Feathered fishing experts beating anglers to trout stocked in Pennsylvania
A recent news item appeared on my phone the other day concerning a local lake that is heavily stocked with trout.
Here in the southeast, the opener for trout season has been pushed back to April 18 from the originally scheduled date of April 4 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Trout stocking has continued, albeit only through the use of Fish & Boat Commission personnel, bypassing public help to ensure there is no passage of the virus to anyone who would offer community assistance.
Many lakes and streams are already stocked — some receiving their first stockings plus scheduled in-season stockings-because stocking help is limited to employees of the commission.
Antietam Lake, in Berks County, is a heavily stocked trout fishery. It is considered more of a municipal fishery because of its proximity to the city of Reading, often drawing many city dwellers to its shoreline to cast to the big supply of trout that swim within its water.
Apparently, the lake has already been stocked because a local witness reported this past Thursday that he saw “four or five” double-breasted cormorants swimming on the lake. He said the fact that a bunch of fish were newly placed in the water, he believed, brought the birds to the lake. He mentioned that when he walked past the lake the following day, he thought there could be as many as 150 of these expertly swimming and fishing foul grouped on the lake’s surface.
He also mentioned that being a fisherman himself, he wondered how the birds’ presence may decrease the number of trout that were stocked for humans come the season opener.
He piqued my interest, I drove to the lake Saturday morning and snapped a few photos of 35 to 40 of the birds packed together, that were occasionally diving and resurfacing, obviously attempting to catch fish.
The Fish & Boat Commission says not to worry, because the fish will continue to disperse and reach deeper sections of the lake, thus being out of reach of the cormorants.
I certainly hope that happens.
I would also like to mention that as Saturday morning reached 8 a.m., I drove to a number of local streams that are also stocked trout waters, interested to see if anyone would be fishing, and perhaps claiming they did not know of the delayed opener, or just merely poaching stocked waters.
I’m happy to report that I saw no one anywhere. That’s good news, because with COVID-19, things are bad enough. We don’t need “law-breakers” to stress us beyond where we already are by cheating the angling public out of a future means of outdoor gratification.