I have been waiting for a chance to talk about my local fishing scene in Pennsylvania. My home state offers an abundance of fly fishing opportunities for people willing to get out there and find them. From each corner of the state, you have Penn Creek to the Susquehanna River and everything in between.
This state is riddled with small streams that feed off the larger rivers, and every mile of water offers some of the best Trout fishing in the country. The PA Fishing and Boat Commission stock the waters with 3.2 million trout per year and the state boasts over 400 miles of regulated Trout waters. If you are looking for serious Trout fishing opportunities, Pennsylvania is the place to go.
Let’s break the state down into bite-size pieces, and we’ll take a look at each section of the state to help you learn more about the Trout opportunities in each region.
Fly Fishing Pennsylvania: The Northeast
Something I love so much about fishing in Northeastern Pennsylvania is the accessibility. You could go 5 miles outside of cities like Scranton or Wilkes-Barre and find incredible fishing opportunities while still being close to hotels, restaurants, and other activities.
Less than 30 minutes outside Scranton you’ll find the Lehigh River in the Poconos, and this river boasts some of the best Trout fishing on the east coast. The river is calm and clear with plenty of room to cast because the greenery is well maintained along this route. You’ll find an abundance of shore access with plenty of parking and proximity to the river. Expect to find plenty of hungry brook trout here because the river is underfished due to a decrease in tourism to this area.
This river spans 20+ miles from Carbondale in the upper Northeast down to Scranton. In years past the river suffered major hits to its Trout population due to acid drainage from the coal mines that once made this area a popular destination for workers. Today brown trout are in abundance in this river, and there are many catch and release regulated sections of the river.
This is a local gem that possibly only I could tell you about. I grew up about a mile from here, and Roaring Brook is now a catch and river that spans 3.9 miles throughout the small towns of Moscow, Elmhurst, and Madisonville PA. If you are looking for true backwoods fishing with no interruption while still only being a few minutes from civilization, consider making a trip a few miles outside of the bigger cities.
Fly Fishing Pennsylvania: The Northwest
Venture across the state to the Northwest, and you’ll find an assortment of fishing opportunities that are almost unmatched. Fly fishing for Trout offers you eleven different rivers and creeks like Slippery Rock, Caldwell Creek, Little Sandy Creek, Oil Creek, East Hickory Creek, and more.
Up here we’re taken a different focus and diverting your attention away from Trout and towards Steelhead. Many tributaries feed off Lake Erie, and this is where you want to go fishing for Steelhead.
In this neck of the woods, it’s known as Steelhead Alley, but to the people in the rest of the state they call it “Fishing the West.” Right along the border of Pennsylvania across the shore of Lake Erie is known for having the most productive river systems containing a vast majority of the Steelhead that make their way out of the lake in search of more feeding opportunities.
This river is more North than it is West, but it’s known to the locals as the best Trout fishing in Pennsylvania. This river spans 35 miles and consists of three different sections. The upper section is over 20 feet wide and has the coldest water temperature of the entire river. This is where a majority of the stocking of rainbow and brown Trout occurs.
Thirteen miles from here the river joins Coburn where Elk Creek and Pine Creek pour into Penns Creek, and at this point, the river expands to be as wide as 100 feet across. Fishing this river is incredibly popular so expect to see a lot of anglers around, but there is plenty of space to cast.
Fly Fishing Pennsylvania: South Central
The southern area of Pennsylvania is known for having a lot of artificial catch and release rivers, and due to the amount of stocking that happens here, the rivers can get pretty crowded. If you’re looking to fish this section of Pennsylvania, I recommend hitting the final stretch of the Susquehanna River as well as Yellow Breeches Creek.
The Susquehanna River
The Susquehanna stretches the length of the entire state from the upper Northeast down towards the South Central/Southwest portion of the state. This river offers a lot more than Trout fishing if you’re passing nymphs out there. Expect to find ample bass fishing as well as panfish biting the flies.
Yellow Breeches Creek
This river is the “Jewel of Cumberland Valley,” and it’s a world-renowned limestone stream that is fed from the Susquehanna. Most people fishing the creek access it around Boiling Springs which is right outside of Harrisburg. The river offers a wide assortment of Trout like rainbow and brown as well as Bass and Panfish that make their way out of the Susquehanna.
Plan on Fly Fishing in Pennsylvania?
If you are looking for a unique experience and abundant fly fishing opportunities, I definitely recommend checking out this fantastic state. From corner to corner, Pennsylvania offers a different experience everywhere you go.
The state stocks millions of trout into the waters here every year for professional and recreational anglers to enjoy and I have called this area home for all my life.
My favorite river to fish is the Lackawanna. There was once a time where locals were told not even to touch the water because it is so contaminated from chemical mine runoff which was disappointing for many years. Over the past five years the river has made a complete turnaround and during most of the year water levels are much more manageable, and it’s one of the only rivers in the area where you can catch native Trout.
If you live locally and have any recommendations; be sure to leave me a comment!