Trout Season – Two Openers
Inside the Outdoors, April 01
, 2011

Saturday, April 2, begins the first of two season openers for trout.

Anglers of 18 southeastern counties will be able to fish for this species beginning at 8 a.m. Fishermen will be able to take part in the second season beginning April 16.

Those 16 years of age and old must possess a fishing license and trout stamp to harvest fish. Daily limit is five combined species with the minimum of seven inches per fish.

I recall when anglers used to come into my store weeks prior to opening day trout. What was on their mind primarily was getting their spools restrung, and if possible, having their reels cleaned and greased. It really was a fun thing to do, but I did so because I want my clients to return to my store.

But with that, I want to stress the importance of having reels in tip-top shape.

I recall ever so well fishing with a past acquaintance one sunny summer day on a large pond in New Alexandria. We knew where the big bass lay and proceeded to see if we could attract them to our lures. No sooner did we get there did we throw in our lures. Then I tried my favorite lure, and bingo, I caught one of those lunkers. I unhooked it and let it swim away.

My “buddy,” taken aback by what he witnessed, asked if he could borrow my lure. Being the friend that I was, I lent it to him. Casting it out, a large fish smacked it as soon as it hit the water. No sooner did he begin to reel it in than the line snapped. I didn’t have to ask what happened. I knew he was using old line and not thinking a thing about it.

I was down in the dumps that I lost my lure. Next day we returned to see what other fish we could catch. God blessed me. I cast another lure out in the proximity where I threw out the one the previous day, and sure enough, it happened. I hooked on to a lunker bass that had my favorite lure and got it back.

The moral of the story – always use newer line as opposed to line that has been on the reel for a while.

Most fishermen know that line has memory – some more than others. Personally, I can’t stand it when I see it return to my reel in swirls. What I’ll do to prevent this is tie one end to a fence post in my alley, and then go up the street until the majority of my line is hanging free between the post and yours truly. After stopping and making sure the line is taut, I pull to stretch the it is close to being memory-free. Then I reel it back onto the spool.

It is my belief that line should be changed once ever two years. However, I have changed my line as much as five times a summer if I have fished a lot and want to make sure it is always in tip-top shape.

Some lines have more memory, others less. It is up to the individual as what he prefers.

Berkley has a code on its spools noting when the line was produced. This is very helpful in determining how old the line is. Somewhere along the line while I was in business, I heard via the grapevine that anglers should change their lines once every two years regardless if they were used or not, stored on a reel or on a spool, or kept out of the light, in a drawer, for example.

The line is one of the most important tools anglers use to catch their fish. If it is out of date, then you may find that it will deteriorate very quickly. The quality of water has a great deal to do with it. I have fished places when my line has actually turned orange. What ever caused the water to be of that color must have an effect on the quality of the line.

If for some reason retail shops are selling line on sale, try to ascertain the production date of these products.

Here’s another little tip. Don’t respool your reel by yourself. Let a retailer who has a linewinder do it for you. These employees know what they are doing, and will fill your spool not only so much faster, but more evenly as well. Take it from an old pro. I did hundreds of reels and know what I am talking about.

By the way, there are two retailers in the area that do line winding – Ligonier Outfitters, 127 W. Main St, Ligonier , and Loyalhanna Trading Post, 3514 Route 30 West, Latrobe.

Last, make sure your reels are free of sand or any other kind of dirt substance that may affect the mechanisms of your merchandise. You want to be fully prepped for opening day trout, regardless if it is April 2 or April 16.

- Paul J. Volkmann
You can contact me by email