100 Best: Kettle Creek
Location: Northcentral Pennsylvania
Type of stream: Freestone
Angling methods: Fly
Species: Brown, brook trout
Supporting Services: Renovo
Short take: Great caddis!
Handicapped Access: Yes
Closest Chapter: Kettle Creek
If there’s a go-to fly for Kettle Creek, it’s the tan caddis. They are prolific from April through September. Bring a dozen #16s and another dozen #18s and you’re set. Of course you don’t want to overlook the staples of central Pennsylvania fly fishing: little black stones in March; Hendricksons and blue quills in April and May; sulphurs, blue-winged olives, and drakes from May into June. Then it’s terrestrial time.
Quickest way to reach Kettle Creek is to go north and west on Route 120 from Lock Haven to Renovo. Turn onto Route 144 which will take you into the upper Kettle Creek watershed.
The road “Ts” after the bridge crossing Kettle Creek. Cutting through a modest flood plain, here the stream is fairly slow. Just downstream from the bridge, the stream ambles into the lake at Kettle Creek State Park. Rather than turning south toward Kettle Creek State Park, head north toward another, Ole Bull. As you approach the park, the road crosses the creek. From 500 feet below the bridge upstream for 1.7 miles is delayed harvest water. At Oleona, the creek bends east and is crossed by Rt. 44 a little ways up stream. From the north, Long Run flows in. Here begins one of Pennsylvania’s Wild Brook Trout Enhancement Projects. From this point on, Kettle Creek, Long Run, and all tributaries—a combined length of more than 28 miles - are open to fishing all year. There are no tackle restrictions, but all brook trout must be released unharmed.
Under the leadership of Amy Wolfe, Trout Unlimited and the Kettle Creek Watershed Association have long been active in habitat improvement projects. They partnered with the state and others to complete six projects on a 3.5 mile run of Cross Fork Creek. In 2004, TU began to apply lessons learned from the very successful Kettle Creek strip mine restoration project to the entire headwaters of the West Branch of the Susquehanna. This is, without a doubt, the largest acid mine drainage mitigation project in the East.