Pennsylvania Fly Fishing 2 min read

Lackawanna River Fly Fishing Guide

Ken Sperry

Posted by Ken Sperry

April 8, 2016

Lackawanna River fly fishing

The Lackawanna River is a shining example of a trout stream restored to days of the past, better actually. Running through former coal country in Northeast PA the Lackawanna suffered from the effects of acid mine drainage (AMD). Efforts of several conservation groups have led to the treatment of several of the major AMD sources and the restoration of the river.

Lackawanna River Fly Fishing for Wild Brown Trout

Today, wild brown trout thrive in the Lackawanna, and 11 miles of the river, including the stretch from Carbondale City to Olyphant, are designated as a PA Class A Wild Trout Stream.

Lackawanna River Fishing Map

map of fishing spots on the Lackawanna River in Pennsylvania

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

Lackawanna River – Trophy Trout Artificial Lures Only – 5.2 miles

Portions of the Lackawanna River are managed by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission under Trophy Trout Artificial Lures Only regulations.  The Trophy Trout section extends from the Gilmartin Street Bridge in Archbald downstream to the Lackawanna Avenue Bridge (SR 0347) in Olyphant, except a mid-section area extending 0.7 miles From the Depot Street Bridge in Jessup downstream to the footbridge in Robert Mellow Park. Fish must be at least 14″ to keep in the Trophy Trout section with a creel limit of two fish.

Lackawanna River Fishing Report

A&G Outfitters publishes a Lackawanna River fishing report that provides current river conditions and a summary of the river’s fishing performance.

Stream Flow and Current Conditions

Be sure to check the stream conditions before fishing the Lackawanna River. The USGS stream gauge in Archbald, PA, provides a good indication of current conditions.

The graph below shows the stream flow (discharge) for the past seven days. If flows are considerably above or below historical norms (yellow triangles on the chart), then fishing conditions may not be ideal.

Lackawanna River at Archbald, PA

  • Streamflow: 69.1 ft³/s
  • Gage height: 1.95 ft
Streamflow GraphGage height Graph

Best Time to Fish the Lackawanna River

The best time to fly fish in the Lackawanna River is in the spring, from mid-April to late June. During this time, the water levels are typically higher and the temperature cooler, making the river more habitable for brown trout. Aquatic insect hatches are also abundant, providing trout with a plentiful food source and making them more active feeders.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the Lackawanna River fly fishing season:

  • Spring is the prime time for fly fishing on the Lackawanna River. The water is cool, and the hatches are abundant.
  • Summer can be a bit more challenging. The water temperatures can rise, making the trout less active. However, there can still be good fishing in the early mornings and evenings or in areas with cooler water temperatures.
  • Fall can also be a good time to fish, especially for larger brown trout. As the water temperatures start to cool down again, the trout feed more aggressively in preparation for winter.
  • Winter is the most difficult time for flying fish on the Lackawanna River. In some places, the water temperatures can drop low enough to freeze the river. However, die-hard anglers can still find ice-free fishing opportunities on the river.

Trip Planning Tips

The Lackawanna River is easily accessible by car from many parts of Pennsylvania. Here’s how to get to the Lackawanna River from Scranton, the largest city nearby:

  • Take I-81 N to Exit 58 for PA-347 N.
  • Follow PA-347 N for about 6 miles to Scranton.

As for lodging, there are several options available including hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts in nearby towns like Scranton, Clarks Summit, and Dunmore.

Some popular lodging options include:

  • Hilton Scranton & Conference Center
  • Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel
  • Hampton Inn Scranton at Montage Mountain

Overall, a day trip to Lackawanna River for fly fishing for trout is sure to be a memorable experience with plenty of opportunities to catch some beautiful fish in a picturesque setting.

Visit our Guide to the Best Fly Fishing in Pennsylvania for information on other trout fishing destinations in PA.