Pennsylvania Fly Fishing 3 min read

DIY Guide to Fly Fishing Hickory Run in Northeast Pennsylvania

Ken Sperry

Posted by Ken Sperry

April 7, 2024

Hickory Falls in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources named Hickory Run State Park one of its 25 Must-See State Parks, and it is sure to leave an impression. 

Hickory Run is teeming with wild brown and brook trout. The stream is well-protected from the sun by an overhead canopy of trees, so you’ll stay cool even when fishing during the hottest summer months.

Hickory Run also boasts an excellent aquatic insect population and a beautiful waterfall.

So pack your waders and rods! Paradise awaits.

About Hickory Run

Fly fishing at Hickory Run in Pennsylvania

Hickory Run is a small tributary of the Lehigh River that flows for about five miles through Hickory State Park. Hickory Run has long been a favorite spot for anglers in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. 

Hickory Run is a PA Class A wild trout stream with a first-rate brook and brown trout population. It has a catch-and-release section about 1.6 miles long and consists mostly of riffles and runs, with some smaller pools.

The upper part of the creek is very tightly enclosed, so you might have some trouble making casts there. But the lower section of Hickory Run is about 25 feet wide, so there is plenty of room to spread out. Pennsylvania Route 534 crosses the stream above the catch-and-release section.

Hickory Run State Park also offers plenty of activities outside of fly fishing, including ice skating, seasonal hunting, and hiking. Hawk Falls is another popular site, along with the boulder field, the largest boulder field in the Appalachian region.

With easy access and plenty of trout to catch, Hickory Run State Park is almost a required entry on any fly fisherman’s bucket list.

Hickory Run Map and Fishing Access Sites

map of trout streams in Hickory Run State Park in Pennsylvania

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

Best Spots to Fish Hickory Run

Accessing Hickory Run is a breeze, as the park has many marked signs and parking areas. From I-80, take Exit 274 at the Hickory Run State Park Exit, and then drive east on PA 534 for six miles. 

A trail follows the stream from Rt 534 downstream to the confluence with the Lehigh River.

Several other Class A trout streams in Hickory Run State Park are worth a visit, including Black Creek (aka Hayes Creek), Mud Run, and Hawk Run (see map).

Best Time to Fish Hickory Run

Hickory Run’s trout season is standard Pennsylvania trout season. Spring is the best time to visit because of the insect hatches, but autumn is the best time to catch the larger brown trout.

While the overhead canopy of trees will keep you cool in the summer, fly fishing can be challenging. During this season, the water level lowers and is extra clear, so the trout have more time to inspect your imitations. But a good presentation can solve any problem!

Best Flies for Hickory Run

Dry fly fishing at Hickory Run is excellent in the spring and fall. You’ll also have luck using terrestrial imitations in the summer.

Regarding fly patterns, here is a list of some of the best flies for Hickory Run:

  • Blue Quill (#18)
  • Quill Gordon (#14)
  • Hendrickson (#14)
  • Red Quill (#14)
  • Tan Caddis (#16)  
  • Gray Fox (#12)
  • Light Cahill (#14)
  • March Brown (#12)
  • Ants (#16 – 20)  
  • Beetles (#12 – 18)  
  • Caterpillars (#10)  
  • Grasshoppers (#12)

Gear Recommendations

A 9-foot 4-wt fly rod with floating line is perfect for fishing dry flies and small nymphs on Hickory Run.  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.

Hickory Run fishing regulations are available on the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission website.

Trip Planning Tips

The nearest airport to Hickory Run would be Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport, which is about 30 minutes away from the park. Another nearby option is Lehigh Valley International Airport, which is about 40 minutes away from your destination. The park is two to three hours from Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and New York City

You can’t beat camping at Hickory Run State Park. You’ll get the best rates if you decide to visit offseason. However, if you would rather sleep with a roof over your head, The Econo Lodge & Suites offers reasonable rates and free breakfast. The Country Place Inn and Suites is another good option, as it is near the park and has free WiFi.

Discover your new favorite fishing spot. But remember, you heard it here first!

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

Feature Image by Mike Parker