Pennsylvania proudly offers over 150,000 acres of lakes and ponds, an array of rivers, and a vast section of Lake Erie, to recreational fishermen. Pennsylvania is a high point for fishing that is home to trout, bass, catfish, salmon, and walleye.
Trout are a premier sporting fish thriving in the state. Several varieties can be found in Pennsylvania; Brown, brook, rainbow, tiger, palomino and steelhead. For quality, turn to the aptly named Fishing Creek which provides humongous trout. Fishing Creek was the location for a record breaking seven pound trout. Kinzua Dam is known for its quantity of several trout varieties, along with a considerable population of muskellunge and walleye.
Lake Erie and its extending tributaries provide the state’s best fishing, and a rare opportunity to fish for steelhead trout. Walnut Creek is a popular tributary of the lake, known for steelhead trout. Lake Erie also has salmon, yellow perch, bass, walleye, and many more. The minimum length of trout (and salmon) for removal is seven inches. Nearly four million trout come from stock replenished by the state.
Second only to Lake Erie, Lake Raystown boasts some fine fishing. Not only trout, but bass, salmon, catfish and perch. Pennsylvania is home to many types of bass, with Raystown featuring small and large mouth, rock, and striped. Bass must be twelve or fifteen inches, depending on the time of season and fishing location.
For river fishing the Susquehana River is a top notch location. Small mouth bass are found in abundance, along with muskellunge, walleye and catfish, to name a few. As one of the largest rivers on the East Coast the Susquehanna yields ample fish and smooth waters.
Please note that many fish are only able to be caught in certain seasons. Removing shad and river herring from the Susquehanna is always prohibited. It is also illegal to remove mussels and clams, as well as fish for paddlefish, and spotted gar, throughout the entire state.
Pennsylvanian law requires a fishing license to be held by those over sixteen who fish, and for those who remove bait fish from the water. Licenses are available for periods of one day, annual, three year and five year. Non-residents of the state may opt for tourist licenses of one, three, or seven days. Fishing for trout, salmon, and fishing on Lake Erie, requires special permits.
All licenses are obtainable online, by mailing a completed form, or in person at an agency providing licensure (including Fish and Boat Commissions). Once granted a fisherman should visibly display their license while fishing. If you do not have a license you can still fish on Fish For Free days!
Fishing regulations are more varied in Pennsylvania than in other states; Certain locations allow only catch-and-release fishing, prohibit the use of live bait, or require a fish to achieve a minimum length for removal. Many fish have maximum daily limits. Any agency that issues fishing licenses should provide a free book summarizing this state’s laws. Before fishing it is best to check the regulations of the area you plan to fish in!
Whenever you head out fishing to a new place, it's always best to speak to local anglers. Use fishing forums to ask questions and learn about the most accurate and up to date conditions.