Cold weather in southeast Pennsylvania for third edition of Regional Mentored Youth Trout Day
Not far from my home, a mid-sized stream that sees heavy trout stocking annually, flows through farm country and woodlots. When the normal opening day of trout season arrives, its banks will see the hoards of anglers it always has since I first fished those waters as a youth.
But this past Saturday, when the third edition of the Regional Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Day allowed stream angling for the first time, the number of kids and adults was small.
Saturday morning I was streamside by 8:15, hoping to get some good photos of kids and grownups pulling in some trout, and enjoying the shouts and hollers those proceedings can manufacture.
With sneakers and a hooded sweatshirt, I was to a great extent underdressed as the strong cold wind blew over me. I could also see the kids were already fighting to keep warm even though their fishing had just begun a mere 15 minutes earlier.
This stretch of stream I visited is a section below a covered bridge that allows visibility for a good half mile downstream. In all that distance, I saw a total of 11 youth and seven adults.
I stood watching for a half-hour, and did not witness even one bite, let alone a fish being caught.
As luck would have it, I returned to my truck and began to drive downstream. When reaching the final group I could see from upstream, I saw the unmistakable bend of a rod in the hands of a young person.
It was a “good” bend too, and soon an adult scooped a large trout from the water's edge. Finally a photo, along with happy speech.
I drove to three more, easily accessible spots on the stream, to catch sight of more anglers. At one of the spots were one mentor and one youth. At the second spot were a total of nine youth and six adults. At the third spot, a place with a huge, slow, deep pool that I sometimes visit with my fly-rod in the evenings of early June, was no one. Not a single angler there, and I know it was stocked just the day before.
I’ve read some published letters from a couple concerned trout fishermen who are worried these kids and adults will forsake the rules and intent of this day, and virtually “fish-out” most of the stocked fish before they get a chance to fish themselves. To those few I say “baloney.” This cold day with so few fishermen and children, will have no effect on your waters when your first day comes.
The only real consequence of this day is that maybe enough kids will see ample good angling, and that fishing on a regular basis will become a big part of their long term remaining lives.
Even better, maybe a couple of them will grow to become stewards of the land and water that is a daily part of their lives, of which there seems to be too few of today.