Pennsylvania trout opener remains a special day
The left photo above shows a local stocked trout stream this past Friday. A strong thunderstorm with abundant lightning and heavy rain had come rolling through the area the Thursday night before, leaving the stream in poor condition, evident by a swollen and muddy flow.
The photo at right is from the same spot on the creek Saturday morning. The water has receded and cleared a bit. There is, however, another obvious difference. A host of trout anglers are present — because on this morning the start of the trout season has arrived.
As it has been for so many years, the opening day of Pennsylvania’s trout season is a day when fishermen flock to the streams and lakes of the state to usher in a new season. And be it adverse weather or difficult conditions on the waters they visit, there just doesn’t seem to be any rationale for these trout anglers who fancy this opening moment to surrender their chance to be streamside and perform that first cast at the 8 a.m. official start.
I have not fished an opening day locally for a long time. Crowds don’t appeal to my idea of trout fishing any longer, and I simply avoid them because I’m able to fish any time I choose, thus offering angling solitude.
I’m not implying that I have dismissed opening days completely, because through the years there have been numerous “first days” I’ve enjoyed on varied streams flowing through the counties of Potter and Tioga. But the definition of a “crowed” condition does not apply to the waters of those northern areas, mainly because human populations are lower, and the area is blessed with ample wide, roomy and lengthy trout streams.
In all truthfulness however, I too was once one of the huge local gatherings who were ever so anxious for that opening minute of trout fishing. Durning my youth —from early teens to at least my late 20s —I would be standing, casting and reeling, virtually elbow to elbow with other anglers, enjoying every moment of the action and the accompanying chatter. Landing some trout was a bonus, plus a bragging point to unlucky companions.
But even as those youthful times have long passed, I still feel a twinge of admiration and full understanding as to why these anglers remain loyal to the controlled frenzy and laughable excess a first day of trout may sometimes become. It’s clearly because they love it, above all else.
I know there have been conversations about removing the first day of trout season, making trout fishing a year-round affair. I hope that idea never comes to fruition, for it surely would spoil a wonderful, one-day experience for those who relish it now, and for those to come who also may join in.