Latest April Fishing - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
 2Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-29-2017, 01:04 AM Thread Starter
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 2,312
Back To Top
Latest April Fishing

On Monday, I took a chance on going to a favorite freestoner after that area had cold overnight temperatures in the low 40s. When I was getting my gear together a man showed up with three Great Danes. I love dogs, but am generally not happy when I see them along a stream because they usually get in the creek and disturb the fishing. At least if those three huge dogs got in the creek at the same time it would raise the water level.

My expectations were low and dropped even further when I took the water temperature prior to starting. It was 47 degrees.

About 15 minutes after starting a large brown ambushed my spinner and I felt the exhilaration of possibly starting with a big trout on a small mountain freestoner. The exhilaration evaporated when my spinner popped loose. My guess is that the fish was in the 15-16-inch range. The action was very slow as expected and I only caught two trout the first hour, wild browns of 12 ¼ and 11 ½ inches. Both hit a #5 Countdown Brown Trout Rapala.

The next hour was a little better, with four browns coming to hand. The two largest at 11 and 11 ¾ inches hit plugs, while the other two hit spinners. I skipped quite a bit of water, bypassing much of the lower part of the stream, which gets a lot of fishing pressure. When I reached the end of the trail where people commonly walk, the action picked up, as it often does. It didn’t pick up a lot, but I caught five wild browns between 7 ½ and 11 inches, all on spinners.

As I moved upstream, the weather warmed up and the action improved. I caught 7 trout and lost 3 others in the next hour. The trout ranged from 8 to 11 ½ inches. Four hit spinners and three hit plugs. I tried plugs late in the hour because I had reached an area where I had caught big trout before and I thought plugs might have a better chance of fooling a large trout.

The action slowed for some reason in the last 1 ½ hours I fished there and I only picked up four more trout. I decided to make the long walk back to my car and head to another stream. At that point, I had caught 23 wild browns, 16 on spinners and 7 on plugs.

Freestone pool

I returned to a different section of the stream I had fished on Wednesday. The water temperature was only 53.

The action for the first 45 minutes was non-existent. I saw a jeep driving out a very rough trail and I figured it was being driven by a fisherman. I skipped a section that I figured had been fished and waded back in. The first spot I tried was a very likely looking spot, but still had no strikes or follows. However, the very next spot I tried, just upstream from where I resumed fishing produced wild browns of 11 and 12 inches and two other follows. Apparently, the angler had stopped where I had resumed fishing.

I fished through a couple more spots with no action so I tried a plug. A nice trout hit and shook free. Then, a very ambitious 5-inch wild brown smashed my #5 Countdown Brown Trout Rapala. That happens a few times a year, but it makes me laugh every time. The hour concluded with a 12 ¼ inch brown.

The next hour was frustrating as I had a lot of trout either short strike or hit when I only had a couple feet of line out. I lost several trout that did that. I also had a heavy brown clear the water and throw my spinner. I only landed three browns that hour, but two were nice fish, at 14 and 13 inches, respectively.

Brown trout with prominent red spots

I had several more trout flash at my spinners to start the next hour before I hooked and landed an 11 ½ incher. Even though I had caught the 11 1/2 incher with a spinner, acting on a hunch, I switched back to my Countdown Rapala since I was fishing a pocket with a deep undercut. I hoped to lure a big trout out of that spot. Instead, I caught a 10 ½ and a 10 incher on my first two casts, giving me a what I call a “three-er”, three trout on consecutive casts, a rarity for me.

The action in the remaining time I fished was pretty good. Browns of 9 ½, 12, 11, and 14 inches were landed. I reached a nice pool but I figured that it had already been fished because it was right next to a road and is a popular spot. On my first cast I snagged fishing line that had been broken off. I pulled and a very heavy Krocodile Spoon attached to a huge snap swivel came in. I put the spoon in my lure box and wound the line around my hand and put it in the pocket of my vest. On my next cast into the pool, a heavy brown drilled my plug and cleared the water several times. It was my biggest trout of the day to that point, a fat 15 ½ inch brown.

Healthy 15 ½ inch brown

My next cast against the far bank produced another solid hit and a few minutes later a nice 14 ½ inch brown lay at my feet.

I only had a little time left to fish. I moved to a nice-looking spot just above the pool and cast to the near bank. Nothing. I followed with a cast to the head of a nice pocket. I felt a subtle take and set the hook. A heavy brown dove for the undercut but I steered him away from it. He cleared the water once before I brought him in and measured him. He was exactly 16 inches and was a perfect way to end the day even though I had to stumble through heavy brush in the dark.


I did make a few more casts, but didn’t get anything before reeling up and making a hasty walk back to my car.

For the day, I landed 40 wild browns and lost at least eight others. 21 hit spinners and 19 hit plugs. I couldn’t help wondering what I might have done if I had gone to the second stream first, but how do you know?

Wednesday Fishing

We received a nice rain which raised a favorite stream to a good level. To my surprise, I didn’t get a hit or a follow for the about the first ten minutes. My first trout of the day was a 9 ½ inch wild brown. It was followed by another 9 ½ incher, followed by a 10 ½ incher, and a 9 incher, right in a row. A “four-er”; extremely rare for me. I thought, “Here we go”, but I only got two hits over the next ½ hour. I switched to a plug and caught two 9 ½ inchers and a 10 ½ incher. But after that, the action slowed again.

I caught two small browns as I approached the stream’s main tributary. I fished up the tributary and caught 11 wild browns ranging from 6 to 11 ¼ inches. I returned to the main stream and caught eight small browns; the biggest was only 9 ¾ inches. I had reached posted water so I walked back to my car and then went to get something to eat. At that point, I had caught 29 trout in four hours. I expected to do better given the water level. The water temperature was 54 and most of the trout hit in slower deeper areas.

I drove to another section where I’ve done well in the past. I walked downstream a good way and fished back toward the car. The action improved even though the water temperature had only increased one degree, to 55. I caught twelve browns up to 11 inches in the first hour I fished there. I had a lot of small trout hit and get off.

I picked up 25 more trout before running into another angler, a fly fisherman who told me he had fished a long section from an old railroad grade downstream to where he was fishing at that moment. He was getting ready to leave. We talked for a few minutes and then he left. I continued upstream, but predictably was getting no action since the water had been fished. I was ready to turn around and head back to the car when I saw a log jam that I figured he had trouble fishing since he told me he had mostly fished from the bank. I caught two small browns there and continued upstream. I caught twelve more trout, all in very brushy areas that I suspect were difficult for him to fish from the bank.

Overall, I caught 79 wild browns in eight hours and had a lot of small trout hit and throw the hook. The biggest trout was only 12 inches, pictured below. It’s the only picture I took all day.


Multiple Stream Friday

I woke up early but was exhausted and went back to sleep. I very nearly stayed home today as I had a feeling that the fishing would be poor but I decided to give it a try.

The first stream I visited is an extremely popular limestone stream. When I arrived, the stream was very cloudy. I left there and went to a spot further upstream where the water was clearer. Unfortunately, the fishing was very poor. I only caught four trout in the 1.5 hours I fished that section; wild browns ranging from 9 ½ to 13 ½ inches.

I returned to the section where I first started but had lots of company. I found an unoccupied stretch and fished for another 1.5 hours and only caught three trout, all on plugs. They measured 13 ½, 12, and 15 inches.


15-inch wild brown trout

I’d had enough of crowds, so I drove to a nearby freestone stream I hadn’t fished in many years. I caught nine brookies and put on a trout losing clinic. I’m not sure why, but I repeatedly had trout get off. I checked the hook points and they were fine.The biggest brookie was 9 inches.

After that, my intention was to fish a freestone stream but wanted to try the stocked stream it feeds first. The stocked stream was discolored from the overnight rain, but I hooked and landed three stocked brown trout from 10 ½ to 12 inches, and a 5-inch wild brown in a half hour of fishing.

I reached the tributary and moved up the narrow channel. I had several trout follow without hitting before I reached a nice looking pool. I flipped a cast against the far bank and I saw a large brown tracking my spinner. I brought it toward me and the big brown grabbed my spinner and turned. I set the hook and the hefty brown tried to burrow under the undercut. I steered him out and brought him to my feet. He measured 16 ½ inches and was the highlight of the day. I had a caught a big trout in that creek once before, but it’s still thrilling to catch a big trout on a small stream.

16 1/2 inch wild brown


I managed to catch only two other trout; a wild brown of 9 ½ inches and a native brookie (8 inches).

For the day, I caught 23 trout;13 browns and 10 brooks. I had hoped to do much better but the big trout in the tiny stream made the day.

A bald eagle flew right over my car when I was driving to a parking spot late this afternoon.

My fishing in April is likely finished as I don't anticipate fishing this weekend.

The month was fairly typical in that I had to really work for most of my trout. It was a very good month for catching good sized trout though. I hope that the fishing will really be great in May. I look forward to fishing in May every year.

TT
grousedog20 and bigguy54 like this.

Last edited by Trout Traveler; 05-02-2017 at 06:04 PM.
Trout Traveler is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-30-2017, 10:33 AM Thread Starter
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 2,312
Back To Top
I think we will see what the effect of last year's drought on the freestone streams in the next month or so. If the fishing is poor on the freestone streams in May, that's a bad sign.
Trout Traveler is offline  
post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-02-2017, 08:14 PM Thread Starter
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 2,312
Back To Top
Yesterday I went to a limestone influenced stream where I've had a lot of success. That area had received a heavy rain over the weekend. The water level drops very quickly on that stream and it was a little lower than I would have liked, but still at a pretty good level. I've had several 100 trout days there in the past under similar conditions so I was very hopeful of another big day.

I fished three different stretches of that stream plus a tiny tributary. I only fished the tributary for 15 minutes, which yielded one 14-inch wild brown. I had two other hits. I only fished the second section of the main stream for an hour and the third stretch for 1/2 hour.

I caught a total of 60 wild browns. I had 7 or 8 hit and throw the lure. The biggest trout of the day was a surprise 16 1/2 incher. It's unusual for me to catch a big trout there. Generally, the biggest trout I catch there is 12-14 inches with the occasional 15 incher.

The biggest surprise was the number of sub-legal browns I caught. I only caught two browns that were under 7 inches. I had some follow and hit, but it was a fraction of the number of small browns I normally see/catch on that stream.

I also noticed that the trout I caught that were 12 inches or larger were fatter than usual. I've noticed that on several streams I've fished this year, on limestoners and freestoners alike.

I decided to look at how the percentages of sub-legal trout caught so far this year compare to other years (2011-2016).

For that time period, I first looked at the stream I fished yesterday. From 2011-2016, a staggering 22.6% of the trout I caught there were sub-legals.

This year, while I've only been there twice (and the first trip there was very brief), only 3.2% of the trout I caught were sub-legals.

I looked at another freestone stream that I've fished twice recently. That is a large freestone stream with a class A wild brown trout population. I normally catch a fair number of sub-legals there, though nowhere near the number I catch on the stream I fished yesterday.

From 2011-2015 (I didn't fish it last year due to the drought), 7.9% of the trout I caught were sub-legals. This year, only 1 of 48 trout (2%) is less than 7 inches. Like yesterday, I also saw very few trout of that size. And like the stream I fished yesterday, the larger trout were much fatter than normal.

Overall, 16.2% of my trout caught from 2011-2016 were less than 7 inches. So far this year, only 9.0% of the trout I've caught have been that size. While stream selection so far this year could play a part in the number of small trout caught,I believe that last year's drought had a big effect on the wild trout populations. In the streams that went dry, the trout were forced to migrate or die and the warm water temperatures undoubtedly killed a lot of trout, and not just small trout. But the smallest trout were likely forced into sharing pools with bigger trout and paid a substantial price for it. I believe the reason that the larger trout I've caught are heavier than normal is that they ate many of the small trout.

May and June or normally months when I fish a number of freestoners and catch a substantial number of small trout. I will look at how my catch numbers break down and do more comparisons to see if anything changes.

I've attached some pictures from yesterday.


A 12-inch wild brown with large red spots, which I caught on my first cast.



Two pictures of my largest trout of the day


Nice pool

Last edited by Trout Traveler; 05-03-2017 at 08:35 AM.
Trout Traveler is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-03-2017, 10:27 AM
Hooked on HuntingPa
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: PA
Posts: 434
Back To Top
Very interesting data. I usually only document and record trout lengths over 16" so I wouldn't be able to definitively comment on catch percentages. Looks like more negative findings after last year's dry weather.
troutdoorsman is offline  
post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-03-2017, 10:45 AM
Diehard Outdoorsman
 
attackone's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Pa
Posts: 2,578
Back To Top
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trout Traveler View Post
On Monday, I took a chance on going to a favorite freestoner after that area had cold overnight temperatures in the low 40s. When I was getting my gear together a man showed up with three Great Danes. I love dogs, but am generally not happy when I see them along a stream because they usually get in the creek and disturb the fishing. At least if those three huge dogs got in the creek at the same time it would raise the water level.

My expectations were low and dropped even further when I took the water temperature prior to starting. It was 47 degrees.

About 15 minutes after starting a large brown ambushed my spinner and I felt the exhilaration of possibly starting with a big trout on a small mountain freestoner. The exhilaration evaporated when my spinner popped loose. My guess is that the fish was in the 15-16-inch range. The action was very slow as expected and I only caught two trout the first hour, wild browns of 12 ¼ and 11 ½ inches. Both hit a #5 Countdown Brown Trout Rapala.

The next hour was a little better, with four browns coming to hand. The two largest at 11 and 11 ¾ inches hit plugs, while the other two hit spinners. I skipped quite a bit of water, bypassing much of the lower part of the stream, which gets a lot of fishing pressure. When I reached the end of the trail where people commonly walk, the action picked up, as it often does. It didn’t pick up a lot, but I caught five wild browns between 7 ½ and 11 inches, all on spinners.

As I moved upstream, the weather warmed up and the action improved. I caught 7 trout and lost 3 others in the next hour. The trout ranged from 8 to 11 ½ inches. Four hit spinners and three hit plugs. I tried plugs late in the hour because I had reached an area where I had caught big trout before and I thought plugs might have a better chance of fooling a large trout.

The action slowed for some reason in the last 1 ½ hours I fished there and I only picked up four more trout. I decided to make the long walk back to my car and head to another stream. At that point, I had caught 23 wild browns, 16 on spinners and 7 on plugs.

Freestone pool


Is there a cable that goes across this pool?
attackone is offline  
post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-03-2017, 12:04 PM Thread Starter
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 2,312
Back To Top
No cable goes across that stream.
Trout Traveler is offline  
post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-03-2017, 12:43 PM
Diehard Outdoorsman
 
attackone's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Pa
Posts: 2,578
Back To Top
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trout Traveler View Post
No cable goes across that stream.
Different hole then.
attackone is offline  
post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-03-2017, 12:56 PM Thread Starter
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 2,312
Back To Top
Quote:
Originally Posted by attackone View Post
Different hole then.
That part of the stream is on State Forest Land. No cables.
Trout Traveler is offline  
post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-03-2017, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
Regular Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 2,312
Back To Top
Quote:
Originally Posted by troutdoorsman View Post
Very interesting data. I usually only document and record trout lengths over 16" so I wouldn't be able to definitively comment on catch percentages. Looks like more negative findings after last year's dry weather.
I have a detailed spreadsheet where I record the date, amount of time fished, size, lure type used, type of stream, and water temperature. That enables me to pull it into a pivot table to show the size breakdown and other summaries.
Trout Traveler is offline  
post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-03-2017, 02:00 PM
The Man
 
bigt557's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Fayette Co Pa
Posts: 8,120
Back To Top
Nice fish
bigt557 is online now  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome