Trout Food Picks
Inside the Outdoors, April 8,

Next weekend, we will start the official trout season for 2016 in this locale. We are very blessed to be living where we are, because the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) has chosen the Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Project in Ligonier as one of the place where as a result of the Selected Trout Program, large trout were stocked in that section of water.

Does that mean they will always stay there. The answer is no. High water, due to storms and constant rains, will tempt the trout to swim downstream. And what I understand as the reports I have gotten, there are some mighty large species of this particular fish in the proximity of Murphy’s Bridge which is the newly repair bridge on Mission Road just off of St. Rt. 982.

Here is the question that remains. Who will get these fish first, eagles, anglers or poachers?

The national bird has definitely found a new home from New Alexandria all the way upstream of the Loyalhanna Creek to the tourist community of Latrobe. I have been told that there are nests located in trees both along West Fourth Avenue and then around the corner from it very close to the helipad at Excela Health Latrobe Area Hospital. Both have brought soaring birds to the area that loves fish as they dinners’ special.

Reports have come to my attention concerning these birds of prey from keen observers such as one of Latrobe finest school bus drivers, L22, who not only makes sure his eyes are on the road, keenly observes other motorists as he chauffeurs students to and from school, keeping them safe with the utmost care at all times, but in his spare time, notes the habits of these large-spanned birds that glide over the cities that we live in and surround us.

So, if the anglers are to get these fish before the eagles realize these fish are somewhere underneath their beaks, what is the best bait to use?

It has been my experience from the past that butterworms work exceptionally well as a trout bait. Then following are waxworms, maggots and mealworms.

There are a lot of anglers that don’t realize that mealworms are the larvae stage of the Darkling Beetle, a favorite food of trout. Said to be loved by trout, they fall right in line with grasshoppers, crickets, cicadas, other beetles, bees, wasps, ants, mayflies, damselflies, stoneflies and worms of all types.

The small garden worm is preferred over the nightcrawler. If the latter is one’s choice, it is best to piece the worm rather than use the whole thing. This is not to say that trout won’t eat the whole crawler. They prefer smaller critters.

Of course these big trout like the ones seen at Murphy’s Bridge will have no trouble wolfing down a large nightcrawler. If one digs in his garden or happens to pick nightcrawlers off grassy areas at night, they will be the typically fat, long, brown worms most people have been exposed to even though they may not be fishers.

Packed with the Canadian nightcrawler, normally coming from that country are containers packaged with not only the above product, but also the Invasive Earthworms, as well. These worms came in via the peat brought in from Asia and were introduced to the people of Canada. When the Invasives were found to look just like the Canadians, they both were packaged together. Both make great bait.

If one is not trained to tell the two worms apart, they may not easily be differentiated. One can pinch apart a Canadian easily, not so with an Invasive.

Here is the problem. If one is to toss one of the Invasive Earthworm species into the woods, thinking he is doing a good deed, he will be doing just the opposite. The Invasives will eat the roots of young oak trees, killing them. Forests containing these trees across the U.S. have been killed off because of these enemies.

The PFBC recommends all nightcrawlers killed if not used. Don’t just throw them in the water thinking they will drown. The Canadians will, the Invasives won’t.

Crayfish, hellgrammite and imitations, such as the Green Weenie, are excellent trout baits, the latter, a Latrobe invention that has proved its worth by yours truly.

If one is fishing the creeks, remember, one should keep water depth a priority concern. If using spoons, keep in mind weight of lures. If they are too heavy they may get hung up in brush and trees on the other sides of the water basins. The other culprit is ‘snag-ability.’ Lightweight small metals will remain in one’s possession a whole lot longer than heavier ones.

If Leland Crankbaits are used properly, the fish will be outsmarted and one will come home a happy camper!

- Paul J. Volkmann
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