Anglers converge on area waters for first day of trout season – Uniontown Herald Standard

Anglers flocked to area waters Saturday for the opening day of the 2017-18 trout season.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission started stocking streams, lakes and the Youghiogheny lake outflow last month with some of 3 million trout available statewide to get ready for opening day.

Devoted anglers have been fishing for a while at waters where fishing is permitted before the opener, but the vast majority came out Saturday for the annual rite of spring.

The fish stocked this year are a little smaller than those stocked last year, but hatcheries provided some trophy-sized brood fish, said Scott Opfer, the fish commission waterways conservation officer for Fayette County.

“They’re not as nice. They’re a little smaller this year. I’m not sure why. A certain percentage is big brood stock,” Opfer said.

He said Chaney Run, Dunlap Creek and Big Sandy Creek were stocked late last week so as many as possible would remain in the area for the opener.

He said he patroled all stocked waters on opening day to check angler fishing licenses.

WCO Eric Davis, whose district include Greene County and southern Washington County, agreed that the trout are smaller this year.

The fish average 8-10 inches in length, but large 20-22 inch rainbow and golden rainbow trout were also stocked, he said.

“I get some trophy fish as well,” Davis said.

All stocked waters draw a lot of anglers, but those willing to do some walking can avoid crowds, he said.

Enlow Creek flows through state game lands 302 on the Greene-Washington county border and offers an escape from the shoulder-to-shoulder fishing found at most waters on opening day, Davis said.

A lot of anglers fish the creek, but it is not as crowded as the other streams and lakes, he said.

Scott Gates of S&S Bait and Tackle in Wharton Township said he has plenty of most live baits in stock except butter worms, which are imported from Chile.

Wild fires in Chile have reportedly hindered harvesting the worms and Gates said his normal suppliers didn’t have any so he bought some from a supplier in Michigan.

For the last two weeks, anglers have been fishing the delayed harvest sections of Meadow Run and Laurel Hill Creek and in the Youghiogheny River, which is open to fishing all year, he said.

While those anglers reported good preseason fishing, the anticipation for Saturday was great.

“Everybody’s busting at the seems to get out there. Everybody’s just aching to go,” Gates said.

Anglers are allowed to keep five trout at least 7 inches long.