Trout Season On The Horizon
Inside the Outdoors, April 6
, 2012

The other day a avid trout angler approached me with a question that was somewhat surprising. He asked, “Are there going to be any trout in the lower Loyalhanna this year.”
My answer to that was, “There are always trout in that area, even all the way down to Loyalhanna Dam.”

I went on to explain that these fish float down from various sources, those being the Delayed Harvest Area in Ligonier, from Rolling Rock Club via Four Mile Run, Mill Creek, again in Ligonier and other upstream areas particularly when the water rises due to heavy downpours of rain.

While standing in the Creek one afternoon, I noticed an alleged stocked trout float by me toward the surface of the water. I use the word “alleged,” because I have no idea if it had come from a certain area and was not used to flowing water of such speed. In hatcheries, they grow up in ponds and tanks with minimal exposure to the rapid moving waters that can exist in such a body of water. I had to wonder, once it got to a hole where there existed no currant, is that where it would make its new home? Possibly…

Another fisherman approached me in church and wanted to know where one could cross on the lower Loyalhanna as he wanted to do some fly fishing. That excited me for two reasons. He didn’t chose the upper area that receives so much publicity for alleged good fish possibilities. Here again, I use the word “alleged” because I hear of people going upstream from the St. Rt. 217 bridge where there is supposed to be better fishing.

But according to Rich Rohrbaugh, owner and operator of The Angler’s Room on St. Rt. 217, in conversation he told me that fishing is far better on the lower Loyalhanna than up above. Being the person in the know, particularly as entrepreneur of a fly fishing shop, anglers will come to him and fill him in just where fishing is the best, I know, because when I had Pee Vee’s, the same happened to me. A matter of fact, that’s how I learned to fish – by people informing me how to do this and that and then drawing my attention to where the fishing is the best.

That’s a hard question to answer as there is a four-foot and deeper channel that runs down the creek. However, with that said, there are area one can cross, but the bottom is so slippery, I would not advise it. Also one may be crossing onto private land and one has to cautious and have respect.

In talking to a gent one day while walking back from downtown, he told me he caught a beautiful trout around the end of February near the feeder stream that goes into the backed up water before the spillway at Kingston Dam. Fish don’t always stay put. That one may have gone over the falls and headed downstream if not caught.

Proof of that is when I caught my 18-inch tiger trout at Paddy’s Hole below Avenue D in Latrobe. That fish had come down from Rolling Rock. Need I say more…

So, to answer the gent’s question, “Will there be trout in the lower Loyalhanna this year?” it is a given conclusion that the answer will be in the affirmative.

Since we are on the subject of fishing, I received a telephone call from Connie at the Loyalhanna Trading Post that her minnow sales have picked up considerably. It so happens, anglers are using them very successfully pulling out large crappies from Twin Lakes and the Conemaugh River. One fellow told me he and a friend got 65 crappies from Greenlick Lake, also known as Jacobs Creek Reservoir. This is the time, for spring crappie fishing is supposed to be at its best. Fall also is a good time to catch these fish.


Finally, with trout fishing to open April 14, if you are one of those anglers looking forward to filling your stringer, here are a couple of suggestions that may be of help.
First, if you are heading to a lake, lay claim to your spot early even though you can’t fish until 8 a.m. Second, consider the fact that these fish are hatchery fish and when food hits the water at the beginning of that hour, they hit it. That’s how they were brought up. Find out where they were stocked beforehand. They normally don’t travel too far from that area. Third, a bobber with two to three feet lead of line with a number 6 or 8 single barbless hook will do the job. Smaller hooks may be swallowed and harder to remove. And fourth, remember, trout are intimidated by “big.” Keep all baits small like maggots, waxworms, dugworms or pieces of crawlers, my preference, one-third to one-fourth cut.

Since you are not going to catch a trout averaging over four pounds, stick to four-pound line.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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