Youghiogheny River isn’t the easiest river to pronounce, nor is it the easiest fishery to tackle in Pennsylvania. But if you aren’t afraid of a challenge, you’ll want to check out Youghiogheny River for your next fishing adventure.
Youghiogheny River had its problems in the past, but it is now a scenic stream that offers year round fishing. You’ll need to use plenty of caution in these waters, as the Youghiogheny has several treacherous sections. Check out the rest of our guide so you can tackle this stream safely and successfully.
Fly fishing the Youghiogheny River in Pennsylvania
Youghiogheny River is a 134 mile long tailwater tributary of the Monongahela River in West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. The word “Youghiogheny” comes from a Lenape word, meaning “a stream flowing in a contrary direction.” It rises in Preston County, West Virginia. The river enters Pennsylvania between Fayette and Somerset counties. It flows northwest through Chestnut Ridge and past Connellsville, joining the Monongahela River at McKeesport.
The River suffered after a spill injected mine acid into the waters, although, thankfully, the fishery recovered quickly, with the aquatic insect hatch and trout population both bouncing back nicely. The stream now has an excellent aquatic insect population.
The temperature of the Creek remains cool throughout the year, so you can catch sizable trout all year round, although downstream gets too warm for good fly fishing in the summer. The state stocks the River with rainbow and brown trout, and you can find wild brown and brook trout here as well.You can wade in some areas of Youghiogheny River, but you should be careful to avoid the rough water sections. The best way to take on the stream is with a drift boat.
Youghiogheny River Map and Fishing Access Sites
Best Spots to Fish Youghiogheny River
You can access Youghiogheny River from the bank, near a bike trail that follows the west side of the River. The most popular place to fly fish is between the dam downstream to Ohiopyle.
The safest way to tackle this stream is by a drift boat. You need to be very cautious when wading, as the water is deceptively deep in some areas and very swift. Below Bruner Run takeout, there is a hazardous section of rough water. It is very difficult to wade or fish from a drift boat below Ohiopyle. If you take the road to Camp Carmel, you can access the stream, below the rapids downstream. Downstream, the water gets warmer, so you will want to avoid this area in the summer.
Stream Flow and Current Conditions
Be sure to check the stream conditions before heading out to fish Youghiogheny River. The USGS stream gauges near Confluence, PA and then further downstream at Ohiopyle, PA provide 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.
Youghiogheny River below Confluence, PA
- Temperature: 52.7 ° F
- Streamflow: 1120 ft³/s
- Gage height: 2.75 ft
Youghiogheny River at Ohiopyle, PA
- Temperature: 52.7 ° F
- Streamflow: 1100 ft³/s
- Gage height: 2.16 ft
Best Time to Fish Youghiogheny River
The season for Youghiogheny River is standard Pennsylvania trout season. Fall is the best time to visit, as you will find larger brown trout during this time due to the spawn. You can also have success in the spring, but be sure to check the water levels before you head out.
You can fish the Youghiogheny in the summer, as the water stays cool throughout the hottest months. In the winter, you’ll find a decent population of midges even on the coldest days.
Best Flies for Youghiogheny River
Throwing big articulates streamers is a good way to target the large rainbow trout that inhabit the Yough. The bigger trout feast on the high numbers of fingerling trout the state and local organizations stock.
Important hatches in the Spring on the Yough are little black stoneflies followed by caddis flies (olive and tan), Quill Gordons, March Browns and sulphurs. The summer brings Slate Drakes that hatch till September giving way to blue-winged olives and then October caddis.
Here is a list of generally recommended fly patterns for the Yough:
- Adams (#12-16)
- Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail (#12-18)
- Soft Hackle Hare’s Ear (#12-18)
- T.H. Soft Hackle Caddis Pupa (#14-18)
- Hare’s Ear Nymph (Olive & Tan) (#12-18)
- Rubber Legged Stoneflies (#8-12)
- Bead Head Giant Stone (#6-12)
- TH Zebra Midge (#16-20)
- Midge Dry (#18-26)
- Midge Larva (#16-20)
- Egg (any) (#12-16)
- Wooly Bugger (Black, Olive, White) (#6-10)
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 5-wt fly rod with floating line is perfect for fishing dry flies and small nymphs on the Youghiogheny River. You'll want a 6-wt or even 7-wt rod if you plan to throw big streamers in search of big trout. A tapered 9-foot leader, with tippet size 3X to 5X to match the flies you are throwing, is pretty standard.
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!
Youghiogheny River Fishing Reports
Area fly shops and on-line retailers that publish Youghiogheny River fly fishing reports are listed below:
The Youghiogheny River from the dam downstream to its confluece with the Casselman River is closed from April 1 until the season opener. Trout season in southwest PA begins the third Saturday of April.
A portion of the Yough is managed under All Tackle Trophy Trout (ATTTO) regulations. The ATTTO section runs from Ramcat Run downstream nine miles to the Route 381 bridge in Ohiopyle, about one-quarter mile above the Ohiopyle Falls.
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.
Youghiogheny River fishing regulations are available on the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission website.
Trip Planning Tips
The nearest airport to Youghiogheny River is Pittsburgh International Airport. You can travel to any major or municipal airport in Western Pennsylvania and arrive at your destination after a few hours of scenic driving.
There are a variety of campgrounds to choose from in the area. Kentuck Campground in Ohiopyle State Park is right on the river and a great option. Montour Trail Campground is located in Southwestern Pennsylvania and offers close proximity to many other quality fisheries in the region. Comfort Inn is a reasonably priced lodging option, with comfortable and clean rooms.
As long as you exercise caution, you will have an excellent and unforgettable experience at Youghiogheny River, no matter when you choose to visit.
Feature Image by Dancytron