Backcast: Pennsylvania’s Legacy of Split Cane Fly Rods

  It’s important not to rush this. A mistake will obliterate a month of work. I take care to make sure that my workbench is uncluttered, the lighting is adequate to the task, and the tools I’ll need are handy but not in the way. Before me is a tapered hexagonal shaft composed of Tonkin cane (Arundinaria amabilis McClure), a type of extraordinarily tough bamboo found mostly in southeastern...
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Corry State Fish Hatchery

Constructed in 1876, the Corry State Fish Hatchery in Corry, Erie County, is the pioneer trout hatchery of the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission and one of the oldest in the nation. As the state’s prototype and its longest continually operating site, it represents the commonwealth’s earliest formal commitment to wildlife conservation and sport fishing. Hundreds of millions of fish raised...
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Editor’s Letter

“You can give humanistic value to almost anything by teaching it historically.” So wrote American philosopher William James in an address he delivered in 1907. Even such disciplines as “geology, economics and mechanics,” he continued, are “humanities when taught with reference to the successive achievements of the geniuses to which these sciences owe their being.” By extension, the features in...
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Other Recent Releases

Gifford Pinchot Selected Writings edited by Char Miller Penn State University Press, 264 pp., cloth $74.95, paper $24.95 Pinchot (1865–1946) was a key figure in the conservation movement of the early 20th century, the first chief of the U.S. Forest Service, and two-time governor of Pennsylvania. Environmental historian Miller, author of two previous books on Pinchot, has gathered and annotated a...
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To Protect, Conserve and Enhance by Kenneth C. Wolensky

To Protect, Conserve, and Enhance: The History of the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission by Kenneth C. Wolensky Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, 400 pp., paper $19.95 As part of the 150th anniversary of its founding in 1866, the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) has published its own comprehensive history. Author Wolensky, through interviews, exhaustive review of PFBC...
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A Good Day’s Catch: Commercial Fishing in Erie

The view from the crest of Erie’s lower State Street is a powerful one. Framed by the tall masts and spars of Oliver Hazard Per­ry’s restored War of 1812 flagship, the Niagara, are the waters of Presque Isle Bay. In the distance, the Presque Isle Peninsula is visible as it curves around and shelters the bay, and beyond that looms the ocean-like expanse of Lake Erie. The bayfront area...
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A One Night Stand to Remember – Or to Forget

Laurette Taylor, an actress who knew well of what she spoke, wrote, “There is no existence so devoid of meaning as ‘the one night stands,’ none so fatal to progress as any kind of forced and hurried travel­ing.” Yet of just such ingredi­ents was the theatrical experience compounded dur­ing the last quarter of the nine­teenth century. For these were the years of “the...
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Erie County: Where Geography Has Shaped History

Erie County forms the northwest corner of the state, bounded by Lake Erie on the northwest, the states of Ohio and New York on the west and east respectively and parts of Warren and Crawford counties on the east and south. Historically the county was divided into two sections. The sou them region of 259 ,000 acres fell within the original land grant to William Penn. The northern portion of...
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Fishing around Philadelphia

Sport fishing, one of mankind’s favorite recreational activities, has been practiced by young and old, rich and poor, male and female, for centuries. Today’s fisherman may be standing elbow-to-elbow with his peers on the opening day of trout season, racing his four wheel drive vehicle along the beach to be the first at his favorite surf-casting spot, or bobbing up and down in a...
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Currents

Exciting Erie Before the arrival of white settlers, the southern shores of Lake Erie were inhabited by the Eriez Indians of Iroquois stock until they were virtually eliminated, by 1655, through war with the Seneca nation. A century later, the French, recognizing the military and trade advantages that Lake Erie and its waterways offered, found a harbor ideally suited for a fort, which they named...
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