Little Sandy Creek PA trout fishing

DIY Guide to Fly Fishing Little Sandy Creek in Northwest Pennsylvania

Little Sandy Creek might not be the best known Pennsylvania fishery, but it still provides plenty of opportunities to catch wild brown trout.

If you enjoy small stream fishing and venturing off the beaten path, you’ll love what Little Sandy Creek has to offer.

Depending on your level of experience, Little Sandy Creek can be difficult to fish, so be sure to check out our guide before embarking on your angling adventure.

Fly fishing Little Sandy Creek in Venango County, PA

Little Sandy Creek is a six mile long tributary of Sandy Creek, located in Northwest Pennsylvania. It begins near Wades Corner and is one of only three Catch-and-Release – Fly Fishing Only streams in northwest PA. At Little Sandy Creek, you’ll find wild and stocked brown trout. 

The banks of Little Sandy Creek are enclosed with bushes and trees, which means that there is plenty of shade, and ample hiding places for wily trout. Access to this stream is pretty good, but does require hiking in some places.

In most areas, the stream takes on the classic configuration of a Pennsylvania trout stream and consists of pools, riffles, and runs. While it is narrower in some sections, the Creek is about 30 feet in width.

Additionally, Little Sandy Creek has an excellent population of aquatic insects. It is the perfect stream for the angler who wants to be challenged, while avoiding the more crowded fisheries in the state.

Little Sandy Creek Map and Fishing Access Sites

DIY Fly Fishing Map

Click map icons to get directions to fishing spots, boat ramps and USGS stream flow data

Best Spots to Fish Little Sandy Creek

You can access Little Sandy Creek from State Route 62 and State Route 3024. You can take the roads leading off of State Route 3024 to the Creek. It will require a short hike to get to the stream. 

The upper reaches of the stream are more difficult to fish when its warm, as the water becomes lower and clearer. In the summer months, you will want to avoid this area.

The Catch-and-Release Fly Fishing Only section extends from State Route 3024 at Polk (located upstream) to the old bridge at the Polk Center pump house. This area is roughly 1.3 miles long. This section is teeming with both wild and stocked brown trout.

The best area for catching large brown trout is in the headwaters, located above T-334. Because the stream is smaller in this area, it can be more challenging to fish. But once you get the hang of this stream, you’ll be glued to this spot. The stream is accessible to wade fishermen.

Best Time to Fish Little Sandy Creek

Little Sandy Creek has a great insect population. In the spring, you will see quill Gordons, blue quills, and green and slate drakes. You will also see other species of Mayflies, Caddisflies, and Stoneflies. In the summer, terrestrials imitations are always a good option.

The season for Little Sandy Creek is standard Pennsylvania trout season. The spring is the best time to visit, due to the insect hatches, but you’ll have a better chance at catching larger brown trout in the fall.

It can be tricky to fish in the summer, as the water becomes too warm in sections to be hospitable to trout. However, if you stay away from the upper sections, you’ll have better luck finding cooler areas in the stream.

Fly Box – What You’ll Need

Here is list of general fly pattern recommendations for Little Sandy Creek:

  • Blue Quill (#18)
  • Quill Gordon (#12-14)
  • Hendrickson (#12-14)
  • Red Quill (#12-14)
  • March Brown (#10-12)
  • Tan Caddis (#16)
  • Blue Winged Olive (#14-16)
  • Light Cahill (#14-18)
  • Gray Fox (#12-14)
  • Green Drake (#8-10)
  • Terrestrials (various) (#10-18)

Gear Recommendations

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

Little Sandy Creek Fishing Report

There aren’t any area fly shops or guides (that I’m aware of) that can provide an Little Sandy Creek fly fishing report.

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.

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

Trip Planning Tips

The nearest major airport to Little Sandy Creek is the Erie International Airport. Another nearby is the Pittsburgh International Airport, if you don’t mind adding ten minutes to your journey. You can travel to any major or municipal Airport in Western Pennsylvania and arrive at your destination after a few hours of scenic driving.

Looking for campgrounds in the area? Camp Wilhelm Campground is only 15 minutes away from the Creek. They put on several activities throughout the year that would spice up any angling vacation. 

If you would rather sleep with a roof over your head, you might try the Motel 6 in Harrisville. They offer clean rooms that are perfect for the budget minded fisherman.

It might not be the most famous Pennsylvania trout stream, but Little Sandy Creek is definitely worth a visit. Enjoy!

Feature image by Trout Scout

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


About the Author Ken Sperry

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.