By: Chris Shaffer
The statewide Pennsylvania trout opener takes place tomorrow and with excellent weather conditions expected anglers can expect large crowds and lots of action on multiple species of trout. We’ve dove in depth the past few days covering the greater Pittsburgh and Southwest PA regions and have called in a few favors with the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission to help detail what to expect in the central part of the state. In between stocking more than 3.2 million trout the PAFBC helped answer a few questions about tomorrow’s massive event.
PA is hoping to sell nearly 80,000 licenses and permits today for tomorrow’s opener. The PFBC annually stocks approximately 3.2 million adult trout in more than 700 streams and 120 lakes. These figures include approximately two million rainbow trout, 642,000 brown trout, 522,000 brook trout and 8,500 trophy golden rainbows. These fish average 11 inches, except for goldens, which are at least 14 inches.
Team Pautzke: What conditions can we expect for Saturday’s opener in Central PA? Are the rivers/streams in good shape?
PAFBC: Flows are at or below normal for the statewide opener on April 16th. Air temperatures are forecast to climb towards and slightly warmer than normal after several weeks of below average temperatures and even snow. These are great conditions for our largest trout day of the year.
Team Pautzke: What are five popular places to fish in the region?
PAFBC: Central PA: In central PA the most popular waters are Bald Eagle Creek, Penns Creek and Poe Lake in Centre County. Easy access and large numbers of stocked trout make these ever popular. Expect crowds in the easiest accessed spots and lots of trout.
Lycoming County: Pine Creek in Lycoming County receives among the largest allocations of stocked trout in Pennsylvania due to its good public access over several miles of stocked water.
Huntingdon County: Whipples Dam and Greenwood Lake are very popular because they are relatively small, are located within state parks and have good shoreline fishing. These are great places to bring the family to fish.
Team Pautzke: What are five tips to catch more trout on the opener?
PAFBC: 1. Low and slow. Move slowly along the bank and stay low so the trout don’t see you.
- Use spinners and lures early and then shift to bait when the most aggressive fish have been caught.
- Realize that waters warm up as the day goes on. Later in the day is often more productive than early mornings in the early season. Crowds will be smaller as well. Maybe anglers fish from first light until mid morning. Plenty of opportunity remains in the afternoon and evening.
- Move around if you are not getting bites.
- Switch things up. If you aren’t getting bites try changing the type of baits you are using and switch colors and sizes. Keep in mind changing the flavor of baits can turn the fish on when things slow down and you know you are on fish.
Team Pautzke: What kind of trout have been stocked prior to the opener?
PAFBC: Brook, Brown, Rainbow and Golden Rainbow Trout. Rainbows are the dominant fish stocked in lakes. Many rivers and streams are stocked with brooks and browns.
Team Pautzke: Will trophy fish be available?
PAFBC: Yes, a number of trophy size trout are stocked among the average size fish in all but the smaller waters. For anglers who wish to focus on trophy trout, we recommend trying out the Keystone Select DHALO waters.
Team Pautzke: What’s next for this year’s opener?
PAFBC: We’ve compiled some info on new and increased opportunities, which can be found here: http://fishandboat.com/anglerboater/2016ab/vol86num2_marapr/02stockchanges.pdf.
Editor’s Note: For more information on the statewide Pennsylvania trout opener please visit http://www.fish.state.pa.us/trout.htm.