Explore Outdoors: Fishing is a Great Way to Reel in Memories

| April 8, 2019

It was 1980 and I was 11 years old. Cold weather and nearly a foot of snow on the ground did nothing to quell my enthusiasm for the first day of trout season.

The forecast for Saturday’s opener isn’t stellar, highs in the upper 40s with winds out of the northwest, but it shouldn’t stop those who love to fish from staying inside.

That opening day, all these years later, still stands out. The weather was just one of the reasons it remains so vivid to me.

My dad, Tim, my younger brother, Todd, and both grandfathers, George Shindledecker and Clarence Bochert piled into a yellow station wagon and journeyed north to a small stream called Anderson Creek.

In its headwaters, it flowed through a wooded area in and around the Moshannon State Forest in Clearfield County before it entered the DuBois Reservoir. Then, it was stocked with trout, mostly brookies, but there were some browns and rainbows mixed in, too.

Over the years, I ended up fishing most of this stream. It was a 20-minute drive from the home where I grew up. Its hemlock-lined banks, reasonably remote area and the occasional deep pools with house-sized boulders made it very attractive for a young angler.

For the ’80 opener, we fished a section of Anderson north of where it flowed into the reservoir. It hasn’t been stocked for many years and the last time I checked, it was populated by mainly the Eastern blacknose dace, a common minnow.

But then, there were enough trout to keep it interesting for those who fished in that section of the stream.

We were all bundled up in clothes that more resembled the attire one might wear to hunt in that to fish.

The fishing was a little slow, but we all managed to catch trout. Todd held bragging rights with the biggest fish, a 14-inch brown, but I had caught one more than he, so we both bragged that day.

Todd, who was the youngest of the gang at 10, and Grandpa Shindledecker, who was the oldest and well into his 80s, went back to the car first and we soon followed as our determination to catch more trout dwindled in the cold.

While we warmed up in the car and had sandwiches, hot chocolate and tea, we headed to Parker Dam State Park, just a few miles north.

I don’t think the fishing was too good after lunch because I have no memories of it other than Mom and Grandma Bochert met us there. They knew we’d be there because that was our plan and they were rightfully concerned about us being out in the cold for so long.

The fish we caught that day were part of a later dinner of baked trout, coated in sour cream and onion or cheese-flavored Pringles potato chips.

We didn’t have too many more trips like that where all five of us were together. Granddad Bochert died a few years later and Grandpa Shindledecker didn’t care for the cold that characterized much of trout season in northern Pennsylvania.

Nevertheless, it was a trip that we all cherished, and still do today.

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