2019 Trout Fishing Summary
After a very difficult year in 2018 when I didn’t get to fish nearly as much as I would have liked for a variety of reasons, I hoped for a much better year in 2019, both personally and angling-wise. I did get to fish more this year than the previous year, but again, not as much as I’d hoped. As with any year, there were some highlights and some inevitable poor outings. In this summary I will try to focus on the positive.
Most of my fishing trips each year are solo outings, and this year was no different. I did fish with five different people during the year. I fished twice with my friend Mark Nale, both times in north central freestone streams. The first outing took place in late May on a small wilderness stream and its main tributary. The action wasn’t as good as we thought it might be, mostly due to running into other anglers on the stream. We combined to catch 47 trout on the day. Mark caught 25, while I landed 22. I fished a couple hours longer than Mark did, as he joined me mid-morning. Mark’s largest trout was 12 ½ inches, and mine was 14 ¾ inches. Both were wild browns.
I also fished with Mark in early July on a very remote stream. It was a hot, humid day and we combined to catch 86 wild brooks and browns. Mark caught 49, while I landed 37. Mark caught the largest trout, a 12 inch brown. My biggest was a 10 ½ inch brown. Mark is not only an expert trout fisherman, but he can identify a lot of different bird calls. It's always an enjoyable, educating experience fishing with Mark.
I fished with friend and former work colleague Tim Risser twice during the year. The first outing was on a favorite large freestone stream known for producing big trout. I caught more trout that day, 21 to Tim’s 15, but Tim bested me in the more important stat: big trout. He caught two that were over 16 inches with the largest being an 18 ¾ inch brown. Tim also caught two trout between 15 and 16 inches. All the big trout were caught before the weekend kayak brigade passed.
My only big trout of the day was a 17 ¾ inch brown. I caught three trout between 15 and 16 inches.
In late October, Tim and his 13 year old son Drake, joined me as we fished a long section of a large limestone stream. It took a while for the action to heat up. We caught trout at an inconsistent pace but once we switched from spinners to plugs, our catch rate improved dramatically.
We caught 91 trout between the three of us. Tim caught the largest trout, a 17 ¾ inch brown. He also caught a 16 inch rainbow and a 15 ½ inch brown. Drake caught two hogs; browns of 16 and 17 inches. I didn’t land any big trout but managed to land six trout between 15 and 16 inches.
We had a great time and you can see that Drake was one happy angler!
In late June I was fishing a favorite scenic freestoner when a fly fisherman caught up to me and we fished together for a while. He was a beginner and had quite a bit of difficulty. He caught one trout before we parted ways. He wanted to concentrate on fishing a couple of pools, so I continued upstream. I ended up catching 56 native brooks and wild browns. The largest was a 10 ¼ inch brown.
On the 4th of July I took the nephew of a longtime friend fishing. He had never fished before. He tangled with several trout but unfortunately, they all got off. I probably should have taken him to a stocked stream instead of a wild brown trout stream. I only fished about half the time we were there and picked up 16 browns, with the largest being 15 ½ inches. Despite not catching any trout, he said he had a good time, and wanted to try fishing again if he visits next summer.
One of my more enjoyable outings took place over 4th of July weekend. I traveled to a stream that I had fished several times before. It gets some pressure and being the fourth day of the holiday weekend, I suspected it had been fished. I caught 14 wild browns, a native brook, and a smallmouth bass before I reached a small tributary that I had only previously fished briefly on a couple of occasions. The action on the trib turned out to be much better than expected. I caught 67 trout in 4 ½ hours on that stream. One of the highlights of the day occurred in front of a house where its owner watched as I caught five trout in less than 10 minutes and took delight in each trout caught. My largest trout of the day was a 16 inch brown.
Sustained Excellent Fishing
My highest outing of the year took place on a favorite small limestoner. The action was good most of the day, but my back started to tighten up late in the day and my legs were sore. Several times, I was ready to pack it in, but then went on trout catching sprees which extended the outing. It's amazing what one can put up with when the fish are hitting! [IMG class=inlineimg]https://www.huntingpa.com/forums/images/Huntingpa_toucan/smilies/tango_face_grin.png[/IMG] I caught 127 wild browns in 8 ½ hours, with the largest being 15 ½ inches. 26 trout slipped the hook.
In September I traveled to a meadow limestoner which has a good mixture of wild brown trout as well as some stocked trout that find their way into the stream. The outing was noteworthy for something that I had never seen before. A grasshopper was on a low hanging leaf over the bank and a trout swept it right off the leaf. It reinforced to me one of the advantages that I think we anglers have over non-fishers. We get to see things others don’t.
I didn’t catch a lot of trout that day, but I caught four trout of at least 16 inches, including some very beautiful rainbows. The largest trout came from the stream that limestoner flows into. It was a 20 ¼ inch stocked brown.
Outing of the Year
Some of the most satisfying outings are those where I have low expectations, but I end up doing much better than expected. My outing of the year took place in late November in one of my favorite streams where I’ve had many great days catching big trout. On that day my expectations were very low. The stream was at a level lower than I’d fished it in years. Normally, I wouldn’t go there at that level, but sometimes fishing in low water in the fall can be very good. The weather forecast was awful for the day, cold and rainy with high wind expected. I fully expected to have an abbreviated outing, but the weather turned out to be much better than expected, and the big trout action was off the charts.
I caught 15 trout on the day, not a lot for a full day of fishing, but a staggering 12 were at least 16 inches, with two being at least 20 inches. The largest was 21 inches. It broke a personal PA record for big trout in one day. My previous highest hog day in PA was 10, set 13 years before.
My favorite days are those where I have a high sense of anticipation, when I look forward to each cast. This was certainly one of those days.