Little Juniata River, located in the Southern region
of Central Pennsylvania, is a river that's making a comeback
with help from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission
and environmental awareness. Throughout the 1960s, raw
sewage and pollutants from local mills ran into the Little
Juniata from towns above. Cleanup started in the early
'70s and today, the Little Juniata is a large river with
large deep pools, moderate water, and prolific hatches
supporting the thousands of fingerlings stocked by the
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission each year. This
river is one of the finest in the State of Pennsylvania,
running through two counties (Blair and Huntington).
Above Tyrone, the Little Juniata is a marginal stream
that is supported by only a few water sources. Once the
river passes through Tyrone, it runs through limestone
cliffs, making it a true limestone river. It continues
south and when it reaches the village of Spruce Creek
it picks up numerous, different sized, limestone springs
that help keep its water temperatures down during the
hot summer months. The PFBC has designated 13.5 miles
of the river as an All
Tackle Catch and Release area. This area is from
the railroad bridge at the east (downstream) border of
Ironville downstream to the mouth.
In the village of Spruce Creek, you can gain access to
the river via paved roads that run along it. For about
a mile downstream from the R 45 Bridge at Spruce Creek,
both sides of the Little Juniata are posted against trespassing.
Just after this area, the Little Juniata flows through
Rothrock State Forest (Barree Gorge) and only is accessible
by walking trails.
CLICK FOR MAP
This area of river has many deep pools, riffles and
prolific hatches. Casting and wading in this area can
be extremely difficult. Be careful, as some of these
deep pools run right along the bank.
Below the Gorge to SR 305 near Petersburg, the river
can be accessed from paved roads once again. Just below
where SR 305 crosses, the Little Juniata merges with
the Frankstown Branch to form the Juniata River. This
section of river has many deep pools and fast-moving
water that can be very dangerous. In addition, you can
easily trip on the boulders that lie beneath the water
surface. Be sure to bring along a wading stick for additional
Overall, the Little Juniata produces good hatches,
and they are getting better each year. Water temperatures
can reach the low to mid '70s during summer's peak
heating. The majority of the fish are brown trout,
and keep in mind that only fingerlings are stocked.
The fish take on the similarities of wild trout very
quickly, and you'll find many truly wild river-bred
fish around, especially from Spruce Creek to the mouth.
Visit a local fly shop to gain a better understanding
of the hatches you'll find on the Little Juniata River
at any particular time.
Since the Little Juniata is making a comeback, isn't
it time you came back to fish this river in the Southern
region of Central Pennsylvania?