Considered by many to be one of the best freestone trout stream in Pennsylvania, Fishing Creek in Columbia County is a well-known favorite among local fly fishermen. It isn’t hard to figure out why.
Not only does the Creek possesses an excellent population of wild brown and brook trout in its upper reaches, but it is heavily stocked by the state and a local fishing club.
True anglers don’t back away from a challenge, and Fishing Creek will definitely give you a run for your money. With the help of our handy guide, though, you won’t have any problem hooking up with some trout.
An aerial view of Fishing Creek in Kocher Park in northeast Pennsylvania
Not to be confused with the more infamous limestone Fishing Creek in Clinton County, Fishing Creek in Columbia county is a 30 mile long tributary of the Susquehanna River. Native Americans first settled the area in 8000 BCE, and undoubtedly enjoyed the bounty of wild trout in the area.
Watershed map of Fishing Creek in Columbia County, Pennsylvania by Kmusser
The stream has many tributaries, including Coles Creek, Little Fishing Creek, Hemlock Creek, Green Creek, and Huntington Creek, some of which are PA Class A wild trout streams. The source of Fishing Creek is found in Sugarloaf Township.
The best places to fishing Creek are relatively easy to access via Route 487 which parallels much of the stream north of Route 80. Access points are maintained (and marked) by a variety of organizations that support fishing in the area including the Fishing Creek's Sportmen's Association, Columbia County Trout Unlimited, the PA DOT and local landowners (see map).
Be sure to check the stream conditions before heading out to fish Fishing Creek. The USGS stream gauge near Bloomsburg, PA provides a good indication of current conditions.
The graph below shows the stream flow (discharge) for the past 7-days. If flows are considerably above or below historical norms (yellow triangles on the chart) then fishing conditions maybe not be ideal.
Because of the cool water provided by Fishing Creek’s tributaries, it is possible to fish the stream at any time of the year. Although spring might be the most crowded time of the year, the season is still the best time to visit because of the insect hatches.
Beginning in early March, you’ll see Little Brown and Early Stoneflies hatching. Toward the end of March, several Blue Winged Olive species make an appearance. When April rolls around, you’ll see Blue Quills and Blue Gordons. In the middle of April, the Hendrickson hatch takes place, along with the American Grannoms hatch. In early fall, you’ll be treated to a Cinnamon Caddis hatch and a Green Caddis hatch. Other hatches you’ll see in Fishing Creek include Slate Drakes and Eastern Drakes.
A few imitations are effective all year round. Stocked trout in Fishing Creek have a hard time passing up a well presented Hare's or Pheasant Tail nymph. A simple Wooly Bugger is effective in imitating the many types of baitfish and Sculpin that inhabit the stream. Terrestrial imitations will work best in the summer.
Dry flies work particularly well in this stream. Some recommended patterns are listed below:
Blue Winged Olive (#18 - 20)
Hendrickson(#12 - 14)
March Brown(#12 - 14)
Quill Gordon (#14)
Red Quill (#12 - 14)
Green Caddis (#14 - 16)
Light Cahill (#14)
Slate Drake (#14)
Blue Winged Olive (#14)Blue Dun (#18-20)
A 9-foot 4-wt fly rod with floating line is perfect for fishing dry flies and small nymphs on Fishing Creek. A tapered 9-foot leader, with tippet size 4X to 6X to match the flies you are throwing, is pretty standard.
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.
Fishing Creek Creek fishing regulations are available on the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission website.
The nearest airport to the stream is Wilkes-Barre Scranton International Airport. However, you can choose any major or municipal airport in eastern Pennsylvania and arrive at your destination after a few hours of scenic driving.
Fishing Creek Lodge is a beautiful, rustic location to hang your fishing hat. They cater to fishermen and even have their own grocery store, so you don’t have to waste time on your angling adventure running errands. If you are looking for something cheaper, Red Maple Inn has cozy, clean rooms at reasonable prices.
If you prefer to camp, Rickett's Glen State Park is not too far away and is an absolutely beautiful place in of itself. We know it is cliche but we just can’t help it. Fishing Creek is one of our favorites, and soon, it will be yours too.
Feature Image by Ruhrfisch
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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