Pennsylvania Fly Fishing 3 min read

DIY Guide to Fly Fishing Loyalhanna Creek in Southwest Pennsylvania

Ken Sperry

Posted by Ken Sperry

January 30, 2020

Loyalhanna Creek in Pennsylvania

Disclosure: DIY Fly Fishing may receive a commission for purchases made through links in this article, at no additional cost to you.

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. 

About Loyalhanna Creek

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 the Fishing Access Points shown above 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: 153 ft³/s
  • Gage height: 2.57 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? 

The Fly Crate offers a great selection of dry flies, nymphs and streamers that will catch fish just about anywhere.  Premium, high quality, hand-tied flies at a great price!

fly fishing flies from The Fly Crate

The Fly Crate Commits 2% of Sales to Aid Disabled Veterans

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.

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