Here's a sampling of 36 great fishing trips to consider as you make your 2010 Keystone State fishing vacation plans. (February 2010)
Keystone State anglers have so many excellent fishing options open to them that it would take several lifetimes to visit them all. Lake Erie is a world-class fishery for walleyes, smallmouth bass, steelhead and salmon. The state's many rivers are swimming with bass, muskellunge and trout. Pennsylvania has countless waters offering anglers chances to take trout, walleyes, saugers, catfish, crappies and more.
Here's a list of best-bet fishing holes to visit on your 2009 angling trips:
Tiger Muskellunge: Foster Joseph Sayers Reservoir
This 1,730-acre warmwater fishery is a great hardwater destination for tiger muskies when safe ice has formed.
Sayers Reservoir is also home to largemouth and smallmouth bass, yellow perch, channel catfish and crappies. Panfish Enhancement Area regulations apply.
Access is within Bald Eagle State Park off state Route 150 about midway between Milesburg and Lock Haven.
Walleye: Pymatuning Reservoir
At 17,088 acres, this is the largest lake in the Keystone State inside our largest state park. Pymatuning's hardwater focuses on walleyes as well as perch and crappies. The lake is also home to largemouth and smallmouth bass and muskies.
Access sites include the Jamestown Day Use Area, marinas in Espyville and Linesville and the Shenango River.
Yellow Perch: Hills Creek Lake
Winter anglers report exceptional success with yellow perch at this 137-acre lake in Hills Creek State Park. This lake is also on the Bass Masters Tournament Rotation, and has given up largemouth bass weighing over 8 pounds. Hills Creek Lake is also home to muskies, walleyes, smallmouth bass and crappies.
The park, in Tioga County, is north of U.S. Route 6 midway between Wellsboro and Mansfield. Access is also available from state Route 287 between Tioga and Wellsboro.
Largemouth Bass: Lower Woods Pond
This 91-acre pond in the Wayne County town of Lebanon is managed under Big Bass Regulations and the Brood Stock Lakes Program. Fish large, lively shiners at various depths to find pods of feeding bass.
In addition to bucketmouths, anglers can expect to catch walleyes, chain pickerel and bluegills. Access is off Lower Woods Road in Lebanon.
Muskellunge: Rose Valley Lake
This 389-acre reservoir has given up a good number of big muskies in recent years. The lake is stocked with muskies and walleyes and is home to largemouth bass, chain pickerel, yellow perch and crappies.
Access is off Lake Road in Rose Valley.
Brook Trout: Parker Lake
This 20-acre lake within Parker Dam State Park is stocked with brookies in spring, fall and winter. Parker Lake is managed under Extended Season Regulations that allow anglers to take trout through the end of February.
The park may be reached off Interstate Route 80 via Exit 111 in northern Clearfield County, and then Route 153 north for 5.5 miles. Turn right onto Mud Run Road. The park is about 2.5 miles ahead.
Striped Bass: Delaware River
Stripers travel as far upstream as the I-80 bridge to spawn, but the best fishing is found in the Philadelphia area. Successful locals use live bait including blueback herring, alewives, eels and bloodworms.
There are several special regulations in effect on the Delaware, so be sure to check the current law book before heading out.
Check DeLorme's Pennsylvania Atlas and Gazetteer, maps 95 and 96 for multiple access sites and area details.
Rainbow Trout: Beechwood Lake
This 67-acre lake in Tioga County is part of Pennsylvania's Early Season Trout-Stocked Waters Program. That makes it one of a few special waters open to trout anglers from March 1 to March 31 (no fishing from April 1 to the opening day of the regular trout season). This electric motors-only lake has also been stocked with walleyes.
Access is off Ackley Road in Clymer Township. Check DeLorme's PAG, Map 35, for details.
Largemouth Bass: Harris Lake
The Northeast Region office of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission sits on the shore of this 30-acre pond in the Luzerne County town of Sweet Valley. The lake is managed under Big Bass Program rules.
In addition to bucketmouths, the lake offers anglers opportunities for chain pickerel, crappies and bluegills.
Access is off Sweet Valley Road.
Brown Trout: Yellow Creek
This Bedford County Approved Trout Water features 10 miles of stocked stream. From Loysburg downstream, the creek flows through Loysburg Gap where large boulders, deep pools and fast riffles provide perfect habitat for fat trout. Early hatches here include Blue Quinn, Quill Gordon, Sulpher Dun, Green Drake and Light Cahill. Later in the season, try Trico, Slate Drake or Terrestials.
For access, take Route 26 north from Route 30 and travel to Route 36 into the village of Loysburg.
Steelhead : Elk Creek
Many Lake Erie tributaries offer great fishing for steelhead in spring and fall. Elk Creek is the largest and most popular of the Great Lake's tributaries. Special regulations apply, so be sure to check before heading out.
Elk Creek enters Erie about one-half mile west of Route 18 in Girard Township and is stocked with steelhead and brown trout.
Check DeLorme's PAG, Map 26, for access details.
Rainbow Trout: Bull Creek
This Allegheny County creek is spring-stocked with rainbows and brown trout. Much of the creek is managed as Approved Trout Water, but one stretch upstream from Millerstown is a Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only area.
For more information, check DeLorme's PAG, Map 44.
Crappies: Speedwell Forge Lake
This 106-acre lake in Lancaster County is an excellent destination for spring crappies. This species has a soft mouth, so go easy when setting the hook. The lake is also home to largemouth bass, channel catfish and bluegills.
Speedwell Forge Lake is managed under Big Bass Program and Panfish Enhancement regulations. Shore access is plentiful and boating is with electric motors only.
Access is off Brubaker Valley Road in Elizabeth Township. Check DeLorme's PAG, Map 79, for details.
Brook Trout: Halfway Lake
Halfway Lake is part of 695-acre R.B. Winter State Park. This coldwater fishery is stocked with browns, rainbows and brook trout. Access to this Union County water is off state Route 192 about 18 miles west of Lewisburg.
Check DeLorme's PAG, Map 63.
Walleyes: Lake Augusta
This 3,060-acre lake within the Shikellamy State Park is a portion of the Susquehanna River created by the world's largest inflatable dam.
Access is off County Line Road north of Shamokin Dam.
Access to the Shikellamy Marina is off state Route 147.
Smallmouth Bass: Shawnee Lake
This 451-acre lake within Shawnee Lake State Park is a great destination for bronzebacks. Try casting a yellow Mr. Twister spinnerbait near shallow structure.
Bass may be taken here through April 17 and again from June 13 through Dec. 31, with a four-fish aggregate limit on all bass species and a 15-inch minimum length.
The lake is also home to largemouths, northern pike, walleyes, muskies, pickerel, catfish, and crappies.
Rainbow Trout: Hunters Lake
This popular 117-acre stocked trout water in the mountains of Sullivan County offers anglers a shot at rainbows and brook trout.
Access is off Brunnerdale Road in Shrewsbury.
Saugeyes: Cloe Lake
This 27-acre lake in Jefferson County is stocked annually with saugeye fingerlings. The lake is also home to largemouth bass, walleyes and bluegills.
Cloe is part of the Early Season Trout-Stocked Waters Program. Fish habitat structures have been added to the lake over the years as part of the Cooperative Fish Habitat Improvement Program. The lake offers easy shoreline access.
Boating is limited to electric motors only. Access is off Cloe Lake Road in Cloe.
Check DeLorme's PAG, Map 59, for access details.
Walleyes: Lake Somerset
This 253-acre lake is an excellent destination for anglers targeting walleyes. Trolling plugs and spoons take the majority of walleyes over the summer months.
Home to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission's Southwest Region office, Lake Somerset falls under Big Bass Program regulations.
There are two access areas, and only electric motors are allowed.
Check DeLorme's PAG, Map 73, for details.
Channel Catfish: Kyle Lake
This 165-acre lake in Jefferson County is stocked with channel cats. The lake is managed under the Big Bass Program, so some special regulations apply.
Access is off I-80 onto Kyle Run Road.
Carp: Canonsburg Lake
Shoreline fishing is allowed at this 76-acre impoundment. Boating is limited to electric motors only.
Access is off U.S. Route 19. Check DeLorme's PAG, Map 70, for more access information.
Smallmouth Bass: Lehigh River
This limestone-fed river stays cool right through the dog days of summer. Fish small crayfish or hellgrammites in the stretch of river from Jim Thorpe to Coplay.
For access details, check DeLorme's PAG, Map 67.
Hybrid Striped Bass: Hammond Lake
This 640-acre impoundment in Tioga County yielded high numbers of stripers, according to biologists. Fish sampled ranged from 18 to 26 inches.
Flathead Catfish: Allegheny River
Deep pools along the Allegheny, especially the stretch from Pittsburgh through Venango County, are known for giving up some big flatheads. Fish deep holes and areas near sunken boulders with cut bait or live chubs.
Check DeLorme's PAG, maps 33 and 44.
Coho Salmon: Lake Erie
These big salmon move closer to shore each fall as they prepare to swim up the tributaries of the Great Lake. Erie is also a great destination for trout, smallmouth bass and walleyes. For multiple access sites, check DeLorme's PAG, maps 26 and 27.
Largemouth Bass: Nessmuk Lake
This 60-acre impoundment in the Tioga County Borough of Wellsboro is managed as a warmwater fishery, with largemouth bass topping the list.
Only electric motors are allowed. Access is off Central Avenue (Route 287).
Smallmouth Bass: Beltzville Lake
This 949-acre lake is inside Beltzville State Park.
There's a three-lane launch ramp and courtesy dock at Pine Run East Launch along the northern shore.
Access to much of the northern shoreline can be had via Pohopoco Drive. The Preacher's Camp launch has two ramps on the southern shore.
Largemouth Bass: Juniata River
Fish poppers, crayfish imitations, large dry flies and terrestrials in this Bedford County river to attract big bucketmouths. Try night-fishing with noisy topwater lures.
Check DeLorme's PAG, Map 74, for more information.
Tiger Muskellunge: Donegal Lake
This 90-acre impoundment, also known as Fourmile Run Dam, is a wonderful destination for anglers looking for beautifully marked tiger muskies. The lake is also home to saugeyes, rainbow trout and channel catfish.
Donegal is managed under Early Season Trout-Stocked Waters Program regulations. There are two boat launches and only electric motors are allowed.
Access is off Fourmile Run Road. Check DeLorme's PAG, Map 73 for additional details.
Rainbow Trout: Little Buffalo Lake
This 88-acre lake, also known as Holman Lake, is within Little Buffalo State Park. This is a year-round Approved Trout Water that is stocked each fall with fat rainbow trout. The lake also is managed under Big Bass Lake regulations.
To get there, go one mile out of Newport on Route 34 south, and then turn right onto Little Buffalo State Park Road.
Northern Pike: C.F. Walker Lake
This 239-acre impoundm
ent in the Snyder County township of Adams is a warmwater-coolwater fishery providing anglers with opportunities for big, toothy pike. Use lures that imitate the pike's natural diet -- small fish, frogs, tadpoles, crayfish, snakes and big water bugs.
Check DeLorme's PAG, Map 63, for more details.
Saugers: Bessemer Lake
In addition to saugers, Bessemer Lake contains rainbows and brown trout. Fishing from shore is permitted and boating is limited to electric motors only.
Access is off West Poland Road in Bessemer. Check DeLorme's PAG, Map 56, for access points.
Chain Pickerel: Kaercher Creek Lake
This 31-acre impoundment in Berks County offers anglers excellent shoreline access along the north shore, plus two fishing piers. Boating is limited to electric motors.
Access is off Old Route 22 in Hamburg.
Rainbow Trout: Tuscarora Lake
This Schuylkill County lake, an Approved Trout Water that is open year 'round, is stocked with rainbow trout each fall. Fish with salmon eggs or small night crawlers to tempt hungry rainbows.
The lake is within Tuscarora State Park, two miles west of Tamaqua.
Muskellunge: Belmont Lake
This 172-acre impoundment in Wayne County is managed under the Brood Stock Lakes Program. Belmont is stocked with muskies and walleyes.
Access is off Route 670 (Belmont Turnpike).
Largemouth Bass: Pinchot Lake
Bucketmouths are the top winter species at this 340-acre lake within Gifford Pinchot State Park.
Pinchot is also home to hybrid stripers, muskies, catfish, walleyes, crappies and sunfish.
The park is accessed from Harrisburg via the Lewisberry Exit off I-83 south to Route 177 south.
Check DeLorme's PAG, Map 78, for area details.