Monday, April 02, 2007

Trout Season

April 7th is stocking day. Dozens of people will gather at the local hatchery to gather trout out by the bucket load to release in various streams and ponds within the county. The idea of volunteering and helping out has been rolling around in my mind, but we shall see.

Trout Hatchery

My grandfather and I visited the trout hatchery the 31st, and dad and I visited the 1st of April.

It's a small hatchery - actually a sportsman's club, focusing on the stocking of local streams to enhance the trout fishing experience for the herds that will be lining up along the local streams come April 14th. These hatchery fish will also take pressure off of the native fish - as they are often easier to catch, and bigger!

There are two ponds filled to the gills (no pun intended) with thousands of medium sized trout. The ponds are kept fresh by their 'feeder stream' "the big fill" - which has a smaller stream which breaks off, passes through the hatchery, then reconnects to the "the big fill" again.

Trout Hatchery

Additionally, there is ditch-like trough shaped waterway with some brown trout - who prefer the slower water. There are also two fast flowing troughs which have a steady current. In one there are large trout, and in the other are the trophies.

Some of the trophy trout appeared to be 20 + inches long, and fat! The only ones really noticable are the famed golden Palamino Trout (actually a genetic mutation of the rainbow trout). Always a stocked fish (never occuring wild in Pennsylvania's streams), the palamino is a trout I've never actually landed. Brightly colored, their life expectancy isn't very high - although they seem to have a lot at the hatchery this year! Although shrouded in a cloud of commerciality (in my opinion), I would like to add the palamino to my list this season. As is usually typical with most trout however - if you can see them, they won't bite. So, hopefully I can fool one.

Palamino Trout

Palamino Trout

A great blue heron flew into the distance as he watched us approach. He is one of the reasons strong wire meshing has been applied to the troughs of the larger trout. Not that he could do much with a 20 incher, but he might try! Let alone the local bears, and kids. Orange fencing has been laid around the pond to keep people from fishing in the hatchery ponds -- and yes it has been attempted by some pathetic people!

Only 4 more days and they will be free to live in the wild.