Oil Creek, located in Northwest Pennsylvania, is well
known for its medium- to large-sized, abundant population
of trout. Flowing through two counties (Crawford and
Venango), it offers excellent trout fishing and a good
variety of hatches.
Oil Creek begins its journey at Canadohita Lake,
and flows nearly 30 miles through some beautiful land
(including Oil Creek State Park), before emptying into
the Allegheny River near Oil City. Along the way, this
creek passes through two Delayed
Harvest Artificial Lures Only areas. The first
is one mile in length, from the two green posts near
the Drake Well Museum continuing downstream to the
Oil Creek State Park hiking trail bridge. The second
runs a distance of 1.6 miles, from the bridge at Petroleum
Center downstream to the railroad bridge at Columbia
Farm. The first of these areas is located just below
the influx of Pine Creek, and the second is some two
miles north of Rouseville. Both areas provide excellent
fishing that usually lasts into the summer months,
depending upon water flows and temperatures.
The headwaters from Canadohita Lake to near the town
of Centerville are small, and do not attract the interest
of many anglers until the creek reaches the town of
Tryonville. At Tryonville, Oil Creek becomes larger
and much deeper.
Throughout this stretch you'll find big, slow-moving
pools that are broken up by riffles, . Access to this
area can be gained from some of the side roads that lead
off Route 8 and Route 408. A good spot to start is the
Route 408 Bridge in Hydetown. The fishing up here is
good, and continues all the way from Tryonville to Titusville,
where Pine Creek empties into Oil Creek.
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The most interesting fishing; however, is from the mouth
of Pine Creek south. Oil Creek's most popular stretch
runs from the influx of Pine Creek to the Allegheny River.
Within this section, you'll find Oil Creek State Park
and the two DHALO areas. The water here offers some beautiful
pools, riffles, and runs. It flows over a gravel and
rock bottom, and has a good, average depth which holds
fish well and provides some fine angling for both holdover
and stocked trout. Large trees and shrubs line the banks
of the creek in certain areas, which help provide shade.
Route 8 follows the river here and side roads make the
river accessible. T 602, T 635, T 621, and Route 8 all
cross the river and provide access. A bike trail is located
along the first DHALO area noted above, running from
T 602, at the top of the first regulations area, to the
Petroleum Center at the top of the second DHALO area.
To access the creek from some of these areas, you'll
need to walk a short distance. During the summer months,
trout will either hold in some of the deeper pools, or
move to nearby feeder creeks seeking refuge from the
warmer water temperatures.
Caddis are one of the main attractions on Oil Creek.
You'll find a few different Caddis (including Tan Caddis)
emerging in good numbers here. Dry-fly fishing on Oil
Creek is excellent during the spring and early summer.
Mayflies, such as Sulphurs and Gray
Fox and a few others, hatch on Oil Creek in good
quantities. Terrestrials offer excellent dry-fly fishing
in late spring and during the summer months, weather
permitting. You also should carry along a variety of
nymphs and streamers in your box.
Oil Creek is a wonderful, good-sized, productive
stream. Its two DHALO areas are open year round. Most
local anglers have been known to fish Oil Creek with
regularity, and they love it. There are plenty of reasons
you should give Oil Creek a try the next time you're
in Northwest Pennsylvania.