Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Fishing and Hiking a New (Old) Spot

This past weekend I decided at the spur of the moment to stop by a state park in the next county over and do a little looking around. When I was young, my dad and I would often go here and fish in the lake, or sometimes hike some of the various trails. It had been 20 years or so since I had last been here, and I'm not really sure why it has taken me so long to return to a place this close to home.

On Saturday, my wife and I stopped by the park on our way home to see how much things had changed since I was last there. One thing I noticed right away was the new looking visitor center, which we entered to look at the exhibits. This area is fairly unique in that it is what the park called a low mountain Piedmont ecosystem. There's not any trout in the park, it's a little too low in elevation and the streams are too warm, but I was surprised to find out that rhododendron does grow on the north facing area of the mountain. Another interesting fact I discovered at the visitor center was that the area served as an artillery practice range during World War I, and the mountain was the backstop for the range.

After learning a little more about the local ecosystem and history of the area, we decided to go for a walk around the trail that surrounds the nine acre lake in the park. I was surprised to find that there were only a few people out fishing on a nice Saturday afternoon. After speaking to a few of the fishermen, I found out that there were some decent sized bass in the lake, as well as bream. This was about what I remembered from my childhood fishing trips, and I did notice several bass in the shallows hanging around fallen trees and other structure.

The Lake
As we walked the trail around the lake, we got a chance to observe some signs of the local wildlife. The shallows were alive with small fish, and frogs were calling all around the lake. We saw a flock of geese from a distance, and my wife saw a black rat snake disappearing into the bushes. She was not as excited about this as I was, however. One new thing that I noticed at the park that I didn't remember from years ago was the signs of beaver activity around the lake. We didn't get to see any beavers, but there were several trees around the lake that had been felled recently by beavers. They are becoming more common in our area, especially in the last several years.

Beaver felled tree
After hiking the lake, and seeing fish, I decided it might be time to give the lake another try. I was surprised to find how clear the lake appeared, especially with all the rain we have had lately. On Sunday after church, my brother-in-law and I decided that with all the trout and smallmouth streams running too high to fish due to all the recent rain, we would give the state park a try and see if we could find some success. About the time that we arrived and headed to the lake, it started raining. We were there and it wasn't storming, so we decided to stick it out an hour or two and see if we could catch a few. To our surprise, there were a lot more people fishing in the rain than the day before when I had hiked around the lake. I didn't see any bass Sunday, but did manage a few small bream on an in line spinner. 

Bream in the rain
Even though the bass didn't make an appearance, it was fun to go back and explore an area that I remembered from childhood. I don't think I'm ready to give up on this lake after only one attempt, and that in less than ideal conditions, but I definitely want to come back and do some more hiking and exploring. The scenery and wildlife at the park are fairly unique, and I will be back soon. Maybe this time I will even be able to stay dry!

Thanks for stopping by!

- Joseph


  1. I think I know which place you are referring to. I never checked it out but I've been wanting to go there.

    1. It's a pretty neat place. I've hiked to the top of the pinnacle and the view is worth the walk. I get the impression that the lake sees a good bit of pressure, but I did see some 12-14" bass swimming around on Saturday.


Feel free to leave a comment and tell me what you think!