2019 Trout Fishing Summary - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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Old 01-01-2020, 06:01 PM Thread Starter
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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.

Fishing Friends
Most of my fishing trips each year are solo outings, and this year was no different. I did fish with other people on six different days 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.



Favorite Outings

Surprising Action

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.





Unique Event

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 (31), 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.







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Last edited by Trout Traveler; 02-13-2020 at 02:18 PM.
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Old 01-01-2020, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
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2019 Trout Fishing Summary, part 2

continued from previous post

The Numbers

As stated earlier, I didn’t get to fish as much as I would have liked. I fished 42 times during the year in 47 different streams. I caught trout in 44 of those streams, with very short forays on the streams where I failed to catch a trout. I caught 1,345 trout. All trout were released.

The average size of trout caught in 2019 was 9.6 inches, compared to 9.4 inches in 2018. The average size for spinner caught trout was 9.43 inches, 12 inches for those caught on plugs, and 10 inches for the few trout taken on spoons. Limestone trout averaged 9.72 inches, while those caught in freestoners averaged 9.39 inches.









Below is a breakdown by species, stream type, and lure, with a comparison to last year.



My highest outing of the year was 127 trout in May, documented in the Favorite Outings section. My lowest outing of the year was 7 trout in October. I have not had a zero trout outing in 16 years, which occurred when I fished for only 45 minutes after driving around all day looking for a stream that wasn’t flooding. The next year, I discovered a freestone stream in that area that has become a go to stream when other streams are high. If I’d discovered it the previous year, I wouldn’t have been skunked on that day.

According to the app on my phone, I walked 177.85 miles on my fishing days, about 4.23 miles per day.



As usual, the great majority of my trout were wild, naturally reproduced fish.

Size Distribution

Below is a breakdown by size by species.



Big Trout

I had a decent year catching big trout. I caught 53 trout of at least 16 inches in 2019 compared to 41 in 2018. I caught big trout in 22 of my 42 outings (52.4%). 16 different streams contributed large trout, up from 14 in 2018. November was the highest big trout producer with 15. My top stream for big trout yielded 25 in 5 outings. My biggest trout of the year were two 21 inch browns. The largest rainbow was 19 ½ inches. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch any wild rainbows in 2019. My largest brook trout was a 14 inch stocker. The biggest native brook trout on the year was 10 inches. 37 of my 53 big trout came from freestone streams, 16 came from limestoners. A breakdown of the size of stream is shown below. I consider a small stream to be 20 feet or less wide, a medium sized stream to be between 20-50 feet wide, and a large stream to be over 50 feet wide. Woodland freestoners are typically less than 30 feet wide.



All but two of my big brown trout were wild. All of the 20 inch trout were browns and all but one was wild. All the big rainbows were stocked fish.

Below is a breakdown of the days when I caught at least one big trout.



Big Trout Pictures




First big trout of the year, a 20 ½ inch brown


19 inch wild brown trout from a small north central freestoner


20 inch wild brown trout, taken in June


Big one in the bag; 17 inch brown


18 ¾ inch chunky brown


19 inch August brown trout




Colorful rainbows, taken on a meadow limestoner in September
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Old 01-01-2020, 07:04 PM Thread Starter
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continued from previous post


A big healthy brown trout, taken from a large freestoner in September



Other Fish Species


16 ½ inch smallmouth bass, taken in September


Surprise 21 inch pickerel, caught in September


Wildlife

I consider seeing wildlife an integral part of the fishing experience. During the angling year, I saw many deer, several turkeys, bald eagles, ospreys, the dread great blue herons, grouse, mink, one bear, and a snapping turtle.







A Gallery of Scenic Streams

The last several years, I have posted pictures of some of the more scenic streams I fished during the year. Here is the year’s offering.

















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Last edited by Trout Traveler; 01-22-2020 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 01-01-2020, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
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2019 Trout Fishing Summary, part 4

A Gallery of Scenic Streams (continued)




























Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this long and detailed summary. I know that not everyone understands or believes in keeping fishing stats, but since I started maintaining records, it has enhanced the experience for me. It has provided important data on when the best times are to hit some streams and when I should avoid some at all costs.
While I want to catch as many fish as possible each time I fish, I go to some streams knowing that I will catch low numbers of trout. Sometimes on those streams, I pursue big trout, and on others, I simply want to fish a scenic stream, even though it may have a low trout population.
I want to thank all who read and commented on my posts over the last year and I wish all good health and good fishing in 2020!
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Old 01-02-2020, 12:52 PM
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Another great summary Andy. I look forward to reading this every year. I wish more people would keep track of their days astream like we do and report on them.

I really like the photos of Tim Risser and his 18.75" wild brown trout. That is one beautiful trout and it actually looks bigger than 18.75". Good camera work.

You wrote: "My favorite days are those where I have a high sense of anticipation, when I look forward to each cast." I think this best sums up the essence of spinner fishing.

I think you made an interesting point when you mentioned that had you known that a certain yet-to-be-discovered stream existed you wouldn't have had a zero-trout day many years ago. Knowing an area is a key to catching a lot of trout because it gives an angler more options if something goes wrong with the stream they are fishing, like high water or running into ABF water.

I enjoyed looking at the stream photos. You fish a few of the places that I fish.

Here's to 2020! Hope you have another great year.
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Old 01-02-2020, 02:39 PM
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Trout Traveler,

I would like to thank you for taking the time to photograph and enter information about your outings. I feel like I am along for the ride and only wish I could be as accomplished a trout fisherman as you and your friends. Thanks again for taking us along !!!!!!
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Old 01-02-2020, 03:23 PM
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Great year! Its amazing, with how many things I've read online, in magazine and in books, how I still can clearly remember your pictures and stories when I see them for the 2nd time in your yearly summary. Interesting and entertaining! Thanks!
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Old 01-02-2020, 03:26 PM
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The stats I keep are much less detailed than yours. I write on my calendar on my wall how many hours I fish, where I fish, how many total I caught, the length of any notable fish, and any other interesting stats from the day. I use a baseball pitch counter to record total numbers and I use my phone pictures with captions to preserve my "big fish" stats until I get home. Cudos to you on your diligent records!
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Old 01-03-2020, 07:19 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankTroutAngler View Post
Another great summary Andy. I look forward to reading this every year. I wish more people would keep track of their days astream like we do and report on them.

I really like the photos of Tim Risser and his 18.75" wild brown trout. That is one beautiful trout and it actually looks bigger than 18.75". Good camera work.

You wrote: "My favorite days are those where I have a high sense of anticipation, when I look forward to each cast." I think this best sums up the essence of spinner fishing.

I think you made an interesting point when you mentioned that had you known that a certain yet-to-be-discovered stream existed you wouldn't have had a zero-trout day many years ago. Knowing an area is a key to catching a lot of trout because it gives an angler more options if something goes wrong with the stream they are fishing, like high water or running into ABF water.

I enjoyed looking at the stream photos. You fish a few of the places that I fish.

Here's to 2020! Hope you have another great year.
Thanks very much Frank! I agree on Tim's big trout. I measured it and was surprised that it wasn't longer than it was. When I first saw it, I was sure it was a 20 incher. Very heavy trout like that often aren't as long as first thought.

The day I had my last zero trout day in 2003 was very frustrating. I drove around a wide area that I wasn't familiar with looking for a place to fish. The stream I discovered the next year is a very small freestone stream. Back then I would go to an area to check out a new stream and not have a backup plan. I've learned from that experience to always have other options in mind.

Last edited by Trout Traveler; 01-13-2020 at 07:39 PM.
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Old 01-03-2020, 07:21 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by awaterfowler1 View Post
Trout Traveler,

I would like to thank you for taking the time to photograph and enter information about your outings. I feel like I am along for the ride and only wish I could be as accomplished a trout fisherman as you and your friends. Thanks again for taking us along !!!!!!
Thanks very much, I really appreciate the compliment about my posts and photography. My goal when writing my posts is for the reader to feel like he or she is on the stream with me.
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