There are still lots of trout in many of Pennsylvania’s stocked streams
This is a time of year when I am torn between many different outdoor pursuits, and this doesn’t include yard work, gardening and cutting firewood. A few days ago I decided to indulge in one of my favorite May sports. I wanted to take advantage of the beautiful weather and stream flows in my home area of Centre County.
Bright and early, I left for a small Class A wild trout stream near me. Much to my dismay, I found the lower end posted with large yellow signs — and you can guess what they read. I was disappointed by this discovery and there was no one home to ask permission.
Since I was standing there in my hipboots, I decided to try the larger stream to which the small stream is a tributary. I usually stay clear of this stream until later in the season. Although it is well stocked, it is also one of the most heavily fished streams in the county.
No surprise, I caught a 5.5-inch wild trout at the mouth of the smaller stream. Then I started casting into the much larger water. Even though I was several hundred yards below the closest stocking point, I landed a 9.5-inch stocked brown on my first cast. Much to my surprise, my next half-dozen casts resulted in stocked browns of 10.5, 9.5 and 10 inches, plus a tiny 4.5-inch wild brown trout.
So, in less than 15 minutes, I had my “limit” of five trout — something that many anglers strive for, but often don’t reach. Admittedly, two were undersized, but I carefully return all of my trout, anyway. My next retrieve was pleasantly interrupted when a plump rainbow slammed my gold spinning lure. I measured the red-striped trout, took a quick photo, and released it back into the cool water.
At this point, I was far less disappointed than I had been when I saw the new yellow “No Trespassing” signs. The rainbow measured just over 14 inches, and it turned out to be my largest trout of the morning.
I had a few misses, but picked up four more trout — three browns and a rainbow — before I encountered two female anglers fishing under the bridge — a stocking point. They had an assortment of bait containers spread out on the rocks — corn, mealworms, Powerbait, salmon eggs — and told me that they had had a few hits, but caught zero.
I gave them some space — missed a trout about 30 yards above them, caught a small bass and then a small stocked trout. By the time I reached the next stocking point, I had 14 trout — ending with a trio of 8-inch rainbows.
There were three men fishing the deep pool at the second stocking point — all using bait, but one switched to a lure after he saw me catch one. As I slowly fished their way, I saw the man closest to me catch three trout on bait. He kept one.
My time was short, and I wanted to move to another stream, so I walked back to my pickup. A few observations:
Although I fished a half-mile of water, the anglers were all concentrated at the deep pools where the trout had been dumped in. I caught all of my trout, except two, in a riffle habitat — not in deep pools. I essentially had 90 percent of the water to myself — and apparently 90 percent of the trout.
This was not my first experience like this. If the water levels and temperatures are nice, stocked trout remain in many streams well through May. Heck, some even have a nice supply of stocked trout in October. Get out and enjoy.