Here's everything you need to know about the waterways of Cumberland Valley.
Home of renowned fly-fishermen like Ed Shenk, and known for famous fly-fishing streams including the Yellow Breeches Creek, LeTort Spring Run or Big Spring Creek, fly-fishermen have been traversing the Cumberland Valley since the 18th century. Our scenic streams range from all-tackle Approved Trout Waters to fly-fishing only and no-harvest sections. This area is rife with Class-A Fly-Fishing waters - the highest quality in the state for wild trout fly-fishing.
Discover what makes Cumberland Valley's Carlisle a Trout Town in the article that appeared in American Fly Fishing magazine here.
Our pristine waters are a rare gem among the historically polluted waterways of the East Coast. Geographically, our fertile soil and limestone bed concentration has made the waters suitable for a multitude of healthy fly hatches, specifically mayflies and caddisflies. Spring-fed streams (lovingly referred to as limestoners, due to the type of stone influencing the waters) keep a fairly constant year-round water temperature of 56 degrees, ideal for wild, breeding populations of trout, and year-round fishing opportunities. Fishermen especially enjoy fishing in May, when the fish bugs are most active, and October, when fall foliage is at its peak beauty.
Fishermen can expect to find three types of trout in Cumberland Valley streams: brook, brown and rainbow. Brook trout are commonly thought of as the prettiest of the three types of trout and are the Pennsylvania State Fish. Brown trout are the predominant trout found in our waters. Although they are not a native fish, both wild and stocked can be found. Rainbow trout are usually stocked and tend to be the largest of the three types of trout and the easiest to catch.
Yellow Breeches Creek
The Yellow Breeches Creek is famous for stocked brown trout. Allenberry Resort, located along the creek in Boiling Springs, is an Orvis Endorsed Fly-Fishing Lodge and a premier location for both novice fly fishers and those who are more experienced. Orvis-certified guides are available to enhance your fishing experience.
Down the road from Allenberry, TCO Outdoors is a hotspot for all the gear, equipment and guide services you'll need, and is settled between the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Children's Lake. This outdoor shop offers a broad array of flies, fishing equipment and other outdoor gear, as well as expert advice. Fishing guides can be procured with advance notice, and fishing licenses are available on-site.
TIP: Cold Springs Inn Brewing Company is along the quiet waters of the Yellow Breeches and is a short 10-minute drive from Boiling Springs. After a long day on the water, both fishermen and kayakers will appreciate their changing rooms as well as their beautiful deck, craft beer, and creative menu.
LeTort Spring Run
LeTort Spring Run is considered by some to be the most challenging stream in the world to fly-fish in and was prominently featured in the book Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die by Chris Santella. Fishermen come from around the world to try and reel in a big, wild and colorful brown trout, but the nature of the stream means they are smart and have many places to hide. The section from Bonnybrook to LeTort Park is specifically fly-fishing-only waters. Fishermen near LeTort Park can also enjoy the LeTort Spring Run Nature Trail, which features interpretive signage highlighting industry along the LeTort Spring Run. Click here to see a video with LeTort Spring Run fly-fishing tips from a Cumberland Valley resident.
Big Spring Creek
Big Spring Creek is an excellent spot to fish for wild and stocked trout. While wild brown trout are uncommon in this stream, visitors can choose to visit nearby Huntsdale State Fish Hatchery where they can learn about trout stocking and enjoy watching the huge trout that live in decorative ponds surrounding the hatchery.
Big Spring's true claim to fame is its healthy population of native brook trout living among large and wild rainbow trout. There are only a handful of waters in Pennsylvania that support sustainable wild rainbow trout populations, and Big Spring combines those unique features with ample supplies of cress bugs and other invertebrates that make for large and healthy fish. Wild populations of trout are largely found near the headwaters, while the lower sections provide excellent stocked fishing opportunities.
Other Things to See & Do
Perhaps one of the most appealing qualities of Cumberland Valley streams is their close proximity to each other. Anglers can easily fish a variety of world-class limestones in one weekend, and still have time for other activities like sampling craft brews by following the Cumberland Valley Beer Trail or visiting the Pennsylvania Fly Fishing Museum located in Carlisle.
Planning your fly-fishing trip is also easy to do in Cumberland Valley. Ample parking and access points can be found on the Official Cumberland Valley Map (look for the brown F symbol). More streams, outfitters and angling points of interest can be found on our Fishing Page. Finally, compare rates and find availability using the Cumberland Valley Booking Engine.