By Joey Jackson –
Saturday marked the beginning of another trout season here in Lancaster county and 17 other southeastern counties in Pennsylvania, practically a holiday for some Penn Manor students.
Almost 30,000 different types of trout were stocked into Lancaster county’s rivers and streams in the weeks leading up to the 8:00 a.m. start of the season last Saturday, exciting some students who are accustomed to catching almost nothing but catfish in the time since the end of last year’s trout season.
“Catties are fun to catch and all, but after a while you just get tired of pulling them out of the water every time,” said senior Chris Fleming. “Every once in a while you’d get a bass but you can’t keep them yet either so it’s not that much different.”
The state Fish Commission employees have put in work too, to end the days of catching only catfish, state biologists helped hand stock the trout dumped into the rivers, making sure to stock the rivers in areas that are easily accessible for local fisherman, either by stocking the rivers closer to opening day to avoid the fish moving to different parts of the rivers and predation by the local birds or change the species of the stocked trout entirely to a species that is less likely to migrate.
This work has paid off according to multiple student fisherman, who spent last Saturday reaping in the benefits of the biologists’ work.
“I caught my limit in about an hour,” said Penn Manor angler Sam Knisely.
The current limit set by Pennsylvania fishing regulations is that only trout greater than seven inches may be kept and each fisherman can only keep five fish per day.
The biologists attribute the success of the residency of fish in an interview with Lancaster Newspaper to the low levels of water in the rivers, since trout normally stick to areas of low water levels anyway.
Other students, however, have had a rougher start to the season than others. A few students jokingly suggest to fish in streams that weren’t stocked because they are more likely to have trout than the stocked rivers.
“I went to the spot that I always go to out by Letort Elementary on Saturday to the spot that is always the best each year and I caught one fish and it wasn’t even a trout. It was a little chub fish,” said Penn Manor sophomore Peter Lombardo. “But there was this guy next to me that was just pulling (trout) out of the water left and right. He kept catching fish and throwing them up onto the bank.”
Lombardo disagrees with the biologists though, claiming that the river was too deep and murky from the recent rain to have a good chance at catching the trout.
In fact, popular fishing spots all over the county have been problematic for fisherman, such as the widely popular Trout Run access — usually so full of fish that the 20 minute trek from Millersville is normally disregarded. But now, some students are second guessing their incentives.