First Pennsylvania trout outing of the new year always special
What a beautiful week we had. The warm weather the past few days, coupled with excellent stream flows, told me that it was time to visit a trout stream. I often get out earlier, but it wasn't in the cards this year.
During the past year, the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission approved 300 new wild trout streams and 101 new Class A Wild Trout Waters. I applaud the identification and selection of each and every one. Why? Because they provide the best fishing in the state and they are open for angling all year-round.
A case in point – a few days ago, I took advantage of the nice weather and visited a small Centre County Class A Wild Trout Stream. This is a stream that you can cross with two big steps in many places. Some anglers wouldn't give it a second look, but it is full of trout. It used to be stocked trout water, but no more.
The flow was perfect and crystal clear. The red column on my stream thermometer registered 51 degrees, which brought a smile to my face. The fishing should be good.
Nothing in the first pool. A startled muskrat jumped off the bank and swam up through the second pool – scaring any trout that might have been out feeding.
The action picked up beginning with the third small pool, and I tallied seven wild browns and one native brookie by the end of the first half-hour. All of the trout had large, perfect fins and bright red spots. The bigger browns sported golden bellies. All were carefully released back into their aquatic homes.
I had five misses and only caught one trout during the second half-hour. It was time to re-tie my lure and sharpen the treble hooks with the small stone that I carry in my camo vest.
Fortunately, the action picked up again as I moved farther upstream. I caught eight more colorful, naturally-reproduced trout – ending with 17 (15 browns and two brooks). All of the wild trout were 7 inches long or longer. The biggest trout was a very colorful 12-inch brownie. I had over a mile walk back to the pickup, but I wore a contented smile on my face.
If the message you are getting is, "This guy is bragging about how many fish he can catch," you are getting the wrong message. The message has two parts. First message: You could do this, too. I used the fishing methods that I outlined in my three-part spinner-fishing-primer blogs last spring. If you look closely, there is more advice woven in the story above.
Second – and most importantly – wild-trout streams provide the best year-round trout fishing. The Fish & Boat Commission publishes a list on their website – take advantage of it.