I first became interested in trout fishing when I purchased some recreational (floodplain) acreage at the mouth of the Tuscarora Creek, a stocked trout stream which flows into the Susquehanna River in Braintrim Township, Wyoming County, PA. For years I’d been watching the hordes of fisherman with their licenses displayed on their caps hit the local streams on the first day of the season and on the days following the stocking of local streams with rainbow, brown, and trophy golden trout. My property has excellent stream access with flat and easy entry points, and I found that a large number of local fisherman used this location for some fun days in the sun pursuing this challenging to catch fish, so I decided I would join in on the fun.
Obtain a Fishing License: In PA, a fishing license is required to fish in the waters of the Commonwealth. This can be obtained at your local courthouse at the Treasurer’s Office. In addition to the license, you will need a Trout/Salmon permit to fish for Trout. If you wish to wear a fishing button instead of the clumsy fishing license on your cap, these are again an option in PA but will cost an additional fee, and you must still carry your paper fishing license on your person.
Consult a Trout Identification Guide: In order to stay legal, you must be able to identify the species of fish that you have caught so that you can ascertain whether your fish is in season and has reached the legal size, which is 7 inches for trout in PA. This year, trout season opened on March 29th in PA. There are many good fish identification guides available or you can check out the pictures on the state’s website. For measuring, I purchased a simple plastic fish measuring device which makes measuring a slippery and wiggly fish easier. It is like a long measuring cup and has the scale prominently marked on the side.
Follow the Trout Stocking Schedule: Many streams and lakes are stocked with trout, and the best opportunities for a catch follow the stocking dates. The Tuscarora Creek which flows along my property was stocked on April 9th and April 25th this year with rainbow and brown trout. When I visited the stream on April 26th, the stream was fast moving and ripply which is excellent for trout fishing. Unfortunately, I’d brought my camera and not my fishing pole. The weather was warm and sunny which is the best weather to insure movement of the fish throughout the stream.
Obtain Basic Fishing Equipment: I have found that equipment is less important than
perseverance. I have a fishing rod and reel purchased at K-mart for less than $30. I use size 4 and 5 hooks and natural earthworms dug from my yard when available and refrigerated in a can with used coffee grounds until they are needed.
Fishing Procedure: Cast upstream and let the bait float down to the fish who will be waiting for food from upstream. Be quiet and stay still while fishing, and do not let your shadow fall upon the water. Trout can see up onto the bank, so standing still is essential. I find that fishing alone is less intrusive on the fish’s environment and more successful overall. I prefer to fish on a sunny morning in the exact spot shown on the first photo.
While you are fishing, you will find that you have plenty of time for quiet introspective thought, and you will get a lot of ideas for the non-fishing projects you are planning or working on. I fish for about two hours, usually catching a fish (sometimes trout, sometimes not) for my effort, and go home both relaxed and with some truly fresh fish to prepare for dinner. Definitely more fun and less hectic than a trip to the supermarket.