Katching Keystone Kats

Hello, I have recently moved to Pennsylvania, (south central), and being from the coast of Washington State the fishing here is totally different to me and I am going crazy trying to figure out the fishing around here. I lived in Missouri for just long enough to get hooked on catfishing but can’t seem to find any places around my local area where I can find them, except the Susquehana, (or however the hell you spell it), and the fish there are polluted. Are there any known, published or not, places where I can find them here? I have a wonderful girlfriend that I introduced to fishing and she loves it, (so I’ll keep her), but I really want her to experience catfish. The little fish that can be found like bass and crappie are o.k., but I really want her to know what it’s like to hook into a big fish that can fight. Any ideas on how I can find them close to Carlisle, PA?

Pennsylvainia has a very healthy catfish population. There are places to catch trophy-size whisker-fish all over the state. Almost any of the larger impoundments are great places to start. Both Flatheads and Channel Catfish inhabit the lakes and larger rivers of the Keystone State. Here are few good places to start. The Ohio River has classic big-river catfishing opportunities. The Ohio River produced a new state record not too long ago, beating the old recoprd that had stood for almost 20 years. The Ohio is spanned by 3 Locks and Dams; Elmsworth, Dashfields and Montgomery. Tailraces below these areas should be prime hotspots. Near the mouths of feeder-creeks is also a good place for really large, healthy specimins, such as Sewickley Creek, which enters the Ohio near the Dashfields Dam. ANother good spot is where the Beaqver River enters, near Rochester. The Middle and Lower Allegheny River has excellent populations of both Flatheads and Channel Cats. The Upper reaches are a bit cold for Cats, but the water warms up nicley downstream. The Alegheny is a shallow river with deep holes interspersed. This is where you will find the cats. Cut-bait and punch-bait drifted through the holes can incite wild and crazy action. Don’t ignore the dams at Rimer, Mosgrove, Kittanning, Clinton, Freeport, Natrona, Acmeonia, and Sharpsburg. There are even fishing platforms at Rimer, Mosgrove, Clinton and Freeport. The Monogahela is a sorely overlooked big-river catfishery. There are large populations of Flatheads and Channel catfish, just waiting to be caught, here. Good places to start are the landings below the dams at Point Marion, Greys Landing, Maxwell, Charleroi, Elizabeth and Braddock. The Susquehanna River, Delaware, and even the Schuykill Rivers all have good catfish populations. Shenango River Lake, Lake Arthur , and Blue Marsh Lake are all good destinations for lake catfishing. For directions to these spots, or more information, you can contact the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commision at (717) 705-7800, or visit their website at www.fish.state.pa.us/dir. Happy Fishing!


Dan Eggertsen is a fellow catfish fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on catfish fishing since 2004.

2 Responses to “Katching Keystone Kats”

  1. donald says:

    Hello,
    Welcome to PA. You do have a good woman and a keeper. Night fishing is the best with large baits. For better water check online for the feeder streams that flow into the Susquehana. I would start at the closest to where you live and broaden your search. Also, check in at bait shops in your area. They can get you into a general area and save a lot of time. I lived in PA. for many years over in the Pittsburg area. I do know the Juniata is very good and the water is pretty clean. I do know some good spots but they are on the other side of the state. If you are eating the fish you would need to be more careful. I only fished for the fun and always released my fish.
    Good Luck and keep us posted.

  2. Aaron says:

    I fished the Susquehana this past summer with a friend that lives in the Harrisburg area. Being an avid flathead angler from pittsburgh, we decided to give flathead fishing a try. We caught 6 over 25 inches the first night. The largest being a 32″ flat. Use small-mid sized live sunfish as bait. Have fun!!!

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