DIY Guide to Fly Fishing Loyalhanna Creek in Southwest Pennsylvania

Loyalhanna Creek possesses all of the elements that make up a great trout stream: an excellent aquatic insect population, plentiful brown trout, and a tranquil atmosphere guaranteed to unwind the weary angler.

Loyalhanna Creek can be challenging depending on the time you choose to visit, so be sure to check out our guide so you can learn exactly how to tackle this stream successfully.

The Creek is a wonderful option if you are wondering where your next fishing trip should be. 

A healthy rainbow trout caught in the delayed-harvest section of the Loyalhanna Creek in Pennsylvania

Loyalhanna Creek is a 50 mile long tributary of the Kiskiminetas River in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. It is a popular destination for many outdoor activities, including canoeing and hiking.

The name Loyalhanna is derived from the eighteenth century village name, Layalhanning. In Unami, “Layalhanning” means “middle stream.” This Creek is also famous for a Bigfoot sighting in 1987. So be sure to bring a camera!

The stream possesses a great population of holdover trout, as it is stocked by the state. The Creek begins near Stahlstown, Pennsylvania, following State Route 711 and 381 to the town of Ligonier. About 5 miles northwest of Ligonier, the Creek turns northwest, then cuts through Chestnut Ridge.

The stream then flows NNW through Latrobe, before passing through Loyalhanna Lake reservoir. It joins the Conemaugh River at Saltsburg to form the Kiskiminetas River. It is fed by the smaller tributary stream, Mill Creek, that enters the Creek at the Delayed Harvest section.

Loyalhanna Creek Map and Fishing Access Sites

map of fishing spots on Loyalhanna Creek in Pennsylvania

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

This is a sizable Creek that averages 50 feet in width. While the stream mostly consists of deep pools and riffles, there are also some pocket water and runs. There is also a lot of overhead coverage that keeps the water cool throughout the year.

You’re sure to be challenged and delighted by Loyalhanna’s waters (but watch out for Bigfoot!).

Best Places to Fish Loyalhanna Creek

You can access Loyalhanna Creek from State Route 711, State Route 30, or State Route 2045. The best place to fish is the Delayed Harvest section, which begins in Ligonier. The stream also provides good trout fishing downstream below the Delayed Harvest section, all the way to Kingston. The Creek is accessible to wade fishermen.

Stream Flow and Current Conditions

Be sure to check the stream conditions before heading out to fish Loyalhanna Creek. The USGS stream gauge near Kingston, 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 ma not be ideal.

Loyalhanna Creek at Kingston, PA

  • Streamflow: 274 ft³/s
  • Gage height: 3.07 ft
Streamflow GraphGage height Graph

Best Time to Fish Loyalhanna Creek

The season for Loyalhanna Creek is the standard Pennsylvania trout season. The best time to visit Loyalhanna is in the spring, due to the insect hatches.

In general, the water temperature in the summer is too warm to be hospitable to trout. However, if you stay above Kingston in the warmer months, the water temperature is generally suitable for the fish.

At Loyalhanna Creek, you’ll see Mayflies, Stoneflies, and Caddisflies. In the warmer months, terrestrials are also popular. Try using streamers and nymphs to catch the larger holdover brown trout.

Best Flies for Loyalhanna Creek

Here is list of general fly pattern recommendations for Loyalhanna Creek:

  • Little Black Stonefly (#14-16)
  • Blue Winged Olive (#16-20)
  • March Brown (#10-12)
  • Tan Caddis (#16)
  • Light Cahill (#14-16)
  • Sulphur (#16)
  • Brown Drake (#10)
  • Green Drake (#8-10)
  • Midges (various) (#20-24)
  • Terrestrials (various) (#10-18)
  • Trico (#24)

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 5-wt fly rod with floating line is perfect for fishing dry flies and small nymphs on Loyalhanna 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!

Loyalhanna Creek Fishing Report

Area fly shops, guides and websites that can provide an Loyalhanna 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.

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

Trip Planning Tips

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

Luckily, there are plenty of beautiful campgrounds in the area. Lazy Acres Campground is located near Loyalhanna Creek. Lazy Acres has a friendly staff and offers a comfortable and serene surrounding perfect for the entire family. However, if you are feeling more like an indoor cat, Rodeway Inn is nearby. They offer reasonable rates and free WiFi.

Choosing a destination for your next fly fishing adventure can be a daunting task, as Pennsylvania has plenty of beautiful streams to choose from. Consider Loyalhanna Creek and prepare for your fly fishing skills to be tested in the best possible way.

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

Feature image by Margaret Luzier 

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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