’s quite small over its upper reaches, it gets larger farther downstream. The lower segment has healthy populations of Rainbow and Brown Trout. You can even find native Brookies in addition to the stocked ones.
The best place to fish here is the section starting below the SR 144 Bridge and going upriver for about 2 miles. Because this section stays cold for most parts of the year, it has more fish than others, especially in the summer.
14. Ridley Creek
Ridley Creek can be perfect for a day fly fishing trip, especially if you are traveling from Philadelphia. The creek has about 7 miles of soaked water that you can easily access by bike. Though it may not be one of the best fishing spots in Pennsylvania it is a great spot to have a good time with your family. Just let the kids play at the banks as you reel in your day’s catch. This Pennsylvania fishing spot boasts decent fish populations during the prime fly fishing seasons since the flies hatch surprisingly quickly.
Now that you have skimmed through all the amazing fly fishing destinations in the state of Pennsylvania, we hope you’ll have a great time there!
When going on your fishing trip, make sure that you bring along 4 to 6 weight rods that are about 9 feet long, the perfect size for trout fishing unless you decide to land a steelhead.