Throngs of wily, foot-long browns inhabit this lazy freestone stream (fed by snowmelt and rain), but bright sunshine spotlights anglers and scares fish away. Clouds and rain, however, can ignite a feeding frenzy. Rainfall oxygenates the water, stirring up food sources and enough sediment to camouflage trout and embolden them to bite. Stock up on streamers at Neshannock Creek Fly Shop (724-533-3212), pick up the rail-trail across the street, and head south along the creek’s western shore. Meander through hemlocks and maples for 2.5 miles to Big Bend, where trout cluster at the head of the pool. From there, wade upstream and fish underwater snags at the Coal Slide. Retrace your steps along the shallow, rock-strewn bank back to the trailhead. Not an angler? Catch the oak and maple trees, beaming with autumnal orange and reds. pagameandfish.com
Warm up with tomato dumpling soup at the Dumplin’ Haus in Volant. (724) 533-3732
In Volant, drive north on Main St. and park at the fly shop, opposite the trailhead.