DIY Guide to Fly Fishing Crooked Creek in Pennsylvania

If you’re looking for fly fishing getaways, Pennsylvania has plenty of them for you to choose from. You’ll also find no shortage of tours and fishing guides offering to take you exploring, but the chances are you don’t need their assistance. Why not enjoy a better time by planning your own getaway?

In this guide, we’ll give you all the insight that you need to plan a fly fishing excursion to Crooked Creek. That way, you can have a great time and save your money to be better spent elsewhere. Read on to learn more.

USFWS and PFBC team up to construct a fish ladder on Crooked Creek, Erie County Pennsylvania to enable upstream migration of steelhead

Crooked Creek is a trout-approved stream that is located just east of Holliday Road where it meets Lake Erie north of Camp Fitch. It runs across Route 215, US Route 20, and Route 5, from where you’ll find multiple options for fishing access. As the third-largest in the family of western creeks in Steelhead Alley, it offers great steelhead fishing and more.

This creek extends for miles, offering several different locations for prime fishing. Steelhead start to run in the fall and are present through winter, and even into the spring.

Crooked Creek Map and Fishing Access Sites

map of fishing access points on Crooked Creek in Pennsylvania

Get directions to fishing access points and real-time stream flow data with the DIY Fly Fishing Map

Crooked Creek offers plenty of fishable sections with reasonable flows and water levels. It does flow through some farmlands though and is one of the first area creeks to discolor and among the last to clear after periods of rain and snow melt. This creek doesn’t get as much pressure as nearby Elk Creek and Walnut Creek making it the place to head if you are looking for a chance at some peace and quiet.

Bear in mind that Crooked Creek does have a designated nursery section near the mouth where fishing is not permitted. The signs are well-posted in the area, which extends to the first bridge on Ables Road. Other than that, the creek provides decent public access. 

Best Places to Fish Crooked Creek

There is limited access near the mouth of the creek where you can find some good fishing, but it’s going to be a bit of a hike because parking is quite a ways from the creek. You can drive to the Virginia’s Beach Campground and access the creek from there, as well. 

Make sure that you are careful to observe posted property because this creek does have some. For example, upstream of the mouth, there are nursery waters, so fishing is prohibited. Starting at the Ables Road bridge and extending up to Happy Valley Road, you’ll find great areas to fish that are approved for public use.

Continuing upstream to Lucas Road you'll find there is an additional stretch  of public fishing just above the Conrail Tracks. 

The Route 20 bridge offer great fishing access, but the area upstream is brushy and often difficult to navigate. You can find the upper-most access points at locations like the Springfield Road Bridge and the Glosky Road Bridge.

Best Time to Fish Crooked Creek

Since this is a steelhead tributary, it’s always going to have the best fly fishing experience during the late fall and winter months. 

You will want to check weather reports before going in January and February because you could encounter low waters, ice jambs, and other complications.

Some people report success, but your best trips will be in the late fall or early Spring. The harshest winter months are all subject to lake-effect snow and cold. The fish aren’t huge fans of that.

Best Flies for Crooked Creek

Here is list of general fly pattern recommendations for Crooked 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)

Need flies? 

Ventures Fly Co. offers a great selection of dry flies, nymphs and streamers that will catch fish just about anywhere.  Set includes 40 high quality, hand-tied flies (see list below) and waterproof fly box. 

Dry Flies
- Adams Dry Fly
- Elk Hair Caddis
- Blue Wing Olive
- Royal Wulff
- Griffith's Gnat White
- Stimulator, Organge
- Chernobyl Ant

Nymphs/Wet Flies
- Rubber Leg Nymph, Brown
- BH Pheasant Tail Nymph
- BH Prince Nymph
- BH Hare's Ear Nymph
- Barr's Emerger Nymph
- Zebra Midge Nymph, Black

Streamers
- Wooly Bugger, Black (Size #8x2)
- Wooly Bugger, Olive (Size #8x2)

Gear Recommendations

A single-hand 10-foot, 6- or 7-wt fly rod with a weight-forward floating line is perfect for fishing nymphs and small streamers on the lower reaches of Crooked Creek.  

In the upper reaches where the creek narrow, a 9-foot 5- or 6-wt is a better choice.

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

Need Gear? 

Below are recommendations for essential gear to make the most of your time on the water.

Quality rod, reel, line and rod tube at a reasonable price. Backed by Orvis 25-yr guarantee, a brand you can trust.

High performance nylon leader, great for fishing Dry Flies, Nymphs and Streamers.

Excellent knot strength, stretch and suppleness make this the finest nylon tippet.  3-pack of the sizes you'll need the most.

Heavy duty, waterproof, yet breathable.  If you are tough on waders, these are for you. Backed by Simms Wader Warranty. If they leak, they got your back.

Most durable, yet comfortable, boot on the market.  Excellent foot and ankle support.  Great for rocky rivers. Lightweight and designed for all-day wear.

Sweet pack with ample storage. Unique harness system reduces neck strain. Sleek tapered face improves visibility - you can see your feet when wading!

Durable and lightweight. The carbon fiber frame floats.  Hooks don't get stuck in the rubber mesh bag . Extra length makes it easier to net fish.  Simply the best nets on the market.

Tough, waterproof and priced right. Hold 900+ flies in slotted foam.  If you need more storage - you have too many flies!

Simple, sharp nippers at great price. Clip on retractor keeps this must have gear at your fingertips.

Strong with a fine tip. Perfect for removing split shot and hooks. Simply the best fishing pliers.

The 580 Glass polarized lenses are super clear and somehow relaxing on the eyes.  Game changer.

Note: DIY Fly Fishing earns a commission (at no cost to you) on sales made using the links above. Thank you for your support!

Crooked Creek Fishing Report

Area fly shops, guides and websites that can provide a Crooked Creek fly fishing report and update on current conditions are listed below:

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

Crooked Creek is located near North Springfield, Pennsylvania, approximately 20 miles west of Erie. Be careful when doing your research and travel planning that you don’t accidentally reference the creek of the same name in Arkansas, or the Crooked River, which is in Oregon. This creek is located near lots of state parks and game land, which means lodging, camping, and plenty of dining should be easy to find.

You can fly into the small airport in Erie, but you’ll be better suited to use Buffalo-Niagara airport for flying into the area. You’ll want a car because this creek is close to small towns, but pretty far off the beaten path. Plus, there’s a lot to explore that you can’t cover on foot alone.

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

Feature image DJPutnam1

Ken Sperry

About the author

Ken is an avid fisherman of 40+ years who loves to explore and find new places to fish. He created DIY Fly Fishing to help you do the same.

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