First Fork Sinnemahoning is a premiere freestone Trout stream located in the heart of gods country. It is nestled between two mountains with its origins near Prouty Place State Park. First Fork exhibits typical freestone characteristics. As a result of Spring rains and snow melts the water levels are typically high and fast moving in the Spring. In the early Spring water temperatures have a tendency to remain cool throughout the morning and early afternoon. As the day progresses water temperatures do warm and allow Trout and hatches to become more active. As Summer approaches water levels recede leaving behind an almost completely different creek. As with most freestones Summer fishing will require long leaders and a delicate approach. First Fork does have a decent amount of cool water tributaries that often provide enough cool water to allow for productive Summer fly fishing.
First Fork is very long and has many different characteristics. There is a stretch below Stevenson's Dam that is heavily fished the first few weeks after opening day. This section is heavily stocked by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat commission and provides a lot of opportunities for the put in take out fisherman. On opening day you would be hard pressed to find a spot to fly fish but after the first couple of weeks this stretch would be worth a shot. As Spring draws to a near this stretch warms quickly and it's water level can drop dramatically. This is a very popular stretch for Smallmouth throughout Summer.
There is a great deal of productive water above Stevenson's Dam. Much of this is also stocked by the PFBC and you will find many put in take out fisherman frequenting this area but with less concentration than below the Dam. As Spring draws near to an end and Mayfly hatches are in full swing, this water will remain cooler than the lower stretch because it does not have a chance to be warmed in the lake. There is a Special Regulations section within this stretch that holds some very nice water. Click here to be taken to The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission's explanation.
Access is fairly good with Route 872 traversing the majority of the creek. There is private property and you will undoubtedly run into some posted signs but in general there will be an abundance of places to fish. If you are visiting the creek after the big opening rush many landowners may be glad to give you access to the creek.
I will not say that wading is easy because I know better than anyone that just as you think it's easy your swimming with 10 gallons of water in your waders. What I will say is that you usually know what your getting into on First Fork if fishing after Spring snow melts and rains have receded. The water is crystal clear and if you pay careful attention and take your time most it it is very navigable.
If you need more information on First Fork a great resource is the Bucktail Watershed Association. You can be taken to their site by click on this link.
Hatch Information: First Fork has a great hatches! The hatches will not be extremely dense and their overall duration can be short but they will consistently bring trout to the surface. Another thing you may want to try is a crayfish pattern; the first time I was on this creek I was amazed by the quantity and size of the crayfish. Trout are also very responsive to early season hatches and the Summer midges. Be sure to check out the Central PA Fly Fishing Hatch Chart!
Stream Conditions: The USGS monitoring station at Wharton is a good indicator of the upper stretches of First Fork. Water levels near and above 5.0 feet are going to be difficult for dry fly fishing.
Fishing Reports: Click on the link to enter the Central PA Fly Fishing Reports. See how others are doing on the water or take a minute to post your own successes.
Sinnemahoning Lodging & Restaurants : Hungry? Need a place to stay? Click on the this link to be taken to a page dedicated to helping you find local restaurants and lodging that are close to the water. All of these local services can also be located on the interactive map.
Interactive Map: Click on this link to be taken to an interactive map of the area. In addition to being able to see where to fish, you can also get printable directions on how to get there and locate local services in the area like fly shops, restaurants, lodging and guide services.
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