Is The Magic Gone? - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 43 (permalink) Old 04-16-2017, 07:22 AM Thread Starter
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Is The Magic Gone?

A recent article in the PA Outdoor News asked that question about the first day of trout season and if there really is a need for an opening day anymore. With the growing number of special regulations areas open to year round trout fishing and a separate opening day in the southeast, opening day just doesn't feel like opening day anymore. From what they said, the Fish Commission did conduct a poll a few years ago asking this question and the idea of having an opening day was still supported by a greater of number people polled but I have a feeling that the people polled were in my age group (45 and older).
Also, seeing the lack of posts about yesterdays opening day, the majority of the HuntingPA crew could care less also since most of you diehard trout anglers take advantage of areas that you can fish year round. Just look back at the HuntingPA archives as recently as 5 years ago, the first day received much attention, or maybe that many people bailed from the site when the format changed..

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post #2 of 43 (permalink) Old 04-16-2017, 08:22 AM
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I avoid fishing on the first day because I can't stand crowded fishing conditions. I used to fish on Opening Day but would go to an unstocked stream, which worked for a while, but I started to see lots of people on those streams too.

Basically, the first day establishes a period where trout can be stocked and not fished for except for the delayed harvest areas and some stream sections designated as open to year round fishing. It also is the beginning of when trout can be kept from class A streams (though I wish people would release all wild trout they catch).

The PAF&BC asks in some its surveys if the Opening Day experience is still important to anglers. I believe the number of people who value it is dropping, I think it is still high enough that the first day(s) will continue for the foreseeable future.
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Last edited by Trout Traveler; 04-16-2017 at 10:00 AM. Reason: Correct spelling error
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post #3 of 43 (permalink) Old 04-16-2017, 08:30 AM
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A lot of people I know don't care about it anymore. Now I don't know if it's just me, but when I was a kid, 12 to 16 years old, I can remember the fish they stocked were bigger and there were more of them. Areas were stocked 3 and sometimes 4 times in a season, and when a creek was stocked, it was stocked. Not just the area close to the road in which the stock truck could pull up to. All of that has fallen by the way side. I'm not complaining about it. I don't fish stocked streams or lakes. I'm content on fishing the river. But, it would be great for the younger generations to experience how it used to be. I know it's impossible now. Money, manpower, quality of streams, all of it plays a part.
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post #4 of 43 (permalink) Old 04-16-2017, 08:37 AM
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When I lived in Pa up until I was 22, I became turned off with all the hype associated with the first day of trout season. It seemed silly. Streams lined with people waiting to fish freshly stalked water, trying to limit out as fast as they could. To me, it couldn't compare to say the opener of archery or spring gobbler season. So, what I found is, I enjoyed fishing the streams later in the season when they were all but abandoned.

I now live in Virginia which has trout season open year around. Streams are categorized as A, B, Or C, and are stocked so many times per year based on what letter they are. They appear to have no system or timeframe of when they stock the streams, but there's a website you can go to and a phone number you can call to find out if your stream was stocked. If you don't check this on a daily basis, you can easily miss the stocking by a week or more which is fine. I kind of like this because you don't have the huge crowds all at once. And when it hasn't been stalked for awhile, you have the stream to yourself.

I think Pa has far more trout anglers than Virginia does, so really, I'm comparing apples and oranges.

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https://www.dgif.virginia.gov/fishin...king-schedule/

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post #5 of 43 (permalink) Old 04-16-2017, 10:06 AM
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For me the thrill has been gone since my teenage years. To get up early and catch fish that was raised in a tank is not much of a challenge. I do take my kids because they like to catch fish but for me i dont fish stocked streams. As i got older i started thinking how ridiculous it was to waste time and money to catch something raised and fed by man in a tank, put in a body of water. I only by a trout stamp to take my kids for trout. That is just me and i know from talking to others they feel the same way. Like someone mentioned earlier in the post, back in my teens and early 20's there were more and bigger fish and those streams were stocked unlike today.

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post #6 of 43 (permalink) Old 04-16-2017, 10:17 AM
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I work in a bait and tackle shop and see the numbers dropping off every year? This year we even missed seeing some of the regulars we have seen for years. That being said we had one guy telling us he was done fishing by 8:10 and made 6 casts. I can't for the life of me see how this would be considered fun? I don't think I could get up early and drive to a stream to spend just 10 minutes once I was there?
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post #7 of 43 (permalink) Old 04-16-2017, 10:27 AM
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Well, I'm in the 45 and older category and I still get excited about opening day. I still have difficulty sleeping the night before and always leave real early for the creek to try to be the first one at my spot. When I no longer get excited perhaps I will put my fishing rod away forever. I can see though how it may not be so important to some. Younger adults who have kids take their kids fishing on the Mentored Youth Day so that is really their opening day. The traditional opening day is really like the second day to those people. I was surprised I didn't read more success stories from opening day and surprised I didn't see more photos of big trout on the PFBC Facebook page. Perhaps many of the big ones were caught on the MY Day.
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post #8 of 43 (permalink) Old 04-16-2017, 10:39 AM
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I think the whole concept of fishing "seasons" is antiquated and I would like to see it done away with. I generally shy away from opening day, heck even the first two weeks, because of the crowds. I fish a lot of class A water, Delayed Harvest, FF only, etc... so I feel like I have plenty of time to fish without fighting crowds. I've fished in a few other states and I have to say that PA has some of the most complex rules and regulations that I have seen.

I know some people have traditions for opening day or whatever and that's great but I don't and I only know a few others that do.
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post #9 of 43 (permalink) Old 04-16-2017, 10:43 AM
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In my opinion the best part of the opener was the social part getting together with your friends, having fun with all thetrash talk & ribbing was the best part & catching trout was the icing on the cake. After the opener the fishing became more serious, for those of us that really enjoy the actual fishing.
As to those that do not fish stocked streams great, but there are many of us that do not have that option, so fishing the stocked streams is what we enjoy. I fish for trout in a stocked stream 5 minutes from my house. I fish that stream successfully from the opener to the 4th of July. When we have a wetter summer I can catch trout as long as the water levels stay high.
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post #10 of 43 (permalink) Old 04-16-2017, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of the replies guys!

Just as I thought, for the most part, the trout opener hype is a thing of the past. I was one of those kids 40 years ago who just couldn't sleep the night before the trout opener. Just the thought of it used to make me all giddy! Now, when it came down to it, I did despise the crowds and back in the 70's and 80's kids fishing a stream was frowned upon. I remember one "old guy" yelling at my younger cousin, who was maybe 10 years old at the time, because he was in HIS SPOT catching all the fish. That was the first day on Loyalhanna Creek in Ligonier I believe in 1978. I was 11 but can remember that like it was yesterday. I do remember fantastic first days too but I do believe the magic of the first day is gone and should be done away with in my opinion.

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