DIY Guide to Fly Fishing Laurel Hill Creek in Southwest Pennsylvania

At first glance, Laurel Hill Creek might not seem like an impressive fishery. Listed as #7 on American Rivers’ “Most Endangered Rivers” list in 2009, Laurel Hill Creek’s waters are accessed by undertaking a lengthy hike. But if you make the effort, we promise Laurel Hill Creek is worth it.

Not many anglers, however, are willing to make the strenuous effort required to get to the better parts of the Creek, meaning that you will most likely have the best parts of the fishery all to yourself. With the right approach, you are sure to have success tackling this stream.

Fly fishing Laurel Hill Creek in Pennsylvania

Laurel Hill Creek is a 38 mile long tributary of the Youghiogheny River in southwestern Pennsylvania. The stream drains the east slope of Laurel Hill in Laurel Highlands, flowing into the town of Confluence, before joining Casselman River. Casselman then flows into the Youghiogheny River. The Creek boasts three bridges that contribute to the picturesque scenery: Barronvale Bridge, King’s Bridge, and Lower Humbert Covered Bridge. 

At Laurel Hill Creek, you’ll see stocked rainbow trout, along with brown and brook trout, both stocked and wild. This is generally a slow moving Creek. Below Humbert, the stream becomes wider and faster, as the tributaries increase the speed of flow.

Laurel Hill Creek is easily accessible from the road below Humbert, but access to the rest of the stream requires more of a hike. Make sure you are in good shape before you attempt this, and wear good hiking footwear.

Laurel Hill Creek Map and Fishing Access Sites

map of fishing spots on Laurel Hill Creek in Pennsylvania

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

Best Places to Fish Laurel Hill Creek

The best place to fish Laurel Hill Creek is near the gorge located within State Game Lands No. 111. This is the area that is only accessible by hiking. There are also a few special regulation sections located on the Creek.

One is located above the lake at Laurel Hill State Park. In this area, you are only permitted to use artificial lures and flies and must release any trout caught before June 15th. There is also a mile long special regulation section that is located between the footbridge in Humbert on the 111 Road to the confluence of Paddytown Hollow Run.

The final special regulation area is located from the Boy Scout Camp at Laurel Hill State Park to T-364. This section is about two miles long.
The stream is accessible to wade fishermen.

Stream Flow and Current Conditions

Be sure to check the stream conditions before heading out to fish Laurel Hill Creek. The USGS stream gauge near Ursina, 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 may not be ideal.

Laurel Hill Creek at Ursina, PA

  • Streamflow: 364 ft³/s
  • Gage height: 1.80 ft
Streamflow GraphGage height Graph

Best Time to Fish Laurel Hill Creek

The season for Laurel Hill Creek is the standard Pennsylvania trout season. 

The best time to fish Laurel Hill Creek is in the spring, due to the stream’s excellent aquatic insect hatches. Caddis are the most prolific insects but you'll also see March Browns, light Cahill, Slate Drake, and Sulphur hatches.

Generally, the water temperature becomes too warm in the summer to be hospitable to trout.

Best Flies for Laurel Hill Creek

Here is a list of generally recommended fly patterns for Laurel Hill Creek.

  • Klinkhammer (#14-18)
  • Adams (#10-18)
  • Elk Wing Caddis (#14-18)
  • Single Egg (#14-16)
  • Ant (#14-18)
  • Shaky Worm (#14)
  • Hare's Ear (#12-14)
  • Pheasant Tail (#12-14)

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

- 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 Laurel Hill 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!

Laurel Hill Creek Fishing Report

Area fly shops, guides and websites that can provide a Laurel Hill Creek fly fishing report are listed below:

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.

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

Trip Planning Tips

The nearest airport to Laurel Hill Creek is Pittsburgh International Airport. Another nearby option is Allegheny County Airport. Keep in mind that you can travel to any major or municipal airport in Western Pennsylvania and arrive at your destination after a few hours of scenic driving.

Laurel Hill Creek State Park Campground is a great option if you don’t want to stray far from the fishery. The campground offers close proximity to the stream and clean facilities.

If camping isn’t your speed, you might want to check out The Casselman Inn, a quaint Bed and Breakfast that has been in operation since 1842. It is located in Maryland, but is only a half hour drive away from Laurel Hill Creek.

Like most good things in life, Laurel Hill Creek makes you work for it. But if you put in the effort, you will be rewarded with plenty of well-earned trout.

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

Feature image by Wooly Bugged

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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