While Northeast Pennsylvania was hunkered down during the Blizzard of 2017 a month ago, Kevin Krimmel was waiting for Saturday.
“It’s just a couple weeks before fishing season,” the Moosic resident recalled thinking during the late-season storm that buried much of the region in more than 2 feet of snow. “I was looking forward to this when we were snowed in.”
The day he was waiting for came Saturday, when Krimmel joined his son-in-law Andrew Croughn and grandchildren Ethan, 8, and Emry, 5, at Lackawanna State Park on a sunny spring day in the 60s — albeit a windy one — for the opening of trout season.
“This is the first year we all went together like this,” Croughn said. “This is the starting of a tradition, maybe.”
The Moosic resident saw another year of maturity in his sons, who showed a greater appreciation for the pastime.
A little bit of success doesn’t hurt, either, as Ethan caught an approximately 13-inch trout by late morning.
“At first he thought the line was snagged, but he actually had one,” Croughn said. “Now he knows what it feels like to have a fish on the line.”
While that group hoped to start a new tradition, many other families gathered at the park to reprise an already-established custom.
Those included Scott Twp. residents Ralph Lockman and Tracy Heller, who are engaged and have been fishing together for about seven years.
The couple also like to go saltwater fishing together on vacation, although Heller, who doesn’t care for the cold, doesn’t share Lockman’s affinity for ice fishing.
Nearby, Sean Wright, who grew up in Northeast Pennsylvania but has lived in Allentown for years, brought his daughter Emma to roughly the same spot they always share with his father, Bob Wright, on opening day.
Emma, who brought “The Handmaid’s Tale” to pass some downtime between bites, recently turned 16 and marked the milestone by getting her first adult fishing license.
Bob Wright, a Nicholson resident, recalled going fishing with his father and grandfather as a child and was happy to see his own son and granddaughter enjoy the same activity together.
“I love it,” he said. “We grew up this way. We come from a hunting and fishing family.”