Taking the family fishing? Three popular Western Pennsylvania fishing destinations were recently voted among the best places in America to take the family fishing.
The non-profit Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation recently released its list of the Top 100 Family-friendly Places to Fish and Boat, part of its national Take Me Fishing campaign. No. 10 on the list was Presque Isle State Park, Erie; No. 15 Moraine State Park, Portersville; and No. 18 Keystone State Park, Derry.
The list cited Lake Berryessa, Napa Valley, Calif., as the best place in the United States for family fishing.
Criteria included a location within an hour's drive of a major city, public water containing plenty of common game species, park amenities, a fishing pier or boat ramps and the recommendation of anglers -- the list was compiled from the votes of anglers nationwide.
"We enlisted the help of state fish and wildlife agencies to identify popular locations, and asked fishing and boating enthusiasts who belong to our communities to vote on their favorite spots that are easily accessible and where the fish are known to bite most often," said foundation president and CEO Frank Peterson.
Three additional Pennsylvania lakes made the list: No. 24 Nockamixon State Park, Quakertown; No. 46 Lackawanna State Park, North Abington; and No. 83 Little Buffalo State Park, Newport.
Live bait shortage
Leeches stay on the hook better than worms. But a nationwide shortage of the popular live bait occurred when this year's long, cold winter delayed the thaw at the Minnesota lake that supplies most of America's leeches.
"There was ice on the water so long they couldn't get them," said Ed Vaccari of Tackle Unlimited in Jefferson Hills. "Prices are up at some places."
The supply of shiners was also curtailed by winter ice. Anglers are finding plenty of fatheads, red worms, crawlers, meal worms, maggots and butter worms at standard prices.
Leases fund foundation
"A very large sum of money" raised through the leasing of oil and gas rights on McDonald Sportsmen Association property is funding a non-profit foundation run by club members.
"The foundation uses that money for various outdoor causes, scholarships and education," said board member Jeff Crum. " ... We stock local streams, pheasants for youth field days and many other things."
Get more information at www.mcdonaldsportsmenfoundation.org.