Elk Creek is a tributary of Lake Erie located in Northwestern
Pennsylvania. It is a quality fishery for lake run steelhead.
The creek's best fishing for these strong acrobatic fish
is from early fall throughout the winter and into the
early spring (generally from October 15 till May 1).
It also has an occasional run of Chinook and Coho salmon.
These fish can show from mid - September till late October.
The creek is also stocked with trout for the regular
The creek is Pennsylvania's largest tributary to feed
Lake Erie. It is generally a slow to moderate flowing
creek with some fast pools, riffles, and runs. The
steelhead that enter Elk Creek average smaller (5-8
pounds) then some of Lake Ontario's tributaries. There
are steelhead that enter the creek in the 15 plus pound
range, just not as many. The overall numbers of fish
that enter the creek can be outstanding.
the creek is done in the same fashion as most of the
great lakes fisheries. The most popular method is the
floating line, long leader, and split shot. Same technique
is used here as in nymph fishing for trout. Another tactic
used is lead sacks ("slinkies" on a snap swivel) and
a running line. This is the good method if the river
is very high. You can also use a heavy sink tip line
and a short leader (approximately 5-7 feet). This method
can be productive when using spey flies, woolly buggers,
and egg sucking leeches during periods of warmer water
when the fish are more active. In this method the fly
is swung. The colder the water the slower the swing.
Mending upstream properly will help you accomplish getting
a slower swing.
Access to the creek can be found in many areas. Routes
79 (just below McKean), 98, 90, 20 (just west of Girard),
and 5 (just north of Lake City) all cross the creek.
Route 5 is a good starting point to learn the creek.
From Route 5 venturing up side roads along the creek
will find access in many areas. Other side roads also
cross the creek as well. Fishing the creek can be good
in many areas. It's a matter of finding the fish. The
best way to accomplish this is to listen to fishing
reports and the weather to find out when runs are possible
or where fish have been caught last. Remember that
steelhead are a migratory fish and can be all over
the creek, limited to some areas, or not in the creek
at all. After high water is generally a good time to
try your luck. Sometimes even a couple of overcast
drizzly days can get steelhead to move into the creek
when the water is low. Weather, water conditions, time
of year, and even moon phase can all be factors in
the movement of migratory fish.
Elk Creek is a quality migratory fishery. Many anglers
surge to this river each year to battle its mighty
steelhead. Some anglers also come to Elk for its stocked
trout during the spring and its warm water fishery
during the summer months. Located approximately 2 hours
from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, fishing Elk Creek can
be well worth the travel. It is also a short (1-2 hour)
drive from Northwestern New York (Buffalo) and Northeastern