Pennsylvania Fly Fishing 3 min read

DIY Guide to Fly Fishing Clark Creek in South Central Pennsylvania

Ken Sperry

Posted by Ken Sperry

October 3, 2019

Clark Creek in Pennsylvania

Nestled in South Central Pennsylvania is a delightful stream known as Clark Creek.

In addition to being a well known stocked trout fishery, the Creek also holds plenty of wild brook and brown trout.

The streamflow in the lower sections is controlled by DeHart Dam, meaning that the water stays cold throughout the year, so you can fish to your heart’s content during any season.

Despite its popularity, Clark Creek is known as being one of the most tranquil fly fishing destinations in Pennsylvania. With Clark Creek, you truly get the best of both worlds.

About Clark Creek

Clark Creek is a 31.4 mile long tributary of the Susquehanna River. It begins in Clark Valley and flows southwest. The stream is dammed to form DeHart Reservoir, which supplies water to Harrisburg. The Creek joins the Susquehanna River upstream of Dauphin County.

There is a 2.4 mile stretch that is catch and release only. This area runs through State Game Lands 211. The stream runs through a scenic forest, so you are guaranteed peace, quiet, and a beautiful view as you are casting. 

At Clark Creek, you will mostly find brook and brown trout, both stocked and wild, with some as large as 20 inches. Because the stream has no major tributaries and DeHart Dam controls the streamflow, water rarely spills over and there is very little bank erosion.

If you find the right place to fish on Clark Creek, the secluded setting is guaranteed to make you forget that you are actually in close proximity to Pennsylvania’s state capital. You’ll feel your tension melting away as you make your first catch. That is, if you have the right imitations with you!

Clark Creek Map and Fishing Access Sites

map of fishing spots on Clark Creek in Pennsylvania

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

Best Spots to Fish Clark Creek

Clark Creek is best accessed by taking Route 322 to Route 225 through Dauphin to Route 325. Upstream from Route 225, there is an area of the creek that is specifically reserved for children and the disabled. Most of the creek runs along Route 325. 

The Creek is accessible to wade fishermen, but the water can get quite cold, so you’ll want to make sure you wear heavy socks under your waders. There have been some reports of rattlesnakes in the area, so be sure to watch your step!

Best Time to Fish Clark Creek

It is possible to fish Clark Creek at any time of the year, but you’ll probably have the most luck if you tackle this stream early on in the season, particularly since this is such a popular destination.

Try fishing early in the morning or late in the day for the best results.

Best Flies for Clark Creek

Clark Creek is well known for its inchworms and terrestrials. Regarding fly patterns, here is a list of some of the best flies for Clark Creek:

  • Little Black Stonefly (#12 – 16)
  • Blue Quill (#16 – 18)
  • Blue Winged Olive (#18 – 20)
  • Tan Caddis (#14 – 16)  
  • Hendrickson (#12 – 14)
  • Red Quill (#12 – 14)
  • March Brown (#12)
  • Gray Fox (#12 – 14)
  • Light Cahill (#14 – 16)
  • Slate Drake (#12 – 14)
  • Sulphur (#16 – 18)
  • Terrestrials (various) (#18 – 20)  
  • Yellow Sallie (#14 – 16)
  • Little Green Stonefly (#16 – 18)
  • Light Cahill (#16 – 18)

Gear Recommendations

A 8-1/2 foot 4-wt fly rod with floating line is perfect for fishing dry flies and small nymphs on Clark 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.

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

Trip Planning Tips

The closest airport to Clark Creek would be Harrisburg International Airport, which is around a half hour drive from your destination. Other nearby airports include Altoona Blair and University Park Airport, both of which are a couple of hours away from Clark Creek. However, you can travel to any major or municipal airport in Southern Pennsylvania and arrive at your destination after a few hours of scenic driving.

If you are looking for reasonably priced accommodations in the area, The Red Carpet Inn is a clean option with a friendly staff. If you would rather stay in a campground, Riverfront Campground caters to fly fisherman and is a mere sixteen minute drive from Clark Creek.

Start planning your trip to Clark Creek and prepare to have your stress melt away.

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

Featured Image by Jstuby