2018 Trout Fishing Summary - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-01-2019, 11:38 AM Thread Starter
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2018 Trout Fishing Summary
by Andy Krouse

Due to many factors, 2018 was a very difficult year. My father passed away in May, a few days before what would have been my parents' 59th anniversary. It’s been a very difficult time for our family.

In April, I landed a new job and commuted for the first four months before I found an apartment close to where I work. I moved in August.

With all that, combined with the almost continual high water we’ve had from the wettest year on record, I fished less than I have in a very long time.

As with every fishing year, I had some superb outings along with some poor ones. This summary will provide a recounting of my favorite trips of the year, an overall as well as a big trout summary, and lots of pictures.

First, I want to pay tribute to my Dad, from whom I learned so much. He was someone I could always count on. He was always true to himself and believed that family comes first. Most any man can be a father, but not everyone is a dad. There's a critical difference.

Dad taught me to fish and I learned a lot from him. When he first started taking me fishing, he was primarily a wet fly fisherman, but he was hardly a purist. He would try flies, worms, minnows, salmon eggs, whatever was effective. When he got older and a shoulder injury prevented him from fly casting for long periods of time, he turned to spin fishing. At first, he bought commercial spinners, but found them to be expensive, so he bought the materials and made spinners himself. Dad’s spinners are far superior to almost all the commercial spinners made in my opinion. He used heavier wire and good quality hooks. I still have and use a lot of his spinners.

Dad was an excellent photographer and I’ve included some of his pictures below, along with some pictures from a fishing trip he and I took to western Canada in 2006 to celebrate his 75th birthday.


Dad on the Elk River in British Columbia


Dad and me on an overlook above a huge pool on the Oldman River in Alberta (photo by Jaime Trento)


Dad below the Lundbreck Falls on the Crowsnest River (photo by Jaime Trento)


Dad with guide Jaime Trento with a hefty brown trout on the Bow River, in Calgary


Dad and Jaime holding a nice Westslope Cutthroat trout on the Elk River in BC


Dad with a 21 inch brown trout on a river in NW PA in 2009. Sadly, it was one of the last times we fished together.

Pictures below were taken by Dad:























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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-01-2019, 12:03 PM Thread Starter
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(continued from previous post)

Favorite Outings

Big Trout Bonanza


In May, I visited a large freestone stream for the first of four times in the year. It doesn’t have a lot of trout, but it has a good number of big trout and often is my #1 producer of big trout each year, as it was this year.

I got off to a fast start and landed a 19 ¾ inch brown on a spinner within a few minutes of starting. But as often happens there, the action slowed to a crawl. After a long dry spell, I switched to a plug and fished most of the rest of the day with it. I ended with only 14 trout, but half of them exceeded 16 inches, with 3 exceeding 20 inches. The largest was 23 ½ inches.




23 1/2 inch brown trout


20 1/2 inch brown with a huge tail


A quick self-timed picture with a 21 1/2 inch brown


A 19 3/4 inch brown trout


19 1/4 inch brown


High Anticipation Outing

In early June, I traveled to a scenic freestoner that requires a long walk in. It is a fairly large stream, and it has an excellent population of wild browns. The average size of the trout is excellent and I look forward to every trip there. The stream did not disappoint, and produced 51 wild browns, all on spinners, with 3 hogs (16 inches or longer) and 8 near-hogs (between 15 and 16 inches). I had a couple of large trout throw the hook and had a lot of big trout follow. In many cases, my favorite outings are those where I have a high level of anticipation, either of catching a lot of trout or catching big trout.




17 1/2 inch brown


A near hog, 1/16th of an inch short of 16 inches

A Highly Unusual August Day

In late August, I traveled to a trio of streams that are sentimental favorites, since my first ever 100 trout day occurred there, back in 2006. What was so unusual about this day was that I went there in August. Normally those streams are much too low to even think about fishing in August.

The streams are heavily shaded mountain freestone streams. Native brook trout make up most of the trout population, but there are also some wild browns. The action on the first stream was uncharacteristically slow. I caught only 2 wild browns and 5 native brookies. I suspected it had been fished recently. I expected better fishing when I reached its main tributary and was not disappointed. The second stream accounted for 71 beautiful native brookies. I hoped that the great action would continue when I reached the tributary to the second stream. Initially, the action was slow, with 7 brookies in the first 45 minutes. I was ready to make the long walk out but decided “to try one more spot”. Over the final hour I fished, I landed 25 native brookies. For the day, I caught 110 trout, the highest day I’ve ever had in August. The largest trout was an 11 ¾ inch wild brookie.


The most colorful brook trout I’ve caught in years


Another virant brook trout








My largest native brook trout of the year, 11 3/4 inches



Sharing a Favorite Stream with a friend

In late September, I met Tim Risser, a friend who I used to work with, on one of my favorite streams. It’s one of the most scenic streams in the state. It is a high gradient stream, with waterfalls, huge boulders, and extremely colorful wild browns and native brook trout. We had discussed fishing this stream for several years but hadn’t been able to meet when the conditions were favorable.

We both endured some difficulty in the lower part of the stream. Tim slipped and fell trying to go over a huge boulder and also was stung by a bee, and I fell while foolishly trying to descend a steep bank. We kept fishing, and despite having some slow fishing in the lower water, we ended up catching a lot of trout. Tim caught 72 trout; 54 native brooks and 18 wild browns, all on spinners. It was his highest daily total ever for trout. I caught 62 trout; 40 native brooks and 22 wild browns. Tim’s largest trout was an 11 inch wild brown. My biggest fish was a 12 inch wild brown.


Tim below one of the waterfalls on the stream


Tim with a colorful brookie


Tim above the lower waterfall


A vivdly red spotted 12 inch brown trout (photo by Tim Risser)
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-01-2019, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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(continued from previous post)

Highest Outing of the Year

In early October, I fished a favorite small limestoner, a stream I hadn’t fished since February. The conditions were perfect, and I expected to catch a lot of trout. I caught 114 wild browns in 8 hours on that stream, with the largest being 12 ¼ inches. I also fished a stream that flows through my apartment complex for the first time, though only for 15 minutes before dark. I caught an 11 inch wild brown, a smallmouth bass, and a rock bass. I need to check out more of that stream in 2019.


Eroded bank from high water


A pretty 12 inch wild brown trout


A buttery yellow 12 1/4 inch wild brown


The Numbers

Since I fished so little in comparison to previous years, I caught a lot fewer trout. I only fished 32 times this year, which is about half as much as most years. I caught 1,127 trout in 196 hours for a trout per hour average of 5.8. My average for the year was 35.2 trout/day. I fished 36 streams and caught at least one trout in all of them. 567 trout were caught in freestone streams, and 560 came from limestone or limestone influenced streams. That’s about as close to an even split as I will ever get.

889 of the trout were browns (79%), 215 were brooks (19%), and only 23 were rainbows (2%). The vast majority of my trout were wild, naturally reproduced fish. 9 of the rainbows were wild. I had one day where I caught all three wild species. All trout were released.

1,077 trout (95.6%) hit spinners, while the remaining 4.4% (50) hit plugs. Though I tried spoons on a few occasions, I didn’t catch a single trout on them this year.



October produced the most trout (305) in 6 outings (50.8 average) in 38 hours (8.0 TPH).

The average size of the trout I caught this year was 9.4 inches. On limestone streams, the average was 9.7 inches; on freestoners, 9.1 inches. The average size of trout caught on spinners was 9.2 inches, on plugs, 13.7 inches.



I consider a small stream to be up to 20 feet wide, a medium sized stream to be between 21 and 49 feet wide, and a large stream one that is at least 50 feet wide. The streams I consider to be woodland freestoners are typically less than 30 feet wide.






My highest outing of the year produced 115 trout in 8.25 hours, as documented in the Favorite Outings section. I had one other day during the year when I hit triple figures, also described in the Favorite Outings section. My lowest day yielded a paltry three trout in 3 hours in early December. I have not had a zero trout day since August, of 2003, on a day when I fished for only 45 minutes due to heavy rains.




A rare wild rainbow trout, taken in September

History of Record Keeping


I stared keeping track of how many trout I caught way back in 1994, 25 years ago. In those days, I fished a lot differently than I do now. I fished mostly for stocked trout then, and I fished with bait, flies, as well as lures. I had a tendency to stay in one spot a long time back then. I caught a mere 221 trout that first year. As I began to fish more, travel to more streams and learn from my mistakes, my number of trout caught grew. It wasn’t until 2002 that I succeeded in catching at least a 1,000 trout in a year. I landed 1,353 trout that year. By then, I was fishing mostly wild trout streams, had gone to fishing only with artificials, and most importantly, fished with and learned from some superb trout fishermen; the Nale brothers, Trout2003, Troutspinner, and Jason Wlochowski. I’ve also learned a lot from fishing with Mark McKenzie, especially in fishing larger streams.

I learned a lot from keeping records; when to go to certain streams, and more importantly, when NOT to go to certain streams. I keep much more detailed records than I did in the first few years. I didn’t keep track of how often I fished in the first few years. I started keeping track of how many 16 inch and larger trout I caught in 2002. I didn’t keep track of how many hours I fished until 2010.

In the last five years, I have fished much less frequently than I did in the previous 10 years. I’ve had more family obligations and had some health issues. The biggest factor though, is that I don’t recover nearly as quickly as I used to. Since I must cover a lot of water due to fishing with artificials and do a lot of walking, that is a huge factor.

On August 26th, I caught my 40,000th trout since I began record keeping (that does not include the trout I’ve on my western USA and Canada trips). It doesn’t of course compare to Frank TroutAngler or Trout2003’s numbers, but I consider it to be a significant number. For the record, the trout was an 8 inch wild brown.

In the 25 years, I’ve caught 40,613 trout from 328 different streams. 25,982 (64%) are from limestone or limestone influenced streams and 14,631 (36%) are from freestone streams.

My highest year for trout caught was 2013. I caught 3,731 trout in 64 outings.

Brown trout comprise 79.2% (32,163) of trout caught.
Brook trout 15.3% (6,238)
Rainbows 5.3% (2,162)
Golden Rainbows 0.1% (29)
Tiger trout 0.1% (21).

Note: I’ve only been privileged to catch 3 wild tiger trout in my life.

Spinners account for 35,933 trout (88.5%)
Plugs 3,644 (9.0%)
Spoons 612 (1.5%)
Jigs 138 (0.3%)
Minnows 127 (0.3%)
Worms 83 (0.2%)
Flies 37 (0.1%)
Mealworms 33 (0.1%)
Waxworms 6

My highest trout catching month over 25 years, not surprisingly, is May, with 7,468 trout.

Big Trout Summary

Because of fishing so little this year, I caught a lot fewer big trout in 2018 than I did last year. I landed 41 trout that were at least 16 inches this year. It’s my second lowest year after 2014, when I fished 37 times during the year and caught only 30 big trout.



Due to persistent high water, I was only able to fish two streams that are my #4 and #5 all-time hog producers once each, and I didn’t get any big trout in either outing. I caught big trout in 17 of my 32 outings (53.1%). Fourteen different streams produced trout over 16 inches. My #1 big trout producer yielded 13 big trout, including the only 4 I caught that were over 20 inches during the year. My largest trout of the year, a 23 ½ inch brown, caught in May, came from that stream.

37 of my big trout were browns, and 4 were rainbows. 26 hit spinners, and the remainder hit plugs. My largest rainbow of the year was 19 ½ inches. The largest wild rainbow was only 9 ½ inches. My largest brook trout of the year was a 13 inch stocker. The largest native brook trout for me this year was 11 ¾ inches.

Below is a chart that shows the breakdown of big trout caught per day.



I also caught a reduced number of what I call near hogs, which are trout that are between 15 and 16 inches long. I caught 26 of them in 2018. Interestingly, all of them were browns. 20 hit spinners, the rest hit plugs.


An 18 inch brown, taken on a small limestone stream in mid-December


A 17 1/4 inch brown, caught in early December


19 1/2 inch rainbow, taken on a small limestone stream in November


18 1/4 inch wild brown trout, caught in early November in a mountain freestone stream


17 inch wild brown, caught in a remote NW freestone stream in September


A good one comes to the net


21 1/2 inch brown, taken in early September


Last big trout of the year, a 17 inch rainbow, landed in mid-December
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-01-2019, 12:55 PM Thread Starter
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(continued from previous post)

A Gallery of Scenic Streams


As I've done in my last few yearly summaries, I've included some pictures from some of the many scenic streams we have here in good old Pennsylvania.










This waterfall has been in many summaries, but I find it hard to pass it and not take a picture!



























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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-01-2019, 01:02 PM Thread Starter
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(continued from previous post)

A Gallery of Scenic Streams (continued)









Wildlife

Due to my reduced fishing, I didn't see nearly as much wildlife as I do in most years. Normally, I see at least one bear during the course of a year's fishing; not this year. I saw deer, including one very nice 8 point buck that took off before I could get a picture. I saw a few turkeys, a few grouse, mink, hawks, and one red fox.

Conclusion

I hope you have enjoyed this long summary. I'm very happy that we have this website to be able to share stories and post photos. I wish everyone, good luck, good health, prosperity, and of course, good fishing in 2019!

TT
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-01-2019, 06:06 PM
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Great read... thanks for posting and same to you in 2019!
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-02-2019, 05:05 AM
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Awesome summary. I really enjoyed it as well as all your posts this year
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-02-2019, 10:54 AM
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Great job.... Your Dad will live on through you.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-02-2019, 12:50 PM
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Great post! Really enjoyed the write-up and pictures, but the stat keeping... truly impressive. Hopefully 2019 is a better year for you.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-02-2019, 03:13 PM
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Wonderful memorial and beautiful pictures, great memories for sure!!!
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