Meadow Run is a high gradient mountain stream located in southwestern Pennsylvania. This tributary to the Youghiogheny River rises around Chalkhill where it is impounded in Deer Lake. From the outlet of that lake the stream flows rather smoothly for several miles before picking up steam and flowing over and around big boulders in Ohiopyle State Park.
Meadow Run is stocked with brook and brown trout by the PA Fish and Boat Commission. Other native fish like the striped shiner can also be found in this stream. Some wild trout may also be found in Meadow Run. One of Meadow Run’s tributaries, Beaver Run, has a population of reproducing trout.
Meadow Run upstream of the natural water slide
Like most area streams Meadow Run is affected by environmental impacts. One such impact is the aforementioned lake near the headwaters of the stream which can warm the stream’s water. Additionally, a decade of work on the dam that created that lake lead to the release of significant sediment into Meadow Run.
The special regulations area of Meadow Run inside Ohio State Park gets the most attention from anglers. That has only increased since it was added to the “Keystone Select” program and started receiving larger fish in the spring. Still the stream never seems to be overloaded with anglers, even though much of it flows through public land and is relatively accessible.
Once the weather starts to warm in spring, the lower section of the stream in the park actually gets more popular with swimmers than anglers. Fishing in the area around the natural body slide can become difficult to impossible at times. But the rest of the stream remains open and can hold trout year round.
Fish species in Meadow Run
The main fish species in Meadow Run are brook and brown trout. These fish are stocked several times a year by the state Fish and Boat Commission. The delayed harvest section receives a stocking of “trophy fish” in the 14″ to 20″ range early in the year. It’s pretty common to catch brown trout in the 12 to 16 inch range.
An average Meadow Run brown trout
Brown trout do seem to outnumber brook trout in Meadow Run. The PA Fish Commission no longer publishes the number of fish its stocks in each stream. But it seems that Meadow Run gets more brown trout than brooks. The brook trout that are present can have some size to them. Especially when compared to the native brook trout in other nearby streams.
Occasionally, you can also encounter rainbow and tiger trout in this stream. These fish show up as a result of incidental stocking or — in the lower section of the stream — migrations up from the Yough River. A handful of native species are also present. That mainly means small fish such as shiners that are usually caught by accident.
Fishing in Meadow Run
Fishing in Meadow Run can be hit or miss, largely dependent on the weather and conditions. The fish in this stream have a reputation in some circles as being tough to catch. But I’ve had a lot of success here using general tactics for trout that are effective pretty much everywhere.
Drift fishing with small soft plastics like mayfly and stonefly nymphs can work well here. So can small jigs in the 1/64 to 1/80 ounce range. Spinners like the Blue Fox Flash can also catch fish in the deeper holes. Practice stealth, use clear light line, and make a natural presentation.
A nice Meadow Run brook trout
When it comes to fly fishing nymphs are streamers are the most effective approach. This stream does not see a huge number of big hatches. Stoneflies and some mayfly species like Hendricksons, Sulphurs, and March Browns are present. But midges and caddis seem to outnumber them.
Good flies for Meadow Run include the Bead Head Olive Caddis Larva in size 14 to 16, Bead Head Pheasant Tail Nymphs in size 10 to 16, and realistic mayfly nymph patterns in sizes 14 to 16. You can also catch some fish on high floating attractor and terrestrial patterns like Joe’s Hopper in the summer.
A size 12 adult stonefly along Meadow Run
There are three natural obstructions in Meadow Run. The first is a long swift stretch over slanted smooth rocks known, and used, as the “natural water slides.” The second is a large waterfall upstream of the water slide. The third is a set of smaller falls known as “the cascades” still further upstream. Some trout may make it through these obstructions while moving downstream. But no fish are able to pass these obstructions while moving upstream.
Because of this, congregations of fish can be found in the holes just below these obstructions. Especially as the weather warms in the summer. But anglers can often do well to get away from these and other obvious holes and instead work the pocket water found throughout the stream. The portion of the stream that falls under general regulations can hold a number of trout that don’t receive much pressure.
Meadow Run fishing regulations
Meadow Run is classified as a stocked trout water by the PA Fish Commission. That means most of the stream is closed to fishing throughout all of March and a portion of April each year. The exception is the Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only (DHALO) section below Dinnerbell Road, which is open to fishing year round. As the name would suggest, fishing in the DHALO section is limited to artificial lures only.
The DHALO section of the stream starts at Dinnerbell Road and stretches over two miles downstream to the confluence with the Youghiogheny River. In this area fishing can be done “with artificial lures only constructed of metal, plastic, rubber or wood, or with flies and streamers constructed of natural or synthetic materials.” In the DHALO area, three trout of at least nine inches can be kept from June 15 to Labor Day. You cannot keep any trout caught there at any other time of the year.
In the rest of the stream, fishing can be done with traditional angling methods using bait, lures, and flies. 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 later in the year. Species other than trout in Meadow Run fall under general fishing regulations but you’re unlikely to encounter any you would want to keep.
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.
Meadow Run fishing at a glance
|Fish species present:||Brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, tiger trout, striped shiner|
|Closest tackle shops:||S&S Bait and Tackle|
|Recommend line:||2-4 lb monofilament / 3-6x leader|
|Recommended lures:||Panther Martin spinners, Blue Fox Flash spinners, Special Spins, Custom Stonefly Nymphs|
|Recommended flies:||BH Olive Caddis Larva, BH Pheasant Tail Nymph, Joe's Hopper, San Juan Worm|
|Nearby hotels:||Paddler's Lane Retreat|