Warm water grandslam

Last evening I went on a short excursion up to the homewaters.

It was pretty warm outside, and was hoping the location wouldn’t be too busy. I ended up having the majority of the river to myself, except for a party up near one of my favorite places to cast a line.

As I approached the clear water, I saw a 14 to 16 inch smallie chase a sculpin out of its hole. I tossed in a woolly bugger and the smallie followed twice, but wouldn’t take.

As I made my way down the river, I had blue gills trying to swallow my popper, but they must have been too small. I made the switch to a small bead head bugger and that is when the fun started.

I made my way down to a nice hole, and ended up pulling out four species of fish from the same hole. First I caught a small rock bass. A couple casts later, I had a nice little smallie:
Smallie2

Next, I had what I think was a crappie. I’ve never caught a crappie before, so that was pretty cool.
Another fish2

And before I pulled out another rock bass, I hooked into the biggest fish of the evening. I nice largemouth that was a bit over a foot long:
Largemouth

I found a school of over eager creek chubs and was going to try out a dry fly, but after hooking up with a fish about the size of my ring finger, I decided to leave them be. Hopefully, they’ll double in size and I’ll have some pseudo-trout to take my dry flies down the road.

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Our Trip to Pennslyvania

My wife and I decided to take our daughter to Sesame Place. Sesame Place is the only theme park centered around the Sesame Street characters. Sesame Place is located in Langhorne, PA, which is north of Philadelphia. Our daughter loves Sesame Street, and we decided we could squeeze in some activities geared towards us while we were there.

Philadelphia

The long car ride there was broken up, and upon our second day we arrived at a hotel that was centered in between the places we were planning to visit. The first day we arrived, just after lunchtime and headed into downtown Philadelphia to visit Independence Hall, and some of the surrounding landmarks. After the long car ride, Clara ended up falling asleep, so she missed the first part of the Philly trip, and was even asleep when we took this picture in front of the Liberty Bell:
liberty bell

We visited some of the surrounding landmarks including the Benjamin Franklin museum and the Portrait Gallery. The one thing I learned about Pennsylvania and the roads around Philly was that they split into a hundred different directions and there is almost never a straight road. After leaving the parking structure underneath the Independence Hall visitors center, I missed the lane to get back onto the expressway, and figured I could go down a block and come back. Instead, the traffic flow forced us onto the Ben Franklin bridge and we ended up in New Jersey. I then had to pay a toll to get back across. Luckily we only got lost one other time, but the roads around Philly were quite confusing for a Michigander who has lived in the Detroit grid-patterned street system his whole life.

Sesame Place

The next two days, we took Clara to Sesame Place. Clara seemed ecstatic as she got to meet all of her Sesame Street friends in real life. She enjoyed most of the rides, all of the shows, but did not care for any of the water rides. The first day we even had “Breakfast with Elmo,” and it actually turned out to be breakfast with Elmo, Big Bird, Zoey, Burt, and Ernie. Here was our first encounter with meeting with Elmo:
meeting elmo

Amish Country

After our two days visiting the Sesame Street monsters, we visited Amish Country in Lancaster, PA. We took a small tour, where an Amish farmer took us to his farmhouse inside of his buggy. I snapped this picture of a buggy that was coming up behind us:
amish

The farm was basically a dairy farm that supplied Land O’ Lakes with milk. It was amazing to see the hard work that was put into running the operation with just one family.
amish farm 2

As we pulled away from the farm I snapped this picture of the Amish “tour bus” that arrived just after we did:
amish farm

Just before returning to our starting point for the tour, our Amish guide pointed out a church that he said was built sometime around 1740. It amazed me how old that building was, and I was lucky enough to get some good pictures as we passed by:
old church 2

old church

Fisherman’s Paradise

The last couple days in Pennsylvania, we stayed in the city of State College, and I discovered that there was a creek nearby named Spring Creek. It had special regulations that basically allowed for fly fishing only. So, after purchasing a PA fishing license online, I headed out to do some fishing at a section of the creek appropriately named Fisherman’s Paradise. This exit just before the city of Bellefonte lead to the creek, and shows some of the hilly mountains found throughout the Penn state.
exit to fisherman's paradise

The creek had very strict regulations that were posted in many locations. The most interesting one to me was that there was no wading allowed. I had never heard of a no-wading regulation before. Here I am standing near a sign explaining the area:
fishermans paradise sign

The creek had extremely clear water, and there is a fish hatchery on the site that was built next to the creek. The first day I had fish rising everywhere, and I went though a series of dry flies, emergers, and nymphs with no luck. Finally, near the end of the first evening I had a fish at least take a look, but still reject my fly offerings. The second day, I finally got into a fish. I really nice brown slammed my fly, jumped out of the water, and shook the hook out of its mouth. I was appreciative of the show, especially considering that was as close as I came to catching a fish in Pennsylvania.
looking down fisherman's paradise

There was a neat bridge built into the hatchery, and provided a way to gain access to both sides of the creek.
fisherman's paradise bridge

The really odd part was, I could see brown trout all over the place, but there were actually a couple of other species mixed in as well. First, there were several sucker fish that appeared to be hanging out near the back end of the hatchery facility:
sucker fish

Later, as I was expecting small brown trout to swim by, two enormous carp appeared in front of me. Not exactly the type of fish I would expect to see in a trout creek.
carp in the stream

The first day I fished alone, but the second day, my family came out to cheer me on in my fishing endeavors. I was lucky enough to have my wife there to take pictures while I fished.
changing the fly

I think my daughter was very interested in fishing, as she was watching and following me while I fished:
fishing with daddy

I was extremely frustrated with fishing here because I could watch brown trout over 12 inches long swim right in front of me, and totally ignore the flies I was casting:
backcast

In the end, it was fun to try and fish in a new location, and this is the first time I have ever fished for trout outside the state of Michigan. So I have expanded my fishing horizons…
paradise casting

The best part of the trip was seeing my daughter have so much fun. Who knows, maybe someday she may even by my future fishing buddy:
future fisherwoman