Mar 312012
 

When is the opening day of Trout season in Southeast Pennsylvania?  

TODAY!

Trout season opened today in SE PA

Trout season officially opened in SE PA today

For my family the beginning of Trout season has grown into the most celebrated holiday of the year.  Mom and I have made this a special day of family bonding and this year we even brought dad.

Arriving at 6:30am we quickly rushed to place our chairs on the bank and stake our claim to the best  spot on the pond.

Trout season officially starts at 8:00am and with our spot secured it was time to attend to other business…

wawa breakfast 3-31-2012

Wawa... Breakfast of champions

Leaving mom and dad to guard the folding chairs, I made a quick dash to Wawa for some coffee and grub.   With a lighter wallet and a heavy feed bag I made my way back to the pond.  By this point other fishermen had begun to descend on the area.  As I devoured my morning prey I admired the rises and ripples that were being made on the water…  Yep.  The stocked Trout were hungry too.

After what seemed like an eternity, a gentleman at the head of the pond proclaimed, “It is now 8:00.  Time to fish!”

To catch the first fish is an issue of pride, with the intensity a school yard footrace we were off.

My plan was simple:

Rod 1:  Rigged with an indicator and #8 egg hook loaded with orange Powerbait.  A secondary hook was added as a dropper with some lighter line in case the trout were being picky.

Rod 2: A small brass Panther Martin spinner with an orange feather dressed treble hook.

After missing light bites on my first cast with the Powerbait rod I decided to give rod #2 a try.  Who needs bait anyway?

Wham!  a nice 12″ Rainbow Trout slammed the spinner and easily came to shore.  In the excitement I forgot to grab my net.  The first fish threw the hook and flopped back into the water…

With added urgency, I repeatedly cast my spinner and soon I felt another tug.

rainbow trout 3 3-31-2012

The end of the rainbow

The pace was frantic.  Other fishermen all around the lake were landing trout left and right.  Mom, Dad, Me, Dad, Mom, Me…

rainbow trout 4 3-31-2012

Speed fishing

In PA the daily limit is 5 fish per person per day.  Even with a few catch and release encounters, Mom, Dad, and I had our limits by 8:30am.   The opening day of Trout season is usually the only time during the year I’ll keep fish and to have reached our limit in 30 minutes was down right insane!

After catching our fish, we hung out for a little bit to socialize.  I saw a kid catch a snail…

kid catches snail

Kid catches snail!?

Before we left my mom noticed a little kid who had been getting skunked all morning.  This was unacceptable in mom’s book.  Everyone else around the pond was catching fish and this kid needed help.  With the precision of a seasoned fishing guide, mom sprung to action.

She showed the boy where to cast and after a few tries he hit the mark.

His bobber danced around on the surface of the water but he was unable to set the hook.

“You need to get rid of that bobber.”  Mom proceeded to give the now bobberless boy a five minute lesson on how to feel the fish biting without a float.

The boy returned his orange Powerbait to the spot where he had previously missed a fish.  A few seconds later Mom’s lesson payed off.  The boy set the hook and started pulling in a sizable stocked Rainbow Trout.

Frantically my whole family scrambled for our net.  There was no way this kid was going to lose his first fish of the day.  As the fish flopped around inside the net our mission was accomplished.  one child, one fish, lots of smiles.  His family thanked us and we began to pack our gear.

By the time we were rolling out of the parking lot the boy was into his third fish.  My Mom is a fishing machine.

Returning to my parent’s home, it was time to prepare our catch for the freezer.

Opening day of trout season trout pictures

A sink full of work...

While I won’t go into the details of preparing our catch for consumption, I will say that with three people we made short work of cleaning the fish.

Afterwards, over a warm cup of coffee, we sat and pondered the idea of a 30 minute “day of fishing”.  Mom and I agreed.  30 minutes was about 5 hours and 30 minutes short of our standard.  At our day’s limit for Trout we decided…  It was time for Bass.

Stay tuned for more of today’s story: 2012 PA Trout Season Opening Day pt. 2

 

Did you get out for SE PA’s opening day?  Are you stuck waiting in another part of the state?  How do you feel about stocked Trout?  Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

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  • Ken

    How do a FEEL about stocked trout?

    You do realize that most fresh water game fish in the USA these days come from stocking programs, right?  Whether it is bass, walleye, pike, muskie, pan fish, trout, perch, pickerel, catfish, or char, the vast majority of the ones we catch all over the country were either born in a hatchery or descend from fish that were.

    Personally, I get a chuckle out of the romanticizing of “wild” fish in American streams and lakes.  In way more than 99% of cases, all that means is natural reproduction is occurring in the fishery.  When natural reproduction is NOT occurring we should be asking ourselves what we’re doing wrong!  But stocking programs either have or are occurring almost everywhere…and thank goodness they are.  We wouldn’t be fishing if they weren’t.  There would be nothing to catch.  Americans began over-fishing the vast majority of our fisheries long ago, and would have wiped them out entirely by the end of the 1970s if it were not for aggressive stocking programs.  Consider the elk and the buffalo, hardwood wetlands, and the grizzly bear.  All of them were nearly gone from the lower 48 less than 75 years after the Civil War.

    Put-and-take fisheries are purely recreational resources.  You have to think of them like you do playgrounds and tennis courts in the city park.  A pond or stream is stuffed with a bunch of catchable size trout a few days before the public is allowed to fish in it.  Then the season opens and the public catches as many of those trout as fast as they can and keeps them.  Then the process is repeated.  This has nothing to do with natural resource management in a classic sense.  This is a typical “parks & rec” type function.  We should be able to appreciate it for what it is.

    I’ve racked up some wonderful memories and hundreds of miles hiking and camping in the back country of the Rocky Mountains fishing the native trout species in their native ranges.  I had the privilege of living less than an hour’s drive from the last known refuge of pure McCloud strain Rainbow trout left in the world and fishing it with some frequency.  Now THAT is a wild trout!  Those fish were transported from the McCloud River in northern CA by rail to Crane Creek in Missouri and stocked there in the 1800s.  Miraculously, they survived and have maintained a sustainable population to this day with no other stocking of trout – ever.  Even the McCloud River no longer has pure McCloud River Rainbows.  With all of that dedication to the pursuit of native North American trout, I still don’t get “trout worship.”  As much as I love trout fishing, I can’t fathom what makes a trout too precious to eat, but a crappie or redfish or walleye is fine.  And I sure don’t understand why it is okay to stock bass and pike and walleye on top of naturally reproducing bass and pike and walleye, but it’s not okay to stock trout on top of naturally reproducing trout.

    That’s how I feel about stocked trout.

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