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Penns Creek is Pennsylvania’s largest, and longest limestone stream. Bubbling from a cave located about 15 miles east of State College, the stream stays modest in size until it reaches Spring Mills where it is joined by Sinking Creek. At this point, Penns Creek becomes larger in size, and an excellent trout stream for wild and stocked brown trout, as well as stocked rainbows.
To many anglers, Penns Creek means Green Drakes. The big, floppy mayflies appear in tremendous numbers in late May and early June and attract crowds of anglers to the stream.
Canoeing on Penns Creek is possible in early spring, but becomes more difficult as water levels decrease during the summer months.
Penn's Creek is Pennsylvania's longest limestone stream, flowing easterly from its headwaters at Penn's Cave, several miles north of Spring Mills on PA Rte 45, to Selinsgrove, where it is tributary to the Susquehanna. The focus of most trout anglers is the portion of the stream from Coburn, where Elk Creek provides a significant dose of cold water, to Cherry Run near Weikert. The entirety of this eleven mile stretch is under special regulation, with trophy trout rules applying in the upper seven miles and catch-and-release in the lower 3.9 miles.
Penn's Creek is as close to a wilderness limestone stream as exists in the Keystone State. Vehicular access is very limited; significant hiking is necessary to sample the entire length of the special regulations area. A wide array of hatches can be enjoyed on Penn's Creek, with Grannom Caddis being the first to appear in April. This magnificent and truly scenic stream also boasts great March Brown and Sulphur hatches, and the Green Drake, appearing in early June, is a beacon for anglers from all over the country. A strong population of stonefly nymphs provides year round fodder for its trout as well.
Regrettably, there is a downside to Penn's Creek. Because of the extensive agriculture along its upper reaches, Penn's Creek muddies quickly and can take a long time to clear. Due to its size and bottom characteristics, Penn's Creek can be difficult to wade when flow levels are good. Felts and a wading staff are highly recommended. The trout on this stream are notoriously finicky and fickle [also true of Spring Creek fishes], probably because of the wealth of food available to them.
Ingleby (PA Forestry)
Poe Paddy (State Parks)
Regulations & Licenses:
Information courtesy of Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Check out our State College Fishing Guide for more information.