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The First Experience Was a Good One

June 11, 2012
By Larry Claypool - OV Times Editor , Ohio Valley Outdoors

I didn't write this in my article about the PA Crappie Camp, but my visit to Pymatuning Lake for the camp in May was my first fishing experience there. I'd been in the area a few times previous to that but never with a fishing pole in hand.

I've fished since I was about 11 years old and never as seriously as some people. I love to fish, pretty much anywhere I can wet a line. I have a few favorite spots, like everyone else. If I get a few bites, catch a few too, I'm good. If I'm helping kids catch fish, it's all good. But I have to admit being on a boat in the middle of Pymatuning Lake on a beautiful day catching crappie for several hours makes me understand why people are so serious about fishing.

It really did help that my guide for the day, Jimmy Lunsford, knew where to look for fish. He knew the depths where the fish would be and what cover to look for. We caught fish, and it was fun. Now I don't know how many hours Lunsford has logged on Pymatuning, but I guess it's a lot. He knows the lake very well. And yes, I thanked him many times. He was a great guide.

Article Photos

The author with a pair of nice Pymatuning Lake crappie.

For this event the idea was: for the guide, or host, to entertain and put an outdoor writer on fish so he (in this case it was eight men) could experience the fine fishing at Pymatuning Lake (Shenango Lake was also used on another day but I was not present) and write articles and take photos to let others know about the region. It's good for public relations.

It worked. I'm in. I loved the Pymatuning State Park area. And the fishing was great. We not only caught crappie, some nice-sized ones too, we also managed to boat a few walleye, smallmouth bass, perch and bluegill. It's also a good fishery for muskellunge, largemouth bass and carp. Ice fishing in the winter months is popular too.

So the first annual PA Crappie Camp was a big success in my book. I'm sure some of the experiences, and or photos, from the three-day camp will make the pages of a book some day. Surely a plethora of magazine articles, newspaper articles, television segments, web blogs and web articles will surface in the coming months (many have already been posted) from this event. It went that well.

Fact Box

So the first annual PA Crappie Camp was a big success in my book.

One golden gem was posted in late May by well-known participant Jeff Samsel of Georgia. In Game & Fish magazine's May issue, Samsel included Pymatuning Lake in his top 10 of "Destinations for Family Fishing Vacations" for 2012. That's some great exposure for the region.

More positive nuggets about the area will follow. Pennsylvanians already know about the Pymatuning Lake area and its assets. A recent impact study done by Penn State University and DNR said Pymatuning State Park attracts nearly 3.3 million visitors a year, and has the largest economic impact of any state park in the state.

My participation in the Crappie Camp also meant I could take photos for this publication, our host magazine, Ohio Valley Outdoors. I'll post some photos from the event, and I also posted six photos from that day as part of the world-wide photo sharing effort of Across the world photographers were asked to document their lives through photographs on May 15, 2012. That was the day I participated in the PA Crappie Camp so I posted photos from that day to the effort.



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