Whether you prefer trout, largemouth bass, or catfish, the Keystone State’s bounty of lakes, reservoirs, rivers, and streams rewards millions of anglers with big catches every year.
Organized by region, here are a few places to find outstanding fishing in Pennsylvania.
Lake Arthur at Moraine State Park
Nearby Town: Portersville
What to Catch: Largemouth Bass, Pike, Muskellunge, Channel Catfish, Hybrid Striped Bass, Panfish, Walleye, Perch
Lucky anglers hook jumbo-size walleye, perch, and largemouth bass at Lake Arthur – a 3,225-acre, warm-water fishery with 9 public boat launches. While some of the best fishing is available on the lake’s 42 miles of shoreline, boat rentals are also available.
Slippery Rock Creek at McConnells Mill State Park
Nearby Towns: Portersville, Pittsburgh
What to Catch: Trout, Bass
Rock-strewn Slippery Rock Creek is famed for its trout fishing and offers a tranquil place to take in McConnells Mill State Park’s expansive green spaces. Fishing is allowed anywhere in the park (except dam structures), and hiking paths along the creek supply access to the water.
West Branch of the Susquehanna River
Nearby Town: Clearfield
What to Catch: Trout, Smallmouth Bass, White Crappie
Clearfield County is home to more than 100 miles of the 228-mile West Branch of the Susquehanna River, the only portion of the waterway stocked with trout by the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission. Wade into the boulder-strewn waters for the best chances to wrestle in a big one.
Nearby Towns: Foxburg, East Brady, West Hickory
What to Catch: Muskellunge, Walleye, Catfish, Pike, Bass, Trout
Giant musky are known to swim in the portion of the Allegheny River (part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System) that flows through the Pennsylvania Wilds.
Hills Creek Lake in Hills Creek Lake State Park
Nearby Towns: Wellsboro
What to Catch: Muskellunge, Walleye, Largemouth Bass, Carp, Yellow Perch, Catfish
This 137-acre body of water in Tioga County brims with warm-water fish, including largemouth bass weighing up to eight pounds. Several fishing piers and boat launches are available.
Laurel Highlands Trout Trail
Nearby Towns: Ohiopyle, Connellsville, Donegal, Ligonier, Meyersdale
What to Catch: Trout
The Laurel Highlands Trout Trail in southwestern PA encompasses 70 miles of bountiful trout streams, which were established through partnerships with state parks, local businesses, and Trout Unlimited – a cold-water conservation organization. Drop a line in one of the trail’s streams or attend an event.
Nearby Towns: Danville, Bloomsburg
What to Catch: Northern Pike, Largemouth Bass, Channel and Bullhead Catfish, Bluegill, Yellow Perch, Walleye, Crappie, Tiger Muskellunge
Stocked by the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, Lake Chillisquaque’s waters offer a wide variety of potential pole-bending catches. Local anglers recommend using live bait such as minnows, night crawlers, and crawfish at the 165-acre lake.
Nearby Towns: Hawley, Lakeville
What to Catch: Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass, Rock Bass, Bluegill, Walleye, Muskellunge, Northern Pike, Rainbow and Brown Trout, Catfish
The Lake Wallenpaupack Visitors Center’s fishing tackle loaner program allows individuals to borrow rods, reels, and tackle boxes to use in the area. Fifty-two miles of shoreline supply loads of places to set up shop at the 13-mile-wide, man-made reservoir.
Upper Delaware River
Nearby Towns: Lackawaxen, Rowland, Starlight
What to Catch: Trout, American Shad, Black Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, Striped Bass, Muskellunge, American Eel
Part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, Upper Delaware is a Pocono Mountains gem. Muskellunge hang out in shallow, weedy water, while walleye are typically found in deeper holes and eddies. For the best trout fishing, drop a line in late spring, early summer, or fall.
PENNSYLVANIA’S GREAT LAKES REGION
Nearby Town: Erie
What to Catch: Steelhead, Walleye, Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass, Rock Bass, Yellow Perch, Crappie, Bluegill, Northern Pike, Muskellunge, Catfish
Fishermen hook about 1.5 million catches each year in Lake Erie, Presque Isle Bay, and their tributaries. Yellow perch, the most sought-after species in Lake Erie, can be caught year-round from piers, shoreline, and boats. Meanwhile, nearby Presque Isle Bay is known for rewarding persistent fishermen with bluegill, largemouth bass, and crappie.
Nearby Town: Conneaut Lake, Harmonsburg
What to Catch: Muskellunge
Crawford County boasts Pennsylvania’s largest glacier lake, a natural body of water formed from glacial meltwater. Massive muskellunge are known to swim in Conneaut Lake’s sapphire waters; a whopping 54-pound musky was caught in the 1920s, and anglers still report taking home 40-pound giants.
Northern Susquehanna River
Nearby Town: Tunkhannock
What to Catch: Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, Muskellunge, Flathead Catfish
Named “2016 River of the Year” by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the northern branch of the Susquehanna River that runs through the heart of the Endless Mountains is a favorite of fly fishing enthusiasts.
Nearby Towns: Huntingdon, Altoona
What to Catch: Catfish, Striped Bass, Walleye, Rainbow Trout, Perch, Blue Gill, Atlantic Salmon
The 8,300-acre lake’s striped bass, known as stripers, can be up to 50 pounds and are especially coveted by anglers. Spring is a prime time to fish for stripers, while May, June, October, and November are favorable for trout fishing.
Nearby Town: State College
What to Catch: Brown Trout
Densely populated with wild brown trout, thousands of anglers arch their lines in Spring Creek every year. The legendary Fisherman’s Paradise area between State College and Bellefonte and the Benner Springs stretch (accessible off PA Route 150) are popular with fly fishermen.
Yellow Breeches Creek
Nearby Town: Boiling Springs
What to Catch: Trout
Boasting a mix of wild and stocked trout, this popular fly-fishing stream meanders through Cumberland Valley’s attractive farmland and forests. Make your way to the stream in the early morning, when you’ll alsoview an array of birds, including warblers, wrens, and hawks.
Conococheague Creek at Caledonia State Park
Nearby Towns: Fayetteville, Chambersburg
What to Catch: Rainbow, Brown, and Brook Trout
Padded by lush forests and stocked with brook trout, Conococheague Creek is a popular fishing hole for families. Other angling spots in Caledonia State Park include Rocky Mountain Creek and Carbaugh Run.
Nearby Town: Reading
What to Catch: Rainbow and Brown Trout
Nicknamed the “Tully” by locals, Tulpenhocken Creek is a renowned year-round fly-fishing locale. The creek is stocked with more than 10,000 brown and rainbow trout annually and catches typically range between 13 and 16 inches. Pick up equipment and advice at Tulpenhocken Creek Outfitters Fly Shop in Reading.
PHILADELPHIA & THE COUNTRYSIDE
Green Lane Park
Nearby Town: Green Lane
What to Catch: Largemouth and Smallmouth bass, Channel catfish, Yellow perch, White perch, Crappie, Bluegills and Carp
This 3,400-acre park in Montgomery County offers three side-by-side fishing holes: Green Lane Reservoir, Deep Creek Lake, and Knight Lake. Deep Creek Lake is stocked with trout in the spring and fall, while Green Lane Reservoir is ideal for those who enjoy deep-water fishing (the deepest point is 145 feet.)
Nearby Town: Pottstown
What to Catch: Trout, Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass, Catfish, Rock Bass
Two covered bridges and blooming bluebells and violets enhance the peaceful scenery for spring and summer anglers at Manatawny Creek. The waters are stocked with trout in late April or early May, supporting great fishing throughout the summer months.
Nearby Towns: Stockertown, Belfast
What to Catch: Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout
Lehigh Valley’s Bushkill Creek is stocked with thousands of trout to prepare for the spring fishing season. Other perks include plenty of parking and easy access to the water.
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