By Bailey Kozalla, staff writer
All species of trout will be fair game for Pennsylvania anglers on April 16. At 8 a.m., all trout-stocked waters will be available for fishing, that is, if you can find a spot. The opening day of the season is notorious for attracting large crowds. Anglers gather around the freshly-stocked trout streams for an attempt to hook a rainbow, brown, brook, or the prized palomino trout.
According to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, 3,898,300 adult trout will be released in Pennsylvania’s running waters by Saturday, including 8,530 trophy (palomeno) fish. Woodcock Creek was stocked on March 26, and the next stocking will be on May 27.
On April 9, the fourth annual Mentored Youth Trout Day, hosted by the PA Fish and Boat Commission, attracted many kids and their mentors statewide. To be eligible, the youth must be 15 years of age or younger, have a $2.70 voluntary youth license or a free permit, and be accompanied by a licensed adult. The youth is permitted to keep two trout and they must be seven inches in length. Unlike last year, only the youth is allowed to keep trout, not the mentor. Freshman Wesley Price took advantage of the youth day and scored a 19-inch palomino trout. “It was the biggest trout I’ve ever caught,” Price said. Social studies teacher Mr. Adam Horne took his oldest son out fishing last Saturday, and he landed two.
To cast your fishing line in Pennsylvania, you need to purchase a $22.70 fishing license along with any other special permits you desire. If you are planning to trout fish tomorrow, you will need to also buy a trout/salmon permit for $9.70. In order to trout fish any watershed of Lake Erie, however, you will need to purchase an additional permit that costs $9.70. The Fish Commission also offers a combination permit of trout/salmon/Lake Erie for $15.70. All species of trout must be at least seven inches long to keep, and the limit is set to five trout.
Learning to trout fish takes time, finesse, and learning the tricks-of-the-trade. The basic skills needed to catch this cold-water fish are presentation, stealth, and practice. To present your bait to the trout, you must read the stream and determine the best trout-holding areas. Trout tend to stick to deep, slow moving water holes, so add some weight to your line and let your bait float naturally to the fish. Being stealthy means not letting the fish know you are there. Be quiet, and make no sudden moves, or you will startle the fish into not biting. Learning the best ways to entice the trout into biting can be difficult. Even the best trout fishermen in the world will not always catch them; they just have to be in the right mood to bite, and you have to be in the right place at the right time.
When you’re out fishing tomorrow, those trout will be hungry! So get ready for tight lines. A #10 hook baited with a red worm, grub, minnow, salmon eggs, or power bait will be lethal. Many anglers choose to go to a more artificial approach and use spoons, spinners, flies, and jigs. So remember, don’t be afraid to fish away from the crowds and explore what Pennsylvania’s trout streams have to offer.