Fly Fishing Southwestern Pennsylvania and Beyond
I offer a broad range of guided walk-and-wade fly fishing adventures in Southwestern Pennsylvania and beyond. Pennsylvania fly fishing offers the angler many diverse opportunities. Water types ranging from fast running mountain streams, rich limestone spring creeks, large and small tailwaters, beaver ponds and lakes with many having fly fishing opportunities. Most often fly fishing is associated with trout fishing so I spend much of my time guiding anglers in the pursuit of wild Trout. I also offer plenty of warm water adventures for Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass, and Carp. If you are looking to extend your fly fishing season through the warmer months, my Summer Slam trip offers the chance to catch all three species in one day; Trout, Bass, and Carp – it’s a blast!
My service is located in southwestern Pennsylvania center to the first of many Appalachian ridges as you head east from Pittsburgh. Typical single day excursions take place within the 100 mile radius of Pittsburgh usually in the Laurel Mountains to the edge of central Pennsylvania.
Whether you are a seasoned angler looking to learn more about Pennsylvania or a beginner new to fly-fishing, I aim to help you enjoy this wonderful sport. Our planning process begins with a conversation regarding your trip goals and ideas. Below are popular trips to help start the planning process.
New to Fly Fishing
I specialize in teaching Fly Fishing to beginners. I hold numerous clinics each year as well as private lessons. Although all of my outings include instruction, but this outing specifically focuses on making you a better angler. We will cover the fundamentals of casting, entomology, species, reading water, fishing tactics, and gear assembly. Of course we’ll try to ultimately finish with fish to hand. Consider this formal instruction; the day will take place on and off the water; including casting practice on grass and short presentations.
Mountain Streams and Wild Trout
This is classic small stream fly fishing. If you enjoy getting away from it all then this is for you. Whether you are interested in learning how to cast in tight places or getting native Brook trout to hand this is very enjoyable fly fishing. Typically the season runs from March to October. There are many native Brook trout streams within the southwestern Pennsylvania region. Good opportunities for native Brown trout and Rainbows encounters as well.
Chasing Mayfly Hatches
So many flies so little time. If this sounds interesting come let me introduce you to the addictive pursuit of finding emerging mayflies and rising trout. Depending on the season this can take us in many directions; adventure is our middle name.
You’ve heard stories about the famous fly fishing destinations in Pennsylvania but need additional expertise to make a successful trip. Have you fished the entire state of Pennsylvania yet? I can show you some real gems if you are interested and willing to travel. There is no better way for visiting anglers to experience the splendor of Pennsylvania than on a Road Trip. Each trip combines a unique character of fishing waters, epic hatches, beautiful landscape, tremendous trout, and camaraderie. Trips range from single to multi-day treks.
You can do it! Trout, Bass, and Carp! Catch all three species in one day. Start the day casting to Trout, next Bass, and finally stalk the shallows for tailing golden bones; aka Carp.
Warm Water Species
I have been actively pursuing Carp on the fly for the past few years and looking forward to sharing the fun with you. Of course Smallmouth bass have special place in my heart; they just never give up. Smallies on poppers at certain times of the year make us very happy.
Happy Anglers – Happy Fish!
- Chest Waders GORE-TEX(Unless discussed during pre-trip conversation)
- Wading Boots (Preferably with spikes)
- Fishing Vest or Fanny Pack
- Foul Weather Jacket (GORE-TEX or other waterproof breathable material)
- Fleece or Other Technical Long Underwear (Many waters that we fish are cool or cold so be prepared; at least pack these with you in the warmer months)
- Fleece or Other Technical Top (Preferably with collar for sun and wind protection)
- Synthetic or Wool Socks (Bring an extra pair)
- Fingerless gloves (Spring, Fall, and Winter)
- Appropriate hat for season and unexpected weather (e.g. Brimmed, or Wool)
Rod and Reel
- Trout (typically 9’ 4-5wt.) This varies depending on our outing and will be discussed with you when making arrangements.
- Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass: 9’ to 10’ 6-8wt.
- Carp: 9’ to 10’ 7-8wt.
Terminal Tackle (supplied with guide service but you are welcome to bring your own)
- Fly Box (flies discussed during pre-trip conversation)
- Knotless Tapered leader(s)
- Trout 7’ 3x
- Trout 9’ 3x
- Bass 9’ 3x
- Carp 9’ 3x
- Tippet (3x to 6x)
- Fly Floatant
- Split Shot 0.8g, 0.6g, 0.4g, 0.3g (No Lead Weight)
- Polarized Sunglasses (Must Have Item!)
- Insect Repellent
- Water Bottle and Holder
|Common Name (Hook Size)||FEB||MAR||APR||MAY||JUN||JUL||AUG||SEP||OCT|
|Blue-Winged Olive (14-22)|
|Blue Quills (16-18)|
|Quill Gordon (12 – 14)|
|Grannom (14 – 16)|
|Green Caddis (14-16)|
|Sulphur (14 -16)|
|Tan Caddis (14- 16)|
|March Brown (12)|
|Green Drake (8-10)|
|Brown Drake (8-10)|
|Slate Drake (12-14)|
|Trico (22 – 24)|
|DURATION||1 ANGLER||2 ANGLERS|
|PRIVATE INSTRUCTION||$75 Two hour session|
Leo Vensel started fly fishing in the early 70’s and is completely immersed in the sport. He has taught hundreds of students the fundamentals of fly fishing and truly enjoys guiding others in the pursuit of wild fish. His passion for the sport has taken him to the American west, Great Lakes, Florida, and the Mid-Atlantic. He is a fully insured, licensed Pennsylvania fishing guide, certified in CPR and First Aid, Federation of Fly Fishers certified casting instructor, and former President, Forbes Trail Chapter, Trout Unlimited.
When not on the water or tying flies, Leo can be found enjoying the outdoors and plotting his next adventure.