Where to Fish?
Inside the Outdoors, April 12
, 2013

Every year, someone either emails, telephones or approaches me with one thing on his mind – “Hey Pee Vee, where is a good place to go fishing around here?”

Well, it goes without saying that each person has his favorite place, some of which are never disclosed.

Consider the principles of a stream. Where would you hang out if you were a trout, bass or even a pike? Some place whereby I could easily breathe, and second, just as important, readily find food. If the time is right and I smell goodies of all shapes and sizes coming my way, I’m going to break away from my school and detect what my senses are trying to tell me. The whole secret here is natural presentation. So, it comes down to this. Where are fish found? In suitable waters where there is current striking rocks, causing eddies to produce bubbles carrying oxygen downstream. And where does the live food hang out? That should be a no-brainer. In the same locale as the bigger fish, only, maybe, off to the side where it won’t be noticed as much. The nymphs, crayfish or the minnows don’t want to be eaten anymore than you or I would to if we were aquatic species.

So, I still hear people echoing in my ear – “Where is there a good place to go fishing around here?” Let’s start with the Delayed Harvest Project. Reports have been coming in that the bug has already attacked some and anglers are out fly-fishing on the Loyalhanna Creek in Ligonier along the one and one-half mile stretch from the State Route 711 bridge to the State Route 2045 bridge downstream. That’s a statement in and of itself.

Recently, I was told that people have lost interest in the sport because of high costs of licenses and stamps. I ask them what other type of recreation offers so much for so little all 12 months of the year, for which they have no answer. I think if people budget for anything, they will eventually have funds for what they need.

A resident license with a trout stamp is $32.40. If we consider 352 days, give or take some, it averages out to nine cents a day. If one goes out on the first week and catches his limit each time (seven days) and brings home 30 to 35 trout, tell me now, where can one buy trout anywhere in any market or restaurant in the proximity of $3.00 total. I’m afraid people’s priorities are in the wrong place.

On the brighter side, one angler recently told me that “I have been pound the trout out at Keystone, catching large trout on scented minnows.” Of course, with the new program in progress, he had to throw them back, but he didn’t mind, he was just excited to have the opportunity. His point of attack – off the boat ramp.

Anyway, good places to fish that I’ve heard about are Buttermilk Falls near Longbridge in Darlington, through the Loyalhanna Gorge, particularly along the areas where one sees lots of cars parked on Route 30 heading west, along the walls nearing Kingston Dam, the spillway and on the other side of Route 217 bridge heading downstream.

Sheldon’s Rocks has always been a favorite for all species of fish. I’ve done better the farther I go downstream on the Loyalhanna. Crayfish work very well.

Since a number of facts play into my journeys between there and State 982 Bridge over the Loyalhanna (what used to be the Iron Bridge), I have done remarkably well where Nine-Mile Run connects to the Loyahanna. Using a white Rooster Tail and bringing it downstream along the stone wall has produced a trout every throw. I would traverse the current downstream and then come back on the opposite side where I would be looking upstream at the junction. Of course, I’ve said it every year, crimping my barbs made it easier to remove the fish and throw them back to be caught by someone at a later time.

Other good holes are found 100 feet or so down from Murphy’s Bridge where the water is deep, cooler and faster flowing, Paddy’s Hole, around the island near Legion Keener Park, the Trestle and over the hill from the Latrobe Administration Building are all good.

Back to Ligonier a moment, I’ve heard fishing is super if one stays closer to W. Main Street where not many people visit, so I’m told.

As for the lakes, fishing is excellent at Keystone State Park from the boathouse to dam, between the handicapped dock across the lake in the circumference to the lily pads. My all time favorite place is to the right of the handicap dock near the boathouse at Lower Twin Lakes. Fish the wall along the sidewalk and one will surely catch a fish!

- Paul J. Volkmann
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