The Allegheny River in Winter

While winter is too easily thought of as the season that rudely squeezes us indoors, limiting our fun to seeking sedentary clusters of warmth, stoked by family, friends, food and TV (which still ain’t bad), there are also many joyous experiences of nature to be had and be thankful for, between November and April. Outdoor enthusiasts in the winter relish a trek to the ski slopes or day on the pond of ice fishing, but most physical activity in the winter months is limited to the sterility of exercise equipment. Good for us, but just not as much fun as outdoor exercise the rest of the year.
Old Railroad Bridge
Old Railroad Bridge

There still are outdoor activities, and they don’t have to be vigorous (or chilling) as skiing or skateboarding. When I asked Darl Black, superior fishing expert and writer on the subject, about winter on the river, (contact oilregion.org to subscribe to his regular fishing reports; read his blog “Going Fishin’” at www.darlblack.blogspot.com), he confesses he doesn’t like cold weather or ice fishing one bit. But…”The Allegheny River often remains fairly ice free,” all winter long if things stay mild. Take care to find a safe boat ramp with no ice, however, and dress warmly, he cautions.
Walleye and musky are the most likely to hit during cold water, especially on jigs (hair jigs/tube jigs) or live minnow/chubs. So when a partly sunny, mostly calm winter day (temps above 35 degrees) arrives, you’ll find Darl fishing the Allegheny – and loving it. A recent report indicated the walleye fishing around Foxburg was excellent.

Across the Allegheny from Foxburg
Across the Allegheny from Foxburg

Yet, in another way the nature that winter presents us in this part of the world has a benefit the visions of nature’s summer can’t offer. When the weather is warm we feel the need to be outdoors to appreciate the season’s loveliness. But in the winter, while some outdoor activities continue, we can also take a luxurious bath of delight in simply staying put and staring out the window at a beloved homestead. Snow-clad trees rolling in a tender wind, or the gentle push of snow being winded around can both provide real relaxing visual pleasures. Not all of winter is awful.

PS Coming soon, Darl’s new website – www.blackwolfecommunications.com.

PAUL ADOMITES has written fifteen books and edited several dozen others. This article begins his exploration of the Allegheny River and will continue, here and elsewhere. He can be reached at padomites204@comcast.net.

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