By John Crooks
With another long and cold winter pretty much behind us, many Pennsylvania anglers are already looking ahead to our state’s trout season opener. As in the past several years, the opening day of trout season will vary depending on what region you plan to fish. For trout fishermen fishing in Crawford County and the eight-county northwest region, opening day is April 13. In certain other regions, opening day will be earlier, so check the 2013 Fishing Regulations book. New for 2013, fishermen will have a choice among buying a one-year, three-year or five-year fishing license.
While trout season may seem like a long way off, the annual preseason stocking of area trout streams will begin in a little over a week. The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission is going ahead with plans to begin stocking trout in designated Pennsylvania trout waters. I just received a list of preseason trout stockings from Waterways Conservation Officer Terry Crecraft. Beginning March 1, with the stocking of Little Sugar Creek, the big, white Fish & Boat Commission stocking trucks will become a familiar sight on Pennsylvania highways.
Trout from the Corry hatchery will be released locally.
As in past years, the Fish & Boat Commission is requesting help in the release of these trout. Volunteers should meet the stocking trucks on the dates and times listed to begin the bucket brigade. To view the schedule, click on the chart image at the right.
For those of you not familiar with the bucket brigade, it is a term used to relocate trout from the stocking truck to the stream. Volunteers carry the five-gallon bucks of water and trout to the stream to be released. The system, while simple, is very effective. It makes believers out of those fishermen who claim that the streams aren’t being stocked and it also serves as a good way to learn where area trout streams are located and what the streams look like. It will also help you to decide where to fish on opening morning. Seeing is believing!
Helping the Fish & Boat Commission release trout is good therapy for months of cabin-fever-related illnesses. Locally, thousands of rainbow, brown, palomino and brook trout will be released, both before and during season, into 57 different lakes and streams in northwestern Pennsylvania.
Cochranton-area resident Crooks is a longtime outdoors writer.
Local trout streams and their locations
n Caldwell Creek: Flows through both Warren and Crawford counties from the Selkirk Bridge to Stony Hollow Run. It is a catch-and-release fly fishing area only. Check the regulations book for special rules applying here. Above Selkirk and below Stony Hollow Run offers normal trout fishing opportunities.
n Conneaut Creek: Runs through Dicksonburg to the Pennside area west of Route 18 for approximately 20 miles. Unknown to many, this stream offers anglers a good chance at catching some very large Lake Erie lake run rainbow trout. This stream flows through eastern Ohio and into Lake Erie at Conneaut, Ohio.
n Five Mile Creek: Is a small stream located at Spartansburg eventually flowing into the east branch of Oil Creek at Route 89.
n McLaughlin Creek: This little known stream flows into Thompson creek, about four miles northeast of Hydetown. Good bet for anglers seeking brook trout.
n Muddy Creek: Running through the village of Little Cooley, Muddy Creek offers diversified fishing.
n Oil Creek: One the area’s larger streams running through the Linconville-Titusville area. Oil Creek offers many miles of picturesque fishing opportunities for anglers.
n East Branch Oil Creek: Originates as the outflow of Clear Lake in Spartansburg and runs into Oil creek at Centerville.
n Pine Creek: A small very scenic stream running in the Grand Valley, Enterprise and Titusville areas. Should be a very good stream this year.
n Sugar Creek: Flows in the Townville area across Route 27.
n Little Sugar Creek: Flows through rolling farmlands in eastern Crawford County and empties into French Creek at Cochranton.
n Thompson Creek: Flows along Route 8 in Hydetown area.
n Woodcock Creek: Woodcock Creek is always a favorite among area anglers. It flows in the vicinity of the Lyona Church to Woodcock Dam and downstream to French Creek at Saegertown.
Did you know
This trout season:
n On April 13, anglers in the eight-county northwest region of the state, including Crawford County, can begin trout fishing at 8 a.m.
n Fishermen will need a regular fishing license plus a trout stamp.
n Daily limit is five trout in the regular season.
n Trout must be at least 7 inches long to be legal.