The Great Outdoors: A Fishing Memory Lasts a Lifetime

6:18:16 reynoldsville reservoirWell, I didn’t get any boating in this weekend, but my dad and I did do a little fishing.

Bass season opened Saturday. It seemed to be a slow opening weekend as most of the spots we checked, the largemouths were either still spawning or in the post spawn.

Saturday evening, Dad and I took a trip back in time as we checked out the pair of small reservoirs that still serve as the backup water supply to the Borough of Reynoldsville.

While I don’t remember the specific occasion, there are a few very memorable photos of my younger brother Todd and I accompanied by our Grandfathers and our Dad.

I believe Todd was 2 or 3, and I, a year older to the day.

The adults had done pretty well, with a couple of nice stringers of bass. We were pretty excited to be a part of it, but not as much as our elders!

Our dad, Tim, and grandfathers, George Shindledecker and Clarence Bochert, were all avid outdoorsmen.

Our Grandfathers, one born before 1900 and the other, who grew up in the Great Depression, hunted and fished when it meant more than just recreation. Then, it meant food on the table.

Whether they fished and hunted for food or just for fun, they both loved the outdoors and they passed that along.

We fished those two reservoirs from time to time over the years and typically, there were memorable times.

Saturday, we found the parking space with ease, but the trail to the water had mostly disappeared under the growth of several maple and oak trees. As we made our way along the shoreline, we noticed two things – that the water level was a little deeper and that a bunch of small trees covered the area where we used to walk.

The largemouth bass grew to respectable sizes, as did the yellow perch. The nicest perch I ever caught, not counting Lake Erie, was a fat 12-incher from the upper reservoir.

The bass were elusive, but not so much that we quit trying to fish for them.

The lower dam provided a few good memories. A good way to catch the bigger bass was to Texas rig a live night crawler, or better yet, a big, black plastic worm. Cast it out and let it set for a while, while sitting on the big rocks at the breast of the dam.

After I had graduated from college, I remember two times that big bass grabbed those worms and stripped my reels!

I never did bring either one in, and I’ve always wondered just how big those fish were. I was using 6-pound test line, but I didn’t have a chance with them. Maybe the drag was set too tight!

The dams also featured water snakes, snapping turtles and big, ole bullfrogs.

One summer evening, as I sat on the rocks at the second dam, a healthy water snake cruised past me and slithered up onto the rocks nearby before disappearing beneath them.

I knew it wasn’t poisonous, but it was still a bit uncomfortable knowing he was down there, somewhere below me!

Another time, I hooked a snapper. At first, feeling the weight on the other end of the line was thrilling, just thinking that a monster bass had taken the bait. But I quickly realized it wasn’t a fish.

After some work, I got the snapper up to the surface and to the shore. I didn’t have a good way to get the hook out, so I cut the line, and he drifted back into the depths.

My most endearing memory is of the bullfrogs. Their bellowing and croaking was – and still is – music to my ears.

And, here’s a little reminder about knowing certain regulations while you’re fishing.

Sunday, we decided to see what was going on at Kyle Lake, in Jefferson County, located between Falls Creek and the airport.

The place was busy with probably 50 people fishing, boating, and just enjoying the warm weather. As we walked across the breast of the dam, I counted ten boats that I could see. Most were solo kayakers.

As we made our way across the dam, we saw a man speaking to another while writing. As we got closer and stopped to say hi, the younger and taller man said he was being cited for fishing from the breast, a definite no-no at Kyle, which is owned by the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission.

There are various regulations governing fishing and boating across Pennsylvania, and it’s worth it to know them, so you don’t have to pay a fine.

Well, I think I’ll be taking the kayak for a cruise around Kyle soon, or maybe a float on the Clarion from Cooksburg to the Piney Dam.


“The Great Outdoors,” sponsored by the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors, is a weekly blog by’s Scott Shindledecker. Plan you next outdoor adventure at or call (814) 849-5197 for more information.

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