Pennsylvania Fly Fishing 3 min read

DIY Guide to Fly Fishing Caldwell Creek in Northwest Pennsylvania

Ken Sperry

Posted by Ken Sperry

January 9, 2020

Caldwell Creek fly fishing only sign

Nestled in a heavily wooded area of Northwest Pennsylvania, Caldwell Creek is a lovely fly fishing destination that is sure to challenge and delight the intrepid angler. The Creek boasts an excellent population of brown trout, both native and stocked, and some wild brook trout as well. Additionally, the stream has a top-notch aquatic insect population.

Be sure to check out our guide before tackling this stream, as the trout at this Creek can be very sneaky. If you know the right places to look, and match the hatch chart closely with your own patterns, you are sure to have success at Caldwell Creek.

River Overview

Caldwell Creek is a tributary of Oil Creek in Warren County and Crawford County in Northwest Pennsylvania. The Creek rises south of Torpedo, then flows south through Warren County into Pine Creek, about one mile northeast from East Titusville.

The upper branch of Caldwell Creek joins the West Branch, forming the main stem of the stream. The West Branch starts at Sanford Corners and gradually becomes wider. It is fed by two tributaries: Middle Branch and Three Bridge Run. There is a catch and release section in this area.

The main stem of Caldwell Creek is heavily stocked and has deep pools. It runs for about ten miles before joining Pine Creek. The entire Creek is well-covered with a canopy of tree limbs, so you won’t have to worry about the water being too warm. 

The holdover brown trout in this stream can get quite large, particularly in the main stem.

Caldwell Creek Map and Fishing Access Sites

fishing spots on Caldwell Creek in Pennsylvania

Get Directions to the Fishing Access Points shown above with the DIY Fly Fishing Map

Best Spots to Fish Caldwell Creek

You can access the West Branch of the Creek from the bridges on State Route 304 and 357. You will also find smaller roads leading off of the main routes. This will require a bit of a hike, so make sure you are in good shape before you go. You can also access the main stem from Doytville Road. 

The catch and release section is located from the West Branch Bridge to Three Bridge Run. This area is open year round. 

The best place to fish Caldwell Creek is the main stem, as you will find good canopy coverage and large brown trout in this area. The stream is accessible to wade fishermen. 

Stream Flow and Current Conditions

Be sure to check the stream conditions before heading out to fish Caldwell Creek. The USGS stream gauge near Grand Valley, PA provides a good indication of current conditions.The graph below shows the stream flow (discharge) for the past 7-days. If flows are considerably above or below historical norms (yellow triangles on the chart) then fishing conditions may not be ideal.

Best Time to Fish Caldwell Creek

The season for Caldwell Creek is the standard Pennsylvania trout season. However, the catch and release section is open all year.

Spring is the best time to visit the stream, due to the insect hatch. At Caldwell Creek, you’ll find Mayflies, Caddisflies, and Stoneflies. Additionally, terrestrials are common in the summer. 

You might also have success tackling this Creek in the fall, as that is when you’ll see the largest brown trout due to the spawn. You can also fish this stream during the summer, as the water remains relatively cool throughout the year.

Best Flies for Caldwell Creek

Here is a list of generally recommended fly patterns for Caldwell Creek.

  • Blue Quill (#16-18)
  • Hendrickson (#12-14)
  • Red Quill (#12-14)
  • March Brown (#10-12)
  • Tan Caddis (#16-18)
  • Gray Fox (#12-14)
  • Green Drake (#10)
  • Light Cahill (#14)
  • Terrestrials (various) (#12-18)
  • Trico (#24)

Gear Recommendations

A 9-foot 4-wt fly rod with floating line is perfect for fishing dry flies and small nymphs on Caldwell Creek.  A tapered 9-foot leader, with tippet size 4X to 6X to match the flies you are throwing, is pretty standard.

Fishing Regulations

Pennsylvania requires all anglers 16 and older to have a standard fishing license, and a special permit for trout fishing, which can be obtained online or in most sporting goods stores in the state.

Caldwell Creek fishing regulations are available on the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission website.

Trip Planning Tips

The nearest major airport to Caldwell Creek is Erie International Airport, which is about an hour away from your destination. Another option would be Pittsburgh International Airport, which would only add another hour to your journey. You can travel to any major or municipal airport in Western Pennsylvania and arrive at Caldwell Creek after a couple hours of scenic driving.

There is nothing like sleeping under the stars after a full day of fishing. Oil Creek Campground is located near the creek, and they provide a tranquil experience at reasonable rates. If you would rather rest indoors after your fly fishing adventure, Quality Inn & Suites is nearby and offers comfortable accommodations for low prices.

It can be overwhelming to choose the destination for your next fishing trip in Pennsylvania, as the state has so many wonderful options to choose from. Caldwell Creek is a safe choice that is guaranteed to satisfy. 

Looking for more places to fish? Visit our DIY Guide to the Best Fly Fishing in Pennsylvania.