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Frank Nale's 2017 Trout Season Summary

Frank Nale's 2017 Trout Season Summary

Introduction


Each year of trout fishing here in central Pennsylvania has a unique personality with different obstacles to overcome. The year 2017 was no different. After suffering through a lengthy drought in 2016, particularly in the north-central region of the state where rainfall was practically nonexistent in the summer and autumn, my biggest concern for 2017 was the effect this would have on trout populations in the mountain creeks.

Though I spend the majority of my time fishing in the central portion of the state, my most anticipated and treasured outings each year usually occur in remote north-central Pennsylvania. I feared some of the smaller streams there may have gone completely dry or nearly so in 2016, substantially reducing wild trout populations or perhaps even wiping them out. In my mind, the future of quality trout fishing for years to come was in jeopardy. This was not exactly a pleasant thought as I entered my first full year of retirement with plans of spending more time than ever upstate. I was anxious to see how the trout fared.

As my thirty-ninth year of spinner fishing unfolded, my concerns were quashed and I made more visits to north-central Pennsylvania than ever. I fished more days overall and had one of my best years. I had many 100-trout outings and caught lots of big trout, too, including the largest rainbow trout of my life and a hefty wild brown trout from a small mountain creek that will never be forgotten.


In addition to catching thousands of gorgeous wild trout on spinners, I enjoyed taking nearly 3,000 digital photographs of the trout, streams, fauna, and flora that caught my eye while fishing in the mountains and valleys of our beautiful state.

White Pines and Hay-scented Ferns:


Two woodchucks that seemed entertained by my antics:


Large-flowered Trillium:


Ostrich Fern:



Disclaimer

In this summary I will be mentioning numbers of trout caught and other statistics. This is not meant to be bragging but to give you a factual account of my fishing adventures. If this offends you, please read no further. If you choose to continue reading, I can assure you that my numbers are perfectly accurate. I carry a small tablet and pencil with me while fishing. When I get to a stream I write down the date, stream name and section, color of spinner, time, and the air and water temperatures. While fishing, I count only trout I have hooked, played, and landed. After catching a trout, without exception, I get out my tablet and record the size, species, and time-caught before making my next cast. This process takes only seconds and eliminates any chance of double-counting. I accurately measure my trout by holding them parallel against the grid of inch-marker thread-wraps that I put on my custom-made spinning rod. When necessary, I round the size of my trout down to the nearest one-half inch. When I finish fishing for the day I calculate the hours that I have fished to the nearest one-fourth hour. I also try to quit at or very near to one-fourth hour increments. All of my fishing is done in streams open to free public angling.



Trout of the Year

In 2016 my “Trout of the Year” was one that I did not even catch. On November 2nd of last year I was fishing a tiny stream above a reservoir specifically to see if there would be any large brown trout that had moved upstream to spawn. After fishing a couple of the deeper pools without success, I continued upstream until I came to a long shallow pool where one would not expect a big trout.

Water entered the pool from a narrow riffle along a boulder on the right side. The water formed a wheelbarrow-size depression about two feet deep there while the remainder of the flat pool was only about eight inches deep. My first cast flew errantly to the left side in the shallows. Immediately the surface of the water swelled as a large trout turned to follow and attack my White Bead Gold spinner, like a shark after a baitfish in the shallows.

When the rapidly approaching V-shaped bulge reached my spinner I set the hook. The trout hardly budged, but its head came up out of the water as if in slow motion. I recall the long hook jaw and the bright yellow coloration of the trout.

I guess I was already thinking about how to pose the beast for photos because when he turned and plowed back upstream I forgot to open the bail on my reel since there was no time to loosen the drag. My four-pound test Stren line stretched to the max, and then snapped, sounding almost like a .22 shot going off in the distance. My heart sank. I had just blown the opportunity on a trout of a lifetime.

I walked up to the deeper area of the pool to see the trout up close since there was no place for it to hide. My White Bead Gold spinner dangled from the left corner of his hook jaw. I estimated him to be two feet or so long and nearly as big around as a four-pound bag of sugar. Not wanting to disturb him further I quickly moved upstream, knowing that I would be back in the autumn of 2017.

Most anglers I suppose would have been totally bummed, but I always say that it is better to have tangled with a trout and lost than to have not tangled at all. In fact, I think fishing would lose its appeal if I caught every trout that struck my spinner. Setting the hook is spinner fishing’s greatest challenge in my opinion, and if the trout is massive landing it is quite challenging as well, particularly on ultra-light tackle. The “one that got away” raises my anticipation for future visits and motivates me to improve my skills.

On Tuesday, July 18th, 2017, after mediocre fishing on my first stop of the day, I decided to go to this stream since it has a decent population of native brook trout and wild brown trout. I had no illusion of running into this monster trout again, figuring that he lived in the reservoir during the summer.

Despite the overall wet summer that we had been experiencing, the little mountain stream was really low. The entire flow would likely have fit through a 6-inch pipe. The water temperature was a favorable 62-degrees and the air temperature was around 80-degrees. The sky was mostly clear. Bright sunshine broke through the tree canopy in spots. I did my best to stay out of the sunshine since standing in bright sun and casting into deep shade is generally not productive. I began casting at 11:15 a.m. and picked up enough small trout to maintain my interest.

Around 1:45 p.m. I came to one of the larger pools in the stream, perhaps a half mile upstream from where I had tangled with the lunker the previous autumn. Water plunged into the pool near the left side, creating and area of white bubbles. The submerged trunk of a tree claimed the left corner and most of the lower end of the pool.

I sent my first cast to the lower left corner between the tree trunk and the pool’s lip in case a trout would be holding there. I did not want to spook a trout up into the meat of the hole before approaching closer for a better cast. My next cast hit on the left side of the bubbles, a sweet spot for a big trout waiting on an unsuspecting little trout that was moving downstream.

Instantly I saw the flash of a large trout and instinctively set the hook since I knew I would not feel a trout hit in the churning water. Right away I knew I had a huge trout on the end of my line. Luckily, I had just retied my spinner to un-nicked line, something I often do when approaching a deep pool. Unlike last time, while quickly loosening my drag I consciously thought about opening the bail of my reel if the trout made a strong run. Once I got the drag loosened I felt confident that I could land him as long as the hook held and I could keep him away from the tree trunk.

The trout burrowed to the bottom and later thrashed on the surface. Since the water was deep from bank to bank there was no place to easily land the brute. Knowing my net was too small to bother with, after a couple-minute battle I grabbed the trout with my left hand in front of the tail and eased him over to the water’s edge.


Before I even measured him I knew he was in the top ten of the largest trout that I have ever caught out of over 275,000 trout. And from a tiny stream no less. He measured 24.5” against the grid of inch markers on my rod.


Could this behemoth have been the same trout that I had missed in the prior November? If so, what was he doing in the stream and not in the reservoir in July? I will never know the answers but it would not surprise me if this was the same trout.

As a sidebar to this story, I visited this stream again on Thursday, November 2nd, exactly one year after my first encounter. The water was quite high that day and other than catching twenty-some small trout, I saw and caught one large trout – a 21” wild brown.


Multiple Trips to “God’s Country”

I typically wait until after spring gobbler season is over to head north to “God’s Country” so that I am less likely to run into other anglers after making such a large time commitment to drive there. However, this year I was overly anxious to find out how well the trout had survived last year’s harsh conditions.


On Saturday, April 29th, I drove northward to a small mountain stream that typically surrenders over a hundred trout with ease. My lone visit there last year on May 26th had yielded 143 trout in 7.50 hours. Due to its location, I felt that if I could avoid other anglers at daybreak at the lower end of the hollow that it was unlikely anyone would jump in front of me all day.

The conditions looked great. However, the first two pools contained no visible trout. I immediately began to worry that last year’s drought had decimated the trout population. Then much to my delight I cranked out two little native brookies in a nondescript riffle, followed by two more fairly quickly. My spirits rose.


A vehicle then pulled in beside my SUV and two fly anglers hopped out and began fishing no more than fifty yards in front of me. Nice. I climbed the side of the mountain to loop around them and give them a wide berth.

From that point on the action was rather slow for the distance covered and I felt sure the drought had done a number on the stream. In 3.50 hours I caught 30 total wild trout though the action had all but petered out near the end. In the last forty-five minutes I fished over a half mile of stream and saw only one minnow-sized trout, and that was at the beginning of the half mile. My conclusion was that the stream had probably gone dry in the upper reaches and few trout had survived there.

It took an hour to hike through the woods back to my SUV. From there I drove to a larger stream and caught 14 trout in 1.50 hours. I could not tell for sure whether there just were not many trout in the creek or if someone had already disturbed the trout earlier that day. Again, I was relieved to at least catch some trout though.


Next I fished a tributary about the same size as the one I fished earlier. It did not appear to have been fished yet that day but in one hour I fished well over a mile and caught just 15 trout. I was glad there were at least a few trout there, but the population seemed down big-time.

Drawing conclusions from one trip, of course, is not wise. Heck, I have had times on bountiful Spring Creek in Centre County where I did not see a trout. I knew it was possible that the trout were just not out feeding on this day, though I had a strong suspicion that this was not the case.


On Friday, May 26th I returned to north-central Pennsylvania, again to another small stream. This time I was stunned by the lack of trout. I fished one hour and caught four trout. Three were caught at the lower end of the stream and could have been migrants from the main stem. Then I fished nearly a mile and did not catch another trout until I came to a deep pool. I quit there and headed to larger water where I was greatly encouraged by catching 121 trout in 6.50 hours.


In the next couple months I returned to God’s Country seven times and stuck to larger streams, figuring there was a lower chance the drought had adversely affected them.


I caught over one hundred trout on every visit, including one of the most beautiful native brook trout that I have ever seen.




On one of the days I caught a 6.5” wild tiger trout, a rare natural cross between a male native brook trout and a female wild brown trout. Many anglers fish their entire lives in Pennsylvania and never catch one. This was my 21st lifetime wild tiger trout.


I explored three new streams that I had never fished before and caught many beautiful wild trout in all of them.


I saw my first yellow-phase timber rattlesnake in many years.


On one day in the northwoods I even had my most productive outing of the entire year.

Overall I caught 1,150 trout in 72.50 hours during nine fishing trips. Based on my experiences I think that the drought of 2016 very likely negatively impacted at least some of the small streams, while I think it likely did not have a major effect on the larger creeks.

I can be contacted at [email protected].

Last edited by FrankTroutAngler; 01-09-2018 at 04:17 PM.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-09-2018, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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Most Productive Outing of the Year

After rousting myself out of bed at 3:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 6th, I got in my SUV and pointed her northward for a two-hour drive. My dashboard clock showed 5:45 a.m. as I eased my Mazda into a streamside pull-off along a medium-sized stream in the Sproul State Forest. The sky was cloudy and air temperature was 65-degrees. Possible thunderstorms were forecast for the afternoon. Though I could only faintly see the stream in the dim light under the thick forest canopy, the flow looked great. It is not every year that one can fish nicely flowing streams in north-central Pennsylvania in July, so I was nearly giddy with anticipation.


I had fished this section of stream on Tuesday, May 30th, a day marked by constant rain, thunderstorms, and rising water. One hundred and thirty-six trout came to hand that day in 7.50 hours before high cloudy water prompted my exit below a bridge where I had pretty much planned on quitting anyway.

I could not help but chuckle to myself when I thought back to that day. I recalled thinking about how fortunate I was to be on the road-side of the stream when I finally realized the gradually rising water had gotten so high that crossing it again would have been scary. Then I suddenly realized that I was standing at a bridge and could have just crossed it if necessary. Funny how my mind is not quite as sharp after concentrating on setting the hook on trout all day.


I walked downstream a ways before beginning to cast to let the day brighten up a bit. Within one minute my first wild trout was landed. Though the habitat was suspect, I continued to pick up a trout here and there until I came to a deep pool along a car-size boulder. My first cast to the lower end was met by this 18.5” brown trout.


From there the action continued at an acceptable pace. At 10:00 a.m. I had 47 trout, but after that my Anticipation Factor quickly soared to a “10” as the habitat improved and more and more trout hit with reckless abandon. By noon my tally had climbed rapidly to 106 trout.


The action continued at a feverish pace. Hours passed with hardly a notice. I felt like I was going to catch a trout on every cast, which is the ultimate feeling when spinner fishing. When I reached the bridge where I had quit the last time my notepad showed 227 trout had been caught and released in 10.00 hours of fishing. Clearly, last year’s drought had not caused a significant reduction in the trout population here as this turned out to be my only “Signature Day” (200-plus trout) of the year.


Wildlife Event of the Year

Each year while fishing I typically have several memorable wildlife sightings. The one that stands out above the others I crown as my “Wildlife Event of the Year.” This year there were three candidates for the title.

On Tuesday, April 11th, while fishing a little mountain stream nearly five miles from my SUV, I heard something to my right just out of sight up on the steep bank. I took a step out of the water and stretched my neck to see up over the bank. A yearling cub was peering down at me from about fifteen yards away, probably wondering what I was. Behind him was the mother bear moving directly toward me, likely figuring to cross the stream exactly where I stood. Another cub was behind them. I waved my arms and yelled to frighten them. The lead cub turned and ran almost immediately, but I had to wave my arms and yell a second time to get the attention of the larger bear to scare her away. This was a long enough delay to make the hair on my neck stand on end.

On Thursday, August 31st, while fishing the Little Juniata River, I spotted an osprey perched high on a sycamore tree limb over the water. With my binoculars I could see that it was holding a partially eaten trout against the limb with its talons, though it was not eating the fish. As I approached about a half hour later it took off with the trout and landed on another sycamore tree farther upstream. When I neared it again it flew upstream, this time around a curve and out of sight. Next thing I knew it came flying frantically back my way, about twenty feet above the water, with a mature bald eagle in hot pursuit. To shake the bald eagle the osprey dropped the trout. It hit the water about twenty feet in front of me. Both birds continued downstream separately.


On Friday, February 24th, during an unusually warm week, after fishing all day on a little freestone mountain stream, while walking back to my SUV looking for white-tailed deer sheds, I spotted some antlers in a thicket. I walked over and found this 11-point buck, likely one that had died from wounds received in deer season. I recalled many years ago when I found a similarly large buck and regret to this day that I did not take any photos of it, which is why this discovery is my “Wildlife Sighting of the Year.” I will remember this discovery for a long time. By the way, I revisited this deer on April 11th and the antlers were partially eaten, and again on May 16th when there was virtually nothing left of the entire deer.



Statistical Summary and Analysis


I ended the year with 10,598 trout caught and released during 873.75 hours of fishing spread over 108 days. This was my eighth best year and the eleventh time that I have topped 10,000 trout in a year. I averaged 12.13 trout per hour (TPH) and 98.13 trout per day (TPD).


The 108 days of fishing broke my old record of 106 days set in both 1998 and 2004. The 873.75 hours of fishing was the second highest number of hours I have spent in one year, just behind 892.75 hours in 2004. My average day of actual fishing time was 8.09 hours this year.


I fished a total of 51 different streams this year, 19 of which gave up 100 or more salmonids. I caught trout in all but two of them where I made brief stops. The top stream yielded 2,841 trout in 236.75 hours during 36 visits (12.00 TPH; 78.92 TPD). The ten best creeks surrendered 8,290 trout in 674.50 hours (12.29 TPH), while the ten worst streams produced just 25 trout in 6.00 hours (4.17 TPH). Of the top ten streams, five were limestone or limestone-influenced streams and five were freestone creeks. On a lifetime basis my best stream, a limestoner, has yielded 92,566 trout, which is slightly less than one third of my lifetime trout total.


I caught 100 trout or more on 67 of the 108 days that I fished, which is 19 fewer than the record 86 triple-figure outings that I had in 2004 out of 106 days fished. These 67 days yielded 7,884 trout. On a lifetime basis I now have 1,472 “Century Club” days. My permanent fishing logs show that I have caught 192,924 trout during these 1,472 days.


A breakdown of the 10,598 trout by species reveals 8,137 browns (5,843 were 7” or longer; 2,294 were under 7”), 2,014 brookies (879 were 7” or longer; 1,135 were under 7”), 441 rainbows (390 were legal-size; 51 were sub-legal), 5 golden rainbows (4 were legal-size; 1 was sub-legal), and one sub-legal wild tiger trout. Overall, 7,116 trout were 7” or longer (67.14%); 3,482 were sub-legal (32.86%).



Big Trout Analysis

I caught 60 trout that were 16” or longer, which ranks as my fourth best year for large trout. This is 41 fewer than the record 101 that I caught in 2005. The most hawgs that I have ever caught in one day is fifteen on October 13, 2005, while my best month is thirty-five in October of 2005.


My big-trout analysis shows 48 browns and 12 rainbows. These trout were all caught and released from nineteen different streams. Twenty came from one large limestone-influenced river and eight were fooled in the stream where I caught the most trout this year. Five small limestone streams accounted for 18 while the other 14 were spread pretty evenly over a dozen creeks. Just nine were caught in purely freestone creeks.


I broke the 20” barrier five times, with browns of 20”, 21” and 24.5”, and rainbows of 22.5” and 25”. I believe all three of the large brown trout were stream-bred. Interestingly, the two largest brown trout were caught in the same small mountain stream. The 25” freshly stocked rainbow trout, caught on Opening Day courtesy of the PFBC, was my largest rainbow trout of my life (held by another angler in the photo above), topping my previous record by one-half inch (caught on October 11, 2014).


In addition, I also caught 40 trout that were in the 15”-to-under-16” category, so overall I caught 100 trout that were 15” or better. Although 100 trout of this size is a small percentage out of 10,598 trout, it averages out to nearly one sizeable trout on each of my 108 outings.


I often take criticism from anonymous people on websites for catching “all small trout,” but the reality is that I catch a representative sample of the trout that are in the streams that I fish, similar to the results from PFBC electroshocking surveys. Granted, when flows are good during warm weather I do spend much of my time fishing small mountain creeks that likely have few, if any, truly large trout, and yes, I often do catch many small trout there. However, when I fish larger water like the Little Juniata River, Penns Creek, or Centre County’s Spring Creek, I catch trout across the whole spectrum of sizes, too, including trout most anglers would consider to be big. Each year large streams are ranked at the top of my list of streams. In 2017 my top two streams were large and accounted for 4,496 trout.


It is also worth noting that “small” is a relative term. For me, catching a 9” or 10” native brook trout on ultra-light tackle from a rhododendron-lined rivulet is easily the equivalent of duping a 15” to 16” wild brown trout from a larger stream. And what would be a more difficult goal for the year – catching one 12” native brook trout or one 20” wild brown trout?

Besides attempting to avoid other anglers, one of the reasons I target small mountain streams when flows are good is because I enjoy the challenge of tucking my spinner into tight spots from long distances, not to mention the difficulty of hooking little trout in skinny water. Take a beginner spinner fishing and you will quickly see that it is far easier for the newbie to catch a 12” wild brown from a large limestoner than an 8” native brookie from a rhododendron-shrouded mountain run.


There is also something special to me about the ambience of remote mountain streams. After driving to God’s Country in the wee hours of the morning and easing my SUV in along a bubbling brook just as night turns to day, it is pretty hard to describe the excitement I feel for what lies ahead for the day. The crisp clean air wafts into my nostrils when I get out of my vehicle to stretch. It may have that woodsy aroma at first, but later in the day after the hot sun breaks through the forest canopy and hits the forest floor it may smell like hay-scented ferns or white pines. Couple this with the likelihood that I have miles and miles of scenic water ahead teeming with undisturbed wild trout and I am about as close to heaven as I can be.


Overall, considering where I spent a lot of my angling hours, I was quite pleased with the number of big trout that I caught again this year. I believe most anglers who do not target large trout and fish only streams that are open to free, general-public angling, would be quite satisfied with this in Pennsylvania.
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I can be contacted at [email protected].

Last edited by FrankTroutAngler; 01-09-2018 at 04:03 PM.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-09-2018, 02:54 PM Thread Starter
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Spinner Analysis

I am a firm believer that the color of the spinner I am using has little, if any, effect on the number of trout that I catch, though I prefer there to be some white coloration on the lure so that I can see the spinner easier and visibly detect strikes better. This year I caught 9,527 trout on my homemade White Bead Gold spinners, 565 on Pink Tread Silver spinners, and 506 on my vintage Green Diamond Silver spinners (see photo below).


On a lifetime basis, of the 279,247 trout that I have caught during the last thirty-nine years on spinners, not surprisingly, White Bead Gold, which I designed in 1982, has produced the most with 151,357 trout. Coming in second is Copper BladeD Copper with 57,002 (see photo above). Pink Tread Silver is next with 36,542, and Green Diamond Silver rounds out the top four with 21,674 trout. I have caught 266,575 trout (95.46%) on just these four homemade spinner designs. I believe the reason I have caught so many trout on these four models is because I used them the most.



Best Statistics

When I do my “Spin Fishing for Trout” seminars I state that I believe spinner fishing is the most consistent, most productive method for catching trout all day long, anytime of year. One statistic in particular that I think supports this statement is that I have now averaged 100 trout per day for nearly 25 consecutive years. My records show that since January 23, 1993, I have gone fishing on 2,372 days and have caught 237,247 trout in 18,222.00 hours. This averages out to 100.01 TPD and 13.01 TPH, or one trout about every 4 minutes and 37 seconds.


Also, on a lifetime basis I have now caught 279,247 trout on spinners since 1979 when I began spin fishing. The last time I went fishing and did not catch any trout was on March 8, 1987, which is over thirty years ago, but I fished just 1.25 hours that day due to high, cold cloudy water on three streams. I have now gone fishing on 2,905 days since the last time I got skunked. I believe these statistics support my statement.


10,000 Trout Average for Twenty-Two Years

While compiling my statistics I noticed that I have now averaged 10,000 trout per year over the last twenty-two years. I thought it would be interesting to see how these years would look when combined in a composite monthly tally.


There were no surprises here, but this analysis clearly shows that I have the best opportunity to catch 100 or more trout in a day in May and June. It also shows that I have the highest probability of consistently catching large trout in October and November.


Conclusion


Trout fishing is my number-one hobby and passion in life. Offshoot hobbies include constructing spinners, rod building, doing spinner fishing seminars, photography, and enjoying nature – especially wildflowers. Spinner fishing also requires a lot of walking and I believe this has helped me remain relatively thin and reasonably physically fit for my age. I also like to ride my mountain bike to keep my legs relatively strong so that I can slip and slide on wet creek stones all day, and then do it again the next day. I rode my bike 1,102 miles in 2017, mostly on the Lower Trail, plus three forays to the Pine Creek Rail Trail in the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. My longest ride was 50 miles.


Taking digital photographs for the fifth year again added a very enjoyable dimension to my trout fishing. It motivated me to seek out wild places and gorgeous trout since I was often thinking about getting that one really nice photo and sharing my adventures with other anglers by posting photo-essays in the Trout/Salmon Fishing Forum on HuntingPA.com. I greatly appreciate the positive feedback that I have gotten over the last few years.


I find it almost hard to believe, but 2018 will be my 40th year to cast spinners. It is nice to be retired so that I can take better advantage of the weather and water conditions during the week, as well as avoiding the crowds on the weekends. Interestingly, in 2017 I fished just fifteen times on weekend days (only four Saturdays) and 93 times on weekdays. I am a little more relaxed now since I do not have to worry as much about other anglers jumping in front of me and disturbing the trout, though it still happens regularly on the popular streams.


The biggest negative thing I see in recent years, besides more posted water, is that every year there are more and more serious spinner fishermen. It is now much more common to have slow fishing due to the stream being fished recently with spinners. Trout do get accustomed to spinners and quickly become spinner-shy. Of course, it does not escape me that I am a major part of this problem, too.


On the positive side, this year I experimented with Flex Tape for patching my LaCrosse hip boots. I can unequivocally say that it is the best patching material that I have ever used. Not once during the year did I have a patch come off or have water leak in around a loose patch. This stuff is practically a miracle product for patching rubber hip boots. Though it is expensive, it will extend the life of many pairs of hip boots in the future and will easily pay for itself. It is also comforting to know that when I patch a boot it is not going to leak again at that spot.


As always, I hope to remain in good health in 2018 so that I can do more exploring and continue to mine the gems in Pennsylvania’s picturesque trout streams.

- Frank Nale –

I can be contacted at [email protected].

Last edited by FrankTroutAngler; 01-09-2018 at 04:16 PM.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-10-2018, 10:35 AM
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Outstanding Frank! I expected a superb summary and that's what you delivered!

First of all, congratulations on a fantastic year. Even though I've read your accounts and summaries for years, the number of trout you catch is still mind blowing.

Your photos are excellent. As good as the writing is, I think your photos are my favorite part of the summary. You catch the most beautiful brook trout I've ever seen. You have some gorgeous browns and rainbows too! I really like the tiger trout photo. You're the most prolific catcher of tiger trout I know.

The huge browns you caught in the stream above the reservoir are really impressive. The hook jaw on your big brown is amazing.

Your stream shots are amazing. You have a lot of great ones in your summary.

Even though I'm known more for pursuing big trout, I also enjoy fishing the mountain streams. I too enjoy the challenge of casting into tight spots. I think the precise casting required on the smaller streams improves casting accuracy on all streams.

You had a great year catching big trout too. 60 trout of at least 16" and 100 trout of at least 15" is a great year, whether you are targeting big trout or not. Catching big trout is often incidental in that you can't really force it. I used to try, using large plugs a lot, but in most instances that doesn't work. I think catching big trout is a matter of timing and employing the right tactics and stealth. Some days, even on streams that have a lot of big trout, produce none. Other days when they are out, you can get a bunch.

How many days did you catch at least one big trout?

I hope to explore more streams in 2018. I'd like to try some new streams, but also return to some that I haven't fished in years. Your summary has inspired me to do that.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-10-2018, 11:11 AM
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Frank,

What kind of camera are you carrying? I did not read the entire post yet so if it is in there. Then I will catch it.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-10-2018, 12:36 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by JMackanick View Post
Frank,

What kind of camera are you carrying? I did not read the entire post yet so if it is in there. Then I will catch it.
I use a Nikon 1 V2 camera with a 1 Nikkor VR 30-110 mm f/3.8 - f/5.6 lens. It's a medium-size camera so it is easy to carry while fishing.

I can be contacted at [email protected].
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Originally Posted by Trout Traveler View Post
Outstanding Frank! I expected a superb summary and that's what you delivered!

First of all, congratulations on a fantastic year. Even though I've read your accounts and summaries for years, the number of trout you catch is still mind blowing.

Your photos are excellent. As good as the writing is, I think your photos are my favorite part of the summary. You catch the most beautiful brook trout I've ever seen. You have some gorgeous browns and rainbows too! I really like the tiger trout photo. You're the most prolific catcher of tiger trout I know.

The huge browns you caught in the stream above the reservoir are really impressive. The hook jaw on your big brown is amazing.

Your stream shots are amazing. You have a lot of great ones in your summary.

Even though I'm known more for pursuing big trout, I also enjoy fishing the mountain streams. I too enjoy the challenge of casting into tight spots. I think the precise casting required on the smaller streams improves casting accuracy on all streams.

You had a great year catching big trout too. 60 trout of at least 16" and 100 trout of at least 15" is a great year, whether you are targeting big trout or not. Catching big trout is often incidental in that you can't really force it. I used to try, using large plugs a lot, but in most instances that doesn't work. I think catching big trout is a matter of timing and employing the right tactics and stealth. Some days, even on streams that have a lot of big trout, produce none. Other days when they are out, you can get a bunch.

How many days did you catch at least one big trout?

I hope to explore more streams in 2018. I'd like to try some new streams, but also return to some that I haven't fished in years. Your summary has inspired me to do that.
Thanks for the nice compliments. It took quite a while to write the summary and figure out which photos I wanted to use and arrange them in a somewhat logical order, but it's worth it since this summary becomes part of my permanent record of the year. It took a good four hours just to toss together that "Composite Stats" worksheet. I'm sure you took a lot of time to put yours together, too. It's fun to write because you get to think about the highs of the entire season all over again. I just wish I had the discipline to hold back some of my favorite photos and not use them in photo-essays on here during the year so that I could use them for the first time with the summary. Right now I don't get enough good photos to do that.

One interesting thing about catching "mind blowing" numbers of trout is that when I'm the one doing it it really doesn't feel like a big deal to me. Maybe that's good.

I caught at least one trout that was 16" or longer on 37 of the 108 days that I fished in 2017.

I too hope to explore some new streams this year. The highlight of this past year was going up to NC PA and exploring three new streams. One was a gem in that I believe it would be capable of yielding over 100 trout regularly, one could yield over 100 trout on a great day, and the other one is just a good secondary stop on the way home but needs more exploring.

I didn't mention it in the summary, but I also fished a fairly local stream this year for the first time and had a ball, catching 76 native brookies in 4.25 hours. The stream was tiny and only 13 trout were 7" long or better, but I think the stream has 100-trout potential and I definitely plan on going back there this year for round two. It's so much fun to explore new water because you don't know what the stream will look like around the next bend.

Let's just hope for a wet summer or all thoughts of doing much exploring will be wasted.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-10-2018, 09:41 PM
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[/quote]

Thanks for the nice compliments. It took quite a while to write the summary and figure out which photos I wanted to use and arrange them in a somewhat logical order, but it's worth it since this summary becomes part of my permanent record of the year. It took a good four hours just to toss together that "Composite Stats" worksheet. I'm sure you took a lot of time to put yours together, too. It's fun to write because you get to think about the highs of the entire season all over again. I just wish I had the discipline to hold back some of my favorite photos and not use them in photo-essays on here during the year so that I could use them for the first time with the summary. Right now I don't get enough good photos to do that.

One interesting thing about catching "mind blowing" numbers of trout is that when I'm the one doing it it really doesn't feel like a big deal to me. Maybe that's good.

I caught at least one trout that was 16" or longer on 37 of the 108 days that I fished in 2017.

It's so much fun to explore new water because you don't know what the stream will look like around the next bend.

Let's just hope for a wet summer or all thoughts of doing much exploring will be wasted.[/QUOTE]

I know what you mean about wanting to hold things back for the summary. There were pictures that I thought about holding back for the summary but decided it was better to share them because they enhanced the narrative of that outing. I gave serious thought about not including hitting the 1,000 hog milestone until my summary but again, it felt like a big enough deal to me to include it when it happened. And tomorrow is promised to no one, so why not include it immediately?

Catching large numbers of trout doesnít seem like a big deal to you because youíre used to doing it. I liken it to someone who is a scratch golfer (someone who shoots par, typically 72 for 18 holes for any non-golfers reading this). To someone who has an 18 handicap (shoots 90 for 18 holes), shooting 72 would be an incredible day, but to a scratch golfer, thatís a normal day.

So on days you caught a hog, you averaged 1.62 big trout on those days. What was your highest number of big trout caught in one day in 2017?

Iím interested to know how many days you caught 15Ēers too.

I agree with exploring new streams that the best thing is you never know whatís around the next bend.

Last edited by Trout Traveler; 01-10-2018 at 10:31 PM.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-11-2018, 10:13 AM
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Excellent write up! I remember the big brown in the reservoir saga... I've shown your summary to a few casual trout fishermen friends at work and they all call BEE ESS (I didnt know you cant even use that 2 letter abbreviation on here) immediately. I still find it really funny that people can't even wrap their minds around what a proficient spin fisherman like yourself can accomplish. HPA is a great platform for outdoorsmen to get exposure to people excelling at the highest level in each outdoor discipline.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 01-11-2018, 10:54 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trout Traveler View Post

So on days you caught a hog, you averaged 1.62 big trout on those days. What was your highest number of big trout caught in one day in 2017?

Iím interested to know how many days you caught 15Ēers too.
Your questions prompted me to go back and dig out some more numbers. I'll repeat some numbers so that I cover the entire picture.

I caught 60 trout that were 16" or longer in 2017.

I caught at least one trout that was 16" or longer on 37 of the 108 days that I fished in 2017.

The most 16" or longer trout that I caught in one day was five on 9/12/17.


I caught 40 trout that were in the 15"-to-under-16" category in 2017.

I caught at least one trout in the 15"-to-under-16" category on 25 of the 108 days that I fished in 2017.

The most 15"-to-under-16" trout that I caught in one day was four on both 4/15/17 and 8/29/17.


The most trout that I caught in one day that were 15" or longer was eight on 8/29/17 (4 in the 15"-to-under-16" category; 4 that were 16" or longer).

I caught at least one trout in the 15"-to-under-16" category and one trout 16" or longer on 15 days.

On 47 of the 108 days that I fished I caught at least one trout that was 15" or longer.

On 61 of the 108 days that I fished I caught no trout that were 15" or longer.



I also took a quick glance back into my lifetime stats and found this:

The most trout that I've ever caught in one day that were 16" or longer is 15 on 10/13/05.

The most trout that I've ever caught in one day that were in the 15"-to-under-16" category is 16 on 9/15/13.

The most trout that I've ever caught in one day that were 15" or longer is 25 on 9/15/13.
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