This past weekend we spent some time up at Beuhler's Idlewild Inn for the Comunale 80th Wedding Anniversary celebration. Amid the festivities and time spent enjoying one another's company, some great fishing was also done.
Beuhler's Idlewild is located near Lake Wallenpaupack in Pike County, PA. The setting is an old farm with several separate cabins to house guests. There is a man-made 11-acre lake that is chock full of bass, pickerel, blue gill and lots of other fish and wildlife.
Upon arriving, the family and guests set out to claim their rooms and get situated. Around this time we were able to slip off down to the lake to test the waters. We commandeered one of the Buehler's rowboats and headed out. It was round 4pm and the sun was beginning to get low in the sky. I had picked up some jitterbugs and was eager to try them in a dusk setting such as this. I rigged one up on my medium action baitcasting rod and outfitted a nice skirted bottom-bouncing jig onto my heavy action 7' baitcaster.
We heard the story of the lake at dinner and learned that the area was originally flooded so that ice could be harvested during the winter and used in iceboxes and later for sculptures. This being the case, there were lots of submerged stumps with sprawling root systems sticking up just above the surface. It was under one of these that I was able to hook into our first catch.
As we floated out into the pond, we came upon a submerged root system. I grabbed my flipping setup and tossed my skirted jig into one of the crevices. On my first cast, I felt a short tug and set the hook. I could feel something big on the other end and began to reel in. I quickly realized that the hog on my line was dragging out more line, rather than getting closer to me. Our boat inched closer and I could clearly see the expansive roots and immediately became concerned that this fish would wrap me up. In an instant I decided to pinch the line and muscle him out. Being that I was using 25lb braid, this seemed like a worth-while risk.
This move paid off and within a few seconds I saw a flash come out from the depths of the roots. I quickly reeled him in the rest of the way and brought him on board.
This guy was fat and he was long... although I didn't have a ruler, I estimate he was around 23-24 inches and around 5-6lbs.
With an exciting start to the trip, we continued to drift and fish. The pond was full of young lily pads, which made top water fishing somewhat of a chore, but we reached a clearing and were able to get a few solid casts. As I was tugging on my jitterbug, another bass hit my line. This one was only about 5 feet from the boat and was much smaller than the first, so getting him in the boat was easy.
We floated some more and spotted a local fischer cat about 30 feet away bobbing along in the water. These mammals were once abundant in the northeastern US but their population was depleted in pursuit of their fine furs. Recently, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania undertook an initiative with the Indiana University of Pennsylvania to reintroduce these critters into the wild. Although the endeavor was met with skepticism, the animals have thrived. It was a treat to see this critter in the lake with us and I regret not being able to snap a good picture of it.
We attempted to navigate closer to the fisher, but being a cautious creature, he maintained a fair distance to spite our attempts.
Around this time we were joined by a few other revelers in boats and we floated together enjoying the evening. Around this time, the 'pond bell' rang, which is the signal for those out on the water that dinner would be ready in 15 minutes. We secured our lines and headed back to shore.Trying to avoid this pickerel's teeth
After a great meal of ribs and chicken done on the BBQ, we stole back down to the lake to do some shore fishing with a Hula Popper. I had a strike almost immediately but could not get the little guy to commit. I tossed it out a few more times and was able to hook into a small pickerel.
With the sun setting, we packed it in and headed back up to spend the night with family and friends. A birthday was celebrated, some beverages were had, and we tucked in for a good night's sleep.
We rose around 6am the next day to see if we could get into the early morning bite. Again in the rowboat, we drifted and fished but were not as lucky as the night before. Once more the pond bell rang, signaling breakfast.
We ate a great meal of German-style thin pancakes, scrambled eggs, oatmeal and fruit. With everyone awake and ready to enjoy the day, we laughed and played games until around 10am. I decided it was time to head back out for a mid afternoon fishing session, this time choosing the canoe as my vessel, being that I was fishing solo this time around.
I floated along the shore more and was able to rip another largemouth out of the depths. He was the smallest of the batch so far, clocking in around 13 inches.The wind was in my favor, as I paddled out away from the dock. I let the canoe drift and the wind took me down the right side of the lake, floating me almost parallel to shore through some lilies and over some great weed-beds. Spying my opportunity, I flipped my skirted jig along their edges and came up with another hog. This one was probably 4-5lbs and he took my jig right in the corner of his mouth like a good bass should.
The wind pushed me into the back of the pond where it became very shallow. Frogs and treetoads were abundant in this area and I could see lots of congealed egg pods that would soon become tadpoles. Fishing 101 escaped me this weekend, and I was not prepared with any frog or tadpole-like lures. The backwaters did not cooperate so I began to head back to the dock.
The wind was against me now, which made a nice workout for a single man in the back of a canoe. My path was zig-zagged as the wind pushed me to and fro, but I eventually made it back to the dock in time for lunch.
The rest of the trip was uneventful in terms of fishing, but very enjoyable as a get together with friends and family as we celebrated the 80th wedding anniversary of Frank and Mary Comunale. Thanks for having us and we hope to see you again soon!