Picture this. You’re standing in a beautiful freestone stream. A canopy of tree limbs cover much of the stream, providing you with comfortable shade.
The water is pristine and teeming with trout. The only sounds come from the moving water and faint rustling of the pine trees.
Because of its isolation, you have the sneaking suspicion that only you know about this secret, magical place.
Does this sound too good to be true?
Well, that’s Cedar Run for you!
Fly fishing Cedar Run in the Pine Creek Valley, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania
Cedar Run is a tributary of Pine Creek, which is located in North Central Pennsylvania. Cedar Run begins just north of White Horse Hollow, alongside Cedar Mountain Road. It ends just south of the Oxbow Hollow, beneath the overpass of Route 414.
Nearby you’ll find Slate Run, another gorgeous Class A wild trout stream that is worth a visit, if you don’t end up spending all your time at Cedar Run. But trust us, no one would blame you if you didn’t want to leave Cedar Run!
Although Cedar Run isn’t stocked, it has a good population of wild brown trout and brook trout in its headwaters. Fahnstock Run and Minehole Run are smaller tributaries nearby, and they also have their fair share of streambed brown trout.
Cedar Run has its own designated “Trophy Trout” section that begins at the confluence of Buck Run, a small tributary downstream to Pine Creek. This area is roughly seven miles long and has pools connected by riffles and runs. Because of its canopy coverage, it stays cool. So cool, actually, that some of the trout from Pine Creek come to this section of Cedar Run to escape the heat.
Most of the trout you will find here will be under twelve inches in length, but you might get lucky and nab some that are well over twenty inches. But the trout can be persnickety. You will need to match the hatch closely. Fortunately, Cedar Run has great hatches of aquatic insects throughout the year.
Cedar Run Map and Fishing Access Sites
Click the map icons to get directions to fishing spots and real-time USGS stream flow data
Best Spots to Fish Cedar Run
Cedar Run wouldn’t be quite so serene if it were easy to get to! Cedar Run can be accessed from an unpaved road (known as State Road 3001) that runs off of Route 414. Be careful as you make your way to Cedar Run. The mountainous terrain can make hiking there challenging.
You’ll also find parking areas along Leetonia Road and Cedar Mountain Road. Unfortunately, because of the narrow roads and steep mountains, these spaces can be pretty limited so get there early!
Best Time to Fish Cedar Run
Like its twin stream, Slate Run, Cedar Run tends to freeze over in the winter. A seasoned fly fisherman could potentially have some luck using streamers, big nymphs, and colorful attractor flies. But you’re better off waiting until spring.
The best trout fishing occurs between mid April through mid June. During this time, anglers can find heavy hatches including Blue-Winged Olives, Quill Gordons, Hendricksons, Caddis, and Drakes.
You might have difficulty if you wait until late summer, as the water gets low during this time. But autumn can be a great time to fly fish. Not only do large brown trout spawn in the fall, but you’ll also be treated to beautiful foliage.
Fly Box - What You'll Need
Remember that pristine water we mentioned earlier? Well, because the water is so clear, it can be difficult to not to spook the trout. If you fish where there are heavier flows and colored water, you will have more luck.
On clear days, cover the broken waters and pockets. You could also stick to the shadowed edges, using beetles and ants patterns. If you do want to tackle the clear water, you are going to have to be stealthy and use long leaders.
As for what flies to pack, here are some recommendations for Cedar Run:
Blue Quill (#16-18)
Little Black Stonefly (#16)
Quill Gordon (#14)
Dark Olive Caddis (#16)
Green Caddis (#16)
Tan Caddis (#16)
Little Yellow Stonefly (#16)
Gray Fox (#12)
Slate Drake (#12-14)
Blue-WInged Olive (#14 -16)
Blue Quill (#18)
A 9-foot 4-wt fly rod with floating line is perfect for fishing dry flies and small nymphs on Cedar Creek. A tapered 9-foot leader, with tippet size 4X to 6X to match the flies you are throwing, is pretty standard.
Cedar Run Fishing Reports
There is only one area fly shop that publishes a Cedar Run fly fishing report. Check it out below.
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.
Cedar Run fishing regulations are available on the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission website.
Trip Planning Tips
The closest major airport is Williamsport Regional Airport, which is roughly sixty miles away from Cedar Run.
However, you can travel to any of the major or municipal airports in Northern Pennsylvania to get to Cedar Run, if you don’t mind a couple hours of driving. The gorgeous scenery in Northern Pennsylvania might make you glad you took the long way around!
There are several lodging options around Cedar Run geared toward fly fishermen. Hotel Manor is a great place to hang your fishing hat, with reasonable rates and a great restaurant. Cedar Run Inn is another good option that also offers fine dining and reasonable prices.Still, if you would rather stick to campgrounds, you might want to try Pettecote Campground. At Pettecote, you can enjoy a warm fire and an excellent view of the stars.
Feature Image by Finetooth