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Re: Interesting turn of events: where to fish in western PA?

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2013/7/30 17:16
From Fairborn, OH
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Naw, it's not too bad at all. I would say that anything is better than Vegas, but the truth of it is that I am going to miss driving "next door" to fishing Utah a lot. Sure, it's a haul getting out there, but the fishing in that state is excellent. Moving to Ohio will still present some travel challenges for fly fishing, but it's going to open a lot of doors as far as hunting and using my German Shorthaired Pointer to hunt upland birds again. I'm pretty pumped about it, actually.

Posted on: 12/13 20:22


Re: Interesting turn of events: where to fish in western PA?

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From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
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Well, for one, Dayton is a LONG ways from the PA border. Far enough that most of us easterners would say too far for hunting/fishing purposes. But westerners will drive half that distance for a pack of cigarettes, so....

Ohio is a trout fishing desert. You have, in both Ohio and PA (and NY), the Lake Erie fishery, which for steelhead is just ridiculously amazing for fall/winter/early spring. It's also a little artificial feeling with huge fish in small water, and the crowds are equally ridiculous. If you have weekdays to deal with and time to learn the ins and outs of the fishery, it can be very rewarding.

If you are the boating type, there will be plenty of warmwater (mostly bass) opportunities in Ohio and if you get something big enough to handle the great lakes, you can take trips there. Walleye and smallmouth bass are the main ones, but just about anything. There's a lot of perch junkies up there.

Hunting is probably good in Ohio if you can get access to land, but no rifles, shotguns only. Lots of Ohio guys invade PA in rifle season for that reason. Plus, a lot find large unbroken expanses of hilly forest more enjoyable to hunt than a patchwork of farm fields and little isolated pieces of forest that you find in Ohio, even if the farmland grows bigger bucks. The border areas are just more of the same as Ohio. North of 80, and East of the Allegheny River is when you get into the large forested areas. Some private and much of it public, like the National Forest. South of 80 can be even more productive, but the woods are generally thicker and the population density is higher, so there's a few houses around just about everywhere.

For trout fishing, there are a few stocked streams in the border area. But for wild trout, consider Oil City/Franklin to be your SW corner of the better areas. North and East from there, you have generally largish stocked streams with good hatches, and smallish wild streams. In that area it's mostly browns but you start getting a lot of brookies as you get further northeast into the forests and hills of the national forest and surrounding areas.

You could also look at the Laurel Highlands area. The Yough is a fantastic tailwater fishery, and there's other stocked and wild options in that area too. This is the mountainous area SE of Pittsburgh, from about Uniontown to Johnstown.

And if you're gonna go that far, central PA isn't "that" much further.

Posted on: 12/16 11:54


Re: Interesting turn of events: where to fish in western PA?

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From Fairborn, OH
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As always, pcray, thank you very much for the info. Just looking at a Google map, I could tell that my trout fishing options were going to be much slimmer than what I have over in Utah. The good news is that long drives to fish (3.5-4.5 hours) have been the norm for me since I started this game, so that much time on a road to PA will feel like nothing much has changed. now, I may have to beg and plead with some of the members to help me out come steelhead season since that IS a long way to go to end up on the most crowded stretch of an Erie trib known to man purely out of ignorance, but for simply exploring and finding a secluded brookie stream over a couple of days in the regular season, I would have no issue venturing out on my own.

I'm glad you brought up hunting! I'm an avid hunter and will work my butt off to find someplace worthwhile in Ohio proper. I have shot enough various game with a rifle (and a couple deer with a bow) that I can live with a bow/shotung/muzzleloader lifestyle for a few years without much worry. The fact is, the freezer is full for a good while after my recent Colorado private land-only cow elk hunt last week (me on the left, my buddy from Nebraska on the right):

http://www.sierrabullets.com/sierra-scrapbook/index.cfm/sid/309

My most coveted hunting project is to head back to PA to go for ruffed grouse. I have that German Shorthaired Pointer that was working pheasants in Nebraska with me when he was just 7 months old and who I would LOVE to take out for grouse. I just have to nail down my public land options and scout a bit, and it sounds like northwest PA is the place to go.

Posted on: 12/17 13:43


Re: Interesting turn of events: where to fish in western PA?

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grouse can be good farther south, actually, where the forest is thicker. I have a few decent grouse spots in western PA, hit me up when the time comes. It's been years since I've hunted any of them so things may have changed. But old strip mined areas are often good for grouse.

Posted on: 12/17 15:18


Re: Interesting turn of events: where to fish in western PA?

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I'll definitely will take you up on that. Have gun, have dog, will travel. Just bring yourself, your gun and as much ammo as you see fit and we'll have some fun.

It really kills me that Nevada is so hit and miss for upland hunting. In a good year, the Gambel's quail can be thick in numbers fairly close to Las Vegas. Two years ago, I had a great year hunting quail and I didn't even have a dog! I just knew spots where they were thick and would walk the scrub brush with good success. The trouble is that the population for quail, chukar and all of the other desert upland birds is incredibly weather depenedent and for two straight years with bad drought, the the hunting has sucked. I drove 10 hours north this year - almost at the Oregon border - to the supposed "Mecca'" of chukar hunting in the state and had exactly one bird flush (well out of gun range) in 4 days of hunting. Thank goodness the fishing was excellent or that trip would've been a wash of epic proportions.

As far as that goes, I plan on going on a for-fun/scouting trip to PA look for grouse shortly after I settle in in Ohio. It will get my dog used to the new surroundings and offer an excellent excuse to break the fly rod back out. Let me know if you want to come.

Posted on: 12/17 15:51


Re: Interesting turn of events: where to fish in western PA?
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[quote]
Six-Gun wrote:
The good news is that long drives to fish (3.5-4.5 hours) have been the norm for me since I started this game, so that much time on a road to PA will feel like nothing much has changed.[quote]

I think you might find the driving you're looking at to get to trout/grouse in PA is gonna be tougher. The distances are greater. I'm not familiar with the drive to from Dayton to P-burgh but I'd guess probably at least 4-5 hours(?). Add to that a couple more hours to get into the better areas of PA and you're essentially looking at probably 6-8 hours on the road. Also, the roads in western PA just don't fly by like driving in the West where landscape can fly by in leaps and bounds - it can be a tough slog during the autumn and winter months for grouse in PA(Oct - Jan).
With that said, it's certainly doable for a weekend. I'd look into finding some dog friendly hotels or campsites/cabins in the areas that Pcray has described. Or add a couple hours and you can get up into north central PA - counties like Lycoming, Potter, Centre, Clinton etc. These areas are trout and grouse paradise.
Anyway, we look forward to your movement back East in the spring.

Posted on: 12/17 17:24


Re: Interesting turn of events: where to fish in western PA?

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Thanks for the clarification, Fishidiot. When it comes to these kinds of drives, I am not afraid to venture far, but as you suggest, it's a full-weekend proposition. Usually, when I drive into Utah, I may go 4.5 hours to start, but will often change spots, driving another hour or more into the state. That said, when I know it's going to be really far like that, I'm bringing camping gear and leaving the night prior for obvious reasons.

It's funny you bring up Lycoming, Potter, Centre, and Clinton counties. As a native Philadelphian, I didn't see my first pair of ruffed grouse until this year when I returned and made it a point to finally visit Clinton County. It took no time at all to see them (and a black bear to boot), and if that's any indication of what can be had out that way, heck, I'll definitely add a couple more hours to an already long trip.

The other big thing I need to figure out is where the state game lands truly are. I was pretty confused when I got to what looked like pure state game lands on a map only to find several sections of posted private land mixed in along with some for-rent hunting cabins.

Posted on: 12/17 21:36


Re: Interesting turn of events: where to fish in western PA?

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2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
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Many state game lands are smallish lots with uneven borders, and "islands" of private land within. There are a whole bunch of them spread all over the state. And many are very different from one another, i.e. this one's mature forest, this one's a bunch of brush, etc. Overall, when compared to say, the National Forests and State Forest system, SGL's offer much more small game opportunities. Some state parks offer this too. But the state and national forests offer much larger plots of largely mature forest, with mostly big forest game (turkey, deer, bear, etc.). Also, there are large tracts of land owned by timber companies and other businesses, and hunting and fishing are generally welcomed and any exceptions often well marked.

Here's a map for SGL's. The little green areas are the SGL's. When you click on the map, it takes you to a zoomable google-maps type interface, and the SGL's are then orange. As you zoom in, they switch to black borders. Access points (official PGC parking) are also shown.

http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/ ... ty/state_game_lands/11363

Don't forget that we have an awful lot of private land which is open to the public as well. The state law is that if there's nothing indicating you can't go there, you can go there. But if a landowner tells you otherwise in any manner, whether it be signs, verbally, smoke signals, etc., then you can't. There's a lot of old wives tails about signs having to be signed, spaced <30 ft apart, etc. If you ask someone else they'll probably tell you that something like this is the law. And there are indeed guidelines to that effect for landowners, but they are just guidelines. As a visitor, the bottom line is that if you saw the sign, then you know the landowner's intent, and if his borders are in question or something it's up to you to figure it out.

The actual morality of this varies a lot by area. In some areas, you have a high % of posted land and even if it's not, it's best to ask. There are other areas where the vast majority of landowners do not post, and it's just expected that people will hunt (or fish) on it. In many cases, they don't even want to be bothered with a million people knocking on the door to ask permission. If you try, you get an answer like "if I didn't allow people to hunt, I'd post it, now go away and stop bothering me."

It's one of those things that takes a little learning and getting used to the way we do things, and the proper etiquette varies locally. But to totally ignore privately owned land is giving up an awful lot of opportunities unnecessarily.

Posted on: 12/18 9:07


Re: Interesting turn of events: where to fish in western PA?

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2006/9/9 11:22
From New Castle, PA
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Don't overlook the few trout options you have much closer to home in Ohio. The Mad River of course but also Clear Fork of the Mohican River and Clear Creek. I've heard enough about these streams to wager they are as at least as good as any stocked fishery in the western part of PA and in the case of the Mad River, on par with some of the better streams in all of PA.

Also, in regard to steelhead: If you stick to Ohio you'll have very few problems with crowding unless you fish the smaller waters. Ohio has several creeks/rivers that are much bigger than any of the PA tribs. The steelhead fishing and fishing culture is also much different on the bigger Ohio water.

Kev

Posted on: 1/2 6:40


Re: Interesting turn of events: where to fish in western PA?

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I lived in Dayton for a number of years. Mad river indeed has good trout population but can be madden fly tough to catch. The state stocks five inch fish due to problems with opening day circus in years past. By the time they get big enough to be worthy of catching, they are very stream wise. Water is crystal clear much of the time as well. Little Miami is scenic and has smallmouth, but the Stillwater and great Miami have better fishing, IMHO.

Posted on: 1/4 18:48


Re: Interesting turn of events: where to fish in western PA?

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2013/7/30 17:16
From Fairborn, OH
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Thanks for the info on those bodies of water. I definitely plan on exploring the local water near Dayton, as the Mad runs right by the base and the other waters aren't terribly far away. I am definitely going to be down to tackle bass on fly tackle as it's something I've been doing a bit of here in Nevada (except that its the largemouth variety where I go).

Posted on: 1/5 2:14



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