2018 Pennsylvania Fishing Calendar

2018 Pennsylvania Fishing Calendar
Click To Enlarge

PA Fishing Calendar Feature
In today's hectic world, planning your life seems to be a necessity, not only for day-to-day commitments but your fishing time. The goal of this article is to help with that, providing a look at 36 of the state's best angling options — three choices per month, along with a tip for each top choice. Photo By Ron Sinfelt


In all but the most severe winters there's open-water walleye fishing within the 72 miles of the lower Allegheny River. This section features eight lock and dam systems. Walleyes begin collecting in the stretches a half-mile or so below these dams in late fall. 

While some areas of the river will likely have ice cover, hardy anglers who locate access areas close to the dam tailrace areas can often reach these fish. A good example is the area below Lock and Dam 7 in Kittanning, where a boat ramp within the town's riverside park is found nearby.

The action isn't limited to boat fishing. Shore anglers also score, and sometimes have access to areas below the dams that are restricted to boats.

Other Options: If there's safe ice behind Kinzua Dam, a trip to this massive Allegheny River reservoir might turn up some big northern pike. Another option is to try Monongahela River Sauger — if January is relatively mild, tailraces below Mon River locks and dams should be kicking out sauger.

[caption id="attachment_93910" align="alignleft" width="180"]PA Fishing Calendar 1 Click To Enlarge[/caption]


Centre County's Spring Creek is one of the state's many high-quality trout streams. A spring-fed limestone stream, Spring Creek provides a more stable environment than freestone streams. Even in the dead of winter, Spring Creek will likely be ice-free, a great place to spend an afternoon when those unseasonably mild days push the mercury above the freezing mark.

Most of Spring Creek — 16.5 miles — is managed as All-Tackle, Catch-and-Release, meaning you can use fly or spinning gear; both natural and artificials are permitted. Save for some hatchery escapees, the fish are all wild, and mostly browns.

Central Pennsylvania is a trout hotbed, so you'll likely see other anglers. The 'canyon' section — 4 miles of Spring Creek that runs between Benner Springs and Bellefonte — provides a place for secluded fishing for anglers willing to walk. You can park at the Fish and Boat Commission's property at the Bellefonte or Benner Springs hatcheries and walk in from there.

Other Options: Hammond Lake's stout crappies should be available this month, providing there is safe ice on this Northcentral lake. The trout season is open year around for stocked trout on the Shenango Lake outflow, but special regulations apply. Be sure to consult your regulations booklet for details.


Pymatuning continues to be one of the top crappie lakes in the state, though special regulations now apply to this species, with a minimum length limit of 9 inches, and a daily creel limit of 20 in place. Expect to find the first crappie action in the north end of this massive, 16,000-acre lake. This portion warms first. Crappies move into shallow, dark-bottomed bays, often hovering near remaining lily pad stalks. Key areas include Stewart's Bay, and the many extensive bays near the Wilson and Padanarum access areas. Pymatuning is a border lake, shared with Ohio. Pennsylvania anglers can legally fish Ohio waters, but need an Ohio license to fish from any Ohio shoreline.

Other Options: Tulpehoken Creek's Delayed Harvest, Artificial-Lures-Only section below Blue Marsh Dam offers great wintertime trout action. Good trout fishing is also to be found on Lawrence County's Neshannock Creek, which is also on the state's Select Trout Waters program, where extra quality-sized trout are stocked.


Pennsylvania has lots of Pine Creeks, and many of them provide trout fishing. But the tallest "Pine" is the one that flows through Tioga County's Pine Creek Gorge — also know as the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. 

The canyon section of Pine Creek begins near Ansonia. Leonard Harrison and Colton Point state parks are located on the ridges. Many anglers access this section by walking (or biking) in along the Pine Creek Trail.

Other Options: The free-flowing Delaware features the best American shad run on the east coast. These are hard-fighting fish in splendid surroundings. Sayers Lake crappies are abundant. Special regulations apply, as the creel limit is 10, of which only five can be greater than 9 inches.


By May Lake Erie's bubba-sized smallmouth bass will be moving in preparation for the year's spawn. This means lake fish will be in shallow water, which for Erie means anywhere from 5- to 30-feet deep. Rocky humps out in 25 to 30 feet of water should hold some fish, as well as rocky flats near shore. Many of the most productive near-shore spots will be near the larger feeder streams that enter the lake.

May is also the top month for smallie fishing within the comparatively protected waters of Presque Isle Bay. Check out the many hard-bottomed humps that lie south of the entrance to Marina Bay.

Other Options: Penns Creek Trout feed on the famed Green Drake mayfly hatch late this month. Kahle Lake Bluegills should be shallow and on beds this month.


The "Little J" is one of top trout waters in the state, boasting outstanding populations of trout, most of which are stream bred, or the result of fingerling stockings by the Fish and Boat Commission. Over 13 miles of the Little J are managed as All Tackle, Catch-and-Release. There is also DHALO section upriver of the Catch-and-Release waters, as well as a portion managed as put-and-take via the stocking of adult fish. The best June fishing is within the C&R section from Ironville down to the mouth. 

By June water flows are often ideal for quality fishing. During the springtime, there's often too much flow for easy fishing and wading. Most anglers consider flows of 300 cubic feet/second (measured at the USGS gauge at the town of Spruce Creek) to be best.

Other Options: Pymatuning Walleye anglers had a subpar harvest last spring — which means there should be plenty of legal walleyes for this year. Key in on Big Spring Creek's the special trout regulation areas for wild browns.


Chester County's 535-acre Marsh Creek Lake is one of the top destinations for southeastern Pennsylvania bass anglers. It has a substantial number of fish over 15 inches. Fish and Boat Commission surveyed Marsh surveys revealed several year classes of largemouths, indicating good natural reproduction. The lake is limited to electric motors only. Two launch ramps are provided.

Other Options: Rose Valley Lake, which is owned by the Fish and Boat Commission, supports one of the better yellow perch fisheries in the Northcentral region. Juniata River Smallmouth Bass offer excellent sport for thousands of anglers.

[caption id="attachment_93911" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]PA Fishing Calendar 2 Click To Enlarge[/caption]


For Lake Erie's yellow perch anglers, the good action begins around mid-summer and extends into late August, even September. Typically, locating Erie perch isn't difficult — schools of perch will be marked by the flotilla of anchored boats hovering about them. Good sport can be enjoyed from all the popular ports, including Walnut Creek, Erie and North East. The magic depth runs from 50 to 60 feet. There tends to be lots of fish, so don't crowd anyone. Just anchor a respectful distance from others. If you lack the boat to fish for Erie perch, head boat fishing is available on the party boat Edward Johns.

Other Options: French Creek channel cats ban be found by plying the deeper holes of French Creek in Crawford/Venango County. The Youghiogheny River around Connellsville offers good wade- and float-fishing for summertime bronzebacks. 


The lower reaches of the mighty Susquehanna River have witnessed the establishment of a flathead catfish population during the past decade. Come fall the flatheads will begin stacking up in the larger, deeper holes below dams. Whereas summer fishing tends to be exclusively nighttime, in fall flatheads often bite well during the daylight. 

Come prepared with heavy tackle — these fish easily top the 30-pound mark — as well as quality live bait such as sunfish or chubs/suckers. Those not set up for big cats might consider a guided trip with Koinonia Guide Service.

Other Options: The West Branch of the Delaware features great fly-fishing for big wild browns and rainbows. Special regulations apply. Allegheny River trout fishing is good from the Kinzua outflow down to Warren, with plenty of oversized fish. Again, special regs are in place.


By October the middle Allegheny's dropping water temperatures translate to a shift in fish location. They'll be vacating the faster current or the slower, protected areas. Fine smallmouth bass fishing is set in a background of brilliant foliage. Good fishing occurs all along the free-flowing middle Allegheny, from Warren down to East Brady (where the influence of locks and dams, i.e. the lower Allegheny, begins). As the water cools into the 50s more quality-sized fish tend to show up.

Other Options: Conneaut Lake's lunker largemouths and smallmouth begin showing up with greater regularity come fall in this natural lake. Slate Run Trout: Wild browns are the attraction on this delightful Northcentral PA tributary to Pine Creek.

[caption id="attachment_93912" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]PA Fishing Calendar 3 Click To Enlarge[/caption]


Though the Fish and Boat Commission's most recent trap-net survey collected fewer muskies than in past years, the effort still revealed a quality musky fishery, including fish up to 51 inches. Under the best conditions, muskies aren't easy to catch. This is particularly true in Lake Arthur, which has a glut of food fish. Muskies can also be more aggressive during the fall, likely in preparation for the coming winter.

Other Options: Lake Erie tributary steelhead are a top draw when rain descends on Erie County. Head north to steelhead to take advantage of the good flows. Lake Wilhelm largemouth bass are abundant and feed well in moderating fall temperatures.


The 30-odd miles that flow from Pittsburgh to the Ohio/West Virginia border — doesn't offer the most aesthetically friendly view. But the sauger fishing can be good, especially when the populations are on the upswing. Some of the best fishing occurs from the Dashields Lock and Dam downriver to the mouth of the Beaver River, some 10 miles. Along this reach there are several incoming streams, such as Little and Big Sewickley creeks, that form the gravel bars that collect fish.

Other Options: Saucon Creek wild trout thrive in this limestone stream. Raystown Lake Outflow walleyes are among many species available in the outflow area below the reservoir's dam. 

Click here to Subscribe to Game&Fish Magazine

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

MLF Pro Tips: How to Fish a New Lake

MLF Pro Tips: How to Fish a New Lake

Major League Fishing pros Alton Jones, Jeff Sprague, Anthony Gagliardi and James Watson share their thoughts on how to approach fishing a new lake for bass.

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

Fresh off catching the biggest bass in ICAST Cup history, 13 Fishing pro Jessie Mizell shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the new Big Squirm soft plastic worm and the company's unique Pathfinder topwater walking bait that is totally weedless in design.

Lowrance Enters Trolling-Motor Market with Ghost

Lowrance Enters Trolling-Motor Market with Ghost

Lowrance's Lucas Steward shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead what all of the fuss is about in the brand new Ghost trolling motor being brought to market by the Tulsa, Okla.-based fishing equipment manufacturer.

MLF Pro Tips: Go-To Baits for the Spawn

MLF Pro Tips: Go-To Baits for the Spawn

Major League Fishing pros talk about the first lure they choose when targeting spawning bass.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes. Wild Game

10 Recipes for Your Backyard Get Together

Game & Fish Online Staff

Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes.

You can catch bluegill faster with these strategies. Panfish

Find and Fish Bluegill Beds Efficiently

Terry Madewell - May 22, 2019

You can catch bluegill faster with these strategies.

While wildly popular amongst anglers around the world, the IGFA World Record book shows the biggest pike come from Europe. Records

Top 10 Biggest Pike World Records of All Time

Jack Vitek - August 19, 2015

While wildly popular amongst anglers around the world, the IGFA World Record book shows the...

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews of smelly ingredients often used to catch catfish. Catfish

How To Make Your Own Catfish Dough Bait

Keith Sutton - August 04, 2015

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews...

See More Trending Articles

More Other Freshwater

There aren't many better ways to spend a summer night than skewering fish in the shallows. Playbook

Bowfishing from the Bank (Video)

Game & Fish Staff - June 24, 2020

There aren't many better ways to spend a summer night than skewering fish in the shallows.

Bow fisherman arrows fish of a lifetime on South Texas trip. Other Freshwater

240 Pounds! Massive Alligator Gar Taken on Father's Day

Lynn Burkhead - June 22, 2020

Bow fisherman arrows fish of a lifetime on South Texas trip.

Heartbreaker: Record-sized fish caught, released on Valentine's Day doesn't count. Other Freshwater

Right Fish, Wrong Day for 'Record' Paddlefish

Lynn Burkhead - February 21, 2020

Heartbreaker: Record-sized fish caught, released on Valentine's Day doesn't count.

The fish of 10,000 casts is a worthy adversary, and there are plenty of great spots to pursue it in the North Star State. Other Freshwater

Minnesota's Muskie Magic

Gary Korsgaden - June 24, 2019

The fish of 10,000 casts is a worthy adversary, and there are plenty of great spots to pursue...

See More Other Freshwater

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now