Pennsylvania Fly Fishing 3 min read

DIY Guide to Fly Fishing Manatawny Creek in Southeast Pennsylvania

Ken Sperry

Posted by Ken Sperry

April 5, 2024

Sulphur hatch on Manatawny Creek

If the average angler were 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.

The creek isn’t as well known as Tulpehocken Creek. Still, it does offer fly fishing opportunities for adventurous anglers who like exploring lesser-known fisheries and aren’t afraid of a challenge.

About Manatawny Creek

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, which are PA Class A Wild Brown Trout streams below Lobachsville. It joins the Schuylkill River at Pottstown in Montgomery County, and its tributary, Ironstone Creek, joins at Pine Forge. 

The stream’s upper reaches are located in a beautiful rural setting. If you are interested in the scenery, you’ll want to visit the two covered bridges 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 the trout will just fall into your lap. You’ll want to ensure you match the trout’s natural food supply well.

Manatawny Creek Map and Fishing Access Sites

map of fishing spots on Manatawny Creek in PA

Get Directions to the Fishing Access Points shown above with the DIY Fly Fishing Map

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 the 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. 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 seven days. If flows are considerably above or below historical norms (yellow triangles on the chart), then fishing conditions may not be ideal.

Manatawny Creek near Spangsville, PA

  • Temperature: 72.5 ° F
  • Streamflow: 53.2 ft³/s
  • Gage height: 2.81 ft
Temperature GraphStreamflow GraphGage height Graph

Best Time to Fish Manatawny Creek

Manatawny Creek’s trout season is standard Pennsylvania. The best time to visit the creek is likely in 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 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
  • Hendricksons
  • Caddis
  • Cahills
  • Sulphurs
  • Slate Drake
  • Ants
  • Beetles

Gear Recommendations

A 9-foot 4-wt fly rod with a floating line is perfect for fishing dry flies and small nymphs on the 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.

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.

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 is about a half hour away. The Philadelphia International Airport is another close option, about an hour from your destination.

Motel 6 Pottstown is around fifteen minutes from the creek if you are looking for lodging options. With reasonable rates, this unassuming motel 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 a historic setting. If camping is your thing, Brandywine Creek Campground has its fishing pond (not that you’ll need it.)

Manatawny Creek is a fine example of a local Pennsylvania wild brown trout stream worth visiting!

Looking for more places to fish? Visit our DIY Guide to the Best Fly Fishing in Pennsylvania.

Feature Image by Mark Giorgio