Pennsylvania Springtime Fly Fishing Report

Pennsylvania Springtime Fly Fishing Report

Editor's Note: looking for fly rod storage options for your Flycraft Raft?  Check out Neil's most recent product review of the Swiftcast Rod Holder when mounting it to his Flycraft Guide 3 Person Inflatable Boat. 

Words & Images by Neil Sunday

Although south-central Pennsylvania is currently experiencing a slight cold spell, Spring has "sprung" and the fishing is getting good! We have little black stoneflies hatching on our trout streams (almost on schedule) and also during the brief warm-up the Grannom Caddis decided to make a fun four days of dry fly fishing!

The stoneflies are good for another week or two with the cooler weather forecasted. When they're not hatching, the trout have been eating our stonefly nymph offerings. Size 14 and size 16 simple rubber-legged black stones have produced fish on a regular basis.

Sunday's "Sink Hole Meadow Stone"


Sunday's  "Early Riser Hendrickson"

 We've had success with nine (9) foot 4x nylon leaders, and for tight line nymphing, 5x fluorocarbon tippet has been our "go-to" choice.

Since the trout season is closed for trout fishing until April 6, we are confined to the special regulation areas and warm water fisheries. If hatches aren't happening, consider fishing streamers in some of Pennsylvania's "Marginal" water- you just might get a suprise! Even with the closed season in certain areas-plenty of opportunities exist. 

Some smaller tributaries to larger rivers are seeing the return of smallmouth bass. There has been some good amounts of water in all of our smaller creeks and rivers, and things are shaping up quite nicely for Spring.

We've had some spectacular eats on streamers and swim-flies, and it's great to feel the power these rod-bending bronzebacks possess. There's really no need to go light on the pre-spawn smallmouth, as they feed quite aggressively during this time of year. I've been running 15# Maxima Chameleon attached to a ten foot VersaLeader to get the fly down into range. This setup casts quite nicely with a seven weight fly rod. 

The biggest variable this time of year seems to be the wind. The cold, cold days are behind us, but the wind can make a sunny, Spring day pretty chilly especially in the mornings. Take advantage of any "weather windows" that you can!

- Neil Sunday is a Professional Fly Fishing Guide with Relentless Fly Fishing & TCO Fly Shop with locations in West Lawn, Bryn Mawr, State College, and Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania.


  • Nolan

    Great reading, enjoyed it a lot can’t wait to get out onto the waters!

  • Regis Rusnock

    My home base is Iowa where I enjoy trout fishing the driftless region of north east Iowa. When not there I split my time fishing Southwest Pa, Ohiopyle area or the Rockies around Eagle CO. This article nicely captures why I fish. My River Quiver helps keep me ready to go when I get there. Neil, you are truly fishing PA’s god’s country, nice job on the article, loved the fishing report. Cheers

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