Summer Trout Stream Fishing and Snakes - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-02-2017, 10:14 AM Thread Starter
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Summer Trout Stream Fishing and Snakes

Do you run into many snakes while fishing streams during the summer?

I enjoy all the posts about the summer trout fishing days, but I would have a hard time walking through the dense vegetation along the side of those streams. The first snake sighting would ruin my day. Just curious if you run into many snakes?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-02-2017, 10:42 AM
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My son and I were fishing a small native brookie stream in mid June. We would take turns fishing good holding spots. He was fishing a nice little hole and I jumped out to go to the next hole above him. I took about 10 steps and caught movement!!! Rattler!!! Almost stepped on the darn thing, couldn't hear the rattle over the rushing water!! He was coiled up and ready. It wasn't a little one either!!! That pretty much ruined my day!!!

We were maybe 2 miles down in a hollow with no cell service. I doubt I would have made it out!!

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-02-2017, 11:04 AM
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I've only ever positively seen one rattlesnake while fishing and believe I saw another along some RR tracks. I've heard a couple without seeing them which was downright scary. I've seen copperheads on two occasions.

Most of the snakes that I've seen while fishing have been water snakes. I'm sure I've walked right past rattlers on numerous occasions. I try to be very careful walking through heavy underbrush, steping over logs, going up/ down steep banks. I extend my wading staff into areas where I suspect a snake could be.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-02-2017, 11:24 AM
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I've done a lot of trout fishing in the last 39 years and I've seen a dozen or so rattlesnakes while fishing, as well as another half dozen or so while driving to and from streams. I've never seen a copperhead alive though I saw my first dead one not far from a stream I fish while bike riding last summer.

One fairly common theme has been that almost all of the rattlesnakes I've seen have been in sunny spots, meaning in a clearing or near a fallen tree.

While fishing I stay in the water almost all of the time which minimizes my chances of encountering rattlesnakes.

I wear hip boots which I believe offer a good bit of protection due to the air (distance) between my leg and the boot. I also wear three pairs of tube socks to make my boots fit better. I don't wet-wade, but if I did I would never do it in rattlesnake country. While walking back to my vehicle I do my best to avoid walking in ferns or other vegetation where I can't see where I'm stepping. I also avoid ever putting my hands anywhere there might be a rattlesnake, including on a tree that has fallen across the stream.

I see non-venomous snakes, particularly northern watersnakes, regularly. I really don't concern myself much with them. Years ago on the Little Juniata River I came upon a snake, upsidedown, drapped around a rock like as if it has died and floated downstream and got caught on the rock. Since it was rather fat, I thought maybe it was a copperhead that someone had killed and tossed into the stream. I nudged it with my boot to turn it over for a better look. To my surprise it was quite alive and bit me in the arch of my hip boot where the rubber is thick. It didn't hit any meat. It then swam away faster than I thought a snake could swim.

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Last edited by FrankTroutAngler; 08-02-2017 at 11:31 AM.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-02-2017, 11:55 AM
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I've been actively trout fishing 30-40 times a year for the past 25 years+ and I have yet to run across a rattler or copperhead. It's bound to happen though. I think in general I don't spend a lot of time in areas were rattle snakes are very common.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-02-2017, 08:22 PM
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I see a rattlesnake every other year on average. I usually see about 5 copperheads per year. That is fishing 60-70 days per year and then running on hiking trails in the woods around 300 days per year. So as others have testified, its not very common. However, two years ago I saw 3 rattlesnakes and 7 copperheads, all in places that could have been dangerous to me (ie weeds righy by my car, or under rocks that I was stepping over. As a result of that, I've been wearing lower leg gaiters over top of my wading boots every time I wet wade. I haven't yet had them stop a bite, but they have saved me a few bruised shins and a lot of wear and tear on my wet wading pants.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-03-2017, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies. Those pictures of the streams make me want to do some trout fishing but I'll wait until the underbrush isn't so thick and I can see where I'm walking. The leg gaiters sounds like a good idea though.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-03-2017, 07:28 PM
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TDM, you where them even on streams that you might not have any teal chance of seeing a rattler or copper? Wear them every time?
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-03-2017, 08:13 PM
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I've seen about a dozen rattlers while fishing for brookies. This is going back 50 years. All out in northern Centre and southern Clinton Counties. Probably saw another 25 while driving to and from streams. I've seen more rattlers while picking huckleberries than I've seen on the trout streams. I saw two out in Quehana two weeks ago while picking.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-03-2017, 08:58 PM
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I wear them every time I don't wear hip boots which is 90% of the time. They are super light weight. I don't even notice them. Like I said, they protect my shins very well. I've taken some bad blows to the shins over the years from rocks, logs, ect and this has completely eliminated that. I set up my camera to record a video of my goofy casting technique the other day and you can see the snake gaiters I'm wearing.
Gftc by eric reger, on Flickr
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