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Every Day Is An Adventure

During this time of year, everyone starts to dream of the sights and sounds of springtime in the Forest. For some, it is the blush of springtime green as the trees begin to bud or the chirp of woodland birds along a forestland trail. For the sportsman, it is the exciting sound of a turkey’s gobble over the next ridge or the gurgle of water in a spring-fed stream which marks the change of seasons. Whatever your pleasure, your next adventure awaits in the Allegheny National Forest Region of northwestern Pennsylvania.


Before entering the big woods - 513,000 acres of public lands in the Allegheny National Forest - make sure you visit  Sportsman’s Outlet at 500 Chestnut Street in Bradford, Pennsylvania. Locally owned, this business makes it their mission to make sure you have the right gear to pursue your favorite outdoor activities. Not only can they outfit you for hiking, camping, kayaking, hunting and fishing, the local experts who work there know the ins and outs of local turkey hunting and trout fishing. Go to shopsportsmansoutlet.com.

“Trout are #1,” explains Dan Lyons, who works at Sportsman’s Outlet, with the top three trout species in our area being brook, brown and rainbow. As far as the best streams to fish, Kinzua Creek near Westline is a favorite. The artificial-only section of this stream has recently been extended from Westline to Route 219. It is considered by many as one of the top five streams for trout fishing in Pennsylvania. As an extra bonus, Keystone Select now stocks this stream, easily adding over 10,000 stocked trout to a stream already known for its native trout.”

The Tunungwant near Bradford is a Class A stream, where you can pretty much fish year-round. Dan Lyons further explains, “This stream is one of those in which the native brown trout can reach up to 18” in length. It takes an experienced fisherman to successfully land one of these older trout. The native brown trout can live to be 20 years old and during their lifespan they have learned a few tricks; they are smart.” It is customary to catch and release native trout.  Marvin Creek in Smethport is another excellent trout stream with a fly-fishing only section.

The shop carries supplies for both fly-fishing and spin fishing. For spin fishing, the Okuma Cascade Combo includes the rod, reel and some line for only $15. If you want to give the sport a try or want to take the kids fishing, this is a great inexpensive place to start.  For the more experienced fisherman, they carry the higher quality St. Croix rods which start at $120.

For fly-fishermen, they offer a variety of lengths, from 8’6” up to 11’, 2 lb. weight and up. The smaller shorter rods are for those looking for more action, the 7 lb. weight and up are usually used for fishing steelhead during the fall in Lake Erie.

All types of bait are available, live bait, nymphs which are sinking bugs are usually the most successful, with dry flies being considered the most challenging as they float on the top of the water simulating a dead bug.  Dan had all kinds of advice about “matching the hatch.” He recommended watching Trout Unlimited on YouTube as a good way to get started.

The knowledge shown by the staff on fishing was super impressive. The store also runs different fishing contests, and they sell all types of sport clothing, boots, and everything you need to get outfitted for your fishing adventure.


At this point, Dan started talking turkey as we crossed over to the “blast” part of the store to learn about spring turkey hunting, guns, ammunition, and turkey calls. Dan explained, “In the spring, the turkey are very active strutting and mating; they are on the move. The turkey like to play the ridges. Turkeys have such an advantage as they have great eyesight. They can spot you long before you see them. This adds to the excitement, making spring turkey hunting one of the most exciting types of hunting in our area.”

In the firearm section, store employee Wesley Clark explains some of the options regarding the best types of equipment for turkey hunting. “For turkey hunting, you will want a good shotgun and for ammo, a turkey load. For ammo, I recommend the Hornady, heavy magnum, #4 shot. It is a little more expensive, but has the best consistency and the grouping stays.” Elaborating on shotguns, Wesley continued, “Basically, for shotguns, there are two systems: the inertia system or the gas system. The difference being with the gas system the bolt always moves forward, while the inertia system is under the shot’s control.” Wesley knows all the pros and cons of both types of shotguns, demonstrating a variety of both. The Browning A5 was a recommended gas system and the Berettta A 400 for the inertia system.

Avian Turkey Decoys are recommended as the best on the market as they are inflatable, easy to carry, easy to set up, and very lifelike. The store also has an amazing selection of turkey calls; a few top recommendations being Cro Mac, Zink and Quaker Boy. An interesting side note: Quaker Boy turkey calls are made in Bradford, Pennsylvania and in Orchard Park, New York.


Resident fishing licenses and tourist fishing licenses for 3, 5 and 7 days, along with a special trout stamp may be purchased at the Sportsman’s Outlet or online at fishandboat.com. The money you spend on the trout stamp helps to fund additional fish stocking across Pennsylvania. For hunting licenses online go to Pennsylvania Game Commission at pgc.pa.gov. For local travel information, along with places to stay, dine and shop check out visitANF.com.