Stream Fishing to Close
Inside the Outdoors, February 6
, 2015

Whenever there is a chill in the air, it seems that it motivates sportsmen to do a number of different activities. Ski buffs and snow shoeing enthusiasts will head to the hills, a lot of lake anglers will ice fish while many outdoor lovers will stay indoors as much as possible, watching movies and sipping on hot drinks.

But what seems to be overlooked is the fact that this is a perfect time to trout fish particularly in streams.

I recall one individual who used to frequent the Forbes Trail Chapter Trout Unlimited meetings at the Winnie Palmer Nature Center. One day, he gave a presentation on fly fishing in the streams when temperatures were downright cold and snow was everywhere to be seen.

He would dress warmly and put on his waders and fill his pockets with all the necessary items that one needs to do the job correctly. He told his audience, “Now one has to have patience, but with that in mind, one will catch fish.” And sure enough, as he coaxed his fly as a way of tempting the aquatic species, he landed some beauties.

But still, even knowing that it’s possible to catch fish, does one hesitate to stream fish during these cold winter months.

I was reading an article in the Pennsylvania Outdoor News, by Mark Nale, January 12, 2015 edition. The title of his story, Ice fishing isn’t the only way to catch trout during the winter in Pennsylvania, caught my eye. Right away I thought about going down to the Loyalhanna Creek despite the temperatures and trying to nail a rainbow or brown trout which would definitely be a wonderful dinner treat, a great diversity from my chicken and veggies that seems to be a regular blessing that I have nightly. A matter of fact, there seems to be a recurrence of mind games whereby I find myself down there regularly even though I never leave the house.

Anyway to his article, he had several suggestions that were worth passing on to those who wish to venture out into the cold to see if one, too, can be blessed by catching one’s limit of trout.

‘First, go out when the temperatures are above 32. Mid-afternoon would be the preferable times. If one fishes the deep poles, there the current will be slower,” he said.

This is interesting. Here is a man after my own heart. “Use bait, wet flies or lures,” he said. Those are my three favorite options as well.

Curious as to fishing recently at the Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only Project in Ligonier, I contacted Bud McMaster at the Ligonier Outfitters and Newsstand to see if there had been any activity on the Loyalhanna Creek recently. His response, “Very little. There were periods of ice an then it melted.” That’s understandable. The sight of ice would definitely keep people away.

But there is a glimmer of light to this picture. One can fish the Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only Project year-around. One must cease fishing surrounding streams February 28. That means if one is planning to get your trophy catches from the mountain streams of Pennsylvania, one has three weeks and one day to do it. That means one’s time is limited.

The great thing about the Laurel Highlands is that, presently the areas throughout the valleys is rich with streams filled with numerous trout including rainbow, brown, brook and even tiger trout. As long as the ecosystems stay healthy, there is going to be an abundance of fish that will flourish in the waters both small and large.

This is the time, anglers, to take on the challenge of getting one’s lungs full of cool mountain air while enjoying the sport one likes best. Never rule out the fact one won’t catch fish. Dress warmly and pursue the challenge. Being outside in God’s creation may also add sounds of relaxation, maybe something needed during a stressful time.


Don’t forget the upcoming annual Allegheny Sport, Travel and Outdoor, held at the Monroeville Convention Center Wednesday, Feb. 18, through Sunday, Feb. 22.

Tuesday, it was announced that Outdoor Channel’s Theresa Vail has cancelled her appearance due to scheduling conflicts. However, there will be added seminars not mentioned in the previous release, such as Introduction to Basic Fly Fishing, Fishing Lake Erie’s Different Seasons, and Dog Retriever Training.

According to Show Producer Chris Fassnacht, “We have assembled an exciting lineup that is going to make our 30th anniversary show one of the best in recent memory. Our cutting-edge product demonstrations and expert seminars will be invaluable resources for avid sportsmen and women, but we also are excited to introduce families to a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities.”

For the complete schedule, log onto

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