I was making my rounds of the blogs I enjoy and dropped by Pappy's place in Texas. I truly enjoy his writing and his poetry but today he talked about the rivers of his childhood. I told him how the rivers of my childhood haunted me. I would like to share the six main rivers that I have touched on in my blogs from my childhood in PA.
1. Shenango River - This was a steel mill river that Sharon Steel used to cool it's steel plant. I look back and think this was never the cleanest river although it has been restored. There was a chemical plant just below where we used the river. Oh my, what a scary picture I'm painting of the river. A river that still haunts my thoughts.
Like many things in life the many rivers that you had contact with changed through time. The first river I remember using is the Shenango River. We would use the Shenango River for so many things. It was a river we could walk to and so my friends and I use to go there quite often in the summer. We would go there and swim, fish, camp, wade and to just skip rocks. We had an area just above a rapids that there was a hole dug out that was excellent for entertainment. There was a stone flat beach that we used as our entry point into the river. We had a large tree that we had attached a rope to a branch. There was a loop at the end of the rope for your foot. Your friends would push you out over the river and you would jump off. There is nothing like hitting cool water as you jumped. What a wonderful experience we had with the Shenango. We could spend a complete afternoon having fun at the river. We only caught catfish when fishing but what more does a boy need then a tug on the line. We had level wide reels and a steel pole with heavy line. You could bring in a turtle with that equipment. We would also seine for soft shell crawdads that we used to catch fish in others rivers.
2. Deer Creek - A small clean creek that you had to be driven to reach.
A ways upstream from our swimming spot Deer Creek ran into the Shenango River. The PA Game Commission would stock Rainbow Trout for the annual put and take fishing experience. You would make sure you were at your favorite little hole for opening day (April 15TH) for a fum filled fishing experience. I only catch trout at the lake I fish after they learn to eat minnows. They are great fighters and I give them away to unlucky fisherman.
3. Big Neshannock Creek - A clean fast moving river that also joins the Shenango River.
Big Neshannock is a river that we again had to drive to because of the distance. We used to catch Great Northern Pike, Rainbow Trout, Large and Small-mouth Bass and numerous other species. We used to seine helgramites from this stream just above a place we called the cinders because of the large rocks that looked like very large cinders from a coal furnace. It was also a swimming spot for some people. We used the helgramites for fishing elsewhere and also at the cinders just after we seined. That was always a fun experience. We also used this river as a place to swim and it had a nice swimming hole upstream at a bridge.
4. Little Neshannock Creek - A smaller clean water stream.
It flowed through farm fields and joined the Big Neshannock Creek. The joining of the two rivers was one of my favorite fishing holes which I used until I left PA. The Little Neshannock was good for stocked trout, suckers and at certain times of year Great Northern Pike. It was a fun river to fish.
5. Slippery Rock Creek - A clean deep river that flowed to the east of our home area.
Slippery Rock was another Rainbow Trout and Large-mouth Bass stream that we fished. There was one place we used to go that had a very large rock to fish from. The rock was 30 foot by 15 foot and 10 foot out of the water. The fish used the rock as a hiding place. We used the hole formed by the rock as a fish catching place. We also would wade the creek. The Y-camp I attended was on the Slippery Rock so we also used this river to swim and canoe.
6. Allegheny River - A large river which joins with the Monongahela at Pittsburgh to form the Ohio River.
The experiences on this river are too many to mention. This was always a long trip and a fun experience no matter if it was by boat or from shore. The river was larger and the fish were bigger.
There are many other rivers I used in my childhood but these are the main larger ones.