This was one of those random finds you come across where you momentarily question your own sanity and decide that it’s just too weird to pass up. Sure enough, this turned out to be one of the coolest stops on our recent drive through Pennsylvania. Coincidentally, it is also (unofficially) Pennsylvania’s 2nd most popular attraction (the Liberty Bell wins that popularity prize), despite the fact that they don’t advertise.
I first came across this attraction in passing while planning our drive on Roadtrippers.com. The description didn’t say very much and I couldn’t really find any other information online, so we weren’t sure if it would be a complete bust or the highlight of the trip. In the end, it was just too strange to pass up, so we added it to our route. And it turned out to be fantastic.
The attraction is a portion of the Linesville causeway bridge bordering a hatchery. There is a spillway (which we didn’t visit) and the lake is practically teeming with giant carp. Now, I’m not sure what came first, the tourists or the ducks and the fish, but somehow it so happened that people turn up to throw bread to the ducks and the ducks have to fight the fish for it. The fish are so plentiful that, legend has it, the ducks literally walk on the backs of the fish to get to the bread.
When we were there, we couldn’t quite recreate that particular phenomenon but I’m not discounting it in the least. You see, about 20 minutes out of town, we got waylaid by a downpour so strong we could barely see out the car windows (and I do mean barely!).
We worried our detour would have been for naught but when we arrived at the causeway, the rain slowed to a gentle spittle and the ducks were out and about. What was missing was hoards of tourists (though, to be honest, I’m not sure how many people are there on a sunny day, but I would guess it’s a pretty popular spot since they’ve built a parking lot and a visitor kiosk on the site).
There were a couple of other families there but my guess is you need a lot of people simultaneously throwing the bread for it to last long enough before being consumed by the fish for the ducks to bother clambering over their backs to get to it. As it was, with so few of us, the bread would disappear as soon as it hit the water and the ducks would swim among the fish but not quite walk on their backs (and to be fair, I wouldn’t want to be in the middle of that fray either!).
Still, this was a pretty fantastic stop and I would definitely recommend a detour if you are in the area. They’re not kidding about the quantity (or the size!) of the fish. They’re everywhere and they’re massive. That alone is worth seeing. We lingered a while trying to wrap our heads around it. But one of the most miraculous things about this stop is that we managed to buy two full-size loaves of bread to feed the ducks for $2. At a tourist attraction. Right there. That one I’m still trying to wrap my head around! This is the best value for your money I’ve ever seen anywhere in North America or Europe. Colour me speechless.