With four seasons of natural beauty and endless outdoor adventures, Columbia and Montour counties in Central Pennsylvania are a prime location for outdoor enthusiasts to explore this year. Located just several hours north of Baltimore and Washington, D.C., the counties are a fine choice for a weekend getaway.
In particular, the area is known for its abundant fishing opportunities. The north branch of the mighty Susquehanna River flows directly through both counties, and provides one of the best outlets for outdoor recreation in the entire state. At 444 miles, the Susquehanna River is the longest river on the East Coast.
The Susquehanna and other creeks and lakes in the area are home to trout, smallmouth bass, northern pike, largemouth bass, channel and bull-head catfish, bluegill, yellow perch, walleye, carp, panfish, crappie, and tiger muskellunge. Other wildlife is abundant, too, so don’t be surprised if you see a bald eagle soaring overhead.
Fishing Creek runs through Columbia County and is considered to be one of the finest trout streams in the state. There are many other bodies of water for fishing and kayaking in the two counties, as well.
Lake Chillisquaque, named for a Native American word meaning “song of the wild goose,” is a 165-acre reservoir located within the Montour Preserve, and is also a prime fishing and boating location. The preserve is a wonderful resource for the whole family, with a “finders-keepers” fossil pit, hiking trails, an educational environmental center, and more.
The Weiser State Forest–Roaring Creek Tract is located in the southern end of Columbia County, not far from the popular Knoebels Amusement Resort, and contains three sizeable reservoirs. Warm-water fishing is allowed in all three locations, and ice fishing is becoming a popular winter activity in the tract as well. All fishing within the boundaries of the Weiser State Forest is catch-and- release only.
Ricketts Glen State Park is located 30 miles north of Bloomsburg, in the northern reaches of the county. The state park contains Lake Jean, a 245-acre lake that has a 600-foot beach open from late May to mid-September for swimming and relaxing. Fishing is permitted and boat rentals are available. Ricketts Glen also boasts one of the best hiking trails around, the Falls Trail Loop, where hikers can pass 21 stunning waterfalls.
For those who prefer other outdoor activities, there are plenty of locations to kayak, canoe, or tube. For those who prefer to stay on land, Brace’s Stables are an ideal stop. You can take several horseback trail rides and enjoy the picturesque countryside.
Hopewell Park in Danville is the stop for mountain bike enthusiasts, and features a number of moderate to difficult trails that will be sure to de- light and test riders of all ages.
For more information:
(570) 784-8279, itourcolumbiamontour.com