First Two Outings of the Year - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-22-2018, 09:12 AM Thread Starter
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I took advantage of the warm weather to fish for the first time this year. I had a couple of early follows but it was about 15 minutes before I had a trout pile into my spinner. It took another minute to catch my first trout of 2018, an 11 Ĺ inch wild brown. As expected, the action was slow the remainder of the hour and I only picked up two more trout, browns of 11 1/2 and 10 inches.

A fisherman moved in ahead of me and started fishing but it wasnít long before I was within sight of him. He moved upstream further, but since I fish rather quickly, I caught up to him in short order. He again got out and walked upstream but not very far. I knew this was going to continue, so I got out and walked a long distance upstream and waded back in.

The action picked up somewhat in the next hour as I landed six wild browns between 8 Ĺ and 12 inches. I caught a 9 inch brown before moving up the main tributary, which produced wild browns of 8 Ĺ, 9, and 14 inches. Three trout slipped the hook as well.

I walked back to my car and headed for another section of the stream. IĎve had good luck in that section over the past few years, so I walked in a long way and began fishing below a small dam. I only caught one small brown there and went through a 40 minute trout-less stretch before catching five trout between 7 Ĺ and 12 inches in the remainder of the hour. Two trout hit my spinner and gained their freedom in mid-air.

The next hour opening with three trout slipping the hook before I had another long period with no action. I caught a 9 Ĺ inch brown on a small Rapala and lost another. I hoped that the Rapala would continue to attract trout, but it didnít. I switched back to a spinner and caught an 8 inch trout to close the hour.

The action the remainder of the day continued to be slow. I landed only five more trout before calling it a day. I was initially surprised that the trout werenít more active the last two hours, but I believe the section I covered had likely been fished earlier in the day.

Overall, I caught 26 wild browns in 6 hours. 20 of the trout came from the mainstem and the rest came from the tributary. The largest trout was a 14 inch brown, which came from the tributary. I had considered waiting a day to fish, but on the way home, I encountered heavy rain, which likely made the stream too high. I normally catch a lot more trout on that stream, but I rarely fish it in the winter. In fact, itís only the second time IĎve ever fished it in February. While it was a slow start to my fishing year, it was a welcome break from being inside. I hope to hit the streams again soon.









Second Outing

With the recent heavy rain and snow melt, most streams that I would normally fish this time of year were not only high, some were at flood stage. I returned to the stream I had fished on my first fishing trip of the year, but in a different section.

I made a long walk in and waded in. For the first 20 minutes, I didnít even see a trout follow. Then I saw two trout following my spinner but neither hit. Another ten minutes passed, and I had no action. I wondered if that section had possibly been fished the previous day by a spinner angler. Finally, a trout drilled my spinner and I set the hook. The wild brown launched himself out of the water twice before I brought him to my feet. He was only 10 inches long, but it got me on the board. For the rest of the hour, the action was excellent. I caught nine more wild browns in the remainder of the hour. It was a strange first hour of fishing; zero trout the first 30 minutes, ten trout in the last 30.

The action slowed to a crawl in the first part of the second hour. I caught only one trout, an 8 incher, in the first half of the hour, and caught three, browns of 8 1/2, 9, and 11 ĺ inches in the bottom half of the hour. The streaky action continued into the third hour. It took about 20 minutes for me to catch a trout, but I caught three in a little over five minutes, including two on consecutive casts. I had another trout-catching gap of about 15 minutes (though I did lose two trout) before getting three more.

I fished that stream for another 45 minutes, landed three more trout and lost four others. I thought about heading to another section, but I figured it would likely have other anglers at that point. So, I walked back to my car and headed for a small limestone-influenced stream about 45 minutes away. That stream was high earlier in the day but dropped enough to be fished.

I caught a 12 inch wild brown soon after starting, but the action was slow, and I caught only three more browns in the remainder of the hour. The next hour was much better; it produced eight trout, ranging from 9 to 12 Ĺ inches. Four others hit but slipped the hook.

Another slow period followed before I caught browns of 10 Ĺ and 10 inches and lost a third. Three more trout came to hand after another gap in the action. The pattern continued. I picked up browns of 8 and 9 Ĺ inches about ten minutes apart, then a 9 incher. I fished through some excellent looking water without any action and figured the fun was over. It was getting dark and I decided to try one last deep pool before walking out. Iím glad I did; browns of 12 ľ, 10, and 10 Ĺ inches were added to my tally.

I ended up with 46 wild browns on the day, with the largest being 12 Ĺ inches. Interestingly, I caught 23 trout in each stream. I fished the first stream for 3.75 hours and the second for 3.5 hours. The water temperature was 49 degrees to start the day, and was 52 when I finished, which are excellent water temperatures for February. It was a great day to be out as the air temperature reached 78 degrees. The frogs were at full volume as I walked back to my car. I was very warm and considered only wearing shorts under my waders but decided against it.
A deer rain in front of my car on the way home, but I hit the brakes and I think I only clipped it as it slowed down then continued running. I hope to fish again possibly this weekend, but there is more rain in the forecast.



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Last edited by Trout Traveler; 02-26-2018 at 07:11 AM.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-22-2018, 07:57 PM
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Great job. You're getting me itching to get out and fish some.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-23-2018, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
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Great job. You're getting me itching to get out and fish some.
Thanks. I normally don't fish either of those two streams in February because they are usually way too cold. I last fished the second stream in February 12 years ago. The unseasonably warm air temperatures combined with almost all other streams being too high, led to me fishing where I did. More rain unfortunately is in the forecast.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-23-2018, 01:15 PM
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Beautiful trout and a good post. The lakes and ponds are still pretty iced in here and the streams are high and cloudy. Should improve by next week.

Listen, or your tongue will make you deaf.

"When a pine needle falls in the forest, the eagle sees it, the deer hears it, and the bear smells it."
an old First Nations saying
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-23-2018, 01:38 PM
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My boss and I hit the Erie Tribs two weeks ago on the hunt for steelhead. Went to Walnut first, but too many anglers for our liking. Then we headed to Elk; water was beautiful, but the walls of ice-burgs and ice-jams kept us without a fish. So we took the drive over to 16 Mile. On 16 Mile; I managed to bring to hand 8 nice steelhead and one 22 inch Brown - While my boss fished all day without catching anything up till the last hour of light, where he managed to finally bring 3 steelhead to hand.... We kept a couple steelhead for the smoker and released the rest. I even released the nice brown I landed!
Tomorrow mourning we're heading up again... With some rain forecasted, we'll likely hit the upper stretches of the creeks though.
Driving past the West Branch of the Clarion River this mourning, it looked a little high - but nice and clear. So who knows!
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-23-2018, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
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The streams in the NW are very high. That area had lots of snow and heavy rain so the streams will be high for a while. Also the water temperatures are sure to be in mid to high 30s.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-23-2018, 08:39 PM
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Both were really good outings for this time of year. Heck, a lot of really good anglers don't catch that many even on Opening Day.

That's pretty rare to hear frogs in February. I thought I might hear some locally during a bike ride on that 76-degree day (here) but did not hear any. One swamp where I hoped to hear some was still frozen over. It's a little early yet.

Did the deer do any damage to your car? I hope not. That's a pain in the b***. As much as you travel in the early morning and evening I'm surprised you don't hit more deer.

I think that one of the trout you caught on each day was the same fish.

There will be no fishing around here in the near future. The streams are roaring high and more rain is forecast. Good time to sit down at the vise and tie some artificials.

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-23-2018, 10:29 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Frank.

Fortunately, the deer didnít do any damage to my car. I thought it was going to run right into the side of my car, but I hit the brake and it ran in front of the car and I think I clipped its legs since it stumbled a bit, then continued up the bank.

Iíve definitely hit my share of deer. I think Iíve hit three full on and clipped a few others. Several years ago an elk stopped just a few feet from the road. If it hadnít stopped, I would have hit it for sure.

Last edited by Trout Traveler; 02-24-2018 at 01:28 PM.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-24-2018, 11:39 AM
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Iíve definitely hit my share of deer. I think Iíve hit three full on and clipped a few others. Several years ago an elk stopped just a few feet from the road. If it hadnít stopped, I would have hit it for sure.
I sure wouldn't want an elk coming through my windshield. That could hurt my Trout Per Day average and increase my Hospital Stay Per Day average.

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-24-2018, 12:02 PM Thread Starter
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I sure wouldn't want an elk coming through my windshield. That could hurt my Trout Per Day average and increase my Hospital Stay Per Day average.
That's hilarious!
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