Posted, catch and release trout fishing
I climbed out of my pickup and breathed in some of the cool October air.
The brilliant colors of autumn leaves - oaks, beech, and maples - enveloped me. I quickly slipped into my hipboots and donned my camouflage jacket and fishing vest, eager to visit a Centre County trout stream that I hadn't fished for over a year.
A brisk 0.8-mile walk down a road that paralleled the stream would lead me to my usual starting point. About halfway to my destination, I started to notice new white signs posted at the stream's edge. I was too far away to make out the letters, but new signs posted along a trout stream are rarely good news.
No signs were visible (thank goodness) as I settled in along the mountain freestone stream. My spinner attracted a tiny 4.5-inch native brook trout, and within a few minutes, I had recorded naturally-reproduced brown trout of 9.5 inches and 7.5 inches in my vest pocket notebook. These colorful wild trout are what I had come for.
About 10 minutes later, I caught a spunky, foot-long stocked rainbow trout, and I encountered my first white poster. Fishing was good. I really didn't want to read the sign, but nevertheless, read it I did.
Much to my surprise, the poster read - "Please, Catch and Release Only. This area has been privately stocked for the enjoyment of all."
I continued fishing with a warm smile on my face. There are nice people in this world, after all.
The "posted," privately-stocked water continued for about a quarter-mile of stream, and the fishing was good. I landed numerous wild and stocked trout - the biggest measured 14 inches long. As instructed, all were carefully released back into the cool, clear water.
Just so you know, I am a typical fisherman - the two biggest trout got away. One broke my line and another large brown slipped the hook by rubbing my lure against the stream bottom.
Wouldn't it be great if more people were this generous?