Friday, December 20, 2019

Merry Christmas from Pittsburgh Creekside

From Pittsburgh Creekside to you, Merry Christmas!  And nothing says Happy Holidays like a Christmas Yeti!  We found the wood carved yeti at Cabelas/Bass Pro Shop in Wheeling, West Virginia at Santa land on our way to Oglebay Resort for their Winter Light Festival.

Thanks for checking in on our Pittsburgh fishing and outdoors blog this year.  We really do appreciate you visiting us to see how our fishing trips are going around the Pittsburgh region.  Please continue to check back often to see our new posts.  Merry Fishing and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Smallmouth Bass Fishing on Pine Creek Pittsburgh

Last night I was shaking my head and trying to figure out how great it was to be in a situation where I can catch sizable small mouth so close to home in the North Hills of Pittsburgh.  When I went fishing yesterday, smallmouth bass was not on my radar.

Pine Creek located near North Park is known for stocked trout and not for small mouth like the Yough, Mahoning Creek or other waterways that hold smallies.  Summer on Pine Creek is slow and I've fished the creek from North Park Lake to County Lane so many times and caught giant catfish and carp and normal warm water fish like bluegill, large mouth bass, crappie and so on, which all probably come from the lake but not once did I ever catch a sizable small mouth bass.

Yesterday I caught small mouth bass in a stretch of Pine Creek that didn't look like it got much traffic and if you weren't wading the creek I wouldn't know how you would get back there without going through overgrown bush and thorns. So I am thinking that the fish and game folks were not stocking back there.  I think these fish are likely spawn and holdovers as they were pretty good sized fish -  probably due to the lack of fishing pressure in that spot and a healthy waterway.  I've talked to a few fisherman that fish Pine Creek down around Bryant Road and they said the small mouth are down in that area and they usually do well at night.

Most of the section on Pine Creek where I was is shallow and flat with not much going on but when I finally reached the area where I caught the bass it was a whole different habitat, it was deep, slow moving, lots of downfall and perfect for bass - you just knew that there were fish in that spot.

Fishing Glade Run Lake in Valencia, Pennsylvania

A late summer fishing trip to Glade Run Lake in Valencia, PA always produces quality large mouth bass.  The lake is scenic and quiet and just a great overall place to fish.  Glade Run Lake is about 30-40 minutes north of Pittsburgh, PA.

boating on glade run lake

Glade Run Lake

Fishing from a boat at Glade Run State Park

Largemouth Bass in Glade Run Lake

Monday, August 12, 2019

Fishing for Catfish and Largemouth Bass in Pittsburgh's North Park Lake

cat fish in North Park Lake Pittsburgh

We took the refurbished 12ft Sea King out on North Park Lake in the north hills of Pittsburgh this weekend. It was a hot, sunny, beautiful day on the lake.  We free-floated nightcrawlers under some dead-fall and logs that you could only reach by boat. We caught and released a nice sized largemouth bass and a giant catfish.  A great day of fishing.

Kayak Paddling Etiquette North Park
One thing that you need to be aware of while on North Park Lake in the summertime is the elevated amount of kayak and paddle-board traffic.  It is crowded. On this particular fishing trip, we had kayaks paddle within a few feet of our boat and through our lines without apology.  I had to make a few kayakers aware that we were fishing and please respect our space and watch out for fishing lines for their safety and ours.  When paddling on North Park Lake, please use paddling etiquette so we can all enjoy our day on the water.

cat fish in North Park Lake Pittsburgh

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Pittsburgh Creekside: Fishing Lovers Key State Park on the Gulf Coast of Florida

Lovers Key State Park Beach

With the July 4th holiday over it was time for a trip down south to warmer waters. I recently took a trip to Bonita Springs on the gulf coast of Florida and got some quality beach and fishing time in.  I spent most of my time at Lovers Key State Park in Ft. Meyers Beach, Florida.  I was competing with Tropical Storm Barry as the gulf coast was really churned up for a few days masking the beautiful turquoise water. All in all, my trip was fantastic as it was the first time that I got to fish the Gulf Coast on both the ocean and estuary mud flats.

Map of Lovers Key State Park

Small Map of Lovers Key State Park

I went walk-about on the beaches of Lovers Key and fished the storm churned surf to no avail.  The surf was about 2-3 feet and just too rough.  I also fished the entrance to Big Carlos Pass and Little Carlos Pass on the bay side and the Lovers Key fishing pier located on the southern part of the island.  The fishing pier can be accessed on a trail from the beach and the pier extends out into the estuary mud flats.

Bridge to Beach on Lovers Key State Park

Park Entrance to Lovers Key State Park from Big Carlos Pass

The Gulf Coast and Tropical Storm Barry

Fishing The Gulf Coast of Florida during Tropical Storm Barry

Dead Tree on Lovers Key State Park Beach

The Seashell Tree at Lovers Key Beach

 Big Carlos Pass

map of Big Carlos Pass

Fishing Big Carlos Pass at Lovers Key State Park
Fishing Big Carlos Pass Bridge at Lovers Key State Park

Fishing Big Carlos Pass Under Bridge at Lovers Key State Park

 Little Carlos Pass

map of Little Carlos Pass

Fishing Little Carlos Pass

Lovers Key Beach Fishing Pier

map of Lovers Key State Park Fishing Pier

Lovers Key State Park Fishing Pier

Lovers Key State Park Fishing Pier

The Catch
I caught a few Hard-Headed Catfish which is a salt-water catfish. I’ve never caught one and am very familiar with the freshwater catfish of Pine Creek back home, so I was surprised to see a catfish in the saltwater estuary.  I caught one on a Gulp imitation shrimp at Little Carlos Pass under the bridge on the bay side and the other from the fishing pier in the mud flat estuary area using real shrimp.  I also caught a few small mangrove snappers.

Hard Headed Salt Water Catfish

Fishing Tale of the Trip
I hooked into something big while fishing off of the Lovers Key Fishing pier.  The fish hit my spoon like a bolt of lightning in the flats and then proceeded to make my reel scream as it darted directly under the pier. I tried dancing with it to keep it from heading under the dock, but it didn't cooperate as it tangled and broke the line! Smart fish. This one will haunt my fishing memories for a long time.  Was it a redfish, tarpon or snook or possibly a Jack?

Fishing from Lovers Key State Park Fishing Pier

Gulf Wildlife: Dolphins, Manatee, Birds and a Gator
Lovers Key is full of gulf wildlife and not uncommon to see dolphins or manatee.  These two dolphins loved the attention as they leisurely swam back and forth under one of the walkway bridges from the parking lot that leads to the beach.  I also spotted a manatee swimming near a navigational buoy in Little Carlos Pass in the bay near the bridge that I was fishing.

On our visit to Sanibel Island we visited the JN Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge where spotted a small gator just hanging out in the swamp waters of the island.

Dolphins at Lovers Key State Park

Alligator on Sanibel Island


Egret on beach at Lovers Key State Park

Heron on beach at Lovers Key State Park

 Pittsburgh Creekside Shout Outs!
 Lovers Key Bait & Adventures
A fisherman's no-nonsense bait and tackle shop that's nice enough to tell you where the fish might be.  Visit Lovers Key Bait & Adventures.

 Lovers Key Bait & Adventures

Coconut Jack's
Coconut Jack's Waterfront Grille is an award-winning waterfront restaurant just strides away from Bonita Beach overlooking the Back Bay. Try the Fish Tacos!

Coconut Jack's Waterfront Grille

Back Home
Ariel view of Pittsburgh from Southwest flight
Ariel view of Pittsburgh from Southwest flight

Until Next Time

Entrance to Lovers Key State Park

"I know I don't get there often enough, But God knows I surely try, It's a magic kind of medicine, That no doctor could prescribe." Jimmy Buffet - One Particular Harbour

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Father's Day Retreat to Stonewall Resort in West Virginia

Most of the time is usually about my fishing and outdoor adventures in and around Pittsburgh but on occasion I do go on walk-about outside of the 412.  This is one of those occasions -  Father's Day Retreat to Stonewall Resort in West Virginia.

Father's Day with my family at Stonewall Resort in West Virginia in Roanoke, West Virginia. It was a great adventure into the Mountain State.  My son and had some quality fishing time. We had a family hike over to the marina and fed the massive schools of carp.  The pool, the food and making S'mores at the lodge fire pit were outstanding. If you are in need of a retreat, try Stonewall Resort.

Stonewall Resort and Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park are about 2 hours and 15 minutes south of Pittsburgh, PA in central West Virginia. The 2,600 acre Stonewall Jackson Lake is listed as one of the top West Virginia waters for Muskellunge and Crappie according to the Charleston Gazette. Also, the lake is one of the best bass fishing lakes in West Virginia.

Local Fare and Drink Fit For a Mountain King
If you do visit the resort be sure to go to TJ Muskies Bar and Grille and order a Forager Burger which is a 7oz. Wild boar burger, wild mushrooms, spring onions, demi-glace, lettuce, tomato, and thick sliced local swiss.  Be sure to partner that up with a Big Timber Ale from the Big Timber Brewing Company in nearby Elkins, WV.

Th Forager!

Big Timer Lager

Father's Day BBQ Brunch
There was an outstanding Father's Day BBQ Brunch - Adobo brisket, buckwheat pancakes, Carolina BBQ chicken, Texas style prime rib, biscuits and gravy, peel and eat shrimp and so much more. 

Make Your Own S'mores
Making 'Smores at the lodge fire-pit is always fun.  Hint - go into TJ Muskies and ask the bartenders for a S'mores kit.  The kit comes with everything you need to make your own S'mores.

Stonewall Jackson Lake

Sunset on Stonewall Jackson Lake

Fishing at Stonewall
My son and I caught about 15-20 Blue Gill and Crappie in our two days on the water.  We were using night-crawlers and flipping Panther Martin spinners.

At The Marina

Feeding the Carp at the Marina at Stonewall Jackson Lake

Baby Skunk

Here are some links below to Stonewall Resort:

Stonewall Resort
About the Resort
Marina at Stonewall Resort
Fishing at Stonewall Resort

And until next time...

The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope. - John Buchan

Fishing the Backwaters of Pine Creek

Caught and released a couple of trout and this creek sucker fish in the backwaters of Pine Creek just north of Pittsburgh in Hampton Townshi...