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PA Trout Fishing Begins!

How and where to fish for trout

 

by Rebecca Hazen, Chloe Quimby - April 27, 2016

As April has arrived again, so has trout season. Trout season opened on Saturday, April 16th, and will continue through September 5th. The extended trout season then runs from September 6th through February 29th.

Don Kelly, owner of the Tackle Shack, notes, “All too often trout season is confused with the start of fishing season, but in reality, fishing is a sport that can be enjoyed year round.” Other fish species likewise have their own seasons during which they can be harvested, and likewise, most fish can be caught and released any time during the year.

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According to the Oxford English Dictionary, trout are classified as “a chiefly freshwater fish of the salmon family, found in both Eurasia and North America.” However, Kelly expounds, “[Trout is]…A fish, yes, but in Pennsylvania it is so much more than that. It’s a fish that brings together families and friends; a fish that connects us with the past; a fish that delightfully haunts the dreams of so many fishermen.”
Trout are generally stocked—that is, raised in a hatchery and released—in streams or lakes that cannot sustain their own population of wild trout. Trout stockings start in March and continue through May, the majority of which is done by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC). (A full stocking schedule can be found on their website at http://fishandboat.com/stock.htm).

ElizabethShawHamiltonLake

“Cooperative nurseries and local clubs also help stock some of the fish. Most of our fish from the PFBC come from their fish hatchery in Bellefonte,” Kelly adds.
Those who want to fish for trout in Tioga County are lucky, because there are a lot of places to find both stocked and wild trout.

“Pine Creek is probably the most famous, but trout are stocked in many smaller streams throughout the county, as well as both Hamilton and Beechwood Lakes. Also, many of the tiny mountain streams and small tributaries to Pine Creek have populations of wild brown trout and native brookies,” Kelly says.

There are many different ways to catch trout, catering to fishermen of any age or skill level. Trout can be caught in a variety of waters, as well, from a boat or from the shore. In the lakes and other still water, baits such as powerbait, waxworms, minnows, small spinners or spoons, and small stickbaits all work well. In streams, some of the best baits are salmon eggs, salted minnows, butterworms, and various other live baits.
“Trout are the most sought after fish for fly fishermen too,” Kelly says, “and Pine Creek has some phenomenal fly hatches. There are many great stretches of water perfect for fly fishing. No matter how you like to fish, there are opportunities to catch trout across the county.”

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Before hitting the water, Kelly reminds fishers to take a moment and read through their regulation book or check out the PFBC website. Rules can change at any time, and it is important to stay up to date.
“It’s no coincidence that the state fish of Pennsylvania is the brook trout, and trout represent much of the history of Pennsylvania fishing. Presidents chased them, books were written about them, and almost everyone who fishes can tell a story about them. When you see that giant smile a little kid has while holding up his first trout, or you watch an old timer gracefully tossing beautifully tied flies to rising trout, then you will know what a trout is and its significance in Pennsylvania,” Kelly says.

Tioga County even offers opportunities for competitive trout fishing. These tournaments include the Upper Pine Creek Trout Tournament on May 14th and 15th, hosted by the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon Snowmobile Club, and a Fly Fishing Open House at the Tackle Shack on May 28th.

For more information on fishing seasons, fishing regulations, or other queries, visit http://fishandboat.com/.

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