The Allegheny National Forest Region, located in northwestern Pennsylvania, offers the angler a wide variety of fishing opportunities - from native brook trout to trophy fishing for muskie, pike, and walleye. The Allegheny (Kinzua) Reservoir and the surrounding hundreds of miles of streams are perfect for trout fishing.
PENNSYLVANIA TROUT SEASON IS OPEN!
The statewide opening day for Pennsylvania Trout Season was April 18, 2015. Fishing is permitted 24 hours a day; minimum legal size is 7 inches. Grey fox, march brown, green drakes and native brown trout can be found in the local waters of the ANF Region. Two areas to try your luck in the search for trout: the East Branch of the Tunungwant Creek for wild trout, and the Allegheny River for stocked trout. Both areas are located in McKean County.
This large, non-chain, outlet sporting goods store is a place where you can talk to experienced staff. They actively use the outdoor equipment they sell. They live, breath and dream fishing, hunting and camping. It is more than likely Josh or Ben will have fished a local stream in the morning before coming into work.
“Shinyis the way to go. If you get glimmer, you’ll get fish to see the lure,” explained friendly store clerk Josh, when asked about some favorite fishing lures. “C.P. Swing Spinning Lure is a favorite; color depends on personal preference. If a fisherman had luck with pink previously, they’ll most likely come in looking for pink again. The store carries a full line of trout spinners, fishing baits and natural salmon eggs. Some of our customers use trout dough bait - you ball it up and put it on a hook. It replicates hatchery pallets so it is good for stocked streams. Just about everyone that walks through the door after trout season opens buys Big Boy Natural Salmon Eggs.”
Trout fishermen will want to invest in a good pair of hip waders. Lacrosse is recommended as a good quality wader that will hold up, and you can purchase a pair in the price range of $100. The store’s extensive collection of trout rods includes ultra-light styles with sensitive tips so you can feel the fish bite. Okoma SST, Celilo, and Saint Croix are just a few name brand rods in stock. Prices range from $25 to over $400.
For kids just starting out, the “Take Me Fishing Box” includes starting tackle, brass baked latch, a full size lift-out tray and a plano tackle system. Part of the sale price goes to support the Future Fisherman Foundation. A full line of men’s, women’s and children’s outdoor clothing and boots are also available.
Kayak Old Towne is a good entry level kayak to get you out on the water. Ocean Kayak and Necky Kayak brands offer sleek lines and elegant lightweight shapes. All are made in the United States. A large inventory makes it easy to view models hands on. Along with kayaks, the store carries a full line of life jackets, as well as a large selection of camping equipment, and a wide variety of turkey calls.
“Turkey season in the spring woods is good turkey hunting,” explained Ben Wentworth, one of the storeowners. “Turkey are plentiful here. The state record came from McKean County in the Minard Run area. Quaker Boy-Easy Yelper, one of the calls we offer, is a good quality, locally made turkey call. When using turkey decors it is better to be very realistic. Turkeys see very well; you’ll want to wear lightweight clothing in total camouflage, including a face mask and gloves. We also offer turkey stands and turkey mounting kits perfect for displaying your trophy. You will need to learn to be quiet and still if you want to be successful.”
Ben and the staff at Sportsman’s Outlet invite you to stop by and chat with them, as the best thing to do is to ask the locals. They will be more than happy to help outfit you with just the right gear for the sport of your choice, and possibly give you a hint or two about a favorite local fishing spot. 500 Chestnut Street, Bradford, PA, phone 814-362-7700.
PENNSYLVANIA FISHING LICENSES FOR TOURISTS
Pennsylvania tourist fishing licenses are available for 1, 3 or 7 days. Resident and senior resident licenses are also available. Licenses are available at over 1,300 licensing agents throughout the state. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s website is full of maps and fishing hot spots along with licensing and fishing season information. Online mapping at www.fishandboat.com/county features other water designations such as special regulations and unlabeled waters too small for statewide mapping. In addition, their online summary book for 2015 includes a current listing of these trout waters specific to McKean County at www.fishinpa.com. Please call 717-705-7930 for additional information; to purchase a fishing license goes to www.fishandboat.com.
WHERE’S THE WATER?
The Allegheny (Kinzua) Reservoir, a 12,000-acre impoundment on the Allegheny River, is the largest reservoir in the Allegheny National Forest. Species include bass, muskie, walleye, crappie, catfish and panfish. The reservoir offers unlimited motorized and non-motorized boating. Boat access is available at numerous locations. Boats are limited to slow, no wake speed in the following areas: Chapel Bay, Morris Run Bay - from Kiasutha to the headwaters above Red Bridge, Willow Bay and Sugar Bay. A Coast Guard approved personal flotation device needs to be worn at all times when onboard boats less than 16-feet in length or any canoe or kayak.
The Kinzua Wolf Run Marina located along Route 59, just miles from Bradford, is a full service marina offering a boat launch with docking, kayak, canoe, pontoon, and fishing boat rentals and gasoline. Docksider’s Café, a seasonal restaurant with scenic views of the water offers outside seating when weather permits. This restaurant is a convenient stop for dining when fishing the reservoir, or to enjoy the beauty of a sunset.
Willow Bay Recreation Area,located along the south shore of Willow Bay, is only a 15-minute drive from the City of Bradford. Cabins at Willow Bay provide access to both stream and reservoir fishing. In addition to the cabins, campsites, tent-only sites, boat to-only sites and a courtesy dock is available along with a picnic pavilion that can be reserved for groups. Reservations for Willow Bay Recreation Area and information on boat and cabin rentals can be made by calling 814-368-4158 or online at www.alleghenysite.com.
Elijah Runis located on the west bank of the Red Bridge campground towards the southeastern tip of the Allegheny Reservoir, within the Allegheny National Forest. A fishing pier, courtesy dock, restrooms and a shoreline trail make this a favorite for shoreline fishing and non-motorized boating. The southern tip of the Reservoir around the Red Bridge area is also excellent for kayaking and canoeing.
Kiasutha Recreation Area, just north of the village of Kane, PA, sits on the southwestern bank of the Allegheny Reservoir. Along with easy access for fishing, camping is available.
Hamlin Lake,in the center of the Victorian village of Smethport, is a stocked trout location. Covering 17 acres, the lake offers non-motorized boat access. An easy access bank with a soft slope makes it perfect for the angler looking to practice their fly-fishing casting skills. A variety of overnight accommodations are available including the Mansion District Inn, which received the #1 Bed & Breakfast TripAdvisor Travelers Award in 2015 and the extended stay Pennsylvania Wilds Vacation Suites. Show your fishing license and receive a 10% discount on your overnight stay! Reservations: 814-598-7403 or www.mansiondistrictinn.com.
Marilla Reservoiroffers an opportunity to fish for both stocked trout and water species such as bass and catfish. Covering 25 acres, anglers can easily access the shoreline from the convenient Marilla Bridges Trail, which is a 1-mile looped trail that circles the reservoir. Boating is electric only with only non-motorized craft permitted. Boat access is car top access as there are no formal boating docks. The Marilla Reservoir is located along Route 346, five miles west of the City of Bradford.
Glendorn, an Orvis-endorsed fly-fishing lodge, offers on-site lakes and trout streams within their 1,500 acres of forestlands near Bradford, PA. This full-service, world class fly-fishing lodge with ORVIS certified guides offers fly-fishing for beginners through advanced, drift boat adventures, trout fishing, casting lessons, and steelhead excursions on Lake Erie.
The perfect choice for Pennsylvania fly-fishing for trout, Glendorn is home to Fuller Brook, a crystal clear, spring influenced freestone stream. Fuller Brook offers the fly fisher nearly three miles of privately managed trout angling ranging from Native Brook trout on the Robbers Nest Branch and Jill Lake Branch to a mix of Browns, Rainbows and Brookies on the main stem. Annual hatches and beginner-friendly fishing offer the best of both worlds for experienced and novice fly-fishers alike. A recently acquired purchase of 200 acres adjacent to the existing property provides an additional mile and a half of Tunungwant Creek - or as locals call it, “the Tuna.” Glendorn also has three trophy trout ponds with all the challenges of stillwater angling. On-premise fishing at Glendorn is all catch and release. Their experienced guides are ready to lead you on a trout fishing journey on one of the many streams in the Pennsylvania Wilds. 1000 Glendorn Drive, Bradford, phone 800-843-8568 or www.glendorn.com.
WANT “IN” ON SOME LOCAL FISHIG HOLES OFF THE BEATEN TRACK?
Barnhavenowner Neil Anderson, an avid local trout fishing enthusiast, will share directions to some of his own little pockets of paradise - pristine streams and tiny creeks full of native brook trout just a few minutes’ drive and a short walk in the woods from his restored barn/vacation home rental.
Neil knows the area well; his family’s been here since the late 1800s. Nearby streams feed into the headwaters of the Allegheny River, the Clarion River, and the west branch of the Susquehanna River, 6 miles from Elk State Park (on the east branch dam of the Clarion River) and 35 minutes from Kinzua Dam.
After a quiet day of feeling like a boy in a time machine, enjoy an evening in Barnhaven’s spacious and rustic comfort, surrounded by fishing literature and art. $100 per person per night, 2 night minimum, includes a complimentary loaf of Neil’s homemade bread and a vintage fishing graphic, ready to frame. 96 Mill Run Road, Mt. Jewett, PA, reservations: 814-778-5852.
The Mountain Innhas streams close by, stocked and ready to go on the first day with easy access for everyone, old and young. A favorite (and the closest to The Mountain Inn only seven miles away) is 7-Mile Creek. Nearby is Marvin Creek along Pennsylvania’s Route 6, Potato Creek on Route 146, and East Branch Dam just a few miles past 7-Mile Creek. 14091 Wilcox-Clermont Road, Clermont, PA, reservations: 814-778-5822.
SHOW YOUR FISHING LICENSE AND SAVE!
Holiday Inn Express, 30 Tarport Extension, Bradford, PA, close to Tunungwant Creek, and minutes from the Marilla Reservoir and the Allegheny Reservoir, is within walking distance of local watering holes and eateries. Show your license and receive a 10% discount. Call for group rates and reservations: 814-362-7090.
Oz’s Homestay, 296 Faulkner Road, Shinglehouse, PA, a fun bed & breakfast close to Oswayo Creek along the New York/Pennsylvania state line, offers a laid back atmosphere, delicious breakfast and an outdoor hot tub for relaxing. Show your fishing license and receive a 15% discount, 716-378-2211.
Mansion District Inn & Pennsylvania Wilds Suites, 905 West Main Street, Smethport, PA, close to Hamlin Lake, Potato Creek and other nearby streams offers a daily bed & breakfast rate or extended stay at Hamlin Lake Haus, along the lake, and Sheriff Sartwell House. Show your license and save 10%, 814-598-7403.
Whispering Winds also offers prime fishing nearby at Tionesta Creek, 2 Mile Creek and 4 Mile Creek. Other close-by waters include the Allegheny River, Kinzua Reservoir and Chapman Dam. 277 Tollgate Road, Sheffield, PA. Show your fishing license and save 10% off non-peak season rates, 814-968-4377
PENNSYLVANIA’S FISH FOR FREE DAYS
Fish-for-Free Days allow anyone (resident or non-resident) to legally fish on Pennsylvania waterways on the designated days with NO FISHING LICENSE REQUIRED (Trout/Salmon and Lake Erie permits are also NOT required). Pennsylvania Fish for free days in 2015 are Sunday, May 24 and Saturday, July 4. All other fishing regulations still apply. Fish-for-Free Days are great ways for families to “catch” the fun of fishing.
PLAN YOUR TRIP
These are just a few of the many fishing and outdoor recreation possibilities awaiting you in the region. To order a free Allegheny National Forest Region Visitors Guide & Map, which includes places to stay, attractions, restaurants and a map of McKean County waterways, call 800-473-9370 or click on www.visitANF.com.