Pennsylvania Fly Fishing 4 min read

DIY Guide to Fly Fishing Cascade Creek in Pennsylvania

Ken Sperry

Posted by Ken Sperry

January 13, 2021

Cascade Creek in Frontier Park near Erie, PA

Have you been thinking of booking a fly fishing trip, only to decide that you’d rather not invest the money into a private guide? For the DIY angler, fly fishing trips are all about making your own plans, or making no plans at all, and just hitting the water. It’s also about being able to fish on a budget.

If you’re ready to plan your fly fishing adventure getaway, you’re in the right place. You can save your money and still have a great time when you know where to go. Read on to learn everything that you know about fly fishing Cascade Creek.

Creek Overview

 A glimpse of Cascade Creek running through Frontier Park in Erie, PA 

Cascade Creek is a small tributary to Lake Erie that provides decent steelhead fishing, in particular during time of high water, in the Pennsylvania’s Steelhead Alley. It runs through Erie and is tubed and channelized through select parts of the city. It can be found emptying into Presque Isle Bay and is stocked with trout during the open season.

Stocking occurs from the mouth to Frontier Park, and then all the way down past West 8th Street. It can be accessed from the park directly, and parking is available off Bayfront Highway. Of course, we’ll get more into the details of where to go in the next section.

For now, just know that this urban stream is quite popular, offering a decent amount of trout fishing options throughout the city, as well as down to the mouth along the beach and the lake. It is difficult to find fishing upstream of the park where Bayfront Parkway meets the Lake Erie Arboretum, but if you stay closer to the bayfront, opportunities are plentiful.

Unlike many rural creeks, this one offers a unique environment with great walkability, plenty of parking and shoreline access, and still offers a decent steelhead fishing. You won’t get the peaceful, remote escape, but if you’re a local or you’re just looking for a small-town, small-creek experience, this one can deliver.

Cascade Creek, like other steelhead streams in the area, is known for its best fishing from October to April, although there may be fish available outside of those months in some places and under specific circumstances. For the most part, you’ll find all kinds of great fly fishing, as long as you keep these things in mind.

Now, let’s get to the details of where you can go to wet a line.

Cascade Creek Map and Fishing Access Sites

map of fishing access points on Cascade Creek in Pennsylvania

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

Best Places to Fish Cascade Creek

If you want to fish at the mouth of the river, you’ll have a little bit of access if you park near the Niagara Pier Condominiums. There is a parking area near the administration office. From there, you can walk across the wooden bridge which will take you to where the creek meets the bay. Since this is a main stocking point, fish here should be plentiful. The waters are a bit deeper, but they’re slow-moving for great fly fishing.

You’ll also find good access to Cascade Creek from Frontier Park, located between West 6th and West 8th streets. Both of these areas are fairly popular when you go right to the main area. However, you might find that if you wander a few feet up or downstream from the masses, you’ll still get some decent action. Plus, you’ll get a little more peace and quiet.

There isn’t a lot of access to the upper part of the creek that runs down through the industrial park, but there’s also not a lot of fish there. You can take a walk down that way if you want, but don’t expect to find much more than a little peaceful stroll. Stick to the mouth or the area by the park for steelhead.

Best Time to Fish Cascade Creek

Like all great trout fishing, the fall is the best time to visit.  If you want to fish near the mouth, choose warmer months to avoid weather-related issues like freezing, ice, and poor conditions.

In January and February, the ice can make it difficult to fish in this small creek. From then on, however, you’ll find good trout until the beginning of the summer months when the fish head for cooler waters and the stream gets a little too low for fishing.

October and November are great times to catch steelhead. You may also find some lake-run brown trout a little bit earlier in the season. Make sure that you choose to visit when the water levels are higher and the temps are cooler to ensure the best chances of having a good fly fishing trip.

Best Flies for Cascade Creek

Here is list of general fly pattern recommendations for Cascade Creek:

  • Glo Bug (#8 – 16)
  • Sucker Spawn (#8 – 12)
  • Nuclear Roe (#10 – 16)
  • Black Stonefly (#12 -18) 
  • Brown Stonefly (#12 -14)
  • Hare’s Ear (#10 – 12)
  • Woolly Bugger (#6 – 10)
  • Muddler Minnow (#6 – 10)
  • Pink Panther (#6 – 10)
  • White Bunny Spey (#6 – 10)
  • Pot Bellied Pig
  • M.C. Hammer (#4)
  • Spawntruder (#4)

Gear Recommendations

Cascade Creek is very small, averaging only 10 to 15-feet wide.  Leave the long rods at home.  

A single-hand 9-foot, 5- or 6-wt fly rod with a weight-forward floating line is perfect for fishing nymphs and small streamers on Cascade Creek. 

A 9- to 14-foot leader, tapered down to 10- or 8-pound-test is pretty standard.  In super clear water conditions you may need to taper down to 6-pound-test.

A standard leader configuration for use with a floating or intermediate line is:

  • 2 feet, 25-lb monofilament (mono)
  • 2 feet, 20-lb mono
  • 2 feet, 15-lb mono
  • 2 feet, 12-lb fluorocarbon (fluoro)
  • 2 feet, 10-lb fluoro
  • 2 feet, 8-lb fluoro

A standard heavy sink-tip leader is:

  • 2- to 5-feet straight 15-pound Maxima
  • 2-feet straight 12-pound Maxima

Cascade Creek Fishing Report

There aren’t any area fly shops, guides and websites that provide a Cascade Creek fly fishing report regularly.

Fishing Regulations

The state of Pennsylvania requires that all people who are 16 years of age and older have a valid fishing license. There are resident and non-resident sport fishing licenses available.

You can purchase a Pennsylvania state fishing license and learn about the most current regulations through the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission.

Trip Planning Tips

Cascade Creek runs right through Erie, so you could find a hotel within five minutes if you wanted. Of course, this also means it’s easy to find and you might not even need to rent a car. Depending on where you’re coming from, you could fly into Erie or Buffalo-Niagara airport and get transportation to your hotel, going it on foot from there.

Saving money is easy with little fly fishing trips like this. While you won’t find camping as readily available in the city, you’ll still be able to find reasonable accommodations and be close to the water.

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

Feature image RJY4356