Readying for Trout Season
Inside the Outdoors, April 4
, 2014

I recently received an email from Forbes Trail Chapter Trout Unlimited president, Leo Vensel about some beginner classes for fly fishing that he will be instructing.

Also a licensed Pennsylvania guide, the certified fly-fishing casting instructor and 2011 Team USA national fly-fishing finalist asked that I make the announcement about the upcoming clinics. “This is one way to discover the Laurel highlands Trout Trail and learn how to fly-fish using easy to follow steps,” he said. “They will cover all of the essential topics. No experience is required.” There is a fee for the instruction.

The “Beginner’s Clinic” will be held April 5, 2014, a “Nymph Clinic April 19,” another “Beginner’s Clinic” May 10, and a “Dry Fly Clinic June 21.

For additional information, contact him either by phone at 724-875-5712 or email him at or


Now, is the time to prepare for opening day trout season. That means making sure one’s equipment is free of grit and operates smoothly. I can’t emphasize this enough. If owners of gear are not knowledgeable as to taking reels apart, cleaning and oiling them, let a professional in a nearby shop lend a hand.

This applies to rods as well. Make sure the tips are sanded if need be. At times, when getting wet time after time during the preceding year, some rods may not have a ceramic insert. Since they have metal holes, they will rust leaving jagged edges. When one tries to set the upon catching a fish, one is setting himself up for “line-snap” as the scraping of the monofilament against the coarse surface will cut right through the line.

The best solution is to cut down an emery board that has fine sandpaper and smooth the inner surfaces. Don’t let the big one get away due to not being attentive to this matter.

Also, one may want to lightly lubricate the inside areas where the rods piece together. That way one doesn’t have to “wrench” the pieces apart.

It’s these little oversights that can make a bad day a whole lot worse!

The next consideration is which line to purchase for the all-important for cast of the season. If one is using one hook or fishing with small lures that are affixed with one treble hook, four-pound test is all that’s necessary. Also, even though it is more expensive, invest in fluorocarbon line. If the fish don’t see the line but only the bait or lure, what’s that say? Fish will think it is natural in and of itself. This is what is desired. Also, if fish are to be caught, one has to outsmart the victims.
Proper rigging may be the next contemplation.

One approach is to use a rig that I have been using for years. A matter of fact, it is one of my products I sell out at the Cooperstown Event Center (CEC) on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Varied in weighted lines, since one can use the “Pee Vee Rig” for virtually any species of fish, it consists of an interchangeable clasp suspended from a loop knot holding a wooden bobber with about three feet of line to a hook, either #6, #8 or #10, and then “ending” with a snap swivel. The reason for the latter is to attach an additional rig. One has to be careful as to how many hooks he adds as the weight of the line and the number of hooks have to correspond.

Additionally, a few lures, such as Leland’s Trout Magnet or Trout Magnet Crank Lures, Worden’s Rooster Tails, or Rebel Teeny Crayfish are all that are necessary. Take at least three lures the first day. If one is lost, he has the others to fall back on. Never take a whole tackle box full of stuff. Chances are, most of it won’t be used.

Don’t forget the mosquito repellent, the UV suntan lotion and a bottle of water for hydration purposes. These easily forgettable items can make a good day’s visit stay longer, more pleasurable and a time on which to look back.


Finally, touched base recently with Dan McMaster at Ligonier Outfitters and Newsstand. He told me the pins are selling well for stocking extra trout in Loyalhanna Creek’s Delayed Harvest Project along Route 30 outside of that tourist town. The first batch of trout is to be stocked early April, he said. Visit his store and contribute to this worthy cause. It is to the angler’s interests that each person helps out.

- Paul J. Volkmann
Contact me by email

To buy my book, Off the Wall Favorites, call me at 724-539-8850.