Description: About Youghiogheny River
The Youghiogheny River, located in Southwestern Pennsylvania, is a great tailwater fishery that has recovered well from a past mine acid spill. Cold water from the Youghiogheny Reservoir Dam, located near the town of Confluence, helps support a good population of trout. Since the mine acid spill, hatches on the Youghiogheny also have recovered well and are getting better each year. This large tailwater fishery, averaging 150 feet across in most spots, has the potential of being one of the better quality rivers in Pennsylvania.
The Cassleman River and Laurel Hill Creek both enter the river just below Confluence. Back in 1993, a mine acid spill into the Casselman River also polluted the Youghiogheny. This unfortunate disaster has since been controlled with lime that has neutralized the mine acid. Now, Mayflies and trout are beginning to flourish again. The section of river from the dam at Confluence to Ohiopyle is considered by many as the finest stretch of trout water on the Youghiogheny. Here, the river is at its coldest, surging from the dam in the low 40-degree range and increasing as the water migrates downstream.
The Youghiogheny is a large river and should be treated as one. It is dangerous, especially in high water, with difficult wading conditions. This river is extremely deep in areas, with swift currents and large boulders making each step a challenge. Trout will hold on the edges of soft seams and pockets where they can relax in the soft currents and intercept passing food.
To locate your best dry-fly water, look for flat pools, softer runs, and eddies. Here, the river is accessible by either a bike trail that traverses the western side of the river, or by floating it from Confluence to Ohiopyle. The State stocks brown and rainbow fingerlings in this area, and good-sized holdover trout in the 12- to 16-plus-inch class are caught with regularity.
From Ohiopyle to the Bruner Run Takeout, the river is a swift, rugged, and challenging piece of water. Just below Ohiopyle, there's a 40-foot waterfall over which boats cannot pass. If you're floating the river in a raft or canoe, you must pull out before the falls, or put in after the falls. Below the falls, the river is very rough and difficult to wade. Although trout are abundant in this part of the river, rafters floating through here represent the majority of people who use this seven-mile stretch to the Bruner Run Takeout. Access to this section is difficult due to the lack of roads, but you'll find a small path that follows the river downstream. Hiking into this section and fishing it can be very challenging. If you really want to fish this section, your best bet is by bike, or to drift from below the falls at Ohiopyle to the Bruner Run Takeout.
Below Bruner Run, the Youghiogheny River still offers quality trout fishing. Just below the Bruner Run Takeout there is a series of rapids and rough water. And below the rapids, the river mellows somewhat, giving anglers more fishing opportunities. Keep in mind that this area is very remote, so access can be difficult, like much of the river. A road leading to Camp Carmel provides access to the river. Another option for fishing this area is biking and floating, like the rest of the river. You'll find some good numbers of trout here, mixed in with some warm water fish such as bass and panfish. Keep in mind that the farther away you are from the dam, the warmer the water temperatures.
Pittsburgh International Airport
Light Cahill #14-16
Best Time to Fish:
Tail Race section down stream to Ohiopyle
Yough River campground parking area