DIY Guide to Fly Fishing Manatawny Creek in Southeast Pennsylvania

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

map of fishing spots on Manatawny Creek in PA

Get directions to fishing access points and real-time stream flow data 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 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

  • Water Temp: 65.84 ° F
  • Flow: 294 ft³/s
  • Water Level: 3.68 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
  • Hendricksons
  • Caddis
  • Cahills
  • Sulphurs
  • Slate Drake
  • Ants
  • Beetles

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 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.

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!

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, 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

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

Ken Sperry

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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