Who says fishing adventures have to end when summer does?! Grab your rods and cure your cabin fever with the family-fun activity of ice fishing. With so many amazing spots to explore, cast your lines and you’ll be hooked!
Know before you go: We recommend contacting your destination before your visit for their latest rules and regulations. Find up-to-date COVID-19 traveler resources on the visitPA website.
1. Parker Lake at Parker Dam State Park
The 20-acre Parker Lake is a popular destination for anglers throughout the year. During winter months, the fish start their usual feeding frenzy to fatten up for the winter, making them fairly easy to catch. The lake is stocked with trout, several times a year who share the lake with largemouth bass, bluegill, and brown bullhead catfish. We want you to be safe so bring an auger to test the ice thickness before – four inches of ice is the recommended minimum thickness for one person and seven inches for a small group.
When your day on the lake is complete, grab some brews to go from Triple Nickel Distillery to pair with your catch of the day. Since their doors opened in 2018, this distillery has blended their spirits in house using 100% natural juices.
2. Justus Lake at Two Mile Run County Park
At Justus Lake, 144 acres of water surrounded by beautiful scenery and convenient amenities await. Plenty of primitive camping sites and two houses available for rent mean you can stay close by. This spot is the perfect fishing stop if you’re looking to catch trout, bass, walleye, muskellunge, and panfish, but make sure to also save time to hike and cross-country ski the trails, too.
Before leaving town, hit Trails to Ales Brewery for great local brews, The Grumpy Goat Distillery if you need something stronger, and the Olive Vault for perfect accompaniments, such as specialty olive oils and balsamic vinegars to make your catch even more delicious! Find all three spots and more on Liberty Street in downtown Franklin.
3. Yellow Creek Lake
The 720-acre Yellow Creek Lake at Yellow Creek State Park is a destination for all seasons. Sunfish, perch, and pike are the most frequent fish caught through the ice. Looking for a fishing break? The park offers a lake designated for ice skating, as well as facilities for a warming fire and winter picnics.
Warm-up and relax with takeout from Levity Brewing Co, which offers tasty treats and seasonal craft beverages Explore the newly expanded galleries of the Jimmy Stewart Museum or enjoy a scenic drive through Amish Country to Smicksburg, home of unique and antique specialty shops and several pottery studios.
4. Kahle Lake
Grab your fishing gear and spend a day at Kahle Lake where this 251-acre reservoir in northwest PA offers fish species that include muskellunge, walleye, crappie, and perch. Be sure to have your fishing license as needed, and review the Big Bass Program and Commonwealth Inland Waters regulations for any catch and release, minimum size limits, or other restrictions.
After a day of ice fishing, warm up with handcrafted microbrews and reimagined American cuisine at Clarion River Brewing Company. The brewery will take you back to a simpler time, where delicious food, handcrafted beer, and history reside.
5. Curwensville Lake
Arrive, revive, repeat. Curwensville Lake is the perfect spot to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life. After a spate of below freezing temps and when the lake’s layer of ice is deemed safe to explore, drill a hole and start your ice fishing adventure for perch and carp — common occupants of the lake.
After a cold day on the water, warm up with treats from the Strawberry Tree Tea Room and Gift Shop. Enjoy a sandwich with a cup or bowl of their delicious soup and hot tea, of course, with delicious seasonal samples, then browse through a large selection of unique treasures, including already framed wall art, jewelry, seasonal decor, and tea accessories.
6. Cloe Lake
Just an hour east of Kahle Lake, Cloe Lake is a 27-acre reservoir with a pier and easy-access fishing. Species inhabiting the lake include trout, bass, walleye, and bluegill. Along with the pier, you’ll find easy access for shore fishing as well.
No trip to this area is complete without bidding hello to Punxsutawney Phil who bunks at the Punxsutawney Memorial Library when he’s not issuing his annual weather prognostication. You can gain a bit of Phil’s weather wisdom at the Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center, an interactive science center devoted to all things weather. Satisfy your hunger pangs with a hearty breakfast, lunch, or dinner at Punxy Phil's Family Restaurant. Visit the Groundhog Winery to find the perfect wine to pair with your catch from their selection of close to 30 wines.
7. Presque Isle Bay at Presque Isle State Park
The peninsula of Presque Isle State Park provides the perfect shelter for ice fishing on Presque Isle Bay. Common catches include perch, walleye, northern pike, and steelhead (if you're lucky!). For some of the best protected areas to fish, stop by Misery Bay and Horseshoe Pond.
Pro tip: Set your gear up early then catch a breathtaking Lake Erie winter sunrise.
Regale your buddies with wild fishing stories at U Pick 6 Tap House in downtown Erie, offering a wide variety of beers on tap and fantastic food in a cozy, relaxed atmosphere.
8. Lake Arthur at Moraine State Park
Various points on Lake Arthur in Moraine State Park offer a wonderful opportunity for fishing adventures even when the temperature drops and the lake freezes. Common species caught through the ice are largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, yellow perch, and northern pike. Ice thickness is not monitored, so please proceed with caution.
After ice fishing, warm up with a hot meal from Brown’s Country Kitchen, a popular restaurant featuring hearty, home-cooking including their famous buttermilk fried chicken, country-style pot-roast, and their world-famous pies.
9. Tionesta Lake
Reel in fish from beneath the Allegheny National Forest’s frozen waters at Tionesta Lake. Six miles long with more than 3,000 acres for fishing and recreation, you’ll find walleye, crappie, perch, bass, and muskellunge. In addition to gear, remember to bundle up!
While in town, explore Lighthouse Island and find Pennsylvania’s only inland working lighthouse. Towering at 55 feet tall, the Sherman Memorial Lighthouse was built by Tionesta native Jack Sherman to preserve his family’s history. Enjoy a hearty meal with friendly service at The Bear Claw Café.
10. Stoever's Dam Park
The 23.5-acre lake at Stoever’s Dam Park is a great place for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing! Stocked yearly with trout, the lake is an ice fishing paradise in winter months once the lake freezes over. Other fish you might land are large mouth bass and brown bullhead catfish. While there, be sure to check out the Nature Barn, a 125-year-old barn featuring a large variety of displays of field and fauna.
Next stop: Warm up at Snitz Creek Brewery. With signature ales and seasonal lagers, you’re sure to leave in great spirits.
11. Laurel Hill State Park
A popular spot for summer splashing, Laurel Hill Lake at Laurel Hill State Park offers winter anglers the opportunity to experience ice fishing. The 63-acre lake, the centerpiece of the park, is home to bass, trout, and perch. This winter experience the sport of fishing in a different way, but remember to be safe on the ice.
Before you depart, stop by downtown Somerset for some unique shopping. Support local businesses such as Glades Pike Country Store and Farm Market, a locally owned and operated farmers’ market featuring fresh local meat and produce in a historic barn. Travel a bit west on Route 31 to pick up a bottle or two of wine and enjoy some spectacular views at the Glades Pike Winery.
12. High Point Lake at Forbes State Forest
The name says it all, High Point Lake is located at one of the highest elevations in the Laurel Highlands. This quiet, isolated lake is a favorite with anglers year-round. Winter ice fishing can land bass, crappie, walleye, bluegill, perch, and northern pike.
While in town, experience Tall Pines Distillery, the area’s first legal moonshine operation since prohibition. They carry handcrafted products from traditional recipes providing an unforgettable “grain to glass” experience.
13. Bald Eagle State Park
Bald Eagle State Park offers about 630 acres for ice fishing fun once the waters freeze over. Fish for crappie, yellow perch, tiger muskellunge, channel catfish, large bass, and smallmouth bass. The Nature Inn at Bald Eagle is in the park and offers a great place to warm up and relax after a day of ice fishing!
Grab a Cider to go at Good Intent Cider, a family-owned and operated cidery that creates quality product by adding no water and very little sweetener.
14. Tioga-Hammond & Cowanesque Lakes
Northern PA is home to lakes and parks filled with some of the state’s primo ice fishing spots. The paired lakes of Tioga-Hammond and Cowanesque offer miles of prime locations for ice fishing fans to catch the big one once winter’s below-freezing temps turn the waters into an icy wonder. Plan an ice-fishing getaway to these and Hills Creek and Lyman Run Lakes that together make Tioga an ice fisherman's dream location!
Before you hit the lake, swing by Tackle Shack for ice fishing essentials. Their wide selection of gear is paired with exceptional knowledge and experience to ensure you have a great day of fishing.
15. Hills Creek Lake
Just a short drive from Tioga-Hammond & Cowanesque Lakes, the 137-acre Hills Creek Lake at Hills Creek State Park is renowned for its exceptional ice fishing. When the lake freezes over, bundle up, grab your gear, and throw in a line to land yellow perch, bluegill, and even an occasional walleye.
Take a quick trip to nearby Mansfield and the Yorkholo Brewing Company where you can land some great tasting artisan ales, as well as creative pub fare.
16. Lyman Run Lake
Noted for its exceptional water quality, the 45-acre Lyman Run Lake in Lyman Run State Park provides some of the best trout fishing you will find. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission stocks the lake with rainbow and palomino trout throughout the fishing season, which are the top catches during ice fishing season.
The Brick House Deli and Café is the perfect place to recharge your batteries after an ice fishing adventure. Located in the spectacular James Thomspon Hurd home, enjoy delicious handcrafted hot and cold sandwiches, homemade soup, artisan salads all made with the freshest, high quality ingredients, yummy fresh baked goods and coffee fresh ground for each pot. Best yet - breakfast is served all day!
17. Deep Creek Lake at Green Lane Park
Winter is one of the best seasons to enjoy Green Lane Park. When the temps drop and the snow falls, visitors can enjoy ice fishing on Deep Creek Lake. There are so many opportunities to catch a variety of fish, including bass, catfish, and perch. For the non-anglers, the lake provides a small, family ice skating area, miles of trails for cross-country skiing, and a sledding hill.
On the way out of town, stop into Adello Vineyard and pick up some signature red or white wines to enjoy once you get home. Their handcrafted secret family-recipe has been passed down from many generations of Italian winemakers.
18. Moon Lake Recreation Area
The pristine, 48-acre, spring-fed Moon Lake serves as the centerpiece of this densely forested park in Hunlock Creek and is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. Located within the reaches of the Pinchot State Forest, this recreation area is a local favorite for so many fresh-air activities, including ice fishing!
After a day out on the ice, take a quick drive toward Wilkes-Barre and stop at Benny Brewing Company. The pub and brewery feature a rotating list of seasonal beers, as well as a consistently updated food menu.
19. Bear Wallow Pond and Sones Pond at Loyalsock State Forest
Fox Township and Forks Township
The Loyalsock Creek and Lycoming Creek, which both flow through Loyalsock State Forest, provide some of the most scenic trout fishing to be found in Pennsylvania. The larger streams are stocked annually with trout and the numerous mountain streams offer challenging native brook trout fishing. Fishing for warm water species such as pickerel, yellow perch, bluegill and largemouth bass can be enjoyed on Sones Pond and Bear Wallow Pond. These two ponds are also a favorite of local ice fisherman!
You can’t start a day full of fishing without a proper breakfast! Located near Sones Pond, stop in at Jolly Trolley to fuel up before you cast your line.
20. Roaring Creek Tract at Weiser State Forest
Weiser State Forest is located in the ridge and valley region of eastern Pennsylvania, spanning almost 30,000 acres across seven counties. Fishing opportunities throughout the year are abundant, offering three cold-water tracts. For those looking to try ice fishing, visit the Roaring Creek tract. Also note that all fishing at Weiser State Forest is catch and release only.
If you’re looking for a bite to eat, Buddy’s Log Cabin Family Restaurant serves large, home-cooked portions of traditional American favorites. They also have an impressive list of desserts, including a daily selection of homemade cakes and pies.
21. Merli-Sarnoski Park
With 840 acres of land, Merli-Sarnoski Park is a great place to hike, bike, play, picnic, or just relax. Ice fishers are in for a treat as the park features a 35-acre lake that’s calling your name. The lake is regularly stocked by the PA Fish & Boast Commission, so you’re sure to catch something to take home and enjoy.
A short drive from the park is Scranton. While in the fishing mindset, stop by Cooper’s Seafood House for a bite to eat and get a taste of what you caught on the ice.
22. Delaware State Forest
Boasting 15 lakes and ponds, Delaware State Forest provides plenty of action when the temperatures drop. Nestled in the Pocono Mountains, options include a mix of both manmade and natural lakes and ponds – six which originated from glaciers! While out on the ice, you can expect to catch native fish, as well as trout and panfish.
Insider tip: while many ponds allow you to keep what you catch, note that Pecks Pond and Camp William Penn Lake are designated as catch and release only.
Delaware State Forest is also less than an hour’s drive from Stroudsburg, whose downtown offers a mix of museums, murals, wineries, and restaurants. Stop in town and spend the night so you can enjoy an early start out on the ice!
Looking for more fishing destinations in Pennsylvania, check out our favorite fishing spots on the visitPA website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up-to-date on even more great ideas and places to visit around our state. Don’t forget to never miss an update and sign up for our monthly Happy Thoughts e-newsletter.