Bass In Loyalhanna Near Park
Inside the Outdoors, June 11, 2010

Last week I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting a young fellow who identified himself as Andy. We were both walking back from the Latrobe Farmer’s Market when he called over to me and asked if he could do anything to help me. I thanked him, and told him I was fine and walked a bit further up Irving Ave., and then slowed down. Again, I heard him calling out to me. And again, I assured him I was all right.

This time, I stopped and waited for him to catch up. We both found shade along the way. I have to say the rest was most welcome. We then began to talk.

The very polite young man told me he had just moved to the area and was living up the street not far from where we were standing. Knowing he was still in school, I asked how many days were left until it was out. He told me less than a week.

“What are you going to this summer,” I quizzed him. “Go Swimming,” he exclaimed. Seems that is what I am hearing from every youngster.

I then asked what his favorite subjects were in school. Science was his favorite, I learned. Then I told him he should read and learn all he could about the various subjects that he liked and make swimming secondary.

“Do you like to fish?” I asked. He lit up like a kid seeing his new bicycle for the first time. “I love to fish,” he said.

“OK, here is a very important question I have to ask you. Have you ever caught any fish down around the trestle in Legion Keener Park?” What followed was the best news I’ve heard in months. My new friend revealed, “Kids are catching fish down and around there, mostly bass, but also carp as well.”

That was some of the best news I’ve heard in a long time.

As you may remember some weeks back, I ran a survey to ascertain if anyone was catching fish between the island and trestle in Legion Keener Park. To be quite honest about everything, Andy’s report was a first for quite a long time. I even talked to a local attorney who fishes the creek a lot and asked him about that area, and I quote, “I couldn’t even get a nibble.”

I had heard of an alleged fish kill witnessed by two Latrobe residents, and there were thoughts that that area may have been affected to the point that all fished may have been killed in that area, but now it’s good to hear that fish are being caught. And the youth said these aren’t small fish. He apparently weighed them telling me that they were several pounds each.

I am looking forward to others contacting me with reports.

With 2010 bass season beginning June 12, it is important to mention that the Big Bass Program was established some time ago with certain regulations applied. In the following lakes, largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass have to be 15 inches in length. This applies to the following Westmoreland County basins: Bridgeport Reservoir, Keystone State Park Lake, Upper and Lower Twin Lakes, Mammoth Dam, and Northmoreland Lake.

It may be of interest to the bass fisherman that there is a legal way to measure the fish so it appears longer than just tabulating its length from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail as has been the practice of measuring all fish, generally speaking. Compress the tail slightly and then measure its length. According to the Pennsylvania Boat and Fish Commission, this is the proper way to ascertain the proper measurement.

As I sat here typing away, a gent called me using his cell phone to report that he was out surveying Keystone State Park Lake for good fishing spots. “I just saw one of the all-time great fishing pros out here,” he proclaimed. A Great Blue Heron zeroed in on a fish in a small cove area between the beach and the road. In seconds, it soared down and scooped up a beauty out of the water and flew out of sight. If only we had it so easy… I’m not even asking for a beauty - just something to show the little woman of the house that a day on the lake can be worth its weight in gold if I, at least, bring home the supper!

- Paul J. Volkmann
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