Tomato Field







PA Photo Album

This is mostly about fly- fishing, there isn’t much in the way of other tourist stuff (at least stuff that I’m interested in) in the immediate area.

Forest Ridge Cabins & Campground is surrounded by forest. There is the Allegheny National Forest on 2 sides and the State of PA’s Cook Forest on the 3rd side. The forth is the village and farms.

Areas of the Allegheny National Forest were already populated by privately owned “camps” when it was made into a national forest. These “camps” are actually summer or vacation homes on small plots of land that were grandfathered in when the national forest was created. This resulted in a patchwork of dense undisturbed forest with single homesteads or groups of homesteads scattered throughout. Something you have to keep in mind when you’re following a creek in pursuit of the wily trout.

The trout streams are all stocked with Browns, Brooks, Rainbows, Golden Rainbows (called Palominos locally); and those streams that have a native brook trout population have a catch-and-release policy on the native species. There are also bass, walleye, pike, muskie, gar, and a large fish (about 18”) called a Northern Hog Sucker. These things look similar to a pickeral from a distance and just sit in one place with their heads upstream, normally in schools of 8 to 12 fish. They must be filter feeders because they ignore every fly I threw at them (before I found out what they were)!

There are seasons and bag and size limits in effect for almost all species. Bag limits were something that I never had to worry about. As a novice fly- fisherman, I obviously have a lot to learn. That’s not to say I didn’t catch fish, I caught quite a few (some really good size Rainbows included) but never had to worry about the 5 trout/day limit. The fish were there, I just couldn’t figure out what they wanted! I’d bounce the flys off their nose and they’d just move over and let the fly go by!! I’d go back to the sporting goods store in Shippenville (about 30 miles) about once a week, buy more fly patterns, and try again.

The areas I frequented were; Summer Creek, Mill Creek, Tionesta Creek, Salmon Creek, and the Clarion River. There were others that I tried just once but never got a rise or even saw a fish. I also drove over to Lake Erie to check it out but never got back to fish it.

The Tionesta Creek was the most productive for me, but even there I couldn’t catch one particular fish. It was a large “Palomino” that I could see laying in a hole where Minister Creek flows into Tionesta Creek. He had to be at least 16-18 inches. I’d go back about twice a month and he would still be there, ignoring everything I could throw at him. Of course, just the fact that he was still there made me feel a little better, since I know I wasn’t the only one after him.

Fishing this area is a real challenge because of the heavy under and overgrowth around the creeks; finding a spot where you really have room for a full cast is rare, and I spent a lot of time retrieving flys from overhanging tree limbs. I even saw guys that had converted small casting poles (about 3-4 ft) into fly rods so they could get into some of the spots. Needless to say, I got a lot of practice on side casting and “flick” casting.

Of course, I loved every minute of it and am glad I decided to come to PA.

One of the things I liked about PA was the roadside shopping. In the album, there is a photo of rows of tomato plants in a field with the row closest to the road being flowers. Unseen across the road is a roadside veggie stand where the farmer sells some of his produce. His wife plants the flowers for anyone that wants to stop and pick some.

After a field has been picked, it’s opened up to gleaners who will get the late ripening stuff for about a week before it’s plowed under.

I enjoyed some of the tastiest fruits and veggies, including tomato’s, corn and strawberries, I’ve had in a long time from these roadside stands.

Another thing you find around here are large (house size and bigger), flat boulders, called “Erratics”. Erratics can be found anywhere there were glaciers and were left behind when the glaciers retreated. PA has it’s share and some are monsters! Check out the album for some shots.