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Panther Hollow Lake

Fishing Panther Hollow Lake

Located just off the Carnegie Mellon campus in Pittsburgh, Panther Hollow is a concrete-rimmed shallow pond that seems more mud than water at points. But it’s a pretty enough place, set amidst the forest of Schenley Park.

About the Lake

This pond is probably 4 feet deep at its deepest point. As such, there aren’t a whole lot of big fish here. There are probably 3 main areas. The first area is where the creek feeds into the lake. Here, the water is just inches deep and far too shallow, and there aren’t many fish to be found. The second area is probably the deepest region of the lake under the steep hillside below Phipps Conservatory. Despite the extra depth, there isn’t much structure underwater and as a result I haven’t had much luck fishing this side either. The rest of lake, including the side by the train tracks and the southern side of the lake, is about a 1-2ft deep section that holds the most fish.

This lake has a panfish overpopulation problem. I’ve caught 10 bluegill in 10 minutes here before - none of them are bigger than your finger, but they are fun on light tackle. There are also a few pumpkinseed, which make for a nice surprise. A few white crappie make the occasional appearance, but these aren’t much bigger. My go-to technique for these fish is to use a nymph and cast parallel to the shoreline, and slowly reel it in. The fish here aren’t quite big enough for larger lures than that.

There are also bass here - I’ve caught many baby largemouth that hit my lures with abandon. However, I’ve never caught or seen anyone catch one of the larger ones here, not for lack of trying. Sometimes I wonder if these bass have a case of the Peter Pan syndrome….

There are a few big carp that roam around. They splash around on the surface sometimes, and can make for an exciting catch. I’ve also heard tall tales of massive 30 pound catfish here, but I seriously doubt it given the size of this tiny pond…


There is a lot of bird poop on the shore of the lake - make sure to wear a pair of sneakers you don’t mind getting dirty.

For the bluegill:

Nymph collection

My favorite way of targeting panfish. Gently lob them out and retrieve it in with pauses. If you don't have a fly rod, a spinning rod with a small split shot or casting bubble works as well.
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Trout Magnet

A small jig type lure. Get the smaller models for the bluegill, and gently work them in. Alternatively, a stop-and-go retrieve under a bobber works just as well.
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