Big Brown Fish & Pay Lakes - Where the fish are always biting! (2023)

How does it work?

At Big Brown, we have two trout ponds; one is smaller and better for beginners.

The second is larger, and often a bit more challenging. Anglers can expect to catch rainbow trout, golden rainbow trout, and occasionally brook trout and brown trout. Our bass pond is stocked with largemouth bass. There aren’t many other fee fishing lakes that offer stocked largemouth bass.

Everything you need

We can provide you with everything you need to get started. We rent poles, and sell bobbers, hooks, worms ($5.00/dozen in 2022), and lures, as well as a few snacks and beverages. We do not allow any minnows or stringers to be used in the ponds.

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Catch memories at our family-friendly fishing oasis

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No Limits

Because of our Regulated Fishing Lake permit from the PA Fish & Boat Commission, there’s no limit on the number of fish you can catch. You must, however, keep all fish that are caught. This helps keep our ponds full of only healthy fish, and allows us to charge less for entrance fees. It’s a bit difficult to say exactly how many an average angler will catch. An experienced angler may catch fish very quickly on most days. Beginners won’t catch fish as quickly, but it would be a rare occurrence for a first time fisherman to leave without at least one fish. How many fish anglers catch depends partly on skill, but also on how many fish they desire to buy. As a general rule; trout bite better when the water is cool, bass when it is warm.

We also offer a full cleaning station. It’s a pretty simple set-up; a stainless steel wash table, a filet board, filet knife, and one of our trained staff, but if you don’t want to clean your own fish it’s a great option.

What Are the Rules?

No throwing fish back

Most fish thrown back won’t fare well, especially trout. The stress from the fight and reduction in their slime coat from handling is often enough to kill them.

All fish caught must be paid for.

Instead of charging for time fishing, we charge for each fish caught. It takes a lot of time, food, knowledge, and effort to raise healthy fish and that is how we determine how much we need to charge.

No pets allowed.

In order to maintain a family friendly environment and clean facility, we do not allow pets.


Unfortunately we cannot allow cooking inside Big Brown.

Stringers are not permitted.

We provide buckets for keeping your fish cool and in water while you fish.

No entering the water.

Rocks on the edges of the ponds can be very slippery. We want everyone to stay safe.

(Video) Perfect day for fishing in Monroe County affair at Big Brown Fish and Pay Lakes

No minnows.

In order to not introduce any disease or other fish species into our ponds, we do not allow outside fish or minnows.

Please wear shoes at all times.

We work hard to maintain the grounds, but with all the fishermen consistently here, theres a good chance of some fishing hooks being in the grass.

A Quick Walkthrough

  • Upon entry, grab a bucket (to store your fish).
  • Head to any of the three ponds in our beautiful 10 acre facility.
  • The pond directly in front of you and the pond to the left are stocked with trout.
  • The pond to the right is stocked with largemouth bass.
  • There are plenty of trees for shade and picnic tables for lounging around all three ponds.
  • Pick your spot and start fishing!

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Big Brown Fish & Pay Lakes

For first time fishermen

Once you pick your spot, get your fishing pole and worms ready. Release the hook from the eye it is hooked on. Open your worm container, grab a worm (we suggest tearing or cutting the worm in half) and carefully push the hook through the worm in multiple spots. Pushing it through multiple places helps keep it from falling off the hook. Stand at the ponds edge, hold the pole back, depress the button, cast and release the button as you finish the casting motion. The bobber on the fishing line will float until a fish starts to bite.

Now sit back, relax, and watch for the bobber to sink below the surface of the water. Once you see the bobber sinking beneath the surface, reel it in! Once you reel the fish to the edge of the pond either drag it up onto the grass using the fishing pole, or scoop it out of the water if you’ve brought a net. Carefully remove the hook from the fish’s mouth and place it in your bucket (be sure to have put pond water in the bucket first). Continue until you’ve caught all that you want for the day.

As you catch fish, be sure to store them in your bucket to help keep them fresh. It’s important to keep your caught fish cool while you continue to catch more, so we advise occasionally switching the water out and/or adding ice. When you’re finished for the day, bring your fish up to the store and our staff will help you bag your fish, and bring them inside to our scale to be weighed. Once paid for, we can filet or gut them, and send you home with the freshest fish you can get.

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About Our Ponds

We have 3 ponds in total. Our small trout pond is about ½ an acre and 12 feet deep, our big trout pond is about 2 acres and 12 feet deep, and our bass pond is about 3 acres and 18 feet deep.

Our small trout pond has a small waterfall that helps oxygenate the water, which helps the fish stay healthy and keep biting. The bass pond has a few sunken stumps and logs that help provide structure for the bass to hide around.

The fish bite best in the morning hours of the day. The second best time is typically in the evening hours.

The best pond for beginners/families with small children is the small trout pond. It has the coldest water inflow, so the trout generally bite more consistently there.

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  • Bathrooms
  • Disabled Access
  • Parking
  • Fish Gear Rental
  • Snack/Drinks
  • Picnic Tables/Benches
  • Views
  • Fish Cleaning
  • Trees for Shade

(Video) 5 Days Fishing & Camping in Swamp - Catch & Cook Frogs, Gar, Crabs, Catfish & Buffalo.


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Children Under 12 – Free

Regular Entrance – $4.00

Senior Entrance – $3.00


Pole Rental – $16.00

We rent out spincast reels. They make casting simple; press the button while you cast and time releasing it to let the bait or lure fly.

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The worms we sell are nightcrawlers.

They work well for trout and bass and can be set up as a classic combo with a rod and reel with a bobber attached.

It’s great for kids and beginners because they can watch the bobber dip below the surface to know when they are getting a bite.

(Video) My FAVORITE Bait to Get BIG Bites!

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Prices listed are live weight for the whole fish.

Trout $7.75/LB

Bass $13.75/LB

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Our Fish

Trout & Largemouth Bass

All three of our ponds hold thousands of fish. The two trout ponds are stocked weekly, and the bass pond is stocked monthly through the summer.

We stock trout and bass in our ponds because that’s what we do best. We raise them on our own farm and as such can control the quality. They are two of the most popular sportfishes in the United States, and that’s because they’re fun to catch, taste great, and are nutritionally very good for you.

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Our Hatchery

Big Brown Fish & Pay Lakes was created in 1987 as a way for people to enjoy the fish raised from our Big Brown Fish Hatchery, started in 1971.

At our hatchery we raise hundreds of thousands of trout, and tens of thousands of bass annually. Because of this, we are able to control the quality of the fish from hatch until they make it to your hook, and we can consistently stock our ponds.


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Cleaning Station

Our cleaning station is a stainless steel wash table manned by our skilled staff. We use filet knives and filet boards to clean the fish. Nothing too fancy!

Sorry, we can no longer allow customers to clean their own fish here, as our fish cleaning area is only big enough for our own cleaners.

(Video) We Found a GIANT Bream Bed LOADED with BIG FISH!!! (JACKPOT)

Any fish that a customer wants to have cleaned must be paid for and then brought to the cleaning station half an hour before closing.

If fish are brought up later than that, staff may have already sanitized the cleaning station for the night, and may decline to clean the fish.


2668 Route 115
Effort,PA 18330

Mailing Address

P.O. Box 584
Effort, PA 18330

Call us

Fishing Preserve570-629-0422

We open on the third Saturday of March and close on the Sunday of the last week of October annually. Fish are available for stocking year round.

2023 Hours of Operation

March 18th – May 26th

Monday-Friday8am – 4pm
Saturday & Sunday 8am – 6pm

May 26th – September 3rd

Monday-Friday 8am – 5pm
Saturday & Sunday 8am – 7pm

September 3rd – October 31st

Monday-Friday8am – 4pm
Saturday & Sunday 8am – 6pm

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Licensed Pennsylvania Trout Farm

Historic hatchery and fishing preserve. Fee fishing for trout and bass, nestled in the beautiful Paradise Valley in the Poconos

23 Hatchery Drive, Cresco, PA 18326 570-629-0427


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