Fish that live and breathe with gills in the brown waters of the Little Juniata River are not as tasty as rainbow and brook trout that are caught in abundance from banks of mountain streams and man-made lakes and dams scattered throughout South-Central Pennsylvania – Whipple Damn, Raystown Lake, Trough Creek State Park, Greenwood Furnace, and Cowens Gap are just a few drops in the mountain sea—a second great lakes, but on a less greater scale—bubbling within the chain of the Appalachians—offering far more fish than can ever be eaten. Fishing here is all that there is—not counting of course—the beer.
The Little Juniata runs adjacent to Bill Miller’s property at the base of the little town of Petersburg. Rarely did Bill ever cash a fishing line from the grassy yard that extends for nearly an acre around the wooden house, ending near the water. Down near the creek is where Bill built the trusted Miller horseshoe pits and fishing there seemed boring, for so many burnt butts of cigarettes still cover the ground—the sand from so many pitches, so much excitement—why catch fish there too? The kids swam here everyday in summer anyway—why put lost hooks into their tiny little pink toes when there were so many other places to fish? — Big ponds that the state of Pennsylvania stocked to full capacity through funded wildlife projects coordinated by powerful Pennsylvania senators and congressman who knew the way to a man’s heart and through the currents of public tax dollars.
The horseshoe pits next to the crick on Bill Miller’s property were made from the limestone sand from the quarry in Mapleton. The pits were the centerpiece of family reunions—far enough from the water where even hastily tossed shoes from Uncle Chuck—Aunt Roxie’s husband, were never in danger of being lost to the unclear waters of the Little Juniata or the sandy bottom that sunk for miles under pressure.