Maybe it is just my opinion, but I have an impression that the Fish Commission has done a better job of stocking this year than it has for a while.
The fish seem to be a bit larger and there seem to be more than usual. Luck was with me and I was in the right spot a few times this year at the right time. It would be interesting to hear the opinions of others and hear which bait seemed to do its job and do it best. One fisherman I met named Lee was tearing them up on power bait. While I have had good days using power bait, doing that well is a bit of a surprise. He would put a very small ball of the rainbow colored power bait on and wouldn’t have to wait too long before he would be on to a nice rainbow or an occasional brown trout. Over a period of nine days, Lee and his buddy John caught 38 trout from one hole in little Chartiers Creek. The most amazing part is they were almost all caught on power bait.
In second place as far as bait goes, it would be wax worms this year. While talking to another angler at Joe Smiths’ bait shop on Brownlee Road, he swore by these smallish worms. I also saw another fisherman catching one after another using these wax worms. This goes against old George’s preseason advice that you can’t go wrong with either an earth worm or a night crawler. Come to think of it, I don’t remember getting even a single hit on the common earth worm. With all of the rain and erosion we have had and with the water colored brown like coffee, I guess the bait of the day couldn’t be the common earthworm. Just goes to show you when one bait fails, try something else.
Little Chartiers Creek was the color of coffee after an all-night rain and we almost cancelled a fishing trip. Instead, my son in law convinced us to desert the close streams and to take a chance that the waters in the mountains would be a bit clearer. Surprise, they were high but just a bit off color. Perfect fishing conditions and we almost stayed home.
I always enjoy the clear mountain streams and an added bonus is the catching of fish. Two of my favorite places to trout fish are the tail races below the Youghiogheny Reservoir and Laurel Hill Creek. We fished most of the day and caught a few nice clean looking trout that we ate later for dinner. All in all a great day of fishing. Oh, and we used wax worms and spinners while Mike tried out a few flies downstream.
It would be interesting to me to find out how others did and where they fished. If they don’t want their favorite fishing hole published, that’s fine. I just would like to see if I’m correct about the number of fish and size and bait. Problem here is sometimes I write early in the week and it comes out on Sunday so I have to be careful if I’ve already sent in an article about a particular hot spot. I don’t want people to think I don’t keep my word.
Spring and a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of turkey. That is a male turkey that fans its tail and calls out a love song to any female within hearing distance. While talking with Jake McEwen, a big problem with hunting this big bird isn’t the hours one keeps as he tries to lure a bird to its demise. The problem is the hours a turkey keeps. They don’t punch a time clock yet they are the bird in the saying the early bird gets the worm.
Now you don’t want to walk into the woods in broad daylight, so it is best to sneak in quietly while it is still dark. Now to get to where you are hunting may take a half hour. Next, allow a half hour of time before daylight, then there is breakfast before you even leave and maybe coffee so you better be out of bed by 5:30. After a few days of getting up so early, many turkey hunters look like zombies as they go through the motions of daily living.
A large tom turkey might lose three to five pounds during the breeding season but the turkey hunter might lose 10 to 15 pounds. More than one hunter, including me, needs to take a break. Maybe that’s why my last three birds were taken between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. I don’t want to lose a bunch of weight at my age.
George Block writes a weekly outdoors column for the Observer-Reporter.