Apr 052011

Last Saturday April fourth was the regional opening day for Trout season in south eastern Pennsylvania.  It was a gorgeous day and for the first time that I can remember, it wasn’t raining and the streams weren’t even that high.  Conditions were ripe for catching beautiful and sometimes naive stocked rainbow trout.

Pic of Pennsylvania trout season opening days

via PA Fish and boat (more info)

7:30am –

Mom and I started our adventure at Skippack Creek near Evansburg PA.

picture of a welcome to skippack township sign

Welcome to Skippack

Anyone from Montgomery County Pennsylvania and probably the rest of the state can tell you, the opening day of trout season is a dude-fest.   Way too many people on skinny water.  In all fairness, everyone there was as excited as I was to be fishing for trout in Skippack Creek again.  For those of you not familiar with PA’s “approved trout water” they close the season during the month of march to stock the streams and allow the trout to settle in.  Most PA fishermen aren’t aware that they can fish non-“approved trout water” all year long so opening day is the first time since fall that most of these guys have had a chance to fish.

Lots of cars at opening day of trout season

Lots of cars

As you can see from the picture above and the following picture the place was packed.

another full parking lot at the trout season opener at Skippack creek

Lots of cars, few fish

There were lots of people but very little fish.  We fished up and down a two mile stretch of the creek, shoulder to shoulder with everyone else.  I didn’t see many people pulling Rainbow Trout from the water.  After a lot of walking and a little fishing we decided to pack it up and head for another stream.  Little did we know the crowds at Skippack Creek would be the rule rather than the exception for PA’s regional trout season opener.

11:00am –

We arrived at Unami Creek.  The mixture of deep water pockets and underwater caves formed by the stream flowing around massive boulders makes Unami Creek a great place to stock trout.

picture of unami creek

Unami Creek ROCKS!

I love Unami Creek.  A large part of my childhood was spent fishing the banks of this creek.  It was kinda sad but on opening day there was absolutely no parking.  I saw what appeared to be a few trout on stringers that people were carrying around near the water so someone was catching Rainbow Trout, unfortunately on this day, it was not me.

12:30pm –

At this point I was getting a little uncomfortable.  Four hours into opening day and not even a bite.  It didn’t help that this dude was shooting me twitter messages about how he was rocking em’ out with gold spinners and had already caught his limt!

I made the call to try a new body of water.  There is a creek that feeds into Green Lane Reservoir that is also stocked.  On the maps it’s listed as the Perkiomen Creek however I’m not sure if it’s known as the north, south, east, or west branch…

Picture of a bridge crossing the Perkiomen Creek

Found this nice spot on the Perkiomen Creek

Never having fished this water before, I took a look at the gps and pointed my car towards the creek.  I found this spot by chance and not only was it not crowded but the pool I tried fishing at under the bridge was deep and clear.  I thought this would surely bring forth some trout.

2:30pm –

OK so I know two hours isn’t a lot of time to give a new spot but we didn’t see any action on the water, no one was catching (or had) trout, and I was beginning to wonder if the lack of people at this spot meant that it wasn’t stocked.  While I’m all about coming back to this spot when the water warms up, today this wasn’t the place.

3:00pm –

Mom decides to make the call.  “Matt I know they privately stock XXXXXXX why don’t we go there?”  Now I’m not naming the spot because it can’t support all of the attention, but I will finish telling the story of opening day.

I didn’t want to fish “spot X”.  Let’s just say it’s one of those places where you take the kids to play and try to sneak in a few casts while little Jimmy hangs out on the monkey bars.  If anyone saw me trying to be a serious angler at this place they would have a pretty good laugh.  (I’m also laughing at the idea of me being serious about anything)

There is one thing I’ve learned in my life.  Mom has a keen understanding of fish.  She’s always out fished me and she’s always right.  Reluctantly, I swallowed my big boy angler pride and went along with her plan to fish “spot X”.

my frist rainbow trout of the day

Is that a fish?

Mom is a genius.  The spot was a little crowded but everyone fishing there was pulling out Rainbow Trout every five to ten minutes.  It was insane!  The crowd was low because everyone was catching their limit and going home!

Funny thing about fishing pride…  The fish can smell it.  As I tried to be a snobby angler and cast my spinners over and over again everyone else was hammering trout left and right on power bait…  At this point mom had two trout and I was still skunked.

rainbow trout powerbait

powerbait aka trout crack

After swallowing my pride once again, I slopped some powerbait goop on a hook.  I hate this gooey fish smelling stuff!  Makes me feel like I’m fishing for catfish rather than beautiful graceful rainbow trout.  But hey whatever, on opening day anything goes.

our stringers of opening day rainbow trout

Mom and I caught fish

Now I usually practice catch and release but on opening day I view Rainbow Trout as an invasive species.  I know there isn’t enough food to support their numbers, the water will eventually get hot and yea…  Putting stocked trout in my belly saves them from overheating or starving later on down the line.  The six fish above were all we caught that day but for an hour and a half of fishing at one spot I’m happy!

4:30 – Went home

With a smile on my face!


Did you fish Pennsylvania’s regional Trout Season Opener?  Are you still waiting until April 15 to fish the other half of the state?  Let us know in the comments below!

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  • Great recap of the opening day in PA! I always hated opening day and usually drove up into the mountains to the native waters so I didn’t have to deal with the crowds. Then I hit the stocked streams Monday and Tuesday evenings to clean up on the left overs. Nice stringer of fish!

    • The Functioning Fishaholics

      Thanks but they were mostly mom’s fish. Great suggestion about heading north. Might have to try that next year.

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