Elk Creek Steelhead
Copyright 2019 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Elk Creek (Lake Erie)
Elk Creek is Pennsylvania's largest tributary of Lake
Erie. It enters the lake at Girard Township on State
Route #18. Elk Creek begins near the McKean exit on
Interstate Highway #79, at the little village of
Sterrettania. It also flows under State Route #98 near
Fairview and the covered bridge on Gudgeonville Road.
Upstream of there the creek passes under Interstate
#90, then U. S. Route #20 in Girard and finally under U.
S. Route #5 in Lake City before entering Lake Erie. Fly
fishing Elk Creek for steelhead is very popular.

Elk Creek is a steelhead and brown trout stream. Both
species are stocked by the state. During the early fall
season, steelhead move into the stream reaching up to
about the Route #5 Bridge but progress farther
upstream as the weather turns cooler. During the winter
months the steelhead as far upstream as Interstate #79.
The river is fished mostly for brown trout in the early part
of the trout season but by early Summer, the water
becomes too low and warm for steelhead and trout.

The mouth of the creek is popular for steelhead fishing
in the early Fall when the water is low and clear. The
water is slow moving and fairly deep. The area from the
parking lots near the mouth up to the Route #5 bridge
may hold steehead in the early part of the season.
Another popular access is at the steel bridge on Elk
Park Road. Girard Park also provides access.  The
"American Legion Hole" is yet another popular access
point but you can count on it being heavily fished. When
the fish move farther upstream, they can be caught
upstream of the Gudgeonville covered bridge but the
area is difficult to access.  Another access farther
upstream is at Folly's End Campground near Fairview.  
From there upstream the Elk can be accessed at
"Streuchen Flats". There are also several small access
points along Sterrettania Road. There's another popular
area south of the intersection of Interstate #79 and West

Elk Creek steelhead average about five to eight pounds.
That's a little smaller than some of the other Lake's
tributaries. There are good numbers of them and they
can get larger.

Steelhead will hold near the mouth during the early fall
when water levels are low. After heavy rains, they will
move upstream. With high water levels the fish move
upstream  above Route #79 and farther into the
headwaters depending on the levels.

The trout season is from early Fall to late Spring..
Springtime is the best time for Elk Creek trout.
During the Summer, the water is too low and warm for
trout or steelhead.
Chinook and Coho Salmon run in the Fall. They are
followed by the steelhead.
Wintertime is the best time for Elk Creek steelhead
Type of Stream

Brown Trout (Stocked)
Coho Salmon
Chinook Salmon


Northwestern Pennsylvania

Nearest Town
Lake City

Species Dependent - See Below


Special Regulations

Non-Resident License
State of Pennsylvania

National Weather Service Link

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Elk Creek Pennsylvania Fishing
Report :
Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (sales@perfectflystore.com)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.

2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.

3. Email us (sales@perfectflystore.com)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.

All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $100 are shipped via
Priority Mail.  
06/24/14 We will resume the fishing reports on Elk Creek (Lake Erie) approximately October
1, 2014. Please check back with us then.
10/07/14 Recent rain has brought the fish up the creek and angers are catching them.
More rain is forecast and that should make it even better.
Eggs are working.
Fishing Report Updated 10/28/19
(Bottom Of Page)
10/14/14 More rain is forecast and that makes it even better. Conditions should be great this
coming weekend.
11/10/14 Some steelhead being caught on nymphs, eggs and steamers. See all our Great
Lakes Steelhead Flies
12/04/14 Water levels have been okay and fish are scattered but being caught on eggs,
streamers, nymphs and Spey flies.More rain this weekend should help
12/21/14 High and muddy conditions at this time. Keep track of the stream levels.
02/02/15 Cold water and ice has been a problem. If you fish it, do so on the warmest days
and at the warmest time of the day
02/24/16 Anglers are catching a few fish but the water is still very cold. The color is good and
swinging is working.

04/12/14 Customers catching some fish in the upper section of the creek. He is using  the
Green Sedge and Giant Black stonefly
Elk Creek Pennsylvania Fishing Report - Archive:
03/07/16 It is finally warming us some and anglers catching a few steelhead. The creek is full of
them and now is a great time to hook up with them.
06/19/16 We will resume the report about October 1, 2016, so check back with us.
08/22/16 It is not too early to begin planning that next salmon or streelhead trip. Send us and
email at:
10/02/16 Customers are sending in good reports. Steelhead are in the river and Sucker
spawn flies are working great.
10/30/16 The steelhead are up in the creek more so than near the lower end. Nymphs and egg
flies are working good. Our Veiled Bead-head egg fly and Estaz egg flies are working good.
11/06/16 The reports are good and bad but mostly good. There are a lot of fish in the river
but scattered throughout.
11/13/16 The water has been high the past week but back to normal levels. Customers
reported catching steelhead even though the water was stained.
USGS Stream level data: Brandy
Run (Elk Creek) Pa
11/27/16 The veiled beadhead egg fly, Giant Black stonefly steelhead nymph, Green sedge
steelhead nymph and othes are catching steelhead. The stream levels have been up but
falling back to not far above normal.
01/01/17 The stream levels is in good shape but watch them closely. They change fast. This
past week has been good for our customers. Most fish came on Steelhead nymphs like our
Cinnamon Sedge pupa and Giant Black stonefly nymph. I would call the action average but
not hot.
01/15/17 The stream level is back to normal flowing at 6.6 cfs at 1.77 ft. The water is a little
warmer at about 36-38 degrees.
01/22/17 Good numbers of steelhead are being caught on the upper sections of the creek.
The forecast looks decent but sooner or later, will be getting colder. Now is the time. The
Perfect Fly Veiled Crystal BH egg fly, Estaz Egg flies and Black Stonefly SH nymph and Green
Sedge larva are all working good for two of our customers.
01/29/17 There is a lot ice ins some sections and the water 34 to 35 degrees at the warmest.
There are plenty of steelhead in the river but the cold water has slowed the "catching" down.
02/12/17 The flows and water levels are still high due to heavy rain and melting snow. At least
this has got rid of some of the ice but it is cold again. Watch the levels and fish when it drops
back down.
02/27/17 The water levels have been high recently but back down to normal. Swinging flies
and nymphing worked for one customer yesterday.
03/13/17 The stream levels are in good shape now and the water clear. We should be getting
some good reports.
03/10/17 The stream levels are back in good shape for a change. The weather is going to be
very warm and the action should pick up. There are a few fresh steelhead, and some
dropbacks. The steelhead fishing is getting close to being done for the season.
09/24/17 The steelhead fishing is beginning to get good. The river has them in the lower and a
few in the upper sections. Our Sucker spawn flies will be catching their share of them. The
cooler weather this weekend should be a help. More rain is needed.
10/02/17 The creek is low and clear. Rain is needed. The steelhead are here but higher water
is needed. Now is the time to get prepared with flies, leaders and other gear.
10/30/17 Steelhead are entering the creek and a few being caught. Water levels are about
normal at this time. Email us for a recommended fly list.
11/21/17 Our customers are catching lots of steelhead. It is mostly egg flies but swinging and
nymphing under an indicator is also working good.
11/28/17 More good reports of steelhead being caught came in from customers this past week.
Conditions remain good. Swinging, egg flies and steelhead nymphs under indicators all work.
12/02/18 The stream is running a little low. Steelhead nymphs are working better than swinging
or eggs. The water is cold but some steelhead are still being caught.
04/18/18 More good reports are coming in on the steelhead. There are plenty of fish in the
river. Swinging and steelhead nymphs under indicators are catching the most.
07/21/19 Now is a good time to get your flies and gear ready for fall fishing. Shoot us an
email and let us help you do that.
08/15/19 Done until the Fall season gets here.
09/21/19 The salmon and steelhead season is approaching. Now is the time to get your flies
and gear ready.
10/02/19 Steelhead are in the lower river but the level is low and clear. Rian will bring more in
and move them upstream.
10/20/19 Steelhead are being caught in good numbers by customers. Conditions are good.
Send us an email for a recommended fly and gear list.
10/28/19 The stream levels arebelow normal, but in good shape for Trout. Steelhead are
probably holding at the mouth until levels come up for them to move upstream. Good hatches
are taking place. Midges rigged in tandem are working as well as Sculpin patterns.