Western Pennsylvania anglers have access to a wonderful variety of fishing locations. While our fly fishing friends target trout in the mountain streams, others prefer angling with spinning and bait casting rigs in lakes Wilhelm, Arthur and Erie. Whatever your preference, consider visiting our rivers as they offer fantastic fishing opportunities, straightforward navigation and many public launches.
Three of the largest rivers in western Pennsylvania are the Allegheny, Monongahela, and the Ohio. Each of these waterways has characteristics which provide excellent fish habitat. For example, the rock filled river beds and banks of the Middle and Upper Allegheny provide cracks and crevices that spawning fish desire. Additionally, these cracks and crevices are home to crawdads and other creatures which are a primary source of sustenance for a wide array of fish. The result is an excellent fishery, just an hour drive north of Pittsburgh.
Because the rivers in the Pittsburgh area aren't incredibly wide or deep, they're relatively easy to navigate. While fishing in more urban, industrialized areas, you'll surely encounter increased commercial boating activity, so understanding and following maritime laws is paramount to maintaining a safe environment. Barges represent the primary commercial watercraft on our rivers. Boaters should respect the wakes created by these behemoths and keep in mind that the turbulence barges impose on the river bottom stirs up a cornucopia of food. When a barge wave crashes near the shore, have your rod ready as nearly all species of fish feed opportunistically.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) has developed a network of public boat launches throughout the state. Most of the launches are easily accessible with large parking lots and wide, paved launch ramps. While very convenient and easy to use, specific rules and laws need followed when utilizing a PFBC launch. For a complete list of boat launches and applicable rules and regulations, see the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission website.
The next time you're looking for a new place to test your angling skills, find a local launch and enjoy the day on one of western Pennsylvania's beautiful rivers.