By Assistant Sports Editor Wyatt Fleischer
A trout that resembles those stocked in Woodcock creek. (photo from flyfishingportraits.com)
The bait hits the water and SPLASH, the surface lights up and a trout launches out of the water into the air like a lion exploding from its cover to attack its prey. The spring run is on and in full swing. The ice has melted away, the creeks have swelled and the fish are in a frenzy. The creeks are stocked with everything from rainbow, to brown, to cut throat, to brook trout, and even lake trout in Lake Erie. Here we are, living everyday on the battlegrounds of some of the most renowned trout fishing territory in the nation.
The state of Pennsylvania has a tremendous hatchery. The Pennsylvania Fish Commission stocks many of our local creeks, including nearby Woodcock creek with brown and rainbow trout any time from last Saturday, to April 28. They will also be stocking Conneaut Creek from April 17, to May 6 with only browns. The season opens on April 4, in the Southeastern part of the state. The rest of the states season opens April 18.
To fish for trout in Pennsylvania, you have to buy a normal fishing license for $22. Then you must buy a trout stamp for an extra $10. Keep in mind that in order to fish in any watershed of Lake Erie, you must also purchase an Erie stamp for another $10. That’s $42 for all three.
So what does it take to fish trout? Well first, get up early to beat the crowds to the best holes. The first couple of weeks will be crowded, so if you beat the competition there, you have just increased your chances by tenfold. Second, fight nature. The air will be cold, the water will be high and muddy, and the fish may be on the bottom. Mr. Adam Horne, social studies teacher, advised, “You gotta put weight on it. The fish are down there, just put more weight on.” Third, use the right bait. Now, everybody and their brother will be throwing a maggot, or a worm, or a minnow on a hook. Don’t be afraid to mix it up. When the fish are at the hatchery, they are fed corn by the bucket loads. The little ones will bite near everything. The big ones will stick to what has kept them alive their whole lives, that’s corn. For those of you who like a challenge, use artificial baits. Senior John Adams is an avid trout fisherman. “I caught an 18 inch brown trout out of my secret honey hole last year.” When asked about his spot, he said he would have to kill me if he told me.
When it comes to trout, their numbers are depleted throughout the season, so the old baits really do the job. We all know, with age comes wisdom. So over an old fish’s lifetime, it has seen all the tricks of the trade and won’t bite. When the trout are stocked, they are new and new to the old-fashioned baits, so they should get the job done. Panther Martin spinners, dare devil spoons, flies. Anything that looks like an easy meal, the fish will more than likely bite on it. These baits take skill and practice to work efficiently. To make a spoon look like a real fish on its last breath, or a fly that flew too close to the water and it’s struggling to get into the air before it is inhaled by the ultimate predator takes practice. But with dedication, it should come quickly. For more information about trout season, which begins this Saturday in our area, visit the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.