By Grant Phelan, staff writer
Within a week, local streams will face an army of men and women clad in boots, waders, and fishing rods. Welcome to the Pennsylvania trout opener April 16, 2017. As with every other season, fishermen can wet their lines starting at 8 a.m. sharp. “Yeah, I’m pretty excited. I heard they stocked more trout this year in Woodcock Creek,” sophomore Brode Berger said.
The PA Fish and Boat Commission stocks roughly 3.15 million trout each year in approved waterways. In 2017, that number was bumped to 4.2 million. All of these fish are up for grabs (or hooks) for the droves of people who will line the banks in hopes of filling their stringers.
The Commission fills Pennsylvania’s waters with brown, rainbow, brook, and golden rainbow trout. The golden rainbows, or palomino, are less common than their counterparts, and are a novelty that many fishermen seek to catch on the first day. These fish are spawned from a mutation that occurred in a rainbow trout in the Appalachians in 1954. Most of the time, they are the largest fish stocked in the stream, adding even more allure to their reputation of being the bright yellow and the hardest to catch. Berger, who plans to once again hit the stream, was fortunate to catch one last year. “I caught it in Woodcock Creek, down by Stainbrook Park. It was fun, especially since it was my first ever.” The 19 inch palomino was caught on a Trout Magnet.
One of the major discussions included for this season is the fact that Easter is the day after the first day, which means that many people may not participate the first day due to holiday plans. But many will stay close to home and still wet their lines. “Most likely I will fish at Woodcock Creek. I like to be the first one to the hole and in my opinion the bite slows down later in the day. So I will probably only fish till about 12-1 p.m. Still will have all day Sunday to celebrate the holiday,” sophomore Wes Price said.
Historically, many will cast spinners, worms, crickets, and the classic silver spoon to be successful. “I like to use either a red eye ant with a grub or a trout magnet spinner,” Price said. Although the masses that make the trek each year are excited, not everyone will come home with filled stringers and empty bait cans. It is all part of the experience that has almost 600,000 anglers lining Pennsylvania’s streams every year.