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TATUM: Trout fishing’s main event lies just ahead

In terms of trout fishing theatrics, we might consider this past Saturday’s Mentored Youth Trout Day a dress rehearsal, one in anticipation of the regular season. Last Saturday morning found plenty of eager young anglers trying their luck on Pennsylvania’s myriad stocked trout waters. Under the supervision of adult mentors, these aspiring young anglers were permitted to creel two trout apiece on Saturday.

But Pennsylvania’s Mentored Youth Trout Day essentially serves as a precursor to trout fishing’s main event: the state’s storied opening day, now slated for this Saturday, April 6. It’s probably the most heavily circled date on our outdoors calendar. With lines in at 8:00 a.m. that morning, properly licensed anglers can creel a daily limit of five trout that are at least seven inches long.

And in order to serve our angling community’s thirst for trout, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) will stock approximately 3.2 million adult trout in 697 streams and 129 lakes open to public angling all across the state. Approximately 2.4 million rainbow trout; 702,000 brown trout; and 132,000 brook trout will be stocked in Pennsylvania streams and other waterways.

For those readers craving more trout trivia, consider the following: The average size of the trout produced for stocking is 11 inches in length with an average weight of .58 pounds. The 2024 trout average size and total numbers of fish stocked are similar to the number of trout stocked over the past decade. The PFBC will also stock approximately 70,000 brood fish, which are 2½ to 3½ year-old hatchery-raised rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout measuring 14-20 inches.

Roughly 70% of the larger brood trout will be stocked into streams and lakes during the preseason prior to opening day of trout season, and 30% will be stocked during in-season replenishment stockings. In 2024, the PFBC will stock approximately 14,000 golden rainbow trout weighing an average of 1.5 pounds. Prized by anglers, these unusual trout are identified by vibrant golden-orange pigmentation.

Approximately 75% of golden rainbow trout will be stocked during the preseason with 25% stocked in-season. In addition to trout raised at state fish hatcheries, PFBC cooperative nurseries operated by sportsmen’s clubs and other groups across the state will add another one million trout to waters open to public angling throughout the year.

Young anglers enjoy catching trout on Mentored Youth Trout Day last Saturday in anticipation of the regular opening day on April 6. (Submitted photo)
Young anglers enjoy catching trout on Mentored Youth Trout Day last Saturday in anticipation of the regular opening day on April 6. (Submitted photo)

The PBFC publishes a trout stocking schedule that is searchable by county, lists the waterways in alphabetical order, and indicates stocking dates, meeting locations for volunteers, and the species of trout that are planned to be stocked at each location. Once again included in this year’s stocking lists are the Keystone Select Stocked Trout Waters, a program where sections of 24 streams across the state are stocked with large trout measuring 14-20 inches and managed under Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only or Miscellaneous Special regulations.

Under the program, approximately 10,000 large trout will be distributed among the streams. The trout will be stocked at a rate of 175 to 225 per mile of stream, which is comparable to the numbers of similarly sized fish in Pennsylvania’s best wild trout waters.

Anglers in our corner of the state in search of stocked trout waters will find no shortage of opportunities. In Berks County stocked trout waters are Antietam Creek – Antietam Reservoir – Furnace Creek (Robesonia) – Hay Creek – Kistler Creek – Little Lehigh Creek – Little Swatara Creek – Maiden Creek (confluence with Kistler Creek in Kempton downstream to dam in Lenhartsville) – Manatawny Creek – Mill Creek (trib. to Sacony Creek) – Mill Creek (trib. to Schuylkill River) – Mill Creek (trib. to Tulpehocken Creek) – Northkill Creek – Ontelaunee Creek (Spring House Road Bridge (SR 4024) downstream to mouth) – Perkiomen Creek – Pine Creek (trib. to Maiden Creek) – Sacony Creek (Bowers Rd. (T-616) downstream to SR 222 Kutztown By-pass) – Scotts Run Lake – Spring Creek – Tulpehocken Creek (Marion Twp R&G Club downstream to vicinity of Charming Forge Rd.) – West Branch Conestoga River (approximately 350 yards above powerline, downstream to mouth in Morgantown) – Willow Creek – Wyomissing Creek (through Mohnton downstream to SR 0222)

In Bucks County stocked waters are the East Branch Perkiomen Creek (Branch Road Bridge (T-431) downstream through Sellersville) – Levittown Lake – Neshaminy Creek (Two sections-Valley Road to Mill Road near Jamison, and from the dam at the causeway in Tyler State Park downstream to the bridge on SR 332) – Tohickon Creek (Dark Hollow Rd. downstream to mouth) – Unami Creek (Milford Township Park downstream to Trumbauersville Road (SR 4051))

The PFBC recently announced several changes made to trout stocking locations in Bucks County since the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) is conducting multiple major construction projects in Delaware Canal State Park resulting in lower-than-normal water levels within sections of the Delaware Canal (Section 03 and Section 05) that were scheduled to be stocked with trout. Due to these conditions, the PFBC has canceled all trout stockings on the Delaware Canal in 2024.

To offset the loss of angling opportunities caused by these cancelations, the PFBC has identified several alternate locations in Bucks County to stock trout this spring.  These waters include Caroline Lake (Bucks County Department of Parks and Recreation), The Giving Pond (DCNR, Delaware Canal State Park) and

Levittown Lake (PFBC). Caroline Lake and The Giving Pond are new, temporary additions to the Stocked Trout Waters program, while Levittown Lake is an established stocking location and will receive additional trout this season.

In Chester County stocked trout waters include Beaver Creek (at Downingtown) – Big Elk Creek – Buck Run (Compass Rd. downstream to SR 372) – East Branch Brandywine Creek (SR 4031 in Glenmoore downstream to US Business Route 30 in Downingtown) – East Branch Elk Creek – East Branch White Clay Creek – French Creek – Middle Branch White Clay Creek – Pickering Creek – Pocopson Creek – West Branch Brandywine Creek (SR 4005 near Cedar Knoll downstream to SR 0340) – West Valley Creek – White Clay Creek

Trout waters stocked in Delaware County are Chester Creek (confluence of West Branch Chester Creek downstream to Bridgewater Road (SR 3018)) – Chester Creek (upstream from confluence with West Branch – inseason only) – Darby Creek (0.5 mile upstream confluence with Little Darby Creek downstream to Hilldale Road) – Ithan Creek – Little Darby Creek – Ridley Creek (Two sections-1.25 miles upstream from Gradyville Rd. downstream to falls in Ridley Creek State Park and Brookhaven Rd. downstream to Chestnut St.) – West Branch Chester Creek.

Stocked trout waters in Montgomery County include Deep Creek Dam – East Branch Perkiomen Creek (from near Salfordville Rd. downstream to Bergey’s Mill Rd. – inseason only) – Kepner Creek – Loch Alsh Reservoir – Manatawny Creek – Pennypack Creek (Lorimer Park) – Perkiomen Creek (county line downstream to first unnamed trib downstream of Fruitville Rd. (T-414)) – Skippack Creek – Stony Creek – Unami Creek – Wissahickon Creek (from Lafayette Ave. downstream to Stenton Ave.).

Wherever sunrise on opening day finds you, good luck and tight lines. See you on the stream.

Tom Tatum is the outdoors columnist for the MediaNews Group. You can reach him at tatumt2@yahoo.com.


Source: Berkshire mont

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