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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-24-2017, 10:46 PM Thread Starter
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2017 Trout Fishing Summary
By Andy Krouse

2017 was a challenging year of fishing for me. Like any year, I had some great days along with some rather poor outings. After last yearís drought, I was not sure what to expect this year, especially from the mountain freestone streams. I had surgery in late June, which kept me off the streams until late August. Overall, I was disappointed with my catch rate, but I was very happy with the number of big trout I caught. As with past summaries, I will review the numbers of trout caught, favorite outings, fishing companions, provide a big trout summary, as well as many photos from the year. I hope they enhance this summary and that you enjoy reading it.

Note: I tried several different ways to paste tables into this summary, but couldn't figure out how to do it, so I printed them and took pictures. Some of the table pictures aren't very good. My apologies.

Fishing Companions

I fished with four different people during the year. I fished with Trout Spinner for the first time in several years. I had suggested fishing a northeast mountain freestoner, but he was unable to fish that far from home due to family obligations. We agreed to fish a limestone influenced stream that I had fished recently. It had rained the night before, but he believes that rain resets a stream. I wanted to fish with him and to also test his theory.

I met him in early May at a familiar spot and we dropped my car a couple of miles upstream. We returned to where we met, parked his truck and hit the stream. We fished two different stretches for a total of 2.25 hours and combined to catch 22 wild browns. None were over 11 inches. Troutspinner decided to quit and return home. It was great to fish with him again and I hope we can fish together again in 2018.

I fished two other streams in the area after he went home, one of which I had never fished before, and caught 16 trout. My largest trout of the day was a 14 1/4 inch brown.


14 1/4 inch Wild Brown Trout


Deep pool on SE stream


I fished once with my friend Mark Nale. We fished a popular south-central limestone stream. We started in a section that Mark had surprisingly not fished before. Mark finished the day with 41 trout in 4.25 hours. He caught 35 wild browns, 5 stocked brooks, and 1 stocked rainbow. I had 28 in the 4.5 hours that I fished with him. His biggest trout was a nice 15 inch brown. He left, and I continued fishing. I fished two more streams and caught 15 additional trout. For the day, I caught 43 trout. 34 were browns (33 wild, 1 stocked), 6 were brooks (4 stocked, 2 wild), and 3 were stocked rainbows. My largest trout of the day was only 12 1/4 inches. I always enjoy fishing with Mark. We normally fish together in the fall as well, but the fall outing didnít materialize.


Mark Nale with a 15 inch wild brown trout


Scenic limestoner



Mark Nale with colorful brown

I fished twice with Tim Risser, a former work colleague. The first time, we fished a favorite large freestone stream known for producing big trout. Tim had never fished there before and was very anxious to give it a try. We caught a lot of brook trout that must have migrated in from stocked tributary streams. I thought we would catch more big trout than we did, but several boats floated through, which hurt the fishing. It also didnít help that the sun came out, which is also detrimental to catching big trout there. We ended up catching five trout over 16 inches combined and each lost two big trout. Tim caught 22 trout and 2 smallmouth bass, all on spinners. He caught 11 browns and 11 brookies. Included in his catch were three hogs, browns of 18 Ĺ, 18 ĺ, and 17 inches. He also had two big trout hit and get off. I caught 30 trout and 1 bass on the day. I caught one brook trout and one bass on a plug; all other trout hit spinners. 19 of my trout were brook trout and 11 were browns. I caught two trout over 16 inches, browns of 20 Ĺ and 17 Ĺ inches. I caught two ďnear hogsĒ, browns of 15 and 15 Ĺ inches. I enjoyed seeing Tim catch big trout. He told me he had never caught two 18 inch browns in the same day in PA.


Tim Risser with 18 3/4 inch brown trout

In the second day, we only caught 31 trout between us, all wild browns, and all on spinners. Tim caught 15 and I landed 16. My largest trout of the day was only 11 1/2 inches. Tim caught the only hog.


Vivid fall colors


Tim Risser with 17 inch mountain freestone wild brown trout

I fished with my friend Mark McKenzie four times. The summary from one of those outings appears in the favorite outings section. The first time we fished together this year was in March on a large freestoner. We only combined for eight brown trout, three for Mark and five for me, but seven of the eight were hogs and five were 20 inches or more. Plugs accounted for five trout, with spinners taking the other three. Interestingly, we only saw one small trout during the day; all the rest of the trout we saw were big.


20 inch brown trout caught by Mark McKenzie



Mark McKenzie with heavy 21 inch brown trout plus close up.


Mark drove me back to my car and he left. I fished three other streams, one a tiny freestoner, figuring no one had fished it. I fished it for about 45 minutes. In that time, I caught four native brookies (biggest 8 Ĺ inches) and three wild browns. The biggest was a surprise 13 incher, which is a very nice trout on that tiny stream.

The next time we fished together was not pre-arranged. I texted Mark before I left home to ask if he was fishing that day. I didnít receive an answer until I had arrived at the stream. He was fishing a different stretch of the same stream. We agreed to meet after we had finished fishing the stream section we were on.

The creek was cloudy to start but gradually cleared. My fishing was slow in the section that I fished, but picked up as I neared my walk out point. I caught 27 wild browns in 4.25 hours. Quite a few trout flashed at my spinners while others short-struck. I lost several trout as well. Mark did much better in the section he fished. He caught 47 wild browns. He also had a lot of trout follow and short-strike.

We met for lunch and then fished a long stretch. The action was slow initially, but we caught 35 more trout between us. Mark finished the day with 64 trout and I ended up with 45. I think Mark had more than 64 though. He carries a clicker to count his trout and I think he forgot to record his catch several times.

All his trout were wild browns and hit spinners; his biggest trout was 14 Ĺ inches. All my trout were browns except for one rainbow. All but one hit spinners and the other one hit a plug. My biggest trout was 14 ľ inches.


In early September we fished a large freestoner to try and catch some big browns. We caught a low number of trout, typical for that stream. Mark landed 14 trout (10 browns, 3 rainbows, and 1 brook trout. Three of his trout were 16 inches or more. He also caught three smallmouth bass.
I caught only 11 trout (8 browns, 2 brooks, and a rainbow). I caught two big trout. Like Mark, I landed three smallmouth bass. All trout except one hit spinners. Mark caught one trout on a plug and one of my bass hit a plug. It was a fun day and nice to be on the water, but we expected to do better. We quit after several boats passed.


Mark holding a 19 3/4 inch brown trout


18 inch rainbow


Favorite Outings

I had some great days this year and some of my favorites are described below.

Big Trout Anticipation

I went to a large freestoner that I didnít fish last year due to the drought. I landed 31 wild browns;28 hit spinners and 3 were caught on plugs. I caught three hogs and an amazing twelve trout between 15 and 16 inches. Four were 15 ĺ inches and one was 15 7/8. A mere 1 1/8 inches spelled the difference between a three and an eight-hog day.

Even though I had caught quite a few 15 to 16-inch trout there before, I was amazed at how many I landed. I was also surprised at how healthy the trout were. The flow of the stream during the worst part of the drought was barely 10 percent of a normal level. I thought the trout might well be thin, but they werenít.

Despite catching what I would consider a fairly low number of trout for the time I fished, I enjoyed the day. I fished beautiful water in solitude for most of the day, and had a high degree of anticipation of catching big trout.


17 1/2 inch wild brown trout


15 3/4 inch brown trout

Last edited by Trout Traveler; 12-27-2017 at 07:17 AM.
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-24-2017, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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continued from previous post


Freestone Frenzy

In early June, I fished three NE freestoners. I had my first ever 100 trout day on this watershed, way back in 2006, so that place maintains a special place in my trout fishing memories. This day was similar to my first ever 100 day in that I got off to a slow start in the first stream, caught a bunch in the second stream, and finished strong in the third.
I caught only 18 trout and 1 smallmouth bass in 3.5 hours on the first stream. I expect to do much better than that on a mountain freestone stream that has mostly native brookies with some wild browns. 14 were native brooks and the other 4 were wild browns. The largest trout was a 10 inch brookie. 60 trout came to hand in the second stream in 4.25 hours, with the largest being a 10 1/2 inch native brook. A tiny tributary to the second stream contributed 29 native brookies in 1.75 hours with the largest at 8 1/2 inches. I finished with 107 trout in 9.5 hours, my highest daily total of the year. Of my trout, 100 were native brooks and the rest were wild browns. The biggest trout of the day was a 10 Ĺ inch brookie. The largest brown was 9 Ĺ inches.



Mountain freestone brookies


Classic mountain brook trout water

Fabulous February

I took advantage of unseasonably warm weather in February and fished an extremely popular stream even though I knew I would have company from other anglers. I walked in early in the morning, but the action was extremely slow on spinners in the first section. I caught 31 trout during the 5.5 hours I fished the first section. All but one was caught on plugs, the other hit a spinner. All the trout were wild browns and the largest was 14 inches.

I stopped to get something to eat and then returned to fishing. I drove around looking for a section that was unoccupied by other anglers. When I arrived, I didn’t expect much, as I figured it had been fished recently with spinners and that I might well have to resort to using plugs, but the trout were amazingly active. The water temperature was an unheard of 52 degrees, which I have never seen in February. I was amazed that I caught a lot of trout in shallow water and even fast riffles, which is extremely rare in February. I managed to land 37 wild browns in the three hours I fished that section. I lost at least 10 others and had a lot of follows. All the trout I caught in the last three hours hit spinners.

Overall, I caught 68 trout in 8.5 hours of fishing. The biggest trout was 14 Ĺ inches. It is by far the highest day I’ve ever had in February.


13 1/2 inch wild brown caught on blue Rapala


Hog Underachieving

In September, I told Trout2003 of my intention to fish a favorite large freestone stream and how good the conditions were, I received a text predicting 11 hogs combined for Mark McKenzie and me. Mark and I ended up catching 26 trout combined. Mark caught 15 trout, all browns, and all on spinners. I caught only 11; 10 browns and 1 rainbow. All but two were on spinners, the others hit plugs. Mark caught four big trout and I landed six for a total of ten, so we underachieved.[IMG class=inlineimg]https://www.huntingpa.com/forums/images/smilies/biggrin.gif[/IMG] We each caught a 20 inch brown.





Mark McKenzie with 18 1/2 inch brown.


20 inch brown trout (Mark McKenzie photo)

The Numbers


As I said in the overview, I was disappointed in my overall catch rate. I fished 69 times during the year and caught 2,125 trout for an average per day of 30.8. I fished 447 hours, so my trout per hour was only 4.8, the lowest I’ve had since I started keeping track of the number of hours I fished. I caught trout from 60 different streams.

My highest outing of the year, was a 107 trout day, which occurred in June. It was described earlier in the favorite outings section. I had one other 100 trout day during the year. I caught 101 wild browns in a northeastern woodland freestoner, also in June. The largest trout of that day was an 18 incher.

My lowest day of the year was 10 trout. I had two days where I only caught 10, one in March, and one in November. I have not had a zero trout day since August 2003, when I only fished for 45 minutes. It had rained heavily and all the streams I encountered were flooded and/or muddy except for a tiny limestone spring creek that I had never fished. I lost two browns in the limited time I fished that day.


18 inch freestone brown trout


Tumbling freestoner

In 2016, I caught 1,873 trout in 59 outings for an average of 31.7 per day. I fished 362.5 hours for a TPH of 5.2. I also had two 100 trout days in 2016, both on the same stream. The highest day was 112, on a popular limestoner. All the trout that day were wild browns. My lowest day of 2016 was a measly five trout on a day in late November that was cut short due to heavy wind and snow.

My breakdown by species is listed below:



My catch by lure type follows, along with catch by stream type.:LS= Limestone, FS= Freestone



Spoons produced 0.1 percent of my trout this year; 1.8 percent last year.

Below is a size breakdown:



The average size of my trout was 10.1 inches in 2017, which is the largest average I’ve had since I started keeping track of that stat, in 2011. The average size was 9.7 inches in 2016.


Narrow side channel on large freestone stream

Average size by lure type:
2017: Spinners 9.8 inches, Plugs 11.9 inches, Spoons 9.3 inches.
2016: Spinners 9.4 inches, Plugs 12.1 inches, Spoons, 9.9 inches.

Average Size by Stream Type:

2017: Limestone trout averaged 10.4 inches, freestone trout averaged 9.6 inches.
2016: Limestone stream trout averaged 9.6 inches, while freestone trout averaged 9.8 inches.

Big Trout Summary

Although my catch rate was lower than previous years, I managed to catch a lot of big trout this year. I caught 90 trout that were 16 inches or longer in 2017, compared to 77 in 2016. Even though I caught more hogs this year than last, I caught them at virtually the same rate. One out of every 23 trout was at least 16 inches this year, where last year it was one out of every 24. I fished 10 more times in 2017 than I did in 2016. I caught large trout in 42 of my 69 trips (60.9 percent). In 2016, 30 of my 59 outings (50.8 percent) produced a big trout.




Heavy 21 inch brown trout


18 3/4 inch brown

I caught the same number of 20 inch and longer trout in both 2017 and 2016: 10.


21 3/4 inch brown trout (Mark McKenzie photo)


20 inch brown (Mark McKenzie photo)


20 inch December brown trout


Large freestone stream in September


18 inch male brownie


Beautifully colored brown
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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-25-2017, 12:18 AM Thread Starter
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continued from previous post



I caught big trout from 17 different streams in 2017, the same number as in 2016. My top stream yielded 19 hogs this year. Last year, my top big trout stream surrendered 34.

The big difference between 2016 and 2017 was in the number of what I call near hogs, which is a trout between 15 and 16 inches. I caught 81 of them this year and 55 last year.
My largest trout of the year was a 24 1/4 inch stocked rainbow, which I caught in October. The biggest trout I landed in 2016 was a 22 3/4 inch brown. The biggest brown trout I caught this year was 21 3/4 inches. The largest brook trout was a 14 1/2 inch stocker. The biggest native brookie was 11 1/2 inches. I only caught 4 wild rainbows this year and the largest was only 8 1/2 inches. For the first time in several years, I did not have any days where I caught all three-wild species in the same day.


24 1/4 inch stocked rainbow


8 1/2 inch wild rainbow trout



Classic native PA brook trout

Limestone streams produced 46 big trout this year, with freestoners accounting for 44. In 2016, freestone streams produced 55 hogs, with only 22 coming from limestoners.
The breakdown by stream type is shown below.




I consider a large stream to be at least 50 feet wide, medium to be 20-49 feet, and small to be less than 20 feet wide. Two of the three woodland freestone streams that yielded big trout this year are 20 feet wide or less, the other is about 25 feet at its widest point.


18 1/2 inch early season wild brown trout

Spinners produced 60 big trout in 2017, with 30 caught on plugs. In 2016, 57 large trout hit spinners, 19 fell to plugs, and 1 was fooled by a spoon. I caught at least one big trout in every month, except for July. I didnít fish at all in July, as I was recovering from my surgery. June was my best month for catching big trout with 18. The most hogs I caught in one day this year was 6. That outing was summarized in the favorite outings section.

Big Trout Milestone

In late June, I caught the 1,000th trout of at least 16 inches since I began keeping track of that stat in 2002. For the record it was a 16 inch rainbow that I caught in a large limestone stream. Since 2002, I have caught trout of at least 16 inches from 64 different streams. A breakdown by stream type and size is shown below:




16 3/4 inch brown trout



Other: 13 on spoons, 1 on a jig, 1 on a live minnow.
Iíve attached a big trout history by year.



Wildlife

During the year, I saw various species of wildlife. Of course, I saw the usual suspects; deer, rabbits, squirrels, mink, and turkeys. I did not see a bear this year, which is unusual. I generally see at least one bear during the course of the year. I saw one coyote, several bald eagles, ospreys, a fisher, a beautiful red fox, and two beavers. One was the largest beaver I have seen anywhere.


Near my car next to a north central freestoner, I saw this grouping of Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies


Deer crossing a large freestoner



It doesn't qualify as wildlife, but I was greeted as I got out of my car to fish a NW freestoner.

Fish species caught during the year were of course, brown, brook, and rainbow trout, but also smallmouth bass, perch, rock bass, and my first ever shad. I also accidently foul hooked a sculpin, which I have never done.


Shad


16 1/4 inch smallmouth bass


Sculpin


A 17 1/4 inch male brown, showing obvious spawning season changes


A hefty late season wild brown trout

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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-25-2017, 12:39 AM Thread Starter
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Conclusion

I would have liked to have caught more trout this year, but I enjoyed my fishing immensely. I was privileged to be able to fish quite a bit this year and had some great days. I have been asked many times by others what happens during a ďtypicalĒ year. Every year is unique, so I have no idea what a typical year is. I hope that 2018 brings great fishing conditions and fantastic angling.

A Gallery of Scenic Streams

As I have done in past years, I have attached a collection of pictures from scenic streams I took throughout the year.






































I hope you have enjoyed this rather long summary and I wish everyone good luck, good health, and good fishing in 2018!
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-26-2017, 08:28 PM
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I enjoyed this immensely! The undercut rock ledge in the 10th to last picture is making me fidget in my seat.

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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-26-2017, 09:35 PM
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Excellent write up and photos. Thanks for taking the time to share your trout fishing outings.

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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-27-2017, 07:44 AM
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Thanks for the excellent write up and photos!. I loved those scenic stream shots immensely! Great year and continued good luck to you next year!
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-27-2017, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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I enjoyed this immensely! The undercut rock ledge in the 2nd to last picture is making me fidget in my seat.
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Originally Posted by pahoytman View Post
Excellent write up and photos. Thanks for taking the time to share your trout fishing outings.
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Originally Posted by delphic93 View Post
Thanks for the excellent write up and photos!. I loved those scenic stream shots immensely! Great year and continued good luck to you next year!
Thanks very much. Iím glad you enjoyed the summary and pictures.

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Great write-up, Trout Traveler! I always look forward to seeing your year-end analysis.

One stat that I didn't read in your summary is that since you caught 90 hogs and 81 near-hogs in 69 days of fishing, this means that on average you caught 2.48 trout that were 15" long or better on each outing. I think that is impressive. I think back to my days of fishing as a kid and if I had caught just one 15" trout in a "season" (mid-April until about the end of May) I would have been elated.

I feel bad for you every time I think about that day where Trout 2003 predicted you and Mark McKenzie would combine for 11 hogs in one day but you two came up short and only caught 10. You must have been really bummed that day.

What are your thoughts on whether rain/higher water "reset" a stream, meaning that the trout forget about their recent run-in with spinners?

I really like the photo of Mark McKenzie holding up the sparsely-spotted 21" wild brown. That's one beautiful trout!

I also really like the photo of the two deer crossing the river. You have some beautiful stream shots, too.
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-27-2017, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by FrankTroutAngler View Post
Great write-up, Trout Traveler! I always look forward to seeing your year-end analysis.

One stat that I didn't read in your summary is that since you caught 90 hogs and 81 near-hogs in 69 days of fishing, this means that on average you caught 2.48 trout that were 15" long or better on each outing. I think that is impressive. I think back to my days of fishing as a kid and if I had caught just one 15" trout in a "season" (mid-April until about the end of May) I would have been elated.

I feel bad for you every time I think about that day where Trout 2003 predicted you and Mark McKenzie would combine for 11 hogs in one day but you two came up short and only caught 10. You must have been really bummed that day. [IMG class=inlineimg]https://www.huntingpa.com/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif[/IMG]

What are your thoughts on whether rain/higher water "reset" a stream, meaning that the trout forget about their recent run-in with spinners?

I really like the photo of Mark McKenzie holding up the sparsely-spotted 21" wild brown. That's one beautiful trout!

I also really like the photo of the two deer crossing the river. You have some beautiful stream shots, too.
Thanks Frank, Iím glad you enjoyed the summary and pictures. On the day I took the picture of the deer crossing, the water level was up. The smaller deer was having trouble crossing so they turned around after being 3/4 of the way across and went back.

I wish I had been able to get a picture of the red fox that crossed the trail in front of me. It was the most beautiful red fox Iíve ever seen.

Thanks for calculating and mentioning the stat on 15Ē and over trout. I hadnít even considered that. As I said in my summary, I caught a trout that was 16" or more on 42 days in 2017. I caught a trout that was 15" or longer on 50 days during the year. So on the days I caught a big trout, I averaged 2.14 per day. On the days I caught a trout that was at least 15" long, I averaged 3.42 of them.

Yes, Mark and I felt like slackers for not getting 11 hogs that particular day[IMG class=inlineimg]https://www.huntingpa.com/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif[/IMG].

That was a tanker brown that Mark caught in March. That trout put up a huge fight, and was the trout of the day.

As for whether rain resets a stream, it didnít on that particular day. The stream we fished got somewhat cloudy. I think maybe a very heavy rain could cut into the recommended two week cushion between outings on the same stream section.

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