Hike-in Required
No
Open Year-round
Yes
ADA accessible
No
Guided tours
No
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Are you interested in a winter adventure that’s fun and nutritious, too? Try your luck with ice fishing in the 137-acre Hills Creek Lake in northcentral Pennsylvania. The lake is easily accessed in Tioga County’s Hills Creek State Park.

There’s a lot to consider when planning an ice fishing adventure. You’ll need the necessary fishing license, gear and bait, an auger, a strainer, and perhaps some options like a seat, sled, tent, or fish finder. Most importantly, you’ll need some items that are critical for your safety. Be sure to wear appropriate clothing to protect yourself from the cold. Remember that you’ll be out in the open on a frozen lake, where the wind may blow across the ice compounding the effects of the cold. Crampons will help you safely navigate the ice. A floating rope is important if another angler falls through the ice, and a whistle and set of ice picks worn around your neck could be life-saving.

The best safety measure is to understand the ice conditions. Since the ice thickness isn’t monitored at Hills Creek Lake, it’s imperative that adventurers evaluate the conditions. Test the ice thickness with a spud bar/ice chisel or an auger. To venture onto the lake, a minimum of 4 inches of solid ice is recommended for a person and a minimum 7 inches for a small group. Keep in mind that the perimeter ice is naturally weaker, as are areas around protruding logs, plants, and docks. Avoid fishing near the dam.

It’s advisable for a novice to partner with someone who is experienced with ice fishing. Never venture on the ice alone, you should always enjoy this activity with a friend.

Get prepared now, and on the next cold winter’s day when the ice is thick enough, you and your friends can step onto the lake, drill a hole, and catch a feast. The lake is exceptional for yellow perch, bluegill and occasional walleye. If you’re new to ice fishing, check out the park’s annual Winterfest. Normally held in January, Winterfest includes a variety of activities and demonstrations, including ice fishing tips.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Pros

Good fishing. Peaceful location. Easy access.

Cons

Must know and understand ice conditions.

Pets allowed

Not Allowed

Features

Family friendly
Fishing
Near lake or river

Location

Field Guide

Comments

Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.