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TCO Fly Shop in State College is located in the center of Pennsylvania, surrounded by five of the East’s most revered limestone trout fisheries. Diversity of waters and fishing scenarios is perhaps the finest attribute of this area, and the famous Spring Creek is within sight of TCO’s main shop. Big Fishing Creek, Penn's Creek and Spruce Creek as well as the Little Juniata River are all within a brief, scenic half hour drive. Countless freestone trout streams and the Juniata River’s phenomenal smallmouth fishery are also within easy reach.
Trips of any length can be arranged.
All fishing in the Central Pennsylvania area is based on day trips. Overall, trips of all lengths can be accommodated, from single day trips to multi-day packages.
Accommodations can vary from local bed and breakfast to standard hotels. There are literally hundreds of lodging options throughout the area. Please feel free to contact us here at Yellow Dog and we will be happy to make suggestions or help in any way with recommendations and logistics.
Central Pennsylvania is home to some of the world’s great limestone wild trout fisheries. Limestone creeks are blessed with fairly constant flows and temperatures. As the water bubbles from the ground into the creeks, it "leaches" some of the limestone rock, giving streams a fertility that is unmatched in standard freestone environments. These historic streams are dominated by wild brown trout that will challenge your skills and awe you with their beauty.
SPRING CREEK - Totally confined within Pennsylvania’s Centre County, Spring Creek begins life at the base of Tussey Mountain, near the village of Boalsburg. Spring Creek is Pennsylvania’s premier brown trout fishery with more wild fish per mile than any other stream in the state. Limestone feeder creeks - Cedar Run, Slab Cabin Run, Logan Branch, and Buffalo Run (wonderful wild trout streams in their own rights) - provide cold, fertile, limestone waters to Spring Creek’s already trout-friendly flows. Spring’s most productive water flows north, for 20 miles, to it's confluence with Bald Eagle Creek at the town of Milesburg. But populations of both wild and stocked trout thrive far below this point. Trout average 10-12 inches, but Spring also maintains a good trout population from 13-20 inches and larger. The entire stream, from it's source to it's mouth, is catch and release, ensuring that these fish will stay in the stream, ready to challenge your skills. Come armed with your best nymphs, dry flies, and streamers.
BIG FISHING CREEK - Fishing Creek originates above the town of Tylersville and flows north east into Bald Eagle Creek at Mill Hall. But the section referred to as the “Narrows,” near the town of Lamar, is by far the most popular with anglers. A large spring at the Tylersville’s state hatchery adds a healthy dose of cold, limestone water and the necessary nutrients to produce one of the state’s finest wild brown trout fisheries. Anglers from all over the world come to fish this stream and its abundant hatches. Wildlife encounters are common within Big Fishing Creek’s beautiful, untamed, heavily shaded valley. White tail deer, black bears, turkeys, and coyotes are a possibility any time an angler decides to fish the “Narrows.” Fishing Creek’s dynamic geology enables anglers to fish varieties of water types more commonly found in freestone streams, from fast flowing riffles, to runs, to slow, glassy pools. Wild brown trout up to 16 inches and native brook trout up to 12 inches are often caught in this section. But fishing during the famed green drake hatch, or high-water streamer conditions, can produce the occasional leviathan brown trout (this is where Joe Humphreys caught his state record brown trout while night fishing). Fishing Creek is often the most productive Central Pennsylvania trout fishery during periods of extreme summer heat and low water.
PENNS CREEK - Penns Creek’s 35 miles of trout water make it Pennsylvania’s longest limestone trout stream. Many people associate Penns Creek with Penns Cave - Pennsylvania’s only water cavern, where tourists glide through the dripping darkness in long, metal, motor-powered boats. The stream exiting the cave, called “Upper” Penns Creek, is small, averaging 15 to 30 feet wide. This is the coldest section of Penns Creek, and though the state stocks this section with rainbow trout, very good numbers of wild brown trout are also present. Upper Penns flows for approximately 13 miles from Penns Cave to the town of Coburn, where it is met by two pure limestone streams, Elk and Pine Creeks. Another important addition at Coburn is the maze of rocks, boulders, and gravel that fill the stream bed from this point downstream, providing excellent habitat for trout and aquatic insects. Nearly every species of caddis, stonefly, and mayfly that exist in the eastern U.S. lives in Penn’s Creek, creating a hatch-matching paradise. This 11 mile section, downstream to Weikert, is rated "Class A" wild trout water (Pennsylvania’s highest designation) and it is not stocked. Trout average 12-13 inches but 14-16 inch fish are common and larger fish are a real possibility. Much of Penns below Coburn is rimmed by Bald Eagle State Forest’s 195,624 acres.
LITTLE JUNIATA RIVER - The Little Juniata River, a 35 mile tributary of the Juniata River, begins humbly in Altoona when several small streams merge. Known locally as the “Little J” or simply the “J,” the river flows northeast from Altoona through the Logan Valley. This part of the river is a freestone fishery for predominantly stocked trout, but that changes quickly when the Little J bends sharply southeast at the town of Tyrone. Below Tyrone, the Little Juniata flows against high limestone cliffs and receives in-flows from dozens of large limestone springs which cool the river and add nutrients. The river’s deep, chalky-green pools and numerous riffles create the perfect environments to grow truly large trout. The J is a beautiful river, dotted with hand-cut stone railroad arches. But it becomes particularly scenic below Spruce Creek’s convergence, as it flows through the roadless “gorge” section within Rothrock State Forest. More than 13 miles of the Little Juniata River, from the bridge at Ironville to its confluence with the Frankstown Branch near Petersburg, are regulated as "All Tackle Catch and Release." This special protection ensures that the river’s wild brown trout are able to thrive and attain proportions that are uncommon in the Northeastern U.S. In addition to the wild trout, Pennsylvania stocks 30,000 brown trout fingerlings into the river each year.
SPRUCE CREEK - Spruce Creek is known as the "trout stream of Presidents." Many have come to fish its chalky limestone water which teems with huge brown and rainbow trout. Perhaps the most well-know is Jimmy Carter, who continues to make pilgrimages to Spruce Creek each year. Spruce Creek is the Little Juniata River’s largest tributary, but unlike the “J,” nearly all of Spruce is privately owned. Penn State University maintains a small half mile stretch that is open to the public, but that’s where the open water ends. TCO is fortunate to offer access to a private section of Spruce Creek that holds some of the largest trout in the Eastern United States. But availability is very limited, so call quickly to assure your spot on some of the most exclusive and productive trout water in the country.
TCO is one of the largest full service fly shops in the U.S. They stock all of the finest brands, and offer everything that you need for your day on the water. Rental equipment is also available through the shop.
The State College area is blessed with a huge number of non-angling activities. Sports fans will enjoy the area's many golf courses or games by two local Pittsburgh Pirate minor league baseball teams. The close proximity to Penn State University allows you to witness the roar of a Penn State home football game after a morning’s fishing. Shopping is endless near State College. Options range from large malls and chain-stores on the outskirts of town, to quaint specialty shops downtown, and large and small antique stores. Perhaps you’ll want to spend time on the many hiking and mountain biking trails through the state forests and state game lands or visit one of the several lakes in the area. Penns, Indian, and Lincoln caves also offer guided tours deep into the earth. These natural wonders were formed by the same elements - limestone and spring water - that make the area trout streams so special. Or maybe you simply want to dine in some of the area's many restaurants, sample beer from local breweries, or savor genuine Amish baked goods from local stands.
Most anglers will drive to State College or one of TCO other shops throughout the area. Directions can be provided upon booking.
Day trips are offered and available seven days a week.
All prices are for one or two anglers
Full day ------------------------------------------------------------------- $325.00
Half day ------------------------------------------------------------------ $275.00
* Remember that Yellow Dog's services are completely free! When you book a trip with Yellow Dog, you never pay more than when you book directly with the lodge or outfitter.
(Half day trips do not include lunch, but do come with snacks and non-alcoholic beverages.)
Yellow Dog has a full in-house travel and reservations system, and can assist with airline tickets, hotels, transfers, and all travel logistics for every destination that we offer. Contact us at 888-777-5060 or email@example.com for more details on airfare ticketing, travel services and trip insurance.
Essentials for Trout Fishing in Central Pennsylvania