Fly fishing in and around Bellefonte

Fly Fishing and a Mansion

While fly fishing is habit-forming and some might say bordering on addiction, it is actually a remedy for conditions that are resoundingly more malevolent than the fishing itself, e.g., stress, anxiety, nervousness, and just general uneasiness that comes from our miles-per-minute day jobs and the resulting disorderly lifestyles. These symptoms often present as unprompted fits, elevated measures of poor health, and to some extent strained relationships.

My arduous journey toward geezer-hood with its day-to-day physical and emotional trials is made more bearable through regular attempts to unplug. To conduct the business of recreation, I have slept in tents, vehicles and, on occasion, under open skies. Eventually, I outgrew the desire as well as the financial limitations that led to sacrificing comfort. My wife and I are ardently saving for retirement so our accommodations for our getaways tend to be a little modest. When my wife first informed me that she had booked a stay at a mansion in Bellefonte, I had mixed emotions. Although, as empty-nesters, we have some freedom of choice within the bounds of good judgement. Knowing that our recent getaways had been more conducive to my wife’s favorite recreations (the usual tourist activities and shopping), she searched for a fishing destination that would provide tourist attractions with historic interest, plenty of options for shopping and dining, as well as world-class fly fishing. She found all of the above near Reynolds Mansion in the quaint little town of Bellefonte, PA.

From a fly fishing perspective, who could argue that Bellefonte and its surrounding waterways are not a fisherman’s paradise. In fact, one of the most famous venues for fly fishing ever is indeed called “Fisherman’s Paradise”. The “Paradise” is tantamount for many miles of cold, mineral rich, trout-laden waterways within a short drive from Reynolds Mansion. Spring Creek is arguably one of the finest wild trout streams in Pennsylvania. Fly fishers will argue that there are other streams in the area that would compete for this title, but one does not have to choose. There are literally dozens of miles of the limestone streams with wild brown trout, epic hatches, and plenty of public access. Oh, and did I say open year-round? These spring creeks support generations of wild trout from natural reproduction which have developed a keen sense for recognizing unnatural presentation and imitations that are just that…imitations. And then there are those days when the same trout are feeding with reckless abandon, days when even an errant cast will induce a take. I have experienced both, but on days when the fish are sated or not looking up, I take a deep breath, look around, and say to myself, “look where I am.” I could be standing on the bank in the exact location or perhaps in the very same footprints where presidents or other dignitaries, fly fishing legends or beginners with their spirited interest have cast flies to trout with the same wonderment. I look up to see mountains and eagles soaring above. The fishing is now unimportant and my stressors are absent.

Whether there is snow on the banks or the sun is burning through my best ballcap, the water in these spring creeks will be cold and favorable habitat for trout. The fishing is sometimes difficult but in a good way. Things that come easy are rarely as satisfying as those which have been earned. At the end of an enjoyable day of fly fishing, my wife and I will share a good meal, relax by a fire, or maybe spend time in the library with a good book and a sip of brandy before retiring to our comfortable room. We finish the evening with a nightcap and a whirlpool bath followed by some much-needed rest. There is no better place to recreate than in the Reynolds Mansion. This world-class fly fishing venue may only be bested by these exceptional lodgings. Mike and Tricia deliver an experience that exceeds all expectations. We will be back… (comments provided by the author, fly fisher and blogger, Kevin M. Sieja)