Closely-Guarded Pennsylvania Catfish Fishing Secrets

March 13, 2010

While the state may not be the first destination that comes to mind for a successful excursion to the lake with your rod and reel, Pennsylvania catfish fishing is actually quite fulfilling in many area lakes and rivers.
Flatheads, bullheads, and channel cats can be found in abundance, and a trip to the nearest fishing hole can be a great family outing. Especially in recent years, with flatheads having appeared in the local waters from their native homes in the Ohio River and Lake Erie drainages in the western part of the state, Pennsylvania catfish fishing has grown in popularity.
In the middle Allegheny River, between Tionesta in the north and East Brady in the south, you’ll find a number of great flatheads and channel cats. This is due mostly to the location of a large warm-water fishery in the area, which spawns catfish as well as other warm-water dwelling species of fish.
In this area, the catfish will congregate upriver in the biggest, deepest pools they can find. There are several dredge holes in the area that make excellent gathering points for catfish. Pennsylvania catfish fishing in this area of the river can produce results both from the shore and from a boat, with inviting shore locations at Oil City, Tionesta, and Reno, where there are a large number of dredge holes (also known as eddies).
If you choose to boat this area, keep in mind that the middle Allegheny River is shallow and free-flowing, and you’ll probably want to opt for a jet-drive outboard or a non-powered boat like a kayak or canoe.
Pennsylvania catfish fishing is also popular in the lower Allegheny River, which consists of the area between East Brady to the north and Pittsburgh to the south.
This portion of the river is impounded by eight lock and dam systems and is 70 miles in length. Like the middle Allegheny, this section of water is home to both channel and flathead cats, though fishing here almost exclusively requires great knowledge and navigation, especially if you plan to fish from the shoreline.
Because shore fishing varies from one dam to the next, you would do best to stick to the tailrace areas below the dams to count on a good catch. Also check out the slack water areas on the lock sides of the dams, especially at the Rimer, Clinton, Freeport, and Mosgrove areas, where there are hydroelectric facilities on the opposite side that provide excellent low-level waters in August, fostering good fishing conditions.