march brown mayfly in pennsylvania

The best flies for fishing in Pennsylvania

What are the best flies for fishing in Pennsylvania? It depends on the situation. Exact location, time of year, weather and the species you are pursuing all come into the equation. In this guide we will tell you the best flies for trout fishing in PA.

Fishing is popular in Pennsylvania. The state has more than 86,000 miles of rivers and streams. That's the most of any state after Alaska! Most of these waters contain fish. Many contain trout, which one of the most popular fish species in the Keystone State.

We are based in Pennsylvania, and we have a lot of experience fishing here. We have customers all over the United States and even the world. A significant number live or fish in PA.

Many have asked us which flies they should use in Pennsylvania. So we've created this guide.

Keep in mind that most of these flies will work across the country. Insects and hatches in nearby states like New York and West Virginia don't differentiate substantially from PA. 

Top ten flies for Pennsylvania

We could tell you the 10 patterns we sell most to customers in Pennsylvania. Though the most popular flies are not always the most effective. So instead, we will tell you the 10 best patterns for trout fishing in Pennsylvania based on our extensive experience.

In no particular order, they are:

  1. Green weenie
  2. Pheasant tail nymph
  3. San Juan worm
  4. BH woolly bugger
  5. Adam's
  6. Black ant
  7. Elk hair caddis
  8. Hare's ear nymph
  9. BH Copper John
  10. Adam's Irresistible

While some of these flies are great for matching the hatch, they are also generally effective patterns that can be fished year round. The green weenie was even created in Pennsylvania, so you know it works here!

Pennsylvania fly hatches

Generalist flies and attractor patterns can be used year round. Though there are times when you want to match the hatch and fish with flies that imitate what the fish are eating.

Pennsylvania is a fairly large state with different climate classifications and hardiness zones. That means that hatches aren't necessarily uniform from Erie to Philadelphia. Still, we can give you a general idea about the various fly hatches in Pennsylvania and when they occur. We can also tell you which flies work best during these hatches.

 Insect Hatch dates Fly to use
Little black stone Feb 15 - Apr 15 Black Elk Hair Caddis #12-18
Little blue winged olive Mar 1 - Apr 30 BWO Parachute #18-22
Little black caddis Mar 1 - May 20 Black Elk Hair Caddis #16-18
Quill Gordon Apr 1 - Apr 30 Quill Gordon #12-14
Red Quill Apr 10 - May 10 Red Quill #14-16
Grannom Apr 10 - May 15 Elk Hair Caddis #12-16
Pale Evening Dun May 5 - June 10 Pale Evening Dun #18
Golden stonefly May 5 - June 30 Yellow Stimulator #8-12
Little Sulphur May 20 - June 10 Sulphur Parachute #18
Eastern Green Drake May 20 - June 15 Green Drake #10
Giant stonefly May 20 - June 15 Orange stimulator #6-8
Light Cahill May 20 - June 20 Light Cahill #14-16
Yellow sally Jun 1 - Aug 10 Yellow Stimulator #14-16
Trico Jul 10 - Oct 15 Trico Spinner #18-26
White fly Aug 10 - Sep 10 Blonde #10-12
October Caddis Sep 20 - Oct 20 Elk Hair Caddis #10

Remember that hatches are effected by weather. Water and air temperatures give insects the cue to hatch, breed, and lay eggs. Weather is variable. Unseasonably warm or cold weather can change hatch dates from one year to the next. Though this chart is reliable as a general reference.



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