DIY Guide to Fly Fishing Slippery Rock Creek in Northwest Pennsylvania

Slippery Rock Creek is one of the most popular trout stream in northwest Pennsylvania but is dangerous. 

Every year, people lose their lives to its waters. As the name indicates, its rocks are deceptively slippery, and create hazardous currents. 

That said, if you’re careful, the Creek can yield plenty of trout and smallmouth bass to the talented angler.

Be sure to check out the rest of our guide so you can stay safe while enjoying this alluring fishery.

Fly fishing Slippery Rock Creek in northwest Pennsylvania

Slippery Rock Creek is a 50 mile tributary of Connoquenessing Creek in Northwest Pennsylvania. Its source is found in Hilliards in Butler County and joins Connoquenessing in Ellwood City. 

The Creek flows through McConnells Mill State Park. It is fed by many tributaries, with the most notable being Seaton Creek, Blacks Creek, and Hell Run. If you are feeling extra adventurous, Hell Run has Class A Waters with an excellent population of wild brown trout. Access to Hell Run, however, is difficult. It requires following the trails found near the parking area on Shaffer Road or hiking from the bridge on Mountville Road. This is a very strenuous hike, make sure you are in good shape before you attempt it!

Slippery Rock Creek is very popular with paddlers and white water rafting. The Creek is known for early season trout fishing and its smallmouth bass population, with bass here ranging from 9 to 16 inches. 

Slippery Rock has another drawback as an angling location, in addition to the dangerous conditions. The Creek flows through agricultural land, making the water muddy quickly after rains. Keep an eye on weather conditions leading up to your trip, so you can ensure good fishing when you get there.

Slippery Rock Creek Map and Fishing Access Sites

map of fishing spots on Slippery Rock Creek in Pennsylvania

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

Best Spots to Fish Slippery Rock Creek

For ease of approach, it is recommended that you use a canoe or kayak, as road access is limited. Good launching areas include the public access points on Studebaker Road and Stoughton Road. You can pull out at the bridge on Old Butler Road near Rose Point Park. 

The Creek widens downstream from the gorge, and is about 80 to 100 feet wide in places. You’ll find warm water species here like smallmouth bass, musky and walleye.

Three areas of the stream are stocked with trout. The 15 mile long section from Slippery Rock Road to the property line of Heinz Camp has one preseason stocking and two inseason stockings. The half-mile long section from Heinz Camp to the area below the State Route 2022 Bridge is Catch and Release Fly-Fishing Only. 

Stream Flow and Current Conditions

Be sure to check the stream conditions before heading out to fish Slippery Rock Creek. The USGS stream gauge near Wurtemburg, 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.

Slippery Rock Creek at Wurtemburg, PA

  • Streamflow: 1170 ft³/s
  • Gage height: 3.07 ft
Streamflow GraphGage height Graph

Best Time to Fish Slippery Rock Creek

The season for Slippery Rock Creek is standard Pennsylvania trout season. Spring is the best time to visit for trout fishing. By late June, the temperature of the stream is too warm to support trout, and they seek refuge in cooler tributaries. Fishing for smallmouth bass is excellent throughout the summery.

Slippery Rock Creek has a decent aquatic insect population. In the spring, you will find Quill Gordons, Blue-Winged Olives, and Light Cahills. Caddis are more prevalent than mayflies and are a staple food source for trout and bass alike. August supports a prolific White Fly hatch that provides for hot top water action for smallmouth bass.

Best Flies for Slippery Rock Creek

Here is a list of recommended fly patterns for Slippery Rock Creek.

  • Little Blue Winged Olive (#16-20)
  • Blue Quill (#16-18)
  • Quill Gordon (#12-14)
  • Light Cahill (#14)
  • Blue Winged Olive (#14-18)
  • Slate Drake (#12-14)
  • White Fly (#10-14)

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 Slippery Rock Creek.  A tapered 9-foot leader, with tippet size 3X to 5X to match the flies you are throwing, is pretty standard.

Need Gear?

Check out our DIY Guide to the Best Fly Fishing Gear for recommendations.

Slippery Rock Creek Fishing Reports

There aren't any area fly shops or guides (that I know of) that publish Slippery Rock Creek fly fishing reports. 

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.

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

Trip Planning Tips

The nearest airport to Slippery Rock Creek is the Pittsburgh International Airport, which is about an hour from your destination. You can also travel to Erie International Airport. You can travel to any major or municipal airport in Western Pennsylvania and arrive at the stream after a couple hours of scenic driving.

If you are looking for campgrounds in the area, Slippery Rock Campground offers close proximity to the Creek. If you would rather have a roof over your head, Motel 6 Barkeyville has reasonable rates and laundry facilities. 

As long as you are careful, fishing Slippery Rock Creek can be a wonderful angling experience. 

Feature Image by Merrilove

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

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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