Trout fishing in Pennsylvania provides an abundance of opportunities for anglers looking for new challenges and time in the outdoors. This state is second only to Alaska in the amount of flowing water that it has, and over 15,000 miles are designated as trout fisheries. Sounds like paradise to any serious trout fisherman!
Thanks to special regulations and abundant hatches, Pennsylvania is seeing a great increase in fish numbers and quality. There are over 3 million fish stocked each year and anglers are reporting more success than ever on their fishing trips.
Top Fishing Locations for Trout Fishing in Pennsylvania
1. Oil Creek
Oil Creek State Park is located between Titusville and Oil City and provides the best access to fish in Oil Creek. The river is named Oil Creek as it was used in the past to ship petroleum downstream.
Many anglers will travel here to take advantage of the aquatic insect hatches that take place in and around the month of May. This fishing here is decent to good year round, but in May it is one of the best places in the state to catch trout.
Oil Creek is home to healthy populations of fish and is one of the states best brook trout fisheries. With both stocked and wild brook trout, there are plenty of opportunities to catch your limit when you visit this great fishery.
2. Penn Creek
Penn Creek may not only be the best trout stream in Pennsylvania, but it may also be the best trout stream in the country. There are two main sections of the river, one rated B and one rated A. The A section is home to some giant, wild trout.
The B sections of the river are regularly stocked with trout, making them abundant and easy to catch. The entire creek is littered with giant boulders and rocks that create deep pools and runs that the trout love to live in, and make for some excellent fishing.
Whether you want to fish the A section for wild trout or the B section for stocked trout, you are sure to have a great experience on the world famous trout stream and enjoy yourself as you catch your limit of big trout.
3. Lake Erie
Many trout fishermen who prefer winding rivers and streams may not like this option, but hear us out. Lake Erie is home to some big rainbow and brown trout. With over 46 miles of coastline of Lake Erie, Pennsylvania is the perfect place to enjoy all of its fishing opportunities.
In addition to trout, Lake Erie is home to a healthy population of smallmouth bass and steelhead. Most fishermen here will be targeting these species, leaving a trout angler with the brown and rainbow trout all to themselves.
While not many anglers’ first choice when it comes to trout fishing in Pennsylvania, Lake Erie can and does produce trophy sized fish and is consistently growing them bigger and bigger. This is one spot that may get overlooked by many, but could be a sleeper location.
4. Spruce Creek
Spruce Creek is a beautiful creek that is surrounded by trees and brush, making casting a fun challenge to an angler’s skills. The challenge is well worth it too, as this small creek is home to some big brown trout that don’t usually see very much fishing pressure.
The water in Spruce Creek stays cold enough to support trout populations year round, so they, in turn, grow quite large here. Some private fishing clubs have even been known to stock fish in the creek on years when the fishing is a little slow.
Some of Spruce Creek is privately owned and can be fished for a small fee. While I love public lands and usually detest these kinds of places, the fishing in Spruce Creek is worth it for a shot at some truly record-breaking brown trout.
5. Allegheny River
The Allegheny River is located on the Allegheny National Forest and grows some big trout because of its year long flow. The river has plenty of good access and it seems like the fish are always hungry and biting no matter what time of year it is.
Some of the best fishing in this river is below the Kinzua Dam, where big brown trout are regularly caught. These are not wild fish but usually holdovers from stockings, but many over 18 inches are usually caught as well as a few every year over 30. Talk about some giant trout!
The biggest tip to fishing this river is to keep an eye on the water levels. Lower water levels will slow the fish down, while higher water levels will make wading too unsafe and scatter the fish.
When Does Trout Season Start in Pennsylvania
Every region and every water is different in Pennsylvania, but many waters will open to trout fishing around March or April and run until the fall season. There are still many waters, that are open to trout fishing year round as well.
As is with any state, it is very important to know all of the rules and regulations of any body of water that you intend to fish. Take into consideration the season dates, bag limits, size limits, and tackle requirements. For more information on fishing in Pennsylvania, visit their website at https://www.pgc.pa.gov/.
How Much Is a Fishing License in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania’s licensing system can be a little confusing at times, but if you are heading to the state to target trout, it is pretty simple.
- An annual fishing license for residents is $22.90 and $52.90 for non-residents.
- Nonresidents can purchase a “tourist” license for smaller periods of time. These include 1-day ($26.90), 3-day ($29.90) and 7-day (34.90) permit options.
- Nonresidents and residents must purchase a $9.90 trout permit in addition to their fishing license.
A complete list of all license fees and options can be found on Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s website at https://www.fishandboat.com/LearningCenter/FAQs/.
Where to Buy a Fishing License in Pennsylvania
The easiest way to buy a fishing license in Pennsylvania is by using a credit card and purchasing one online with Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. You can also buy one in person at their commission offices, or at licensing agents across the state.
To find an agent near you, visit https://www.fishandboat.com/Fish/FishingLicense/ and choose the area you want to find an agent in.
Pennsylvania may appear to have many more rules and regulations with their trout fishing than other states, but their efforts have been paying off big time. There are now more trout than ever before, and the sizes keep growing with the populations. For any serious trout angler, Pennsylvania should definitely be on your list of places to fish!