Trout Opener Tomorrow
Inside the Outdoors, April 13
, 2012

It all happens tomorrow, the season many anglers have been gearing up for, the arrival of trout season, 2012. People still come up to me as if I am in the fishing business.

One angler last week, for example, approached me with a big smile on his face, and told me he had plans to fill his stringer and knew just how to do it. Knowing him from the good old days when he used to come in my shop, I asked, “Keith, are you going to use waxworms to get them again this year?” He answered in the affirmative and then continued by stating, “I’m also going to tip my rooster tail with waxworms." Now there was a practice that was new to me.

During one year, all I ever used for catching any fish was a white rooster tail. I bought as many as six to eight to last me all summer and that would be my ticket for catching fish of various species. So when Keith said that he was going to use Warden’s Rooster Tails, I could identify with everything he said.

Throughout the year, I have been asking people who patronized my store whether or not they were going fishing this year. Surprisingly their answers were to the negative. They blamed the economy and having to spend time with family particularly during sporting practices and games. So, I sensed that sales would be down.

But, hold your hats, as the saying goes. The state revealed sales are up!

According to Eric Levis, press secretary for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, “With fishing license sales up by more than 20 percent, anglers from across the state are showing that they are ready to fish their favorite spots on April 14, which marks the traditional opening day for trout.”

He added that with this jump in sales, “There will be 53,000 more anglers who have bought a license compared to this same time last year.” He attributes the warm weather to this increase.

Last year it was mentioned that the season started off with cold and wet conditions, definitely two conditions that keep people away from enjoying their favorite sport.

I received word that anglers have crowded the eastern part of St. Vincent Lake, one of the few lakes available for fishing today as most other lakes are closed until tomorrow.

The carpmaster was at it again and it was revealed to me that he had started his season by catching two 24-inch fish that he “patted on their heads” and then returned them to the drink. Last year he caught somewhere in the proximity of 95 carp at that lake, a fisherman’s dream, if one likes to catch that species of fish.

With the increase of license sales, I heard of one gent that feared he would be fined if he didn’t get a new one. He had worn out his senior license.

“If a waterways conservation officer were to see it, I might be fined,” he said. “There’s nothing on it that could be read. I felt I had to do my duty and get a new one so at least I won’t be stopped!” Now, there is a conscientious citizen!

If nightcrawlers are being used for bait, kill what is not used. There may be invasive nightcrawlers packaged with the Canadians. If they are allowed to escape the packaging and survive among the hardwood trees and foliage, they can do tremendous damage. The average angler may not be able to tell the difference or even think about it. Do the wise thing as suggested. A young maple, for example, may be saved just by one’s efforts.

I agree with PFBC’s John Arway, executive director, when he stated, “Research shows that when it comes to fishing, anglers like being together with friends just as much as they like catching fish. It’s great if you catch trout, but the day is really about getting out of the house, enjoying the outdoors and spending quality time with family and friends.”

His statement leads me into the thought that there are anglers in Mr. Rogers Neighborhood of all ages who have no one to transport them to various lakes. Taking them out for a few hours of recreation may mean the world to them.

There’s an old saying, take a kid fishing. Opening day trout would be a great time to do this. I close with one suggestion. If you do take a youth fishing, make sure you get permission from the parents and take another adult along with you. We are living in a crazy day and age. It never hurts to be all too careful.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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