Rating the best trout streams in Warren County
Rating the best of anything is a good way to start an argument, maybe the most certain way to do it. This is just for fun, though. If anyone disagrees, I would be happy to see their own top 10 list with reasons for being on the list as I do here. So for whatever it is worth, this is my list of the top 10 trout streams in Warren County, which considers
things that make streams good for both spin fishers and fly fishers. Accessibility is a major factor.
We start with number 10 and continue on to number 1, the best trout stream in the county.
No. 10 Brokenstraw Creek would rate considerably higher if not for all of the land that has been posted ‘no trespassing’ along the banks. It is one of our larger trout streams, which counts for a lot. There are many places where fly fishers can back-cast, and there are perfect long runs for drifting flies. It has a good mix of riffles and pools. Several riffles are plenty deep to hold trout. Flowing through farm country on much of its course, it is more fertile than most, if not all, forest streams.
No. 9 East Hickory Creek gets my number nine spot. This creek is stocked, and in the Hickory Creek Wilderness it holds wild brook trout. Reaching the creek in the wilderness area requires more walking than other trout streams on this list, which is one reason this beautiful water makes the list. It provides variety on the list.
No. 8 Caldwell Creek is a tributary of Pine Creek, which is among our larger trout streams. Pine Creek is not often fished by anglers from Warren, being closer to Titusville. Access is reasonably good, but at the courtesy of private land owners. It is a nice creek for fly fishing or spin fishing.
No. 7 Caldwell Creek has a 1.49-mile Catch-and-Release Fly-Fishing Only section, which, of course, makes it very popular among fly fishers. However, this moves it behind the creek’s West Branch. Trout hold well, providing year-round trout fishing.
No. 6 West Branch Caldwell Creek has a 3.12-mile Catch and Release Special Regulations Area. This great program allows year-round trout fishing. It is well stocked. Access is quite good. Fishing can be done only with artificial lures, either spinning lures or flies. All trout caught must be immediately released, so there are usually plenty of trout. Trees shade much of this stream which helps keep the water cool during summer.
No. 5 Farnsworth Branch is a great trout stream for several reasons. Among these, access is excellent since the upper half flows through the Allegheny National Forest, and it is a good size for anglers to catch trout. Those factors means it is very well stocked. Plus, there is a co-op trout hatchery at the upper end of the most accessible stretch. After the first few weekends of trout season, fishing pressure drops considerably. This is almost exclusively brook trout water. Hemlocks and other trees along the banks keep the water cool through summer, and their roots provide excellent hiding places for the trout.
No. 4 West Branch Tionesta Creek is one of the more popular trout streams in Warren County. It is well stocked, including Chapman Dam Reservoir which it feeds and outflows. It’s headwaters include one in the old growth tree area at Hearts Content. Though a tiny stream, it holds some small, wild brook trout. Catches in the upper area of the West Branch about a half-mile downstream may be a mix of wild and stocked trout.
No. 3 East Branch Tionesta Creek is another creek with good access, including access close to roads. It is well stocked, yet there is surprisingly light fishing pressure after the first three, or four, weekends of trout season. It is a fairly large creek for this area, and is suitable to fly fishing for anglers who can make a variety of casts.
No. 2 At the number two spot is Tionesta Creek, the ‘Big Tionesta’. This is the second largest trout stream in Warren County. It is a great place to fish for trout with any legal method. There is plenty of water where fly fishing is excellent, with room for back casts. One of my personal favorite fishing methods on this creek is drifting bait under bobbers, which avoids most snags while keeping the bait close to bottom through long stretches of water with little variance in depth.
No. 1 How can anything but the Allegheny River be the number one trout stream in the county?
The special regulations section of the river from the Kinzua Dam to the mouth of Conewango Creek, a distance of about 8 miles, can be float fished, fished from the bank or by wading. Fly fishers have fallen in love with this water. It is rated as one of the best big trout waters in the East. Trout in the 16-inch to 22-inch class are common, and some trout reach 10 pounds. Anything that pulls a scale to 6 pounds is very good.
Honorable mentions go to Brown Run, which is well stocked with pretty good access, and is within bicycle or walking distance of the east side of Warren. Also to Minister Creek which is in the Wild Brook Trout Enhancement Program. Brook trout fishing is allowed year-round with no tackle restrictions. All brook trout must be released. Special regulations apply only to brook trout.