Pennsylvania’s regional trout opener stained by Mother Nature
Thunderstorms rolled through his past Thursday night here in the southeastern portion of Pennsylvania.
I fell asleep that night with heavy rain pounding one of the back bedroom windows. When I awoke Friday morning it was still raining, and throughout the day and into late night the rain continued, at times falling exceedingly heavy.
I knew that local trout streams come Saturday would be running fast, high and dirty. Not even close to one might term “okay” conditions.
Still, when the clock neared eight that morning I hopped in my old truck and headed toward one of the area’s larger stocked streams, which I can reach in five minutes. I was mildly surprised at the large number of trucks, SUV’s and cars parked at my first stop. Weather be damned, anglers locally were not going to miss that eight o’clock start to the 2017 Pennsylvania trout season.
I stayed and watched these hardy fishermen make that harmonious first cast, an act I often took part in for most of my fishing lifetime, until recent years afforded all the time I needed to fish for trout when streams empty of the crowds.
Ten minutes of a comfortable view from the old truck produced not a single fish landed as far as I could see. I moved to a different spot and saw someone I knew fishing among another good-sized grouping of anglers. I parked and walked across a water-logged grassy pasture and edged up to the person I know.
Small talk followed, and I realized no one among the group had yet to catch a fish. Some guys complained about the timing of all the rain. Others said the fish probably washed away, which is simply not true. Too many studies by fisheries biologists have proven that in high water conditions fish will simply stay near stream banks, or find cuts behind rocks and other underwater structure and wait till waters subside before moving.
Ironically, a fisherman across stream hooked and landed a trout, and that seemed to lift the angling spirits of everyone around.
I returned to the stream in late afternoon and things were changing. Anglers who were now streamside saw water levels a bit lower and clearer, and they also had some fish.
The numbers of anglers in the afternoon was reduced considerably from the morning crowd, but the few I spoke with seemed happy.
And why not. There were plenty of fish left for the taking, and that should hold true for many days to come.