Fishing the Youghiogheny

We’ve been talking a lot about clean water and who uses it- but what about the fish?! They are 100% dependent on clean water in order to  survive. Ryan McCauley, a freelance fly fishing guide, can attest that clean water is essential for a diverse and strong fish population. He said, “It’s pretty simple really, without clean water there is no life, which translates to no vegetation, no macro invertebrates, no crustaceans, and no fish.” That pretty much sums it up. For the river to thrive the water needs to be clean.

We are very fortunate to have such great access to a river as incredible as the Youghiogheny. Besides its outstanding water quality, the Yough is really a unique body of water in regards to its fishery because certain parts of the watershed can be fished year round. According to McCauley, this is based on management and regulations and also ethics and the reality of the Yough being a tailwater fishery.

It’s important to understand that each species have their own regulations of minimum size, creel limit and some even have specific seasons. According to McCauley, there are species in the Yough which with individual peak seasons of activity allow for fishing year round. Some examples of these species are stocked rainbow trout and our native smallmouth bass. Depending on ambient water temperatures you could catch one of these two species or even both because in some areas they share the same habitat! While trout, musky and northern pike prefer the cooler water temperatures the smallmouth bass peak with the warmer summer temperatures. Other species that can also be found at their specific peak season are carp, suckers, fresh water drum, and walleye. Because of the wide range of species and their overlapping seasons, the Yough is a great destination for any angler in any season.

Ryan loves spending his days on the river and loves guiding and sharing the Yough with others. Ryan says,“I like to instill the idea of legacy and nothing speaks greater volumes than seeing a client return with their children and grandchildren to share the beauty and the joy they’ve found in the Youghiogheny River.”