Anglers Get Set for Opening of Trout Season
After waiting for months to fish in some of the state's best-stocked streams, anglers from across the state will finally have their chance to land the big one.
Beginning today at 8 a.m., the opening day of trout season officially gets underway in Centre County.
"I'm anxious," says Jake from Clearfield, Pa., who was shopping for gear with his 36-year old son Michael at Dick's Sporting Good in State College. "I've been trout fishing since 1949. I was born in November 1948, and my parents took me trout fishing that spring."
"He actually just sent me a text earlier today about how excited he was," says Michael, who's done a lot of fishing over the years. The two men were stocking up on gulp, power bait, and artificial corn, and plan on heading out to either Bald Eagle Creek, Little Juniata River, or the west bank of the Susquehanna River in Clearfield on Saturday.
"I didn't expect him over until this evening, and he was here around 1 p.m.," Michael says of his father, who's visiting for the weekend. "He's pretty excited."
Thanks to the stocking efforts of the Pennsylvania Fishing and Boat Commission, anglers will have plenty of opportunities to snag a few big ones. Approximately 3.2 million adult trout are stocked in lakes and creeks this year, along with more than 10,000 miles of wild trout waters.
For veteran and novices alike, the most important item on the preseason checklist is a license. In Pennsylvania, a license is required for anyone 16 years and older, and a trout permit is required for trout fishing in all wild and stocked trout waters. Along with the PFBC, which sells roughly 850,000 licenses each year, sporting goods stores like Dick's in State College are the primary retailers of licenses and have seen brisk business this week leading up to the opening of the season.
"We've sold 30 licenses in the past hour," says Josh Wilson, a manager in Dick's Sporting Goods fishing department for the past five years. "There's definitely an uptick in business, especially since people like to leave things to the last minute."
Wilson, a resident of State College and graduate of State High, also competes in professional bass fishing tournaments across the state. Along with licenses, reels, rods, and hooks, he says customers are looking to get their hands on fresh bait following a long hiatus from fishing.
"We'll probably be sold out of live bait by the end of the day," he says.
Popular locally stocked areas like Bald Eagle Creek, Kettle Creek, and Spring Creek will likely be filled to the brim with fishers of all ages, enjoying sunny skies with a high of 68 degrees, as predicted by Accuweather.
"They'll be lined up side-by-side, shoulder-to-shoulder," says Dave Holmes, an employee at Flyfisher's Paradise in State College who also teaches a number of free educational seminars in fly tying.
"Of course, if it gets running high and miserable, they'll all be lined up at the local pub, shoulder-to-shoulder."