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The ANF’s cold-water streams are well stocked with brook, brown, and rainbow trout. ANF Visitors Bureau

Springtime has come to the Allegheny National Forest. The wildflowers are blooming, the hills are resounding with birdsong, and the cold-water streams are brimming with beautiful brook, brown, and rainbow trout.

Trout season starts April 2 this year, drawing fishing enthusiasts from across the region to northwestern Pennsylvania. The Allegheny National Forest (ANF) is Pennsylvania’s only National Forest, and it offers more than 500,000 acres of outdoor recreation and scenic beauty.

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April is the start of trout fishing season in the Allegheny National Forest. ANF Visitors Bureau

Roughly 100 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, the ANF is surprisingly easy to get to, despite its untouched setting. That’s thanks to the new nonstop flights between the Washington, D.C., area’s Dulles International Airport (IAD) and Bradford Regional Airport (BFD) in Lewis Run, Pa. The trip takes about an hour and a half, and fares start as low as $39.

If you can’t fit your fishing gear into your carry-on, it’s not a problem. Sportsman’s Outlet, located in Bradford, offers everything you need, including your Pennsylvania fishing license and trout permit. It’s an old-fashioned mom-and-pop business, owned by local boy Benjamin Wentworth and managed by his best friend, Dan Lyons, who can tell you everything you need to know about the ANF.

“It’s one of the most untouched National Forests in the country,” Dan said. “It’s beyond beautiful. There are so many places you can go and sit and hang out in nature. If you want to be in the middle of the woods, you can. If you want to be next to the water, you can. Everything is here.”

Sargent Photography

The Lodge at Glendorn is an award-winning, Orvis-endorsed fly-fishing lodge. ANF Visitors Bureau

Dan and the rest of the staff are happy to point out the best fishing spots, too. He recommended that folks new to trout fishing try the Kinzua Creek in Westline. It’s well stocked with wild brown trout, as well as native brook trout. “It’s among the top five trout creeks on many people’s lists,” Dan said. Because this is a delayed harvest area, you’ll find trout as late as July.

The ANF offers rustic cabins, RV campgrounds with electrical service, and primitive tent camping. But if you’d rather spend the night somewhere a bit more luxurious, book a night — or several — at The Lodge at Glendorn. It’s an Orvis-endorsed fly-fishing lodge and a AAA Four-Diamond Award.

The Lodge’s story began in 1929 as a family retreat. And although it welcomes guests from around the world today, it still retains an intimate feel. It’s as much renowned for its freshly baked chocolate chip cookies as it is its award-winning cuisine. If there’s such a thing as rustic elegance, this is it.

The Lodge offers 1,500 acres of recreational land, including world-class fly-fishing opportunities. Unwind with a relaxing treatment at The Forest Spa before drifting off to sleep in one of the Lodge’s luxury cabins or suites.

There are plenty of other lodging options in the Allegheny National Forest, from family-friendly hotels to historic inns, intimate B&Bs, and spacious rental cottages. As for food, there’s everything from a 1980s themed pizza joint (A Slice of the 80s in Bradford) to fine French and American cuisine (the Westline Inn in Westline).

Just a short flight away, the Allegheny National Forest is a sportsman’s paradise, whether you want to rough it or live in the lap of luxury.

For more information

call 800-473-9370 or see visitanf.com.

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