Running through the outskirts and City of Allentown,
the Little Lehigh in Southeastern Pennsylvania is a productive,
limestone spring creek. The parks and regulations that
are a part of this fishery help protect it, even within
the city limits. Many people argue that it's the best
creek in this part of Pennsylvania.
Beginning near Woodside Avenue in Berks County, the Little
Lehigh flows approximately 18 miles northeast towards
Allentown where it meets the Lehigh River. Mertztown
Road parallels the stream along most of its upper stretches
and provides some access along the way. Berks County
stocks the Little Lehigh well, so many fish can be found
before it reaches Lehigh County. However, the fishing
in Berks County is usually limited to early season, before
summertime warming takes place.
Lehigh County is where you'll see most people fishing
on the Little Lehigh. Here, the river flows under several
roads including Route 100, Route 9, Route 29, and Route
309. You can gain access from some of these overpasses,
but the river is most accessible via the smaller side
roads. A DHFFO (Delayed
Harvest Fly Fishing Only) area begins. This area
extends 1.8 miles; From the downstream face of the bridge
on the T-508 Wild Cherry Lane) downstream to the upstream
face of the bridge on T-510 (Millrace Road). This protected
section holds both wild and stocked trout. Although the
average fish are in the 12- to 14-inch range, a good
number of these fish are fairly large in size.
CLICK FOR MAP
From the end of the fly stretch to the Route 29 Bridge,
you'll find more quality water. Downstream from the Route
29 Bridge, there is an area of posted land that runs
to the spot where the Little Lehigh emerges into the
Allentown Park system. Here the stream flows through
meadows and well-groomed lawns. Trees line this area
and help provide shade during sunny days. This area is
within the city limits, but is well disguised from the
people and traffic found in the middle of Allentown.
The upstream side of the bridge at Fish Hatchery
Road marks the beginning of a Heritage
Trout Angling area. This area extends 1 mile from
the upstream face of Fish Hatchery Rail road Bridge
downstream to near the 24th street bridge. Above the
Fish Hatchery Road Bridge sits a large parking area.
Here, from a small foot bridge, you can walk out and
admire the trout holding behind some of the rocks and
fallen logs. Within the Heritage area only barbless
hooks are allowed. This ensures proper handling of
the trout throughout this stretch. Below the Heritage
area you'll come upon a couple more miles of good fishing
until you reach Cedar Creek. Below Cedar Creek, the
Little Lehigh leaves the Park system and is surrounded
by buildings and homes. Eventually the Little Lehigh
meets the Lehigh River in the middle of Allentown.
Most people avoid fishing below Cedar Creek, although
some decent fishing is available there.
Hatches on the Little Lehigh include Blue-Winged
Olives, Sulphurs, and Tricos. There
are a few other small hatches, but most of the dry-fly
fishing consists of those three Mayflies. Terrestrials
and Midges supply the other dry-fly fishing on the
stream. Scuds and small nymphs also work well. And
be sure you don't leave your 7X and 8X tippets at
home when you visit the Little Lehigh.