The Art Walk Huntingdon committee is thrilled to announce a community partnership that will offer free shuttle service around Art Walk venues during the January and February events. Maidens Taxi Se…
On April 23, 2016, the Downtown Opportunity Committee of Huntingdon Landmarks, Inc. will hold its Downtown Opportunity Showcase. It is free and open to the public. The day kicks off at the Huntingd…
Source: Downtown Opportunity Showcase
One of the Greatest Fishing Experiences in the Northeast:
Bass, muskies, walleye, trout & channel cats
By Sandie Corbin Biddle
Sparky Price has been fishing Raystown waters since he was a boy, knee-high to the champion stripers he’s landed during his career. Owner of Trophy Guide Service for 35 years, Sparky has been asked every question about the lake and its fish hundreds of times. Maybe thousands. He’s lost count. And he knows all the answers.
Recently he pulled out with a boatload of fishermen from Philly and after puttering a few feet into the lake, stopped, reversed, slowed, and, looking very serious, said, “Let’s get this out of the way first.” After an expectant pause, he continued with a smile, “Raystown Lake is the largest lake contained in Pennsylvania. It’s about 30 miles long with 118 miles of shoreline. It’s an average of 100 feet deep, 180 in some places. And the stripers are not the hybrids, they’re the real saltwater species that adapted to fresh water. Now, did I answer all your questions?
They smiled and one man said with a laugh, “That was everything on my list!”
“Then let’s go fishin’,” Sparky said. It was another great day on Raystown Lake.
Easily one of the greatest fishing experiences in the northeast, the lake has more species of fish than most U.S. lakes, including stripers, muskies, lake trout, large- and small-mouth bass, channel cats, walleyes, brown trout, white and yellow perch, crappies, carp, bluegills, and, well, you get the idea.
Sparky still holds the PA record for a striper at 53 lb. 12 oz. Call them stripers, striped bass, or rockfish, they are Raystown’s biggest fishing attraction. Though you’ll find them in other PA lakes, all the state records were caught here. Sparky’s set four state records himself.
Stripers from March to December
Lucky for us, Sparky decided to lend plenty of his wisdom for this article. Read on for a fighting chance at landing your own big ones at Raystown Lake, Pennsylvania.
Stripers can be caught from March through December by targeting your approach.
Early spring casting lures on the shallow flats on the southern end of the lake will produce the year’s first stripers.
By mid-May, the entire lake is active. Live bait such as alwife, shad, trout, and shiners are the baits of choice.
Late May through the summer months, the Seven Points area and north to the dam is the area to fish for stripers.
The easiest place to catch bait is in the Snyder’s Run Boat Launch area, from 3 a.m. until daylight. Sparky says you’ll need a light, a throw net, and a good bait tank.
In the summer, beginners will do best around the dam and mile marker #1.For serious striper fishing, go out on summer nights for the 30- to 50-pounders. This takes down riggers, a vast variety of lures, and an extreme knowledge of the lake, because of all the underwater standing trees.
Muskies & Walleyes & Trout, oh, boy!
Huge stripers, 40-pound muskies, and walleyes over 15 pounds are caught at night every summer.
“The fall is always exciting, from mid-September until Thanksgiving,” Sparky said. “Anything can happen anywhere.” Now it’s all daylight fishing. Bait fishing, trolling deep diving lures, or umbrella rigs will all work.
Sparky’s TGS clients have caught huge muskies more than 50 inches and 40+ pounds – at night in the summer or daytime on the fall. The big ones are caught by trolling. Sparky said, “Fall can be intense!”
Lake trout can be caught all year from Seven Points Marina to the dam. Both downrigger fishing with spoons or bait fishing work well.
The large- and small-mouth bass are Raystown’s structure-oriented fish. Trees, weed beds, and rocky points are all favorable targets. The entire lake is good bass fishing, but the southern half offers easier fishing because of water clarity. Early morning and evening fishing with surface-style bait will work. During the day, he recommends deeper in the underwater weeds and trees.
Panfish and channel cats hang out all through the lake. Mile marker #12 to the southern end of the lake seems to be much easier to fish for these. “To catch a lot of catties, use cut bait and stink baits,” Sparky advises.
The most commonly stocked fish are stripers, lake trout, and walleyes. Along with panfish and catties, they’re all good eating. The bass should be released to replenish the lake for future fishermen.
Quit wishin’ & let’s go fishin’
Raystown hasn’t hosted any large national striper tournaments since the conclusion of the National Striper organization. However, if you like competition fishing, there are a number of local clubs that hold tournaments. Sparky notes that most of the pros and full-time striper guys don’t sign up so everyone “gets a fair chance to compete and have fun.”
Sparky believes that Raystown is one of the best fisheries in the U.S. “But it can also be very humbling!
“I want everyone to enjoy Raystown as I have all my life. May God bless all your visits to beautiful Raystown Lake.”
Sparky Price is owner of Trophy Guide Service, 814-627-5231, http://www.trophyguide.com
The crisp fall day was beautiful and just perfect for a short hike. It was my first time on this section of the Terrace Mountain Trail — and I was glad that Raystown Park Ranger Gwinn had suggested this part of the trail. Our destination was the overlook directly across from Raystown Lake navigation marker MM7.
Our adventure began with a short boat shuttle from Seven Points to the area near lake navigation marker MM8. (At mile 19 of the Terrace Mountain Trail – TMT19.)
The trail was well-maintained and defined as we left the shoreline and moved upwards towards the TMT20 overlook. The trail follows the contour of the land well — so the ups and downs that are unavoidable on trails in Pennsylvania did not seem so bad. You go up a ways and then switch back to keep climbing on the “bowl” of each hollow. Not so bad. I was hiking with a small group of friends. Our spirits were high and laughter rang through the trees often as we chatted and walked.
We walked about 1 mile in from the shoreline. The overlook was everything that had been promised — a rocky outcropping and open space that gave us nice views to the south of Raystown Lake and across the lake to Susquehannock Campground.
The Terrace Mountain Trail is maintained by volunteer efforts on public lands. I have done trail work and appreciated how clear that the trail was that day. We tried to do our part by moving a few small fallen branches along the way. If you are interested in volunteering at Raystown Lake in any capacity — please get in touch with Park Ranger Alicia Palmer at (814) 658-6812. We will all appreciate your efforts.
— Ed Stoddard, Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau, Raystown.org
The Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau and Raystown Reflections Gift Shoppe invite you to imagine a world where all of your surroundings are made of candy, cookies and other treats. For the week of December 7-13, 2015, the Raystown Lake Region Visitor Center has been transformed into Candy Lake.
Inspired by a popular childhood board game, Candy Lake is an imaginary lake featuring islands where the landscape and structures are made of sweet treats. Visitors to Candy Lake follow a colorful path to visit each island display. The islands have been designed by area businesses and organizations along a candy theme. Attendees can choose to play the life-sized game, or simply stroll through the displays on their own.
At the end, guests are invited to make a free-will donation to vote for their favorite island. Each organization and business presenting an island has chosen a charity that will benefit from the cash votes, and at the end of the week, the Raystown Reflections Gift Shoppe will match the public contributions to the charity that receives the most.
The first 100 children aged 12 and under will receive a stocking and a small toy courtesy of the Raystown Reflections Gift Shoppe and Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau.
You can see more photos at:
Candy Lake event at the Raystown Lake Region Visitors Center
Participating businesses and organizations include: Rockhill Trolley Museum, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Huntingdon County, Fairfield Inn and Suites benefiting Habitat for Humanity, Juniata College, Thompson’s Candle Co. benefitting Huntingdon House, Perma-Chink benefiting Habitat for Humanity, Gage Mansion Bed & Breakfast benefiting Huntingdon Landmarks, Standing Stone Coffee Company benefiting St Vincent de Paul and Isett Heritage Museum benefiting Huntingdon House.
December 7-13, 2015
Monday 8am-2pm, Tuesday-Wednesday 8am-4pm, Thursday-Saturday noon-8pm, Sunday noon-4pm
One of the things that makes Huntingdon one of the Coolest Small Towns in America is the fact that you don’t have to leave town to experience wilderness. One of the coolest things about Huntingdon’s wilderness is how easy it is to find and access. All you need to do is look from nearly anywhere in town (or within a couple of miles of town) for the giant American flag flying on a hilltop, and go there! The appropriately named Flagpole Hill and its trail system connects the enormous symbol of our nation with another cool landmark at the Juniata College Baker Evans Peace Chapel.
The day we hiked the Flagpole Hill Trails was an early November day that you might call “seasonable” for central Pennsylvania – temperatures in the low 50s, overcast and windy on the exposed hilltop. The leaves were nearly all removed from the tree limbs, opening up views that are not available in the summer, but also making the trail extremely noisy as our steps kicked through the 3-4 inch deep leaf litter.
We set off to hike the closest loop to the flagpole consisting of Cemetery, Beech Tree and Oak trails. After making good time through the first leg, we added Bearcat to our hike, and still made it back to the cars within a little more than an hour. For their location the trails are surprisingly flat, largely following the contours of the hill rather than climbing or descending.
As we returned to the vehicles we took in the view of Huntingdon, and all agreed it had been a good afternoon for a hike.
There are three parking areas to access the Flagpole Hill Trails. The one we used is the main trail head located at the north end of 5th Street, another can be found at the far northern corner of Riverview Cemetery (accessed from Standing Stone Avenue) at the intersection of Cemetery and Beech Tree trails. The other popular trail head for the network is from Peace Chapel Road near the Juniata College campus. Maps are usually available at the 5th Street and Peace Chapel Road trail heads, or at the Huntingdon Borough building on Washington Street.
I was filled with excitement as I watched the helicopter land. I climbed aboard and adrenaline began pumping through my veins and then…suddenly…we were off the ground! As we rose higher and higher into the sky, I couldn’t help but enjoy the feeling of freedom and awe of the miraculous beauty below. For the first time in my life, I was able to see Raystown Lake just the way the bald eagles which inhabit the area do. What a view!
As we flew, I became speechless taking in all that mother-nature had to offer me on that bright and sunny autumn day. Our 30 minute tour provided by pilot and owner of Pine Bottom Aviation Services, Dan Lipko, showed us many unique features of the Raystown Lake area. We saw Trough Creek State Park, Seven Points Marina, and Lake Raystown Resort to name a few. The leaves on the trees were so magnificent and I felt blessed to be in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania!
Pine Bottom Aviation Services offers aerial tours of the Raystown Lake area in a unique and memorable way. Flights may accommodate up to 3 passengers depending on weights. Pilot and owner, Dan Lipko, has 20+ years’ experience as a helicopter pilot. He is very knowledgeable of the area and offers a fantastic experience you will never forget! For more information on Pine Bottom Aviation Services visit PineBottomAviation.com. For pricing or to book your tour, contact Dan at (814) 793-4548 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
–Katrina Hawn, Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau, Raystown.org
The sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky the day I ventured on to the Hillside Nature Trail. The half mile loop was all I needed to clear my thoughts and give me a sense of total escape. As I walked, I witnessed chipmunks scampering across the forest floor, birds singing in the trees, and butterflies fluttering from one flower to the next. The sights I had seen and the small upward grade of the trail was very recipe I needed to feel refreshed and renewed.
The Hillside Nature Trail is a short walk for those who are looking to get out in to nature but want something a little less difficult and rugged. The neatly trimmed path offers stress free walking from overgrown vines, large rocks, and fallen trees. The trail meanders through forest and a bird sanctuary.
The Hillside Nature Trail is located just behind the Raystown Lake Region Visitors Center in the Seven Points Recreation Area of Raystown Lake. Maps of the Hillside Nature Trail can be found inside the lake’s visitor center.
Here is the link for the Hillside Nature Trail at Raystown Lake on the USACE website:
Many visitors to Raystown Lake and Huntingdon County find this area to be a place to enjoy throughout the seasons or to settle down in. Beautiful scenery, friendly people and the opportunity for year-round outdoor recreation make this a place to want to be when you’re ready to relax and enjoy time with friends and family. Many who have visited the Raystown area for years decide to retire here and make their vacations permanent.
Members of the Huntingdon County Board of REALTORS are here to help you find a home, cabin or land to build or hunt on. REALTORS are more than real estate agents. As members of the National Association of REALTORS we are required to abide by a strict Code of Ethics designed to protect the public and encourage home ownership. You can view our available properties at http://www.RaystownHomes.com where it’s easy to request additional information or arrange to see properties. Member brokers and agents work in cooperation in a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) so that the agent you chose to work with can show you any broker’s properties no matter who they’re listed with saving you time and letting you stay with an agent you know.
Huntingdon County began as an agricultural community and still remains primarily rural. That’s why the Raystown Lake area feels more relaxed than many recreational destinations. Properties are generally well priced compared to other areas. Homes and cabins start around $70,000 for a simple cabin or mobile home in the country. A home in one of the many small towns can be a good value as well.
There are lots and larger tracts of land available for sale should you decide to build. 1-2 acre lots generally start around $28,000 and go up depending on size, location and terrain. Open lots are easy to build on, but wooded lots are currently favored and cost a bit more. Because of the variety of terrain and locations there is no single “per acre” price for larger tracts.
As a rural area our housing inventory is smaller than in a metropolitan area. While there is certainly a wide range of properties and prices, there may be few of any one type or in a particular location. That’s why it’s especially important to engage one of our REALTORS early in your search so they get to know what you want and can let you know when the right property becomes available. They can also suggest other properties that you hadn’t considered. Buyers working with agents tend to find their desired property in less time than those simply searching on their own.
The Huntingdon County Board of REALTORS is here to help when you’re ready to begin your search.
Apex Realty Group
Huntingdon County Board of REALTORS
We have a guest post today. Gray Wagner’s article first appeared in the 2015 Huntingdon County Visitors Guide…
We met in college – from different parts of the same state. We grew affection for Central Pennsylvania and each other through our involvement in the outdoors club. We made great friends, who after graduation dispersed around the country and world, though mostly in the Mid-Atlantic United States. We have family all over Pennsylvania – her brother, his wife, and their two daughters live outside Philadelphia; my grandparents recently downsized from my dad’s childhood home to a continuing care retirement community near Raystown Lake; her favorite aunt lives in Pittsburgh with her partner; my parents live in State College; and so on.
A couple of years ago, we were able to get together with our college friends for DirtFest, an awesome mountain bike festival held in May at Raystown Lake. Little did she know that, during a rest to take in the view from our favorite overlook, I would drop to one knee and offer her a ring! Luckily for me, she accepted, and that evening’s concert turned into our engagement party!
Fast forward a year and we’re sitting in our favorite Philly brewpub talking to the bartender about life, beer, and other topics. We mentioned that we’re planning a wedding, and we got engaged at Raystown Lake. Then he pours us a beer sample, saying “try this.” We taste it…delicious beer with notes of coffee, and just the right amount of bitterness for our palettes. He says, “we made this with coffee beans from Standing Stone Coffee Company in Huntingdon, and our hops come from a farm there…small world!” As it turned out, we had met the hops farmer during our DirtFest weekend… Really small world!
Over the next couple of weeks, things kept reminding us about Raystown…a call from Grandma, a local magazine article, a friend’s photo in our newsfeed… Then it hit us – We should get married at Raystown! When that decision was made, it was amazing how quickly things fell into place. My parents hosted the rehearsal dinner at Mimi’s Restaurant & Martini Bar. Remember the hops farmer? We got married on his farm! Grandma recommended a great caterer for the reception, and we used an incredible local photographer.
It was also amazing how many of our family and friends decided to stay a couple of extra days to enjoy the area while there to celebrate with us. Our college friends (many of whom were in the wedding), rented a houseboat for the week, and threw the perfect bachelor party on the water one night, and two nights later, a fun bachelorette party. The favorite Aunt brought her kayaks and floated down the Juniata River. My brother-in-law to be rented a vacation home for the family, and took the kids to ride the rails at Rockhill Trolley Museum, explore Lincoln Caverns, and blow-off some steam at Slinky Action Zone. Pap and Grandma took my bride’s grandparents to hike at Trough Creek State Park, then cruise the lake on the Proud Mary Showboat.
Weddings are usually all about the couple getting married. Our wedding was about a great Raystown vacation (Raycation, if you will) for generations of our newly combined family and friends, and creating memories of a place that’s special to us. We wouldn’t have it any other way!
By Gray Wagner