Trout season opens statewide in Pennsylvania on Saturday. The Southeast had a two-week jump start on the rest of the state, but that was somewhat mitigated by low water conditions and the high winds of late.
A lot of area anglers are planning to head north or west for the statewide opener because of fresh stockings there, but there have been fresh stockings in the Lehigh Valley as well. Make sure to check the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission website for the latest stocking updates.
Don't forget to support the Hokendauqua Chapter of Trout Unlimited for its 25th anniversary celebration 6 p.m. Friday, April 27, at the Northampton Community Center on Laubach Avenue in Northampton. The dinner is $25 per person. Contact Jack Fekula at 610-973-4614 or Dave Abraham at 610-261-2421 for tickets.
The Delaware Valley Flyfishers are conducting an "on-stream Fly Fishing Techniques" seminar from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, April 28, at the streamside Heritage Fly Shop in the Little Lehigh Parkway. Registration for the event is $50 and includes lunch. A valid state fishing license and trout permit are required.
To register, call 215-245-0677.
Mark your calendars for Saturday, May 19. Lunkerfest 2012, the second annual trout fishing contest sponsored by the Lehigh River Stocking Association, will take place at the East Penn Boat Launch in Bowmanstown, along the Lehigh River. Registration begins at 7 a.m. with fishing from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in boats, wading or from the shore.
The LRSA, which stocks the river with legal-sized trout, will be stocking 800 trout in the 14-to-30-inch range the morning of Lunkerfest with 100 trout tagged for special prizes. Participants must possess the proper fishing license and trout permit.
Entry fee is $20 for adults and youth 12-and-over. Kids under-12 are admitted free. The fee is $15 for early mail-ins. Go online to http://www.lrsa.org for more information.
Wallenpaupack Sports Shop, Hawley (570-226-4797): Mark says the lake has been really productive. Walleye are out of season, but biting on stick baits in the flats after dark. Smallmouth bass are also hitting stick baits in the back end of coves where the streams come in. Trolling with Ripplin' red fins seems to be working for trout and smallmouth bass. Male shad are hitting flutter spoons in the Delaware, but the action is limited because of cold water. Walleye are hitting bucktails farther north from Dingmans Ferry all the way to Narrowsburg, N.Y. Greeley and Shohola are loaded with calico. With the low water in the rivers, fishing should be excellent for the trout season opener on Saturday. Golden and Palomino trout in the 20-25-inch range have been stocked.
Pecks Pond Boat Rentals, Tackle & Bait, Dingmans Ferry, (570-775-7237) firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.peckspond.com: Charlie says Pike and Monroe county streams and lakes are now trout stocked. Most of the streams are fed by lakes and springs in the mountains, so they are only a little low. All the area lakes' public boat ramps have very little washout and are in good shape. He thinks it will be a really good opening day on Saturday with very little trout being washed down stream into private land or the Delaware River. He has seen good slams and gulps on the lake surface on warm afternoons. Pecks Pond Boat and Canoe Rentals will be open weekends until the weather breaks.
Willie's Bait & Tackle, Cementon (610-261-2767): Willie says the creeks are very low. There are fish but they're spooked because the water is so low. The Hokendauqua and Coplay creeks are still producing decent catches. The wind is probably deterring a lot of people.
Bob's Wildlife Taxidermy, 4642 Kernsville Road, Orefield (610-398-7609): Bob says extremely low conditions prevail. The fish are still in the holes, but the PFBC is cutting back on the area stockings because of the water conditions. The Upper Jordan may not get stocked again until we get water, but the Jordan will be stocked from the Trexler Nature Preserve south. Wehr Dam is giving up good action on nightcrawlers pumped with air. Butterworms and rosy reds and smaller baits are working with lightweight tackle. Once stockings are done, fish will most likely congregate in the deeper holes. If you have a hole with a lot of fish in it, go upstream and muddy the water a bit to swirl into the hole, which will promote the feeding instinct for the trout. There is relatively light angler pressure on the Upper Jordan, and the wind has been a deterrent. The water conditions are for the birds: bald eagles and Great blue herons are eating well.
Archery @ the Glenn, Allentown, (610-791-7665) 484-695-8612: Brian says there are plenty of trout in the Little Lehigh and Jordan creeks. Continued state and Queen City Nursery stockings should keep fishermen happy for weeks to come. Low water has made catching trout tough at times, but early mornings and last light of day seem like the best times. Red worms, baby nightcrawlers, super mealies and red salmon egg PowerBait have been drawing big hits. There have been no reports yet from local lakes or the Delaware, but a warm spell should turn that on. Be ready for that.
Heritage Fly Shop, Little Lehigh Parkway, Allentown (610-248-8836): Dave says low water isn't a problem for Little Lehigh anglers. It's been quiet this week with the colder weather. Midges and caddis are giving the most activity. The cold, windy weather has deterred the fly fishermen.
Backwoods Angler Guide Service, Bethlehem, (610-868-9349): Blaine says the Delaware River is extremely low and fishing is really tough with low numbers of smallmouth. The fish are nice bass, but few and far between. Lures are varying daily, and water temps are fluctuating every two days with cool and warm spells. The North Branch of the Susquehanna River fished very well last week. Chris Gorsuch boated 64 smallies in a trip, primarily on jerk baits.
Mike's Bait & Sports Shop, Nazareth, (610-759-2905): Mike says there are flurries of shad in the Delaware, but it's cold and numbers are down. The warmer weather predicted for next week should make it fantastic. The streams are still low so the fish are spooky. A lot of anglers are heading to Promised Land, Saw Creek and Minisink for the statewide trout opener on Saturday. One customer had a great day for smallmouth bass on the northern stretch of the Susquehanna.
Klotz's Bait Shop, Hellertown (610-838-7970): Caroline says Aiden Deming of Bethlehem caught an 18.5-inch rainbow at the Monocacy. Austin Miller caught a 14-inch rainbow on PowerBait in the Saucon Creek. Anglers are going all over but not many are reporting back. A lot of customers are going to head north for the statewide trout opener.
Cabela's, Hamburg, (610-929-7000): Jon Reilly says warming water temperatures have fishing action heating up on most local waters. Blue Marsh Lake is producing decent amounts of bass, and panfish action also has been good. A flathead catfish weighing more than 46 pounds was reeled in from Blue Marsh Lake last week and is on display in the large aquarium inside the store. Trout action continues to be hot. Don't forget about the local trout stocked lakes that are available if your favorite trout stream is too low or crowded. Anglers looking for a break from the crowds or anglers having a hard time finding trout with the unusually low water can take advantage of fishing opportunities on the Schuylkill and Swatara. The Schuylkill River in Berks County and the Swatara Creek in Lebanon County are home to many fish species that are very active this time of year. Smallmouth bass, rock bass, fallfish, carp, catfish, suckers, musky and a few other species can provide great action for anglers while fish are on the spring feed. Low water conditions will also help concentrate the fish to deeper holes and runs.