Fast Action on the Juniata River

Juniata3On May 9, Elijah and I took the boat out on the Juniata River for the first time this year. Normally we’d have gone out sooner, but the long and cold winter this year delayed the start of productive fishing this spring. Elijah had gone out a few days earlier and had reported that the bite was starting to pick up, so we decided it was time.

The forecast called for possible showers and thunderstorms, but the water level was perfect for the spot we hoped to fish, so we took the  chance on the weather.

This was my first time fishing since I made a few upgrades to my boat last fall.  The first was to fix the transom and add a trolling motor.  I choose the Minn Kota Endura C2 30, which was the smallest and least expensive Minn Kota I could find.  For a 12 ft. row boat, I figured we didn’t need a lot of power.  I was very pleased with the performance of the motor.  It sure was a whole lot easier than rowing upstream.

I also rigged up a makeshift camera mount for the front of the boat using an aluminum tube I had laying around.  Unfortunately, it didn’t perform all that well.  The whole thing wasn’t sturdy enough and sometimes would sway back and forth, making for some low quality video.

Elijah with his dollar store special

Elijah with his dollar store special

However, there was no disappointment in the fishing.   A few seconds after Elijah tossed his line in the water for the first time, he pulled out the first fish – the first of the 50 he caught in a span of about two and a half hours.    For gear, he was using a purple rod and reel combo that looked like a dollar store special.   To his main line he tied a snap swivel and then used a pre-snelled leader with a size six hook.   He used pieces of nightcrawler for bait.

Elijah with part of the evening's catch

Elijah with part of the evening’s catch

I started out the evening using a fly rod and a black woolly bugger.  After Elijah had caught about ten fish to my one or two, I decided to get serious and I switch over to my spinning reel.   However,   it wasn’t enough to keep pace with Elijah and his dollar store special.  By the time he caught his daily limit of 50, I only managed about 20 of which I took home the 12 largest ones.

Almost all the fish we caught were rock bass with a few bluegill and white perch mixed in.

I was able to get some footage in spite of the problems with my camera mount.  If I’m able to put together a decent video I’ll post it on YouTube and add it to this post on a later date.  Until then, you can watch the video I made last year of fishing at the same location.

 

Trout fishing with camera glasses  

Pivothead Recon camera glasses

Pivothead Recon glasses

My friend recently purchased some Pivothead Recon camera glasses. He loaned them to me for a week, so I decided to try them out by taking them with me while trout fishing on Big Cove Creek. This was my first time fishing for trout, unless you count helping the kids catch trout last Saturday or my steelhead fishing trip to Erie last fall.

I ended up catching a 12-inch rainbow trout soon after I arrived. That catch I was able to record on the glasses, at least mostly. I found it a bit challenging to keep the camera pointed in the right direction. The other challenge with camera glasses is keeping the head steady so the recorded video isn’t shaky. Click on the video link to the left to see the recording.

My second fish came a couple of hours later and was a 10-inch rainbow trout. By this time, the battery in the glasses was low and I didn’t get it on video. The first fish came on Berkley PowerBait bubblegum 3-inch floating worm. The second fish was caught on Berkley natural scent garlic PowerBait.

First day of trout fishing

I’ve been an avid fisherman for several years, but I mostly target catfish, panfish, and a few bass. For some reason I have not had a lot of interest in trout fishing. That changed last fall when two of my friends invited me to go with them to Erie, PA and fish for steelhead. It was like learning to fish all over again. However, I decided to put some of the experience to use and go trout fishing.

On opening day in Fulton county the creeks are very crowded, so instead of fishing myself I took my three sons down to Big Cove Tannery to fish near the hatchery at the area designated for children only. It was a learning experience, but Landry and Camden each came home with their first trout. Click below to watch the video.

A visit to the “1000 Steps” in Mt Union, PA

On April 6 some friends and I made our first trip of the year to the thousand steps in Mt Union, Pennsylvania. The steps were built in the early 1900s by miners who wanted to make their daily climb to the quarry a bit easier.

For an office-dweller like me, the first time up the steps usually means three or four days of aching legs, but the good views and the sense of accomplishment you get from the climb make it worth it. Two years ago I visited the 1000 steps for the first time and made an informational video that gives some of the history of the area. Click on thumbnail to the right to check it out.

A visit to the fish hatchery

A couple days ago the family and I were looking for something to do in the evening to enjoy the spring weather. We decided to pay a visit the fish hatchery in Big Cove Tannery, PA. We were disappointed that the fish food vending machines didn’t have any food for the kids to feed the fish, but it was still worth the trip. Makes me think it’s time to get the line wet soon.

Raystown Lake Scenic Overlooks

If you’re in the Huntingdon, PA area and you have a little time to kill, consider paying a visit to the Ridenour and Hawn’s scenic overlooks. The lookouts are only a short walk from each other, so you can visit both with one stop. Here’s the map that should get you there.

Skunked at the Raystown Lake dam

Pavillion on Raystown dam

Pavillion on Raystown dam

For the last several winters, Elijah and I have made a trip the Raystown dam to fish for rock bass.  For one reason or another, these fish congregate in the channel below the power plant in the winter.  During the day you can normally see the bottom of the channel, and there are no fish in site. However, once darkness falls, a strong flashlight can reveal many rock bass just a few feet from the shore.  At least, that’s how it usually is.  This time, it took a fair amount of searching to even catch sight of a fish, and it proved nearly impossible to get one on the hook.  Elijah was able to coax a couple of them into biting, but neither of us were able to hook one.  So for the first time ever, our wintertime trip to the Raystown Lake dam produced nothing. Was our visit too late in the year?  Has the secret of the rock bass below the dam spread to the point where the location is over fished?  We don’t really know, but I suppose it was good to get the lines wet again. If you want to see what fishing below the dam is all about, you can watch the video from last year’s trip. Oh yeah, that fish in the picture is false advertising – it was one of last year’s catch.

Crosman 760 Pumpmaster BB gun

Landry holding Crosman 760 BB gun

Landry holding his Crosman 760 BB gun

Today my seven-year-old son Landry unwrapped his first real gun – a Crosman 760 Pumpmaster BB/Pellet gun.  It looks a lot like the one I had when I was young, with a few differences.  First it is all black, instead of the wood-grain look of the one I had.  Also, it comes with a scope which can be mounted and used instead of the iron sights.  I didn’t know which was the best for learning to shoot, but since he was having some trouble understanding how to line up the iron sights, I decided to start with a scope.  After a short time getting it sighted in, it seems to do the job well.

The gun seems pretty sturdy.  It’s made out of plastic but has a solid feel unlike some of the BB guns I’ve used in the past.  I did have a problem with the stock becoming loose after a short time of using the gun, but a large Phillips-head screw on the bottom of the stock lets you tighten that up if needed.  It’s been a few weeks since I did that and it hasn’t come loose again. Landry is enjoying it and has become pretty accurate, hitting a pop can from across the large room in our basement every time.  Click on the video to see the gun in action.