Today's article is a remix from fall of 2018. You can find it here: Redd Fish -- Should we fish for trout through the spawn or stay home? Enjoy the day. Domenick Swentosky T R O U T B I T T E N firstname.lastname@example.org
Today was full of colors well past their season. Patchy green grass lay beside dying moss on limestone, and a sprig of blushing maple stubbornly gripped its parent branch through early white frost. All if it was accompanied by wild trout in the richest oranges and...
**Note** This December 2014 story is revisited here. Enjoy. I guess I was about ten years old when I started pushing past the boundaries of my parents' twelve acres of hills and trees. I easily remember the day that I walked into the damp valley and past the tiny...
Go ahead. Look back through the Troutbitten archives and you’ll find a bunch of photos featuring big, beautiful trout. Some are stocked, most are wild, some were difficult to catch, and others were easy. All of them were a fun time. Chasing the biggest wild browns is...
Rich had cancer, and it was spreading fast. We both knew this was our last trip together and that a dear friendship was coming to a close.
We fished a long morning, and eventually, I worked upstream toward my friend. From thirty yards, I could see the exhaustion in his face. Rich stood where a long riffle dumped into his favorite glassy pool. He breathed a long breath and gazed at the cloudy sky. Reeling in his line and breaking down his rod, he looked at me, and we smiled. We each knew we were at the end of something.
I was fishing a large parachute ant, moving quickly and covering a lot of water, as was my habit on Clover Run in those days. And in the right months it was a tactic that brought at least one chance to catch and release a really good fish. But on that morning I hadn’t caught much of anything, so I threw a couple careless, hopeless casts into the glide ahead of me as I waded the last thirty yards toward my friend.
“Put a few casts to that bank,” Rich said, and he gestured toward a shallow piece of side water next to the riffle where he was standing.
With not much cover on the bank for a trout, and with the sun poking through the clouds at midday, I didn’t have any hope.
I’m no scientist. I’m not a fisheries biologist or an entomologist -- I’m just a fisherman. But you probably sensed that already. When anyone speaks about the negative effects of stocking hatchery trout over wild trout populations, the inevitable challenge for proof...
Is this a wild trout movement? There's certainly more outspoken support for Pennsylvania's wild trout than I’ve ever seen. The massive turnout at the Wild Trout Summit last Saturday, on a cool and partly-cloudy day (perfect for actually fishing instead of talking...
We believe wild trout populations should be protected, wherever they are found. That starts by eliminating the stocking of hatchery trout over good wild trout populations. It continues by finding struggling wild trout populations and helping them — strengthening their numbers by improving water quality and habitat.
Neither state nor private organizations should be permitted to stock over established wild trout populations.
We believe that wild trout, wherever they are found, should be given a chance.
I asked some of my fishing friends why wild trout matter, and I thought their answers would be similar. Surprisingly, they weren’t. Their reasons for loving and caring about wild trout vary significantly in message and tone.
In truth, there are hundreds of reasons why wild trout matter. And my friends gave me impassioned answers. Here are some of their words . . .
. . . Laurel Run was heavily stocked with trout in those days. The arrival of the big white trucks was an event in itself, and each year we volunteered to float-stock the forested section between road crossings. If it wasn’t float-stocked, all the hatchery plants sent by the state to Laurel Run ended up at the bridges, making an artificial situation seem even more counterfeit.
I didn’t think of it as fake or artificial back then. It was just trout fishing. It was part of my Pennsylvania surroundings, and a place where the water remained cool enough for trout all summer long. But the raised PH level from acid mine drainage made the cool water insignificant for the reproduction of wild trout.
So we float-stocked it, and through the middle of May, the fishing was always good. A couple weekends into trout season, most fishermen accepted the deadbeat line that Laurel Run was “fished out.” But that’s just when the fishing got interesting . . .
Wild trout are the heart of Troutbitten. We chase these fish so we can be part of the extraordinary places where they're found, if just for a little while. Eventually, the environs become part of us, and we carry a piece of the river inside our own thoughts and...