Fly Fishing Southwestern Pennsylvania: Meadow Run

Name: Meadow Run
Region: Southwestern Pennsylvania
County: Fayette
GPS Coordinates: 39°50’30”N, 79°26’03”W, 39.841667, -79.434167 [a]
Approximate Length: 10 miles
State Fishing Designation: Delayed Harvest/Artificial Lures, 2.2 miles from Dinnerbell Road downstream to the mouth of the river.

Mayflies and other insects:
Hendrickson (14) X X
Sulphur (14 -16) X X
Tan Caddis (14- 16) x X X
March Brown (12) X X
Green Drake (8-10) X X
Terrestrials X X X X X X
Midge (24-18) X X X X X X X X X

Meadow Run is a classic freestone mountain stream, making a steep descent to the Youghiogheny River finally entering below the Ohiopyle falls.  The Meadow Run trail is accessible from the lower parking lot located at the intersection of Route 381 and SR 2010 (Ohiopyle Road), the middle parking lot located SR 26063 (Dinner Bell Road) and the upper stream parking lots located in Ohiopyle State Park approximately one half mile upstream on SR 26063 (Dinner Bell Road).  Most portions of the trail follow the stream making fishing easily accessible. Large, smooth rocks make-up the lower section creating fast flowing runs between the pools.  The middle section has a good pool-to-riffle ratio and very good pocket water.  The Cascades located approximately one mile upstream from the confluence with the Youghiogheny contains one of the largest pools on the stream.  The upper portion somewhat flattens and is of lesser vertical drop.

Fishing Notes:
Spring fishing is the best season for beginners to fish Meadow Run.  Fresh stockings through the early season provide many opportunities to catch trout. In addition, the water is higher and typically has color making for easier less quiet approaches.  As the spring season gives way to summer, fishing becomes more challenging.   Stealthy approaches and fine tippets offer better chances for success.  Many of Meadow Runs’ trout holdover from season to season, but successfully coaxing these holdovers to take a fly can prove challenging.  The Cascades are a natural waterfall obstruction for trout; look for congregating trout especially during the fall season.  Due to the volume of hiking and swimming traffic, it is advisable to fish the lower and middle sections at dawn or dusk during the summer and fall season.   Visit the state site for a complete Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission stocking schedule.

Meadow Run Trail: 3 miles, easiest hiking, yellow blazes
There are trailheads near the park office, at the waterslides on SR 2011 and at Cucumber Falls on SR 2019. From the waterslides parking lot, take the left trail under the SR 381 bridge for 0.7 mile to Cucumber Falls. Take the trail to the right, which leads to a loop trail and the Cascades. This trail is intersected by a path leading to the SR 2011 trailhead. [b]


Tourism Highlights:
Ohiopyle State Park
Fern Cliff Natural Area
Falling Water
Kentuck Knob

Local History:
Native Americans
The first known group of people to inhabit the Ohiopyle area were the Monongahela, a clan of the Mound Builders. These Native Americans disappeared from the scene just as European colonists began to arrive in North America. As the east coast was being settled, Native Americans who had lived closer to the Atlantic Ocean were exterminated or forced to flee to the west. Various tribes, including the Shawnee, Lenni Lenape, and Seneca people, inhabited the Ohiopyle area during the 18th century, but were ultimately removed after the French and Indian War. One of the few remnants of American Indian culture in the area is the name. “Ohiopyle” is derived from the Lenape phrase ahi opihəle which means ‘it turns very white’, referring to the frothy waterfalls. [c]

Ohiopyle Falls on the Youghiogheny River
The first known group of people to inhabit the Ohiopyle area were the Monongahela, a clan of the Mound Builders. These Native Americans disappeared from the scene just as European colonists began to arrive in North America. [d]

French and Indian War
The colonial powers of New France and the British Thirteen Colonies fought for control of the trading routes in the Ohio River Valley in what was then the northwestern frontier of America. The French were the first to explore the upper reaches of the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys. They built several forts in what is now western Pennsylvania, including Fort Duquesne, now in Pittsburgh. [e]

Pennsylvania or Virginia?
King George III declared that the area be an Indian Territory and that all European settlers were to leave. The settlers refused to leave and King George “bought” the land from the Iroquois in 1768. The land was claimed by both Pennsylvania and Virginia. The dispute of the territory lasted through the American Revolution and was not resolved until 1784.[f]

Lumbering and tourism
The earliest European settlers to the Ohiopyle area were farmers, trappers and hunters. The population of the area expanded after the building of the National Road in 1811 that passed near Ohiopyle. This road made the area more accessible and connected it the eastern markets. Lumbering became the dominant industry. Smaller industries in the area included cooperages, tanneries, salt mining and coal mining. [g]


  1. [a b c d e f g]

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