Extended Season Underway
Inside the Outdoors, September 17, 2010

Trout fishermen take note. As of Sept. 7, the amounts of trout you are now allowed to keep are only three combined species as compared to five. I know to many anglers in the area to whom I have been speaking, it really doesn’t matter because they haven’t been able to catch any of these game fish no matter how hard they try. Bass, yes, trout, no. I just wonder if it’s the time of day they go out, where they are fishing, and if they are considering cover versus open waters. This extended season is go to Dec. 31and then start again in 2011 Jan. 1 and run through Feb 28.

One gent to whom I spoke told me that he has successfully caught some nice bass down in the Legion Keener Park area. Another has told me fishing under the First Ward Bridge or the Rolling Rock Bridge has been very productive as far as bass goes.

Just received word that a Latrobe angler caught a 20-inch perch out of the Conemaugh River. A minister was there to back this story, so it is very unlikely that this story is a probable tale. As much as we aren’t supposed to brag, I’d be mighty tempted to say a word or two under my breath, wouldn’t you?

Next…

I was reading the 2010 Pennsylvania Fishing Summary as there is always something interesting in it to gain and I noticed a paragraph or two concerning VHS. Now I know a number of people will be heading up to Lake Erie to fish this fall, so it is important to understand what this fish disease is all about and to recognize it upon sight.

According to the website, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Viral hemorrhagic septicemia “is a deadly infectious fish disease. It affects over 50 species of freshwater and marine fish in several parts of the Northern Hemisphere.”

Apparently, there are different strains which occur in different regions. It does not affect human beings, fortunately. Externally, one can spot VHS on fish by carefully examining them. If one were to look around the face, gill and fin area and detect red splotching, chances are the fish has the disease.

This disease “can spread from fish to fish through water transfer, as well as through contaminated eggs, and bait fish from infected waters. Survivors of the disease can become lifelong carriers of the virus, contaminating water with urine, sperm, and ovarian fluids. The virus has been shown to survive two freeze/thaw cycles in a conventional freezer, suggesting both live and frozen bait could be a transmission vector,” the website noted.

“Fish that become infected,” the website discloses, “experience hemorrhaging of their internal organs, skin, and muscle. In addition to symptoms mentioned above, infected fish will show signs of bulging eyes, bloated abdomens, bruised-looking reddish tints to the eyes, skin, gills and fins. Some infected fish have open sores that may look like the lesions from other diseases.”

According the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, “It is unlawful to transport or cause the transportation of VHS-susceptible species of fish out of the portion of the Lake Erie Watershed in the Commonwealth into other watersheds of this Commonwealth except when certain conditions are met. It is illegal to use VHS-susceptible fish species, fish parts and eggs taken from the Lake Erie Watershed as fishbait in Commonwealth waters outside the Lake Erie Watershed as fishbait in the Commonwealth waters outside the Lake Erie Watershed except when the fish are certified as VHS-negative.”

In conclusion, the website stated, “It is legal to transport dead recreationally caught fish out of the Lake Erie Watershed solely for the purpose of human consumption.”

I received word from Monty Murty, president of Forbes Trail Trout Unlimited, who passed on an invitation to all trout anglers to join this organization. Information and details are listed on it website, www.forbestrailtu.org Click on membership. Join the others of our area in conserving, restoring and protecting our resources, in addition to educating our youth. Meetings are held every third Wednesday at the Winnie Palmer Nature Center, Latrobe. It is located off Rt. 981 on a road just opposite the Dairy Queen in a red barn between the state road and St. Vincent College. He related that the new season featuring speakers will begin in November.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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