Jacobs Creek is a 33-mile long stream in southwestern Pennsylvania. It starts as a small tumbling mountain stream, though it is dammed up several times along its length. In its lower reaches Jacob Creek becomes a moderately flowing freestone stream before emptying into the Youghiogheny River.
Jacobs Creek is dammed to form Acme Dam, Bridgeport Reservoir, a section below Bridgeport, and even a pond on a golf course. Oddly enough Jacob’s Creek does not flow into “Jacob’s Creek Park”, where Green Lick Reservoir is located.
I caught this rainbow trout in Jacobs Creek
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) stocks Jacobs Creek twice a year from the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Interstate 76) downstream to Bridgeport Reservoir. Additionally, Barren Run Sportsmen stocks Jacobs Creek along Creek Road near the mouth. Jacobs Creek is also home to a number of native species like bass, sucker, and chub.
To some extent Jacobs Run is historic. The stream was purportedly named for a Native American called Chief Jacob. European settlers entered the region in the 18th century. Native Americans were established in the region long before that. Along with numerous distilleries, grist mills and mines, the area was also home to the first iron-chain suspension bridge in the United States.
Fish Species in Jacobs Creek
Jacobs Creek is home to many species of fish. The upper reaches hold stocked brook trout, rainbow trout, and brown trout for much of the year. The lower reaches of Jacobs Creek are also stocked with trout by a group called Barren Run Sportsmen.
Parts of the stream also contain largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, bluegills, rock bass, white suckers, northern hogsuckers, redhorse, creek chubs, johhny darters, and even the occasional carp, freshwater drum, sauger, and walleye. Fish like these can also swim out of an impoundment like Acme Dam or Bridgeport Reservoir and into the stream.
I was not the first person to catch this largemouth bass in Jacobs Creek
Trout stocked in the upper parts of the creek may be able to hold over throughout the summer depending on the weather. The lower reaches are too warm to hold trout through the summer, though they are sometimes stocked there in the fall.
All the native fish like bass, chubs, and suckers can be found in the stream year round. Though they are a lot more common in the lower part of the stream.
Fishing in Jacobs Creek
Jacobs Creek flows through a lot of private land. There are also several sections of the stream that are open to the public. They include the portions of the stream that flow through Chestnut Ridge Park, Bridgeport Dam Park, Kendi Park, and State Gamelands Number 296.
The sections of stream stocked with trout are nearly all on private property. They can still receive a good amount of fishing pressure. Anglers tend to concentrate around bridges and pull-overs near roads. Some pieces of private land where fishing is permitted are clearly marked. Look for signs along the stream that say “fishing permitted” to find these areas.
Jacobs Creek just upstream of the mouth
The PFBC usually plants brook trout and brown trout before trout season. After trout season opens they typically do another planting of rainbow trout and more browns. Most of the fish are in the 9 to 10 inch range. Occasionally fish up to 20 inches will be stocked.
Smallmouth bass in the stream are usually in the 10 to 12 inch range. Though of course they can grow much larger. Fish like redhorse, carp, and drum are the largest fish you can find in the stream. Because of that you can get away with light line. Four to six pound line will handle nearly any fish you would encounter here. Light and less visible fluorocarbon line can also help you catch more fish when the creek runs clear. I recommend Seaguar Invisx as a mainline or a leader.
An average Jacobs Creek brown trout
Jacobs Creek is mostly a small and swift stream. Even the tail end of the stream which is much wider and slower than the headwaters is still relatively shallow and quick flowing. Fishing with shallow running lures or drifting bait, small soft plastic lures, or flies under a float are the most effective methods.
I’ve done well here using small minnow shaped lures like the size 5 Original Floating Rapala and spinners like the Swiss Swing. I’ve also caught a lot of fish by drifting things like trout worms and bead head pheasant tail nymphs under strike indicators. The key is to use light line, stay concealed, and work the pockets and holes thoroughly.
Jacobs Creek fishing regulations
The section of Jacobs Creek that flows between the turnpike and Bridgeport Reservoir is classified as a “Stocked Trout Stream” by the PA Fish and Boat Commission. That means this stretch of the creek is closed to fishing from February 21 until the trout opener in April.
Anglers are permitted to keep five trout over seven inches during regular trout season. The limit is lowered to three trout during the extended season that runs from the day after Labor Day until the third Monday in February of the following year.
Outside of the Stocked Trout portion of the stream, Jacobs Creek is open to fishing year round. Of course there are seasons and limits on species like bass. You can fish with up to three rods, with no limit on the number of hooks per rod. Fishing in the entirety of Jacobs Creek can be done with traditional angling methods using bait, lures, and flies.
To the best of my knowledge, this is accurate as of the time of writing. Of course regulations are subject to change. For current regulations be sure to check the Pennsylvania Fish Commission website.
Jacobs Run fishing at a glance
- Fish species present: Brook trout, rainbow trout, brown trout, largemouth bass, bluegill, smallmouth bass, white suckers, redhorse, creek chub, carp, freshwater drum, sauger, walleye, johnny darter, rainbow darter, northern hogsucker.
- Closest tackle shops: Red’s Bait Shop, Scott’s Bait Shop, PA Fly Co.
- Recommend spin fishing tackle: Ultralight rod, 2-4lb fluorocarbon line.
- Recommend fly fishing tackle: 3-4 weight rod, WF floating line, 4x fluorocarbon tippet.
- Recommend bait/lures: Original Floating Rapala, Swiss Swing, trout worm, Mister Twister.
- Recommend flies: Bead Head Pheasant Tail size 12, Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear size 12, San Juan Worm size 12.
- Nearby hotels: Holiday Inn Express & Suites Donegal, Days Inn by Wyndham Donegal.