Clinton County’s Fishing Creek includes picturesque features
Editor’s note: This is the third in a five-part series of articles on best fishing streams by Walt Young, outdoor writer for the Altoona Mirror.
Dozens of streams throughout Pennsylvania are named “Fishing Creek,” and some of those waterways do indeed produce good fishing.
But one of the most interesting and popular of the Keystone State’s many “Fishing Creeks” is the one that flows through Clinton County.
This Fishing Creek has also produced two state-record trout: a former record brown trout — the 15-pound-plus monster caught by fly-fishing legend Joe Humphreys in 1977, and the current record brook trout, a 7-pound fish caught there in 1996.
The headwaters of Fishing Creek run west through Sugar Valley for about 15 miles to the village of Tylersville. Most of this area is private property and presents almost no public access to the stream.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission operates a fish hatchery at Tylersville. The next five miles of Fishing Creek downstream from that facility offer ample fishing access, and a road closely parallels the stream at most points.
This section is also managed under two sets of special fishing regulations. From a bridge at the Tylersville hatchery downstream more than a mile to the boundary of State Game Lands 295, “Trophy Trout Artificial Lures Only” regulations apply.
Fishing here may only be done with artificial lures or flies on spinning or fly tackle. Fishing is permitted year-round with a daily limit of two trout 14 inches or longer from the opening day of trout season through Labor Day.
The next two miles of Fishing Creek downstream are managed as “Catch and Release Artificial Lures Only.”
The rules in this section are similar to those of “Trophy Trout Artificial Lures Only” except no trout may be killed or taken at any time in this section. The two miles of Fishing Creek downstream of the “Catch and Release Artificial Lures Only” section return to “Trophy Trout Artificial Lures Only” regulations.
The five miles that comprise the special regulation areas are undoubtedly the most popular section of Fishing Creek for a host of reasons. Here, the stream flows through a rocky gorge aptly known as the “Narrows,” which transforms Fishing Creek into a uniquely beautiful place as it tumbles over and around boulders and other huge rocks to form deep, mysterious pools, churning pocket water and swift, inviting riffles.
All those amazing features not only provide an enticing setting for anglers but also fabulous habitat for the substantial population of wild trout that live there. Brown trout are the predominate species in this part of Fishing Creek, but brilliantly colored wild brook trout are also present.
Downstream of the special regulations areas, Fishing Creek travels northeast past the towns of Lamar and Clintondale, then under Interstate 80 to Mackeyville, where it turns north to the mouth of Cedar Run near Salona. Most of Fishing Creek in those eight or nine miles run mostly through private property with limited public access.
Anglers should be respectful of landowners and seek permission before fishing on private property.
For about three miles downstream of the mouth of Cedar Run, Fishing Creek is one of a select few streams in Pennsylvania managed as both a “Class A Wild Trout Stream” and “Stocked Trout Water.”
In this area, like all stocked streams, the Fishing Creek is closed to all fishing from March 1 until the opening day of trout season.
From the opening day of trout season until Labor Day, the standard trout regulations apply: five trout per day, with a minimum size of 7 inches.
From the day after Labor Day until February 28, however, fishing for trout is permitted on a catch-and -release basis.
Award-winning outdoor writer and photographer Walt Young, 66, is a lifelong resident of Blair County. Young began fishing and fly tying at the age of 12, and his passion for all things outdoors shaped a career path that has provided him the opportunity to fish throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. He has written and supplied photos for hundreds of magazine articles and newspaper columns about fishing, hunting and nature. Young was selected to participate in the first Fly Fishing Masters Tournament on the Outdoor Life Network. He is a highly skilled professional fly tier who won both the Pennsylvania and New Jersey State Fly-tying Championships multiple times.