Fall Stocking Weeks Away
Inside the Outdoors, September 24, 2010

Fishermen who have been dreading the hot weather or the fact that they are not catching trout can now sense there is hope over the horizon. Area lakes and the Loyalhanna Creek are going to get stocked with rainbow, brook and brown trout approximately two weeks away.

With that in mind, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has outlined a schedule as to when these fish will be dumped into the various water basins. According to its website, it appears that waters will receive trout October 4th, 5th, and 6th.

Here is the schedule:

  • Donegal Lake – 10/5, rainbows, meeting place – Lake parking lot, time 12:30 p.m.;
  • Indian Creek – Upper Limit - T-916 Bridge – 10/5, brook, browns, meeting place, Donegal Lake parking lot, 12:30 p.m.;
  • Indian Creek – Lower Limit – SR 0381 Bridge – same as above;
  • Indian Lake – 10/4, rainbows, meeting place, Mammoth Dam, 12:30 p.m.;
  • Keystone Lake, 10/6, rainbows, meeting place, Keystone Lake Park Office, 1 p.m.;
  • Loyalhanna Creek, upper limit, SR 711 Bridge, 10/6, rainbows, meeting place, Keystone Lake Park Office, 1 p.m.;
  • Loyalhanna Creek, lower limit, SR 2045 Bridge, same as above;
  • Mammoth Lake – 10/4, rainbows, meeting place, Mammoth Dam, 12:30 p.m.;
  • Northmoreland Lake – 10/6, rainbows, meeting place, Keystone Lake Park Office, 1 p.m.;
  • Lower Twin Lake – 10/6, rainbows, meeting place, at Lower Twin Lakes, 11:30 a.m.;
  • Upper Twin Lake – 10/6, rainbows, same as above.

I was attending a tour not long ago at a trout hatchery where I learned a lot of interesting facts about trout.

I was amazed to learn that a unusually high percentage of these fish that are stocked are not caught by anglers, but actually eaten by predators that live along the banks of our streams or lakes.

Larger fish, such as pike, also love the delicacy of trout for dinner.

I was amazed to learn that the great blue heron that we see in the Loyalhanna Creek downtown Latrobe can actually eat up to eight adult trout a day. Other birds of prey that enjoy brook trout, especially, are osprey and the kingfishers.

Among the animals of which we are familiar, which also love to eat trout are raccoons, otters and mink. A matter of fact, the individual who was addressing the group revealed that there are a lot of mink living along the waterways of the Laurel Highlands especially in the Ligonier Valley.

“The trouble is,” he said, “people are not trapping as much any more, thus, these animals are eating the trout that are stocked in area waters.”

One area angler and I were chewing the fat recently about fishing. Upon questioning him, I asked him if he had seen any mink while fishing the Loyalhanna Creek in the Ligonier area. He told me he has seen a good number of them as he quietly made his journey along the waters. That was a surprise to me, as I have never seen these animals in the wild. But as the saying goes, “I’m still young, and have lots to learn.”

I know that raccoons have populated the areas around us. This is evidenced by road kill.

As for the otter, I believe I have seen one in Paddy’s Hole, as that is where I loved to fish last year. I have seen one, for sure, in the Conemaugh River, which, by the way, says a lot for the water quality of that basin.

In any case, trout anglers, I bet you didn’t know you had as much competition as you do. You’ve got your job cut out for you. If you want to catch and release those beautiful stocked fish, or even serve one up on a dinner plate, you best get out and hook up to those wonderful trout the PFBC will be stocking. Chances are, if you don’t get these fish, the predators will!

- Paul J. Volkmann
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