DIY Guide to Fly Fishing Dunbar Creek in Southwest Pennsylvania

Dunbar Creek has had its share of problems. Acid mine drainage from Glade Run negatively affected the stream. Thanks to the efforts of the local TU chapter and the Dunbar Sportsmen's club the stream is on the rebound.

Dunbar Creek is stocked with brook and brown trout, and many anglers report having luck fishing the waters.

Check out our guide so you can learn how to tackle this stream safely and successfully.

Fly fishing Dunbar Creek in southwestern Pennsylvania

Dunbar Creek is a 12.6 mile long stream located in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. It flows into the Youghiogheny River at Connellsville. It is fed by its tributary, Glade Run. At Dunbar, you’ll see stocked brook and brown trout. If you’re lucky, you’ll see rainbow trout as well. It has a popular fly fishing only section at the upper reaches. The most popular place on the stream to fly fish is Budinsky hole.

In the past few years, the aquatic insect population and water quality has greatly improved due to increased regulations and the assistance of volunteers. Please be sure to follow the posted regulations at Dunbar Creek to help maintain the stream’s scenic beauty.

Dunbar Creek Map and Fishing Access Sites

map of fishing spots on Dunbar Creek in southwest Pennsylvania

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

Best Places to Fish Dunbar Creek

One of the best spots on Dunbar Creek is the Catch-and-Release Flyfishing Only section near the Game Commission Building. Many anglers also report success fishing in the upper reaches that run through State Game Lands No. 51.

The upper portion of the stream is off the beaten track, and rarely within sight of a road. Wild brook and brown trout can be found here. Its headwaters drain atop Chestnut Ridge, so it will be a bit of a hike to access this portion of the stream.

Best Time to Fish Dunbar Creek

The season for Dunbar Creek is the standard Pennsylvania trout season. The best time to tackle the stream is the spring when insect activity kicks into gear.

Dunbar reportedly has sporadic hatches of March Browns, Green Drakes, Sulphurs, and numerous species of caddis flies.

Typically, the water levels can be low in the summer months which limits the areas you can fish.

Best Flies for Dunbar Creek

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

  • March Brown (#10-12)
  • Green Drake (#8-10)
  • Sulphurs (#14-16)
  • Elk Hair Caddis (#12-14)
  • Hare's Ear Nymph (#12-14)
  • Pheasant Tail Nymph (#14-16)

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 9-foot 4-wt fly rod with floating line is perfect for fishing dry flies and small nymphs on Dunbar Creek. A tapered 9-foot leader, with tippet size 3X to 5X to match the flies you are throwing, is pretty standard.

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!

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.

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

Trip Planning Tips

The nearest airport to Dunbar Creek is Pittsburgh International Airport. You can travel to any major or municipal airport in Southwest Pennsylvania and arrive at your destination after a few hours of scenic driving.

Uniontown KOA is a great choice if you are looking for camping accommodations near Dunbar Creek. It offers close proximity to many attractions, including Kennywood Park and Laurel Caverns. You’ll feel at peace with the campground’s breathtaking views and serene atmosphere. Still, if you would rather stay indoors, Comfort Inn has reasonable rates and clean rooms. 

Dunbar Creek is on its way to becoming an excellent fly fishing location, so stop by for your next angling adventure.

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

Feature image by Ben Moyer

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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