by Nick Hromiak
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission pulled a fast one on trout anglers. Instead of the consolidated Apr. 18 trout opener that was scheduled, a last-minute decision from the PFBC said trout season opened Tuesday, April 7.
“We realize this change is a disruption to tradition,” Tim Schaeffer, PFBC Executive Director, said in a news statement. He went on to say anglers still need to follow social distancing (six-feet apart and wear masks) and that trout that have been stocked have had time to spread out, so should anglers do the same and spread out.
Our popular Little Lehigh Creek has a problem, according to the PA Fish & Boat Commission. And it’s called mudsnails.
The PFBC says that after confirming the presence of the aquatic invasive species (Potamopyrgus antipodarium) in Little Lehigh Creek, the agency is reminding anglers and boaters that cleaning their gear is the easiest, most effective means of preventing its spread to other waters.
The traditional after Thanksgiving firearms deer hunting season opener (Monday, Nov. 27) has, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC), the largest turnout of hunters who harvest about a quarter of the season’s bucks. But the agency says this season has the potential of seeing a buck harvest increase for the third straight year.
The reasoning behind this, says PGC Executive Director Bryan Burhans, is due to last year’s massive acorn crop and mild winter that paved the way for big bucks to get bigger and for more young bucks grow into legal racks.
With an 89 percent success rate during the latest Pennsylvania elk hunting season, and with bulls weighing over 800 pounds, there’s no reason for Pennsylvania hunters to spend hard-earned money on an expensive elk hunt out west.
Those are some of the numbers reported by the Pennsylvania Game Commission of hunter success during the latest elk season that ended Nov. 4. The PGC said that 104 elk were taken by hunters during the regular one-week season. And for those licensed to hunt antlered elk, also known as bulls, the success rate was 100 percent.
One can tell the trout fishing season is near when the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission makes the 2017 trout stocking schedule available. And it’s available online as well as on the PFBC’s Fish BoatPA free mobile app that’s available for smartphone users from the Apple App and Google Play stores.
To check the schedules, go to www.fishandboat.com and click on the link ‘Fish’ in the upper right corner, then select ‘Trout Stocking Schedules.’ Then choose the county of choice, enter start and end dates from the calendars then press ‘Go.’
With the regional trout season underway, and with portions of the Lehigh River getting stocked April 2 by the Lehigh River Stocking Association, there should be lots of leftover trout in area streams and lakes, especially since the rainy weather made for a light turnout on the opener.
With predicted cold weather, it will make the fish lethargic, as well as the angler. Best fishing then is in the afternoons when air and water temperatures rise.
The much-awaited 2015-16 deer harvest numbers are in and they show some interesting findings.
The entire harvest of 315,813 increased about four percent over the 2014-15 harvest of 303,973. Of that number, 137,580 were antlered deer. That reflected an increase of about 15 percent over the previous season’s harvest of 119,260. And that resulted in a whopping 59 percent of bucks that were 2 1/2 years old or older, which makes it the highest percentage of adult bucks in the harvest in decades, says the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
Although the centerfire ammunition supply has loosened for many calibers, .22LR rimfire ammo still seems to be on the short side. It was the caliber avid target shooters and plinkers would use when it was cheap to shoot. But since that’s not the case anymore, the big move is to airguns, be it one-pump pneumatic air guns or CO2 powered pistols and rifles.
With warm weather predicted for the upcoming week, the spring fishing season should start.
Anglers will surely be hitting the local streams like the Little Lehigh and Lehigh River searching for leftover trout. Lakes and ponds, too, will see some fishing traffic, but there’s one local pond that won’t yet be fishable.
With the recent cold temperatures, ice fishing has become possible on local waters. Fishing has been decent so far on Pocono lakes and even north of there where temperatures allowed for safe ice.
Willie, from Willie’s Bait and Tackle in Cementon, said he’s been getting sporadic reports from places like Shohola and Pecks Pond where pickerel and bluegills were the main bite.