Not to be confused with the Little Lehigh which runs through the Allentown park system, the Lehigh River gets its start as a mountain spring in the Gouldsboro area (15 miles southeast of Scranton). It forms the border between Luzerne, Monroe, and Carbon counties as it flows through the towns of Clifton, Thornhurst and Stoddartsville and into the Francis E. Walter Dam. The Lehigh River flows for 107 miles, passing through major cities such as Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton. The stream averages from 100-150 feet in width. The Lehigh ends in Easton, where it empties into the Delaware River.
When the Lehigh flows into the Lehigh Valley, its meet by its keeper...the Lehigh River Stocking Association. This organization has taken the Lehigh River very serious and has been stocking the river with Browns, Brook Trout and Rainbows along with some Steelhead. In 1998 alone, the Lehigh River Stocking Association stocked 14,343 adult trout between 11" and 24". In the same year, 14,500 fingerlings from 3" to 5" long were also stocked. Some of the adult trout can weigh up to 14 lbs.! In the spring of 1999 the Lehigh River Stocking Association stocked a total of 16,040 adult fish and 10,000 fingerlings. Here is a breakdown of the 1999 Spring stocking:
- 11-14" Fish 14,906
- 15-17" Fish 356
- 17-19" Fish 750
- 25-28" Fish 28
- Fingerlings 10,000
These guys and gals, mean business. Currently they have a membership of over 2300 dedicated fishermen.
Early season hatches include: Stoneflies, Caddis, and the most prolific hatch is the Shad Fly, also known as the Grannon. This hatch occurs in late April and last through late May and at times is very heavy. The hatch occurs at mid-morning and last some days into early afternoon. In the evening egg laying occurs, and fish rise to properly presented Elk Hair Caddis in sizes 14 and 16. Another favorite pattern is a Pocono classic, the Henryville Special. Originally tied by Hiram Brobst an old time Pocono fly tyer from Lehighton, PA. who fished this pattern on the Brodhead Creek, back in the days of the Henryville House. The Henryville House is Americas oldest fly fishing inn, built in 1835 and was home to many famous fly fisherman, such as Grover Cleveland, Teddy Roosevelt, Benjamin Harrison, Buffalo Bill, Chancellor Levinson, Ed Zern, Preston Jennings and many other founders of American fly fishing.
As the season progresses on the Lehigh, other hatches are seen, such as the Blue Wing Olive, Blue Quills, Quill Gordons, and Hendricksons. While not seen in large numbers, the hatches do exists. When summer starts to approach, Light Cahills, Sulphurs, Pale Evening Duns, and Isonychias can produce excellent dry fly and nymph fishing.
If you never fished the Lehigh River, maybe its time to explore the Lehigh and its rebirth. For specific stream information and where to fish, contact The Lehigh River Stocking Association.