Pennsylvania Great Outdoors Visitors Bureau

The Pennsylvania Great Outdoors region is the perfect destination for your outdoor adventure and family fun.  Home to the Allegheny National Forest, mighty rivers, breathtaking overlooks, and amazing wildlife!

Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring - enjoy and explore the million acres of woodlands full of outdoor recreation.  You'll be captivated by the region's rich history and the small town charm in each distinct county.

Cast your line in the Great Outdoors!

Our clean mountain streams, two nationally designated wild and scenic rivers, and lakes big and small offer world-class fishing for everybody from the novice to the experienced fly fisherman. Our region is home to more than 71 species of fish. The most popular are walleye, small mouthed bass, muskellunge, northern pike, yellow perch and trout. Here’s a look at some of the best places to cast a line.


April 16th marks the opening day of trout season statewide!

Anglers will appreciate the variety and abundance of clean mountain streams, two nationally designated Wild & Scenic rivers, along with lakes big and small offering world-class fishing for everyone - from the novice to the experienced fly fisherman.  Our region is home to more than 71 species of fish. The most popular are walleye, small mouthed bass, muskellunge, northern pike, yellow perch and trout. Here’s a look at some of the best places to cast a line.

Also, PA Great Outdoors Visitors Bureau is running a fish photo contest April-June with great prizes each month!  Enter your photos for a chance to win!


If you’re a fly fisherman, the Tionesta Lake Outflow has substantial caddis and mayfly hatches. The outflow is stocked every spring and the trout hold through the summer months because of the cold water from the lake. The area is open to all tackle, so you can use live bait and lures. 

East Hickory Creek (Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only Area) is located outside of East Hickory. It’s an excellent fly fishing area. In May, you’ll find caddis flies and green drakes. Fishing in the evening and early morning is best. In the morning, you may find some blue wing olives. Wooly buggers and bead heads are always productive in the area. If you use an artificial lure, try using rooster tails and panther martins. 

The North Fork of Redbank Creek is one of the best trout streams in Jefferson County and fly-fishing is very popular there.

Family Fun

Nebraska Bridge located on Tionesta Lake is fun for family fishing. You can fish from the bridge and there is plenty of parking. You’ll catch crappie, bluegill, perch, smallmouth bass, muskie and maybe even an occasional trout. If you have a boat, a launch is available at the bridge. 

Beaver Meadows Lake just outside of Marienville is also a good family fishing area. The Forest Service has a campground next to the lake and a boat launch is available. (But no motors are permitted on the lake.) Expect to catch a variety of panfish and bass here. 

Toms Run Children’s Pond in Cook Forest is for kids 12 years and under. The pond is stocked with trout through spring and summer. The Clarion River also runs through Cook Forest for more family fishing. The rivers holds smallmouth bass, trout, and an occasional walleye. Try live bait and lures in the early morning and evening.

Scouting For Trout

Anglers will want to discover Sizerville State Park, hidden between Elk and Susquehannock State Forests. The east and west branches of Cowley Run, which flow through the park, contains brook and brown trout. Cowley Run is a wonderful stream offering mountain freestone fishing at its best. In fact, it's not unusual to catch "native" brook trout in these waters.

Both native and stocked trout fishing are popular in Clear Creek and Cook Forest. Wild trout are abundant in cold streams and fast flowing rivers. The upper Clarion River (near Wilcox) is a good location. Trout are stocked in the East Branch of the Clarion River at Bendigo State Park while native varieties are found at the headwaters of Tionesta Creek and the upper Clarion River. 

There are trout waters where only catch-and-release or limited harvest fishing are permitted. Tackle restrictions apply on these waters and some are for fly-fishing only. If you’re interested, consider the tail waters of Big Mill Creek near Ridgway, West Branch Clarion River near Johnsonburg, and the North Fork Red Bank Creek near Brookville. An all tackle trophy trout area is designated at the junction of the East and West Branches of the Clarion River. 

Fishing Licenses, Maps & Regs

A valid license is required for persons age 16 and older. In our region, fishing licenses can be purchased from most outdoor supply stores. Online maps and trail directions are available by county for boating and fishing through the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. Regulations, stocking schedules, season sales and limits are on their website as well.

More Top Spots

Cameron County has a variety of great trout fishing. The Driftwood Branch, East Fork and First Fork of Sinnemahoning Creek are stocked and the First Fork is a hot spot for smallmouth bass too. The George B. Stevenson Dam at Sinnemahoning State Park is filled with stocked trout, bass and panfish. 

Small trout streams are everywhere throughout Elk County. They’re perfect if you’re a hike-in angler looking for wilderness fishing. If you prefer large waters, the county has reservoirs and the West Branch Clarion River. The Ridgway Reservoir holds trout and panfish and is an ice fishing hot spot. East Branch Dam in Elk State Park has many kinds of fish but is known mostly for its smallmouth bass, musky and trout. Laurel Run Reservoir a.k.a. St. Marys Reservoir is great for shore fishing. Twin Lakes in the northern part of the county holds stocked trout. 

Jefferson County offers great fishing and boating opportunities too. Kyle Lake is open to electric motors and unpowered boats for pan fishing. A fishing pier makes fishing accessible for anyone with disabilities. Channel catfish and walleye fingerlings are stocked in the lake as well.  Cloe Lake is another local hot spot. Look for trout, saugeye and bass on this impoundment. 

Other good trout streams include the Mahoning Creek and Little Toby Creek from Brockway to Ridgway in Elk County. You can fish for smallmouth bass and trout from a canoe or by wading. The Tionesta Sand and Gravel pool located in Tionesta is one of the best areas of the Allegheny River to fish for walleye this time of year. 

Spring Creek and Salmon Creek in the Allegheny National Forest and Maple Creek in Clear Creek State Park are all stocked with trout. 

Tionesta Lake is good for crappies in the spring. We recommend using minnows, jig and a bobber along the shoreline. Bluegills and perch are also abundant. Many anglers do well around the dam and main boat launch.  Buzzard Swamp near Marienville is a series of impoundments that contains panfish and largemouth bass. You must walk in to fish. Boats without motors are permitted, but you’ll have to carry it in.

Contact Us

Let us help you plan your fishing trip!  We can help you find lodging and literature with more fun activities in the area including a Fishing Guide or Outdoor Discovery Map loaded with outdoor recreational activities, give us a call (814) 849-5197 or e-mail

More Fishing Hot Spots

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