It’s almost here. I’m talking about the opening of trout season.
I usually stay at home on that crowded day, but many times find myself washing spinners in the afternoon. Long ago, I learned that those with a lack of courtesy will tramp through the hold you are fishing without a care. No wonder I stay home. After all, it is a long season. On the other side of the coin, I respect those hardy souls who camp out a couple days before the umpire calls out, “Play ball.”
Let’s not get carried away. A younger George would pack up family, leave home at some ungodly hour and head for Wills Creek in Somerset County. Actually, we fished Brush Creek, which is a major tributary of Wills. There was a big hole fed by a waterfall and just below a covered bridge. The place held trout and scenery. Why I don’t go there now involves the long drive home. We always started the season at that spot and always did well. I guess one could say you could get grumpy when you age, but I don’t like the crowds of opening day.
Speaking of grumpy, we were doing our regular thing, and I decided to take a break. I climbed the bank and sat down next to a regular I knew from previous openers. We talked a little when I noticed a man wading out to right in front of Kathy, who was catching trout after trout. The nitwit stood about five feet in front of her and the rock she was fishing from. Now, Kathy was only 10, and I began to get angry over his rudeness.
The fellow next to me touched my arm and said let’s watch a minute. Sure enough, she was casting around him and still catching trout. I think he is still waiting to get a hit. My new found friend got a laugh out of that one.
I am often asked what is the best stream I fished. That’s easy. While I realize it often depends on your mood, I would pick Sugar Creek near Franklin. A high percentage of my really good days have come along this creek. One of Eileen’s brothers used to say it is well named for it is one sweet stream. There was one trip where I caught my limit of trout all over 16 inches but still didn’t win the competition we had going. My largest trout was 18 1/2 inches but Fred had a 19 1/2-inch brown in his creel.
Then there was the trip when all they wanted were salmon eggs, and I used a whole jar catching one nice trout after another. I can’t help but mention another stream, though I didn’t fish it. It is the Yellow Breeches near Carlisle. I was at a writers’ meeting and didn’t have fishing equipment. Big mistake. At a break, some of the big name writers went fishing, and Eileen and I sat on a bench to watch. The Breeches is a good looking stream, and I watched as more competitive anglers caught trout. The Breeches is good looking and productive limestone water.
Another creek like that, though with a different flow, is the LeTort. It can be spotted from the turnpike as it flows through a meadow near Carlisle. The LeTort flows slowly and is not very wide, but it is deep. Sometimes a piece of water just looks fishy, and the LeTort is that type of stream.
Marvin Creek in McKean County is a good stream, and so is Sugar Run. It empties into Sugar Bay, which is part of the Allegheny Reservoir (Kinzua Dam). The Kinzua Creek is good. Closer to home, near Grove City, flows the Neshannock. From Volant down to the covered bridge is an artificial lure section. On Bridge Road, which can be reached from the road near Wilmington, there is a covered bridge, which is the end of the artificial lure rule. I used to park at the bridge and fish upstream, and Eileen would go downstream with her trusty night crawlers. It’s a good stream and not far from Grove City.
The covered bridge can be reached by driving through Volant and heading to New Wilmington. Halfway to New Wilmington, a road called Bridge Road passes over the bridge. These are three streams I know enough to fish well. Wills Creek in Somerset County, Sugar Creek in Venango and Neshannock in Lawrence County.
There are others, such as Potato in McKean County and Laurel Hill in Somerset. I better quit now before I give away all my hot spots.
George Block writes a Sunday Outdoors column for the Observer-Reporter.