As a kid, Jeff Kester spent summer days fishing on Lake Winola, occasionally glancing at Scranton Canoe Club and its
abundant activity along the shoreline.
Music played. Laughs and chatter carried.
“I wonder what’s going on,” he’d say. “It
looks like they’re having a good time there.”
Kester, 50, of Clarks Summit, Pa., doesn’t
wonder nowadays. He and his family – wife
Jennifer and son Troy – joined Scranton
Canoe Club nine years ago.
Fishing, though it isn’t formally sanctioned, is a bonus of the club experience. A
handful of golfers, like Kester, will traverse
Lake Winola, which borders Scranton
Canoe’s clubhouse, following a round at the
nine-hole layout located across the road.
From April through October – weather-permitting, plenty of vessels can be seen,
fishing poles in tow. The Pennsylvania Fish
& Boat Commission, which manages the
185-acre lake, stocks Lake Winola twice
a year. Catches range from Rainbow Trout
to bass to pan fish and pickerel. Any bass
measuring more than 12 inches must be
Fishing runs in the Kester family. Jeff’s
father Robert, along with his twin brothers,
Bob and Jack, frequented Lake Winola
throughout his childhood. Golf, however,
“I always knew Scranton Canoe Club was
here,” Kester, who works for Waverly DPW,
Golf became a permanent thought thanks
to Bob Somers, a fellow Scranton Canoe
member and Kester’s father-in-law. Somers
enrolled Kester to participate in the club’s
Member-Guest, the final selling point for
“It turned out I knew a lot of the guys
who were members here,” Kester said. “I
started thinking, ‘I really like this place.’ I
even told my wife that we should join here.
And we did.”
Fishing at Lake Winola came full circle.
During the summer, Jeff and Troy frequently
hit the links, then the water. The Kesters
operate a 16-foot, blue and white 1994
Spectrum. It’s stored on the dock of brother-
in-law Christopher Somers, who resides in
one of close to 200 lakeside domiciles.
q The Kesters continue to collect golf and
fishing memories with each passing Scranton
Canoe day. An experience three years ago, on
the first day of trout season, is a favorite.
“It got hot, and the trout were not biting,”
Jeff said. “Troy goes into his tackle box
and brings out this big bass lure on a little
ultralight pole. I look at it and say, ‘You’re not
going to catch a trout on that.’ We all throw
our rollers out. I hear Troy say, ‘I got one.’ My
buddy Henry [Sobolak] turned around and
said, ‘Look at your pole, Troy. It’s bent right
over.’ He brings up this big, large mouthed
bass. It had to be five or six pounds. I never
got a bass out of here that big.”
“It just hit the water, and the next thing
you know, I’m setting the hook on it and
bringing it up,” Troy, 14, an eighth grader
at Abington Heights Middle School, said.
“It happened so fast.” So fast that the fish
flopped out of the boat.
On a sun splashed summer’s day, it’s
common to see approximately 30 boats on
Lake Winola, which parallels Nos. 1-4 at
Scranton Canoe Club. Sounds of drivers
and irons being struck can be heard while a
fishing line is cast.
“People start screaming and yelling. You
could always tell if it’s a good putt,” Jeff
“Or if it’s a bad putt,” Jack Chipak,
Scranton Canoe’s commodore, chimes.
If stationed on Scranton Canoe Club’s
deck, Chipak, like most members and
visitors, will ask nearby Lake Winola boaters
about the day’s catch. The front of the clubhouse becomes a fishing hotspot sometimes.
Based on origin alone, it’s safe to assume
that fishing always existed at Scranton Canoe
Club. Founders Edward Beavers and Nelson
Somers, avid canoers and spirited outdoors-men, built a clubhouse along a waterfront,
Scranton Canoe’s figurative fishing badge
is worn with pride – regardless of result.
“Sometimes you have good days fishing.
Sometimes you have bad days fishing,” Troy
said. “Just like golf. Sometimes you have
good days golfing. Sometimes you have bad
days golfing.” m – Tony Regina
A view of Lake Winola from No. 3 green
Troy (L) and Jeff Kester