Pennsylvania Fly Fishing 4 min read

DIY Guide to Fly Fishing Tobyhanna Creek in Northeast Pennsylvania

Ken Sperry

Posted by Ken Sperry

April 7, 2024

Tobyhanna Creek in Pennsylvania

If you are looking for a stimulating and serene fishery, look no further than Tobyhanna Creek. Tobyhanna Creek is one of many trout streams that the Poconos has to offer. It is one of the larger options, as it is about fifty feet wide and has its own Delayed Harvest section that provides reliable fly fishing action.

If your are looking for a challenge, you could always take on the slow moving water sections. In these areas, the trout have plenty of time to examine your imitations, so a good presentation is key.

Check out our guide so you can learn exactly what makes the trout of Tobyhanna Creek tick.

About Tobyhanna Creek

Fly Fishing Tobyhanna Creek in Pennsylvania

Tobyhanna Creek is a 29.9 mile long tributary of the Lehigh River. The name comes from a Native American phrase, meaning “stream whose banks are fringed with alder.” The Creek joins Lehigh River in Stoddartsville. It is joined by Tunkhannock Creek near Blakeslee. 

The majority of Tobyhanna Creek runs through state game lands. The Delayed Harvest Section is about one mile long and extends from the confluence of Still Swamp Run. Above I-380, the elevation of the stream is high enough that it freezes in the winter. This area consists mostly of pocket water. In the lower end of the stream, the Creek has large pools and slower moving water, so fly fishing is more difficult in these areas.

At Tobyhanna Creek, you’re likely to find brook and brown trout, both wild and stocked. The stocked trout are less picky than the wild trout, so you’ll have an easier time catching the former.

Because of the tannic acid from the hemlock forest through which it runs, the water in Tobyhanna Creek is tea-colored. While it might look a little strange, it doesn’t have much of an effect on the trout. 

Tobyhanna Creek Map and Fishing Access Sites

map of fishing spots on Tobyhanna Creek in Pennsylvania

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

Best Spots to Fish Tobyhanna Creek

The middle section of the Creek can be accessed fairly easily. On the eastern side of I-380, State Game Land #127 has parking areas and a clearly marked foot trail that leads to the Creek. 

Getting to the Delayed Harvest section requires a bit of a hike. There are shorter routes you can take, but there is something to be said about taking the longer routes, since the longer routes are less populated by anglers. 

You will need to adjust your strategy depending on which section of the stream you choose to tackle. If you are fishing in the upper reaches, it is recommended that you fish in an upstream direction. Try fishing the current seams and lines of bubbles down the runs and riffles. However, if you are fishing in the lower sections, fish in a downstream direction and make longer casts.

Stream Flow and Current Conditions

Be sure to check the stream conditions before heading out to fish Tobyhanna Creek. The USGS stream gauge near Blakeslee, 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.

Tobyhanna Creek near Blakeslee, PA

  • Temperature: 71.6 ° F
  • Streamflow: 127 ft³/s
  • Gage height: 3.20 ft
Temperature GraphStreamflow GraphGage height Graph

Tobyhanna Creek Hatches and Best Time to Fish

The Delayed Harvest of the Creek is open year-round, but the rest of the creek is open mid April through February. The stream has an impressive aquatic insect hatch. The first insects to hatch are Little Winter Stoneflies, Little Browns, and Little Blacks. The Blue-Winged Olive hatch begins in late March and continues until October.

Blue Quills make an appearance for a month, beginning at the end of March. In April and May, you’ll see March Browns, Caddisflies, and Little Black Caddis. By the time May arrives, you’ll see Green Sedges, Cinnamon Caddis, Little Brown Caddis, and Hendricksons. Slate Drakes hatch from June to October. Other food that the trout like to munch on are terrestrials, sculpin, baitfish, and crayfish. These will work best from late June to late September.

Springtime is the best time to take on Tobyhanna Creek because of the hatches. Fall is also a beautiful time to visit, because of the foliage. You might also have luck on the cooler days of summer and the warmer days of winter. 

Best Flies for Tobyhanna Creek

Regarding fly patterns, here is a list of some of the best flies for Tobyhanna Creek:

  • Early Black Stonefly (#12-16)
  • Black Caddis (#16-18)
  • Blue Winged Olive (Tiny) (#18-20)
  • Blue Dun (#12-16)
  • Quill Gordon (#12-14)
  • Blue Quill (#16-18)
  • Red Quill (#12-14)
  • Grey Caddis (#10-16)
  • Dark Brown caddis (#12-16)
  • Green Caddis (#14-16)
  • March Brown (#8-14)
  • Sulphurs (#14-16)
  • Tan Caddis (#14-16)
  • Yellow Sally (Stonefly) (#8-14)
  • Green Drake (#6-10)
  • Blue Winged Olive (#14)
  • Slate Drake (#10-12)
  • Pale Morning Dun (#12-16)
  • Light Cahill (#12-16)

Gear Recommendations

A 9-foot 4-wt fly rod with floating line is perfect for fishing dry flies and small nymphs on Tobyhanna Run.  A tapered 9-foot leader, with tippet size 4X to 6X to match the flies you are throwing, is pretty standard.

Tobyhanna Creek Fishing Reports

There are a few on-line retailers that publish Tobyhanna Creek fly fishing reports. A few to check out 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.

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

Trip Planning Tips

The nearest airport to Tobyhanna Creek is Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport, which is about a half hour away from your destination. Lehigh Valley International Airport is another nearby option, as it is only an hour away from the stream. Keep in mind that you can travel to any major or municipal airport in Eastern Pennsylvania and arrive at your destination after a few hours of scenic driving.

The Econo Lodge Inn and Suites offers affordable rates and clean rooms, and is located about 15 minutes away from Tobyhanna Creek. Looking for a more rustic option? Hemlock Campground and Cottages is about a half hour away from the stream. Situated in the heart of the Poconos, Hemlock Campground is a gorgeous, pet friendly location perfect for the adventurous angler. 

Whether you venture to Tobyhanna Creek solo, or with your camping buddies, this fly fishing experience promises to be a good one. 

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

Feature Image by Nicholas A. Tonelli