Fishing Pike County in the spring of 1877

Image from p 46 of The Determined Angler and the Brook Trout by Charles Bradford (NY & London: GP Putnam's Sons, 1916)

Image from p 46 of The Determined Angler and the Brook Trout by Charles Bradford (NY & London: GP Putnam’s Sons, 1916)

I don’t know what the fishing is like today in Pike County, PA, but here is an 1877 article from The Country, Vol I & II describing the experiences of one visitor to that area from April 1-4, 1877. During those 4 days, this visitor caught 400 fish weighing 45 pounds and brought back to New York 234 fish that “scaled 33 pounds honest weight.” Roughly 88 of them were between 8 – 13.5 inches in length; the other 150 or so, he said, were small trout, but not “fingerlings” — “fat as butter and excellent eating.”  Obviously these were the days before any limits were introduced! Today he’d be able to walk away with just 5 trout per day, and each would have to be at least 7 inches long.

I love the great outdoors and that includes “escaping mentally” to the great outdoors of yesteryear to imagine what things must have been like in a certain location at a certain point in time. If you’re like me, and you enjoy fishing, perhaps you will find this article of interest too. Present-day fishermen and women in Pike Co., feel free to comment about your experiences fishing in that part of PA.

Happy 4th of July, All!
fishing1fishing2fishing3The Country, weekly journal, Vol 1-2, pub. 1877

Credit: Google Books

Categories: Brodhead, Dingman, Fishing, Fourth of July, Hobbies and Pastimes, Nature, Pennsylvania, Pike Co. | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Fishing Pike County in the spring of 1877

  1. We mainly fished the Delaware and a small creek that ran through my grandparents (VanCampen/Brodhead) farm in Bushkill where Brodhead Rd. meets Rte. 209 in the 1940’s – 1950’s before the farm was sold for the Tock’s Island dam project. We used helgramites on the Delaware as bait and drifted with the current, catching primarily small mouth bass as well as a few eels and rock bass. We usually caught enough for a meal or two. In the small creek, we would wade in the water and could often see where the trout hid under rocks and catch them with our bare hands. We spent many hours on hot summer days making dams in the creek as well as swimming in the river at the sandy beach at the inside curve of the Walpack Bend. Treasured memories!


    • Thanks for sharing your memories! Treasured ones, indeed. I remember my parents driving us kids through that whole area before the dam project was supposed to get started. It seemed heartbreaking to us that people had to move out of their homes and that the whole place would be underwater. You can imagine a child’s mind trying to comprehend all that. It was kind of terrifying actually. Thankfully that did not happen, but it’s still a shame folks like your grandparents lost their place. Is that the Wheat Plains farm you are referring to? I’ve heard from a few others of their happy times spent there many years ago.


      • I didn’t notice your response to my comment until just now – sorry! My grandparent’s farm was not Wheat Plains, although my grandmother was descended from a Brodhead who was born at Wheat Plains. My grandparent’s farm was near Bushkill where Brodhead Rd. intersects with US-209. I just found this film on the aftermath of the Tock’s Island dam and thought that you might find it interesting.
        The film is kind of depressing as so many people were uprooted from their family homes and some found it difficult to cope with the situation. I also was disappointed to see so many families displaced and structures destroyed, but the other side of the coin is that if the area had just continued without being made into a park, it probably would have eventually been developed (with its proximity to NYC) into cheek-to-jowl condos like Shawnee, shopping centers like on south US-209, and bedroom communities like up on the mountain behind Bushkill, Dingman’s Ferry, Milford, Stroudsburg, and Matamoras.


      • Thank you for the link, John. I will definitely watch it. I see it is about 40 minutes long. Yes, I remember as a child when that whole situation was going on and my parents took us on a drive through the areas that were going to be affected. I was horrified at the thought of the waters rising and all those homes ending up on the bottom of one big lake. Its the sort of mental picture that is hard to erase from your mind. I could not understand why anyone would want to do such a thing to the residents of that area. And I can’t begin to imagine how painful that whole process was for them. That area is indeed beautiful, and thank God it has been preserved. As you say, by now it likely would have been taken over by giant condos and luxury estates. And once natural areas are gone, they are gone for good. I see that all the time here in FL—the paving over of “paradise”.


  2. My Dad used to talk about going fishing and I have some old early 50s photos of him. But I’ve never fished a day in my life. Go figure! 🙂 Guess it’s just as well. No one would want me around cause I’d be trying to scare them away from the hooks! Oh, dear! 😆


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