If the average angler was asked what his favorite stream in Southeast Pennsylvania is, most wouldn’t hesitate to say Tulpehocken Creek, a beautiful tailwater stream teeming with trout.
But not every fisherman prefers the beaten path.
Enter Manatawny Creek.Manatawny Creek isn’t as well known as Tulpehocken Creek, but it does offer fly fishing opportunities for adventurous anglers who like exploring lesser known fisheries and aren’t afraid of a challenge.
Rick Nyles of Sky Blue Outfitters provides some tips for fly fishing for wild brown trout in Manatawny Creek in southeast Pennsylvania
Manatawny Creek is an 18.2 mile long tributary of the Schuylkill River in Pennsylvania. The term “Manatawny” is based on the Lenape term “Man'en'tau'wata'wik,” which means “where we drink liquor” or “drink-at-uninhabited-place.”
The stream is formed by the confluence of Bieber Creek and Pine Creek, below Lobachsville, both of which are PA Class A Wild Brown Trout streams. It joins the Schuylkill River at Pottstown in Montgomery County. It has a tributary, Ironstone Creek, which joins Manatawny at Pine Forge.
The upper reaches of the stream are located in a beautiful, rural setting. If you are interested in the scenery, you’ll want to visit the two covered bridges located near the Creek. The state stocks the stream with brook and brown trout.
Manatawny Creek is a tranquil choice for any fisherman, but that doesn’t mean that the trout are just going to fall into your lap. You’ll want to make sure you match the trouts’ natural food supply very well.
Manatawny Creek Map and Fishing Access Sites
Best Spots to Fish Manatawny Creek
Some of the best access on Manatawny Creek is near the covered bridge in Pleasantville, PA. Additionally, the location where the Manatawny twists around Earlville and Amityville also provides great fishing. The creek is particularly scenic south of State Route 562.
Access to Manatawny Creek is good, and the stream is accessible to wade fishermen.
Stream Flow and Current Conditions
Be sure to check the stream conditions before heading out to fish Manatawny Creek. The USGS stream gauge near Spangsville, 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 maybe not be ideal.
Manatawny Creek near Spangsville, PA
- Temperature: 48.02 ° F
- Streamflow: 76.7 ft³/s
- Gage height: 2.90 ft
Best Time to Fish Manatawny Creek
The season for Manatawny Creek is standard Pennsylvania trout season. The best time to visit the creek is likely during the spring, when all the aquatic insect hatches kick into gear. Low water conditions are problematic during the summer and trout in the stream head for the thermal refuge of the cooler tributaries. You’ll have the best luck catching the larger brown trout in the fall when they get aggressive in preparation for spawning.
Best Flies for Manatawny Creek
Sulphur hatch on Manatawny Creek
Hatches on the Manatawny are typical of a Pennsylvania freestone streams and can be quite good. Below is a list of the better hatches in order of emergence. The best flies for Manatawny Creek are those that match the hatch!
- Little Black Stonefly
- Red Quill
- Slate Drake
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.
- Adams Dry Fly
- Elk Hair Caddis
- Blue Wing Olive
- Royal Wulff
- Griffith's Gnat White
- Stimulator, Organge
- Chernobyl Ant
- 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)
A 9-foot 4-wt fly rod with floating line is perfect for fishing dry flies and small nymphs on Manatawny Creek. A tapered 9-foot leader, with tippet size 4X to 6X to match the flies you are throwing, is pretty standard.
Manatawny Creek Fishing Reports
Area guides that publish Manatawny Creek fly fishing reports are listed below.
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.
Manatawny Creek fishing regulations are available on the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission website.
Trip Planning Tips
The nearest airport to Manatawny Creek to Reading Regional Airport, which is about a half hour away. The Philadelphia International Airport is another close option, which is about an hour away from your destination.
If you are looking for lodging options in the area, Motel 6 Pottstown is around fifteen minutes away from Manatawny Creek. This is an unassuming motel with reasonable rates that offers free WiFi and free coffee. If you prefer a more quaint stay, the Yellow House Hotel in Douglassville, PA is close by and offers bed and breakfast accommodations in an historic setting. If camping is your thing, Brandywine Creek Campground has its own fishing pond (not that you'll need it.)
Manatawny Creek is a fine example of a local Pennsylvania wild brown trout stream and well worth a visit!
Feature Image by Mark Giorgio