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Review: Juniata, River of Sorrows
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2006/9/9 17:32
From Gettysburg
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If you're a bass fishing fan of the Juniata River and love history as I do, you'll likely enjoy Dennis McIlnay's book: Juniata, River of Sorrows. Dennis is a prof at Saint Francis University and an avid bass fisherman (although not a fly fisherman). This book follows his drift fishing the main stem of the river interspersed with narrative about the region during the troubled 1750s. The historical sections are not "feel good" history and detail the many atrocities of warfare that characterised that era. The fishing chapters make for lighter reading and describe the many access sites and day float trips on this wonderful river.

Posted on: 2008/11/27 22:04

Edited by Fishidiot on 2012/7/5 11:55:42
Edited by Fishidiot on 2012/7/5 11:56:05


Re: Juniata, River of Sorrows

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2011/4/12 17:23
From Lancaster Co.
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I finally got around to reading this book which was given to me last Christmas. The book is pretty light in terms of information about actually fishing the Juniata River between Huntingdon and the mouth for smallmouth bass but it does list a number of access points and good fishing locations along the way. As FI said in his original post the book focuses much more on the westward expansion of settlers into the Pennsylvania colony and the 1750s era history of the Juniata Valley. Good detail about the conflict between settlers and the Leni Lenape and Iroqouis nation, most of which occured during the height of the French and Indian (Seven Years) War. I did not realize that the valley was the scene of so many bloody incidents, Indian raids, revenge killings by settlers, taking of prisoners, etc. The history of this area is put into context against some of the more significant events of the times including Washington's role in the killing of ensign Jumonville, his ill-fated stand at Fort Necessity and Braddock's bloody defeat when he lead an army against the French at Fort Duquesne. If you enjoy Pennsylvania history and want learn a little more about the history of the Juniata Valley and Juniata River at the same time, this is a good read.

Posted on: 2012/6/19 14:57
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Re: Juniata, River of Sorrows

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I agree with both reviewers for the reasons they stated. The McIlnay book is indeed an interesting one, a good read.

Posted on: 2012/6/19 15:00


Re: Review: Juniata, River of Sorrows
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2006/9/9 17:32
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At the risk, perhaps, of revealing a foolish sentimental streak....I'll confess that, as I've grown older, I'm inclined when fishing to take more time to ponder the past and wonder what has happened in that area over the years. What was the fishing like? What about the landscape - were there pines and hemlocks where today there are maples and mixed oak forest? When was this eel weir built?

I sometimes find this proclivity to be odd as - again, while getting older - I'm personally focused these days more on practical things and straightforward issues and much less likely to ponder abstractions than when I was younger.
Yet with fishing, it's just the opposite. When in my twenties, I was much more focused on catching fish and pursued this relentlessly. I'm still pretty focused but am much more inclined these days when fishing....to set down the rod and ponder. Hhmmm.

Anyway, this book is a good one. It describes the river back in the day (there were actually seals in the river all the way up at least to Lewistown in the 1700s!) even if most of the focus is on the misery of life on the frontier. The author's various float trips are good too and provide a realistic expectation of what one can expect rather than the all too often glowing accounts of "hundred fish days" and similar nonsense in other books and articles. It should perhaps be remembered that, having been published in 2003, this book came out before the bass crash that has impacted the fish populations somewhat in the lower Juniata.
Nevertheless, an excellent read

Posted on: 2012/7/5 12:09


Re: Review: Juniata, River of Sorrows

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2010/5/30 18:53
From Spring Grove, Pa
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I grew up in Newport right along the rive. I really enjoyed reading the historical parts of the book. I have fished from McVeytown to the Susky for years. Did a lot of wade fishing from the time I was a youngster. I have many fond memories of my own on the Juniata. Just wish the fishing was as good as it used to be.....

Posted on: 2012/7/22 20:53


Re: Review: Juniata, River of Sorrows

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2007/12/23 14:18
From Richfield, PA
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Fishing might not be as good as it was 15 years ago, but this is the best it's been in 6 or 7 years.

Posted on: 2012/7/23 13:04
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