Greenwood Lake great spot for autumn trout fishing
By Freddie McKnight
At one time the community around what is now Greenwood Furnace State Park was an area bustling with activity. There were hundreds of people employed over the 70-year period of operation of the iron furnaces that this region was known for.
Today, you won’t find as much commotion in the park, except for maybe a busy holiday weekend, but what you will find is some great fall trout action in a little-known lake.
Greenwood Lake, named for the area nearby, is only about 6 acres in size. Lake may be a common term given to such a manmade impoundment, but it seems to be more of a pond.
The water was long ago dammed for a needed supply during the operation of the furnaces, but has since become a good stocked trout fishery. The water here runs cold, even during the hottest of the summer months.
The feeder streams that enter this impoundment start deep in the bowels of Stone Mountain and run through tree-lined hollows until they reach the lake.
Looking at the water, one may scratch his head for a few minutes to try and figure out how to fish it.
There is good access all around the lake, thanks to a trail system, but the western shoreline that hugs the ridge and the dam breast is where most of the action will take place.
Most of the successful fishermen will be found in those areas during the fall, fishing live minnows, worms or Powerbait on bottom rigs. They cast and wait, with patience usually paying off with fish being caught.
The lake is typically stocked three times a year, with one of those stockings taking place around mid-October. The time when the fish arrive at the lake is usually known by the local crowd and you can tell by watching when the fishing action picks up in the fall.
Most of the lake regulars only keep the trout that are deeply hooked, with many just enjoying the warm days of fall while practicing catch and release of the recently stocked fish. You may find all species of trout normally stocked in such waters here, with holdover fish that grow to 3-4 pounds caught occasionally.
Aside from the two areas already mentioned, one other location to look for fish and good action is the feeder stream coming in from the east. This can be found by walking past the concession stand and taking the path that leads past the shoreline playground.
You will find a bridge across the water and probably will see trout on either side of it, finning in the current. Being brushy, it can be tough to get an offering to these fish without spooking them, but the rewards are worth the effort.
Follow that path even further and you will come to a fishing pier by peeling off to the only left you can take on the trail. This will lead you to a small point jutting out into the water and the pier.
Here the water is shallow, but you can often see trout chasing schooling minnows during the low light periods of the day. Using polarized glasses will help you locate these fish, which move in and out of this shallow area swiftly.
The clear water can be a problem at times, especially after a period of heavy fishing pressure. Light lines are best, because they are less visible to the fish.
Also carry a longer handled net to handle your catch because you may need the extended range if you are fishing off of the dock or dam breast to keep the fish away from shoreline obstructions.
Unpowered boats are allowed on the lake, with the exception of the first weekend of trout season. They can be useful but are not necessary as most to the lake can easily be fished from the shoreline. The only exception to this is the beach area, which is closed to angling.
Winter brings with it the chance to ice fish this lake, which is quite popular with local anglers. Jigging spoons tipped with meal worms and live minnows seem to be the most consistent producers of fish then. Time of day seems not to matter, but local knowledge says that evening hours and those times just before a storm are best.
The park is easy to get to, being about 20 miles from Huntingdon, Lewistown and State College alike. It is located right along Route 305 and requires just a short walk from the parking area located across the roadway from the lake.
The park office is open during the weekdays and a family bathroom is kept open near the lakeside concession stand for winter activities.
LOCATION: Park is five miles west of Belleville, 20 miles from Lewistown, Huntingdon and State College
SIZE: 6 acres
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: The park covers 423 acres and also has a campground, hiking trails and a historic district.
The water here runs cold, even during the hottest of the summer months.
The lake is typically stocked three times a year, with one of those stockings taking place around mid-October.
Unpowered boats are allowed on the lake, with the exception of the first weekend of trout season.
Ice fishing is popular on this lake.