A mixed bag in trout opener
I made my way to a local stocked trout stream on this past Saturday morning to check how the fishing was going for the regional trout opener here in southeastern Pennsylvania.
I gave the anglers a good hour of fishing before I left home. The sky was a bit overcast, but there was certainly warm air circulating, bringing a promise of a day that would see a drastic change from the cold and rain that has been holding on for prior months.
As I expected, there were vehicles aplenty parked along off road spots close to where the stocking truck usually stops to unload the buckets full of fish that have been raised by the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission. At the deeper holes along those spots, anglers encircled those slow flowing gaps almost elbow to elbow.
From merely observing from a roadside spot where I first stopped I did not see a single fish landed by anyone. I snapped a few photos of the angling hoard and moved on to other places that would see the similar stocking conditions as my first stop.
At my third stop I finally watched an angler bring a trout to net. A few in the crowd surrounding him quickly made casts to the same apparent spot where this lucky fisherman had hooked the fish, hoping to hook one themselves before the angler had a chance to unhook the fish, bait up and cast once again. This is part of the opening day antics on smaller streams, but people don’t seem to mind too much because every opener they flock to these places, determined to catch fish no matter how thick the crowd.
I finally walked from my parked truck at another spot and chatted with a few anglers. “Fish just aren’t biting,” were some of the responses. “I don’t think they even stocked here,” came from a good number, too. This I knew to be untrue, because I personally passed two stocking trucks heading toward the stream the previous Monday. Besides, at the two places I chatted with anglers who had watched plenty of fish being put into the water at those places.
This is a midsized stream, and the further one moves downstream the wider it becomes. It’s a course of stocked water that runs for many miles. The flow was high because of saturated ground, but clear. The water itself extremely cold because of the recent grip of winter. Whether this held back fishing successes, I’m uncertain. But I do know this, I fished Sunday morning with little success, and there was hardly any other fishermen anywhere, almost unheard of in all the years I’ve fished this stream.
Other reports from different streams in the county reached me with different stories from the opening day. These streams are smaller than the one I visited Saturday, and angler catch rates seemed much higher, adding a bit of credence to the belief that because of their smaller size there waters were warmer, and fish more active.
I’ve driven past this same stream close to my home a few other times this past week and saw very few anglers. Perhaps they’ve given up till the restocking, or warmer weather.
All I’m certain of is that trout season is open locally, and I’m darn glad it is.