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.
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
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
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