Season Opener, April 15
Inside the Outdoors, April 7,

The 2017 trout season in our area will open next week, April 15. Anglers have approached me at the super market and even on retreat wanting to have some questions answered or tell me what’s been the best trout bait for them that never fails.

When a certain gent started to ask me if I think it will be good this year, I had to nod my head affirmatively. He then proceeded to tell me that when fishing the Loyalhanna Creek with a fly rod, he has never gone wrong by using a black woolybugger. He’s not the only person whose told me that. So there’s a tip, for starters.

One fisher asked me what line I prefer. I could have been a smart aleck and stated “good line,” but I decided to forego that idea. However, I’m not that far off in making that statement. If one fished a lot last year, I would recommend having a bait dealer restring one’s reel with one of the reputable lines on the market today.

If one just bought a new reel and it had line already on it, discard it and get new line strung on one’s reel. The reason for that is that the equipment may have been sitting on a shelf for an extended period of time. It will coil when thrown out onto the body of water. Also, that line is probably sixteen pounds more than is needed. Four to six pound test line is preferable for trout season. Here’s a good tip. Only use line that is designed for the reel. Also remember, four pound test will sail a lot further out than heavier lines.

Have one’s reels professionally cleaned and oiled. Make sure all mechanism work properly, such as the bail springs, for example. It destroys the whole day when one arrives at his ‘honey hole’ only to find the bail spring was missing a screw.

Make sure the rods and reels are made for each other. I would recommend a flexible five-foot rod. If one used the rod last year, make sure no rust has built up inside the eyes. If so, it may cut the line when retrieving a fish.

If one is a bait angler, I suggest six or eight numbered hooks. If the hooks are too small, they may be swallowed. One should then cut the line to prevent further injury to the fish. Never rip the hook out of the fish. It will kill them. Better to lose a hook than kill a fish!

- Paul J. Volkmann
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