Fishing in Pennsylvania

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Pennsylvania is hands-down one of the most fly fishing-friendly states in the U.S. Hundreds and hundreds of quality trout streams cut through the state giving anglers a smorgasbord of options, from dramatic, mountainous freestone streams with wild rainbows to lush-banked limestone creeks which demand the most precise presentations. With such a wealth of waters to choose from, Pennsylvania has something to offer anglers in every corner, nook, and cranny of the state.

The rich limestone spring creeks of Pennsylvania are among the state?s many fly fishing claims-to-fame. Streams such as the Little Juniata River, Penns Creek, and the iconic Letort Spring Run are incredibly nutrient rich waters, creating ideal conditions for aquatic vegetation, prolific hatches, and strong, healthy, brown and rainbow trout. Pennsylvania?s limestone creeks are well-known as some of the toughest fishing waters around and have left many an angler stumped while the wily brown trout inhabitants go unscathed, but their beautiful scenery and the elusive trout within them are what keep anglers coming back time and time again. Pennsylvania?s freestone streams including the Lehigh River in the Poconos Mountains, Neshannock Creek in the northwest corner of the state, and the Meadow Run and Slate Run rivers offer anglers classic trout stream fishing with everything from broad, boulder-laden pocket water to high-gradient fast-flowing water decorated with waterfalls and plunge pools. Both the freestone streams and limestone creeks support wild populations of browns, rainbows, and brookies, but some receive additional stocking to keep up with angling pressure. Some of the state?s more productive streams from a numbers standpoint are the many tailwaters such as Tulpehocken Creek and the Youghiogheny River, both of which offer excellent year-round fishing.

While trout make up a large percentage of Pennsylvania?s fly fishing opportunities, over a dozen streams along the Lake Erie shoreline offer anglers a different challenge: steelhead. Elk Creek, Walnut Creek, and the Mile Creeks comprise the Pennsylvania leg of Steelhead Alley. Each year the state stocks more than 1 million steelhead smolts across these streams. The smolts spend most of their lives in the forage-rich waters of Lake Erie before coming back up the streams to spawn, which is when anglers pull out their spey and switch rods and start swinging flies in hopes of hooking into one of these powerful fish that can surpass the 10-pound mark.


PA Department of Fish & Wildlife
400 Market Street
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8767
P: 814.234.4090

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Pennsylvania Fishing Articles

6 Winter Flies to Never Leave Home Without

Posted on February 12, 2017

It’s winter time and if you’re like me then you’re probably daydreaming of warmer weather and being on the river. You’re also probably behind the vice tying up dozens of flies for the months ahead....

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Choosing the Proper Fly Rod

Posted on January 21, 2016

Proper fly fishing gear is essential. Along with the reel, flies and line, the most important gear is the fly rod. Fly rods may vary in length from 6 - 12 feet and come in different weights, colors,...

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The Scout & Cast Story

Posted on February 10, 2015

My whole life has been filled with various trips to the lakes & rivers in search of fish. As a kid growing up in “Lake Country” Minnesota, it was practically a sin not to be a fisherman. I would...

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Guides based in Pennsylvania

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Trout Unlimited
By the next generation, Trout Unlimited will ensure that robust populations of native and wild coldwater fish once again thrive within their North American range, so that our children can enjoy...

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