Labor day Weekend - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-05-2017, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
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Labor day Weekend

My 8-year old son has really started to take an interest in fishing this summer, which has led me to do more fishing than I've done in quite a while. It's not that I don't love to fish, it's just there's only so much free time often consumed by hunting, scouting and trail cameras. We always had fun, but it was the same old streams. Earlier this summer on a rare cold late June day, we had visited Pine Creek for the first time as an after thought to a bear scouting trip. I was blown away at the number and size of fish (first picture). It made me think I should really expand my horizons more on the streams we visited.


For Labor day we visited my in-laws in Blair County, and with the weather as cold and wet as it was, it made the typical plans of having to lay by the pool watching the kids turn into a fishing vacation. We started out Sat afternoon and Sunday morning at my old stand-by, a stocked stream in Bedford that has a decent wild brown population. We caught a few both days. I tried fishing a minnow plug after reading trout travelers stories for years. It sure was great for seeing trout follow and miss it, but I just landed a few. I need to practice more, but since it's just catch and release, seeing them hit is fun too. My son caught a few as well, including the pretty brown in the second picture.

On Monday, we got up at 5:30 AM and headed to the Little J. He jumped right out of bed, if only he did that for school mornings. There was just one other car at our spot. We saw just two others all morning. It was my first time there so had no idea what to expect. It was not the easiest stream to get an 8 year old with 6 inch rain boots to get around, as every rock was slippery. We caught a pretty brown at the first spot we stopped. We moved up about 75 yards and found another rock I could carry him to. I let him fish and moved up a few yards. I heard his drag singing and assumed he had a rock until I saw fish jump and I knew he had a hog on. I came back to try to assist I fell off the rock and nearly took him with me, but luckily I kept the phone dry and he kept the fish on. Turned out to be 19 inch bow. I couldn't believe he landed it on 4lb test and hook just barely hanging onto the jaw. The very next cast he landed a 16 inch rainbow. At this point, we didn't think it could get much better, until his next cast. The image will remain stuck in my head forever. Again after listening to his drag sing, he claimed he saw the fish and wasn't stuck. A true monster launched itself entirely out of the water twice. I recall yelling as I had never seen anything like it in my thirty plus years of fishing. It spit the hook, which was probably a good thing, as there's no way his tackle would have held it. We were so excited at that point.
It was at that point with my son having three hogs on in 3 casts, I took off my plug and tied on what he was using, but that was the last big fish of the day. We caught a few pretty browns but nothing of size and fished till around 11. I was really impressed with the numbers of fish. As the day warmed, there was more and more surface activity.


I had been going to my inlaws for over 15 years, which was about 45 minutes from the Little J and had never tried it before. I already suggested we have Thanksgiving at there house this year so we can visit it again.
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Last edited by millerc; 09-06-2017 at 05:51 AM.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-06-2017, 10:20 AM
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Wow! What a great post! Your son is beaming in the pictures! I'm so glad he had so much fun. Basically when you take kids fishing, you just hope they catch fish and if they catch a big trout, that's a bonus. Getting back to back hogs and losing a third is really great. He'll talk about that day for a long time.

Thanks for posting!
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-06-2017, 10:55 AM
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Thanks for posting, that's awesome!!!!!
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-06-2017, 12:06 PM
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Congrats. Nice photos.

Your 8-year old son sure is tall. In that first photo he is taller than you.

Were you near the town of Spruce Creek when your son caught the two big trout? Just curious because I'd hate to see you get arrested for trespass if you didn't know the rules for roughly the mile of water starting near the mouth of Spruce Creek and going downstream.

I can be contacted at [email protected].
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-07-2017, 12:25 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by FrankTroutAngler View Post
Congrats. Nice photos.

Your 8-year old son sure is tall. In that first photo he is taller than you.

Were you near the town of Spruce Creek when your son caught the two big trout? Just curious because I'd hate to see you get arrested for trespass if you didn't know the rules for roughly the mile of water starting near the mouth of Spruce Creek and going downstream.


Frank. LOL on his height. He's standing on a concrete boat ramp that gives the impression he's "walking on water", while I'm standing just behind it kneeling on the ramp.


Although it felt for a 5 minute period we had mistakenly snuck into a private fishing club, I believe we were safely on the state ground, which the signs seemed to validate. I had done some research and noted that private section below Spruce Creek. That is partially why I opted for the state section, as it seemed like the safest route for my first visit. I did wonder how the rainbows got there as I was expecting a wild brown fishery. I presume they may wonder down from the club water?
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-07-2017, 12:58 PM
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Although it felt for a 5 minute period we had mistakenly snuck into a private fishing club, I believe we were safely on the state ground, which the signs seemed to validate. I had done some research and noted that private section below Spruce Creek. That is partially why I opted for the state section, as it seemed like the safest route for my first visit. I did wonder how the rainbows got there as I was expecting a wild brown fishery. I presume they may wander down from the club water?
Millerc, the Little Juniata River is navigable and as long as you stay below the ordinary high water mark, no landowner can prevent you from fishing, even below Spruce Creek. There is some posted land in various sections of the river, so you have to be careful where you gain access.

The rainbows more than likely come from the private sections on Spruce Creek. The private clubs unfortunately stock Spruce Creek and can legally do so since only 1/2 mile of Spruce Creek (the Penn State section) is rated class A.

When the Spring Ridge Club leased the land below Spruce Creek that belongs to the Espys, they stocked the river with rainbows and browns. The Little Juniata is class A for wild browns, so it is illegal for anyone other than the PAF&BC to stock it without permission. I suspect that some people who live along the river may stock it as there are a couple sections that always seem to have some rainbows. I don't see nearly as many rainbows as I used to back when the SRC was obviously stocking the river.

The rainbows in the photos you posted are colorful, which suggests to me that the rainbows have been in the river a while.

The great majority of trout in the river are wild browns. The PAF&BC used to stock it with fingerlings, but when the PAF&BC surveyed the river, they discovered that there was an excellent population of wild browns and that few of the fingerling brown trout had survived.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-07-2017, 02:55 PM
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Cool post. Kid looks excited!! As long as your feet are wet in that river you have nothing to worry about.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-07-2017, 10:08 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Trout Traveler View Post
Millerc, the Little Juniata River is navigable and as long as you stay below the ordinary high water mark, no landowner can prevent you from fishing, even below Spruce Creek. There is some posted land in various sections of the river, so you have to be careful where you gain access.

The rainbows more than likely come from the private sections on Spruce Creek. The private clubs unfortunately stock Spruce Creek and can legally do so since only 1/2 mile of Spruce Creek (the Penn State section) is rated class A.

When the Spring Ridge Club leased the land below Spruce Creek that belongs to the Espys, they stocked the river with rainbows and browns. The Little Juniata is class A for wild browns, so it is illegal for anyone other than the PAF&BC to stock it without permission. I suspect that some people who live along the river may stock it as there are a couple sections that always seem to have some rainbows. I don't see nearly as many rainbows as I used to back when the SRC was obviously stocking the river.

The rainbows in the photos you posted are colorful, which suggests to me that the rainbows have been in the river a while.

The great majority of trout in the river are wild browns. The PAF&BC used to stock it with fingerlings, but when the PAF&BC surveyed the river, they discovered that there was an excellent population of wild browns and that few of the fingerling brown trout had survived.
Interesting info. I was aware about the navigable waters issue, but it will be quite a few years until I could take advantage of that with him until he's able to wade, at least in a stream like that. At this point we are stuck hopping from hole to hole on land. I had brought his water shoes as he'll wet wade on smaller streams, but it was so cold he was freezing as it was.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-08-2017, 01:55 PM
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Was this the stream that prompted the "Don Beaver Lawsuit" ?

2A-Wash. Co.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-08-2017, 04:43 PM
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Was this the stream that prompted the "Don Beaver Lawsuit" ?
Yes. A few years before, there was another navigability case on the Lehigh River above the FE Walter Dam. An angler entered a section of the river that flowed through the Lehigh Falls Club taking care not to step on the land. To make a long story short, the club claimed the river was no longer navigable because of the dam. It went to trial and the club lost.

The Spring Ridge Club posted cables with no trespassing signs on the upper and lower borders of its property along the Little Juniata, claiming they owned the riverbed. Again, the club lost.
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