Frank Nale's 2019 Trout Season Summary - The Outdoor Community
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Frank Nale's 2019 Trout Season Summary

Frank Nale's 2019 Trout Season Summary


Each year has a different personality. This year was characterized by a late spring, great water levels in the mountain streams in May and June, and decent flows in July and August. Unlike last year, when record rains essentially wiped out the fishing in the larger creeks in the autumn, this fall turned out to be just about perfect.

I do virtually all of my trout fishing in the central corridor of Pennsylvania, from Bedford County in the south to Potter County in the north, an area I consider the mecca of wild trout fishing in this state. This was my forty-first year to cast spinners for trout here.

I retired in June 2016. This gives me the freedom to fish mostly on weekdays when fewer anglers are out and about. The importance of being able to fish spinners over undisturbed populations of trout cannot be overstated. I believe this is the key reason why I had my second best year ever in 2019. I was able to fish an average of nearly once every three days for the entire year and ended up fishing more days and hours than I ever had in the prior forty years.

Highlights for the year included many wonderful trips to the remote north-central region, catching more big trout than usual, and reaching a personal milestone. A special little trout was also noteworthy. In addition, one spectacular junket to a little mountain creek in north-central Pennsylvania will never be forgotten.

In addition to catching thousands of gorgeous wild trout on spinners, I enjoyed taking over 4,000 digital photographs of the trout, streams, fauna, and flora that caught my eye while fishing in the mountains and valleys of our beautiful state.

Four of my favorite non-fishing shots are next:

Crimson-Eyed Rose-Mallow – growing in a swamp along the back road that parallels the Little Juniata River between Barree and Petersburg in Huntingdon County.

Columbine – clinging to a boulder over a brooklet in the mountains of Huntingdon County.

Maidenhair Fern – gracing the forest floor with its beauty and elegance.

Eastern Hemlock – with hemlock woolly adelgids decimating our state tree, it is always nice to find a healthy specimen shading a mountain brook.


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 that I have hooked, played, and landed.

After catching and releasing 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. I do not count time spent taking photographs or chatting with other anglers as fishing time. All of my fishing is done in streams that are open to free public angling.

Trout of the Year

Each year I bestow the title “Trout of the Year” on my most memorable trout. This year on May 8th, after having a slow morning on a nearly unfishable, tree-trunk-laden freestoner in Huntingdon County, I pretty much resolved myself to the fact that it was just not going to be a high-numbers day. Sure, I have had many slow starts only to salvage outings with a few spectacular hours on a second creek – that’s one of the hallmarks of spinner fishing, but this day just did not have that feel to it. So, for nostalgia purposes, I decided to drive to a nearby stream that I had not fished in many years.

My hope was to just catch enough trout to give me a reason to stay and see the place again since I knew it was possible that this rivulet could have gone completely dry during the drought of 2016. In the past it had produced both native brook and wild brown trout. In fact, I even caught a wild tiger trout here over thirty years ago. Since they are so rare that most trout anglers never catch even one in their entire lives, I had no expectation along those lines, though the thought did enter my mind.

It took about fifteen long minutes to hook my first trout, a 6” native brookie. Eight minutes and many tiny pools later a 9” wild brown grabbed my White Bead Gold spinner. Then I came to a wheelbarrow-sized pool where water entered by bubbling through some tree branches. As I retrieved my spinner a little trout darted out and nailed it. I set the hook and knew instantly by the lime-green color that I had my Trout of the Year -- a 5” wild tiger trout!

Most Productive Outing of the Year

Tucked in the wilds of north-central Pennsylvania, water gradually collects in a web of intersecting hollows to form this small mountain brook. As this water cascades down the mountain over logs and along boulders, it carves out habitat for native brook trout and wild brown trout. Suddenly it has my attention.

My first visit to this stream occurred in June 2017. I was on my way home from a successful day of fishing in the Susquehannock State Forest and on a whim just thought I would sample it. I had not done any prior research and did not even know if it held trout. Heck, I did not even know the name of the creek.

But the thirty-four native brookies and wild browns that I caught late that afternoon in 1.50 hours certainly got my attention, despite the general lack of good habitat.

With high expectations I returned a couple weeks later only to find low water and difficult angling. I caught just 61 trout in 5.25 hours while fishing nearly three miles of water. Although the fishing was disappointing, a memory was made that day when I caught one of the most attractive native brookies that I have ever seen.

A return visit during better flows did not materialize until the following year in early August during a historically wet summer. On that day I got to see just how impressive the creek can truly be, or so I thought at the time. I fished ten straight hours and quit only because I reached the point upstream where those hollows that I talked about earlier were still flowing over leaves and had not yet formed a trout stream. My notepad showed 235 trout were landed and released on my White Bead Gold spinner, mostly native brookies but with a sprinkling of wild browns thrown in for good measure.

The memory made that day was catching this colorful 12” native brookie. Luckily, the sun was shining through the forest canopy in one spot where I could pose the trout inside my new Brodin net which I was carrying to use strictly as a photo prop.

As you might expect, I was really looking forward to fishing this stream again in 2019. Sunday morning, May 26th, could not have come sooner as I tossed and turned all night. It was a relief when my alarm clock finally sounded. After quickly woofing down a bowl of Fruit Loops I pointed my SUV northward and headed to this stream once again, wondering if any new memories would be made this year.

I arrived early enough that I had time to walk over a mile to the stream before the dense forest canopy allowed enough light in to commence casting. I began fishing at 6:12 a.m. The air temperature was 60-degrees and the water temperature checked in at 54-degrees. The sky was a mix of clouds and sun; thunderstorms were forecasted for later in the day. The flow looked ideal.

As hoped I began picking up native brook trout immediately and with regularity. The first hour gave up sixteen trout, including two 9”ers and an 11”er. The second hour yielded an additional twenty-five. Clearly these trout rarely see an angler. I could tell something special was imminent but tried to keep my delight in check, knowing that there was always the chance of another angler starting ahead of me despite my SUV being parked in an obvious fishing spot with a “Catch & Release – WILD TROUT” license plate frame which would deter most educated anglers. A heavy thunderstorm could wipe out the day, too.

By 11:00 a.m. I already had 100 trout recorded in my small notepad.

A token wild brown trout was occasionally caught. A little before 3:00 p.m. I landed my 200th trout of the day.

The stream holds both native brook and wild brown trout so there is always the remote chance of catching a wild tiger trout. Most of my wild tiger trout have been caught in streams where native brook trout predominate and the population of wild browns is minimal. This little gem was my 199th trout of the day, my second wild tiger trout of the year, and 23rd of my life. Catching one of these rare fish is the thing that memories are made of.

Since I did not plan on fishing the next day (Memorial Day) and did not care what time I got home that night, and especially because the trout were still hitting like crazy, I continued fishing. How can you stop fishing when you are getting a strike on what seems like virtually every cast? But there comes a point where you have to quit – like when it gets too dark to see your spinner dangling on your line and you are so far into the headwaters that fishable water is becoming scarce.

At 8:00 p.m., after 13.00 hours of fishing (I deducted forty-eight minutes for taking photos -- I keep track of this in my notepad), I hooked my spinner to the biggest guide on my homemade spinning rod and reluctantly called it a day, surely my longest fishing marathon of all time. My notepad showed 321 trout had been caught, which is my best outing since a 333-trout day in 2004. The air temperature was a humid 64-degrees at this time and the water was 56-degrees.

For me one of the great pleasures after a satisfying day of fishing is the peaceful walk back to my SUV, particularly if it is warm and a light rain is falling. As I walked down the hollow – good thing I had a 200-lumen flashlight filled with fresh batteries with me – a loud chorus of wood frogs serenaded me from a nearby bog. A light rain began to fall which reminded me of how lucky I was that a major thunderstorm had not ended my day prematurely. I reflected on the new memories that I had made today and hoped those new raindrops would collect in the hollows and keep the stream flowing well enough for a return visit later this year.
drags, Loggy, fall gobbler and 6 others like this.

I can be contacted at [email protected].

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Other Trips to “God’s Country”

Technically speaking, Potter County, located in north-central Pennsylvania, is nicknamed “God’s County” due to its vast undisturbed wilderness. I tend to broaden the definition to include the entire north-central region since it is all sparsely populated and contains many freestone mountain streams. I cherish my trips there not only for the solitude, but because I can often start on a stream at daybreak and fish all day over an abundant population of wild trout that has not seen many anglers.

I typically wait until late May to head north to give the area time to warm up. The last thing I want to do is leave Blair County on a 45-degree morning and get up there and it is 30-degrees with frost on the ground. I also like to wait so that the early season angling crowd has dispersed somewhat. But this year I got an itch to go north on Tuesday, April 9th during a warm spell and just had to scratch it.

With an acceptable water temperature of 46-degrees at daybreak, the trout were out feeding and I ended up catching 116 trout – 46 native brookies and 70 wild browns – in 8.25 hours. I also encountered nine different ruffed grouse on the day. Six were drumming and I flushed three others. I probably would have heard a few more if the stream had not been roaring so loudly in the deep, rhododendron-filled ravine. I mention these thunder-chickens because West Nile virus is currently decimating the grouse population in the state, particularly in the lowlands, and it was nice to find a place that still has quite a few.

On May 24th I fished a tiny brook that I felt took a major hit from the drought of 2016. I caught 133 trout in 8.50 hours that day. The overall trout population did not seem anywhere near as high as normal, but by fishing nearly four miles I was able to have a good day. Interestingly, when I got far up into the headwaters the number of small brook trout in the 3” – 4” range was unbelievable. Some pools literally had thirty to forty little trout. This bodes well for the future.

I was not quite as lucky on July 2nd. That day I ventured to a similar small stream where I was pretty sure the trout population had suffered a near total collapse from the drought. On this day I caught 91 trout in 6.25 hours but fished 4.2 miles to catch that many. As I progressed up the mountain the trout population thinned until there were virtually no trout. I caught ten trout in .50 hours on another stream to round out the day with 101 trout.

I get excited when I see a stream flowing like this in Clinton County in June. Two trips to two different sections of this creek yielded a total of 372 trout. On June 11th I caught 156 trout in 8.75 hours and on June 28th I tallied 216 trout in 10.00 hours.

This 14” wild brown trout was the prize of the day on June 14th when I fished one of the more popular streams in the north-central region. I caught 160 trout that day in 9.00 hours, including briefly fishing two feeder streams, one of which I had never fished before but was highly recommended to me by someone. I caught four trout in a half hour on that stream.

A return visit on July 5th to the stream that I fished on May 26th when I caught 321 trout produced 202 trout in 10.00 hours.

My final trip to the northwoods was on July 11th. I caught 207 trout in 9.25 hours. My largest trout was a 16” stocked brookie, one of the few times in my life that I have caught a brook trout of that size. Unfortunately, it shook the hook while I was retrieving my camera.

Overall I spent nine days up north and caught 1,612 trout in 83.50 hours. That works out to an average of 179.11 trout per day and 19.30 trout per hour.

Statistical Summary and Analysis

I ended the year with 12,562 trout caught and released during 961.75 hours of fishing spread over 118 days astream.

This was my second best year ever and the thirteenth time that I have topped 10,000 trout in a year.

Historically my best five years are as follows:

2004: 14,688 trout
2019: 12,562 trout
2018: 12,073 trout
2001: 12,047 trout
2000: 12,029 trout

The 961.75 hours that I spent fishing were the most that I have ever spent in one year, a full sixty-nine hours more than my previous high of 892.75 hours in 2004. My average day of actual fishing time was about eight hours and nine minutes.

The 118 days that I fished in 2019 are the highest that I have ever had in one year. My previous high was 108 days in 2017.

I averaged 13.06 trout per hour (TPH) and 106.46 trout per day (TPD). This means that on average I caught a trout about every four minutes and thirty-six seconds. I have had many years where I have done much better in both of these categories. My highest ever TPH (16.45) and TPD (138.57) averages were both in 2004.

My best day yielded 321 trout in 13.00 hours (May 26th) and my worst day beared just 42 wild browns in7.75 hours (October 14th).

I fished a total of 61 different streams this year, twenty-five of which gave up 100 or more salmonids. Only two streams yielded no trout, but both were sampled for only fifteen minutes each.

My top stream coughed-up 3,992 trout in 282.75 hours during 44 days (14.11 TPH; 90.72 TPD). This stream surrendered one hundred trout or more on twenty-three of those forty-four days. It gave up 202 wild brown trout in ten hours of fishing on my top outing there.

The ten best creeks produced 8,568 trout in 629.50 hours (13.61 TPH), while the ten worst streams delivered just 39 trout in 4.50 hours (8.67 TPH).

Of the top ten streams, seven were limestone or limestone-influenced streams and three were freestone creeks. When rainfall is adequate I tend to focus on freestone streams, saving the limestoners for drier weather in order to take maximum advantage of both types of streams. Because they are fed by aquifers rather than surface runoff water, limestoners maintain their flow better than freestone streams during dry weather.

On a lifetime basis my best stream, a limestoner, has yielded 99,410 trout, which is slightly less than one third of my lifetime total of 303,882 trout caught on spinners.

I can be contacted at [email protected].

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I caught 100 trout or more on 76 of the 118 days that I fished, which is ten fewer than the record 86 triple-figure outings that I had in 2004 out of 106 days fished. These 76 days yielded 9,767 trout.

On a lifetime basis I now have 1,629 “Century Club” days. My permanent fishing logs show that I have landed 213,142 trout during these 1,629 days.

A breakdown of the 12,562 trout by species reveals 9,506 browns (7,621 were 7” or longer; 1,885 were under 7”), 2,505 brookies (1,158 were 7” or longer; 1,347 were under 7”), 548 rainbows (468 were legal-size; 80 were sub-legal), two sub-legal wild tigers, and one legal-size golden rainbow. Overall, 9,248 trout were 7” or longer (73.62%); 3,314 were sub-legal (26.38%). The vast majority (likely 95% or more) of the brook and brown trout that I caught were stream-bred.

Big Trout Analysis

I caught 82 trout that were 16” or longer (aka “hawgs”), which ranks second in my lifetime behind the 101 large trout that I caught in 2005. My third best year was 67 hawg trout in 1998, so 2019 was clearly an outstanding year for big trout. The most hawgs that I have ever caught in one day is fifteen on October 13, 2005, while my best month is 35 in October of 2005.

My big-trout analysis shows 59 browns, 22 rainbows, and one rare stocked brook trout. These trout were all caught and released from twenty-two different streams. Seventy came from fourteen limestone or limestone-influenced streams, while twelve were caught in eight purely freestone creeks. The best stream, a large limestone-influenced creek, yielded seventeen. Coming in second and third place were two other large limestone or limestone-influenced creeks, yielding fourteen and nine respectively. Of all of my large trout, nearly half (40) came from just three creeks. My top freestoner gave up just three (all stocked fish).

Each year I typically catch most of my large trout in limestone streams and this year was no different. Of the remaining dozen big trout that I caught in freestone streams, to my knowledge only six of them were wild trout, which shows how rare it is for me to catch large wild trout in freestone streams. I spend a lot of time on small freestone steams in May and June when the water levels are often ideal and rarely catch large trout in these places.

I attribute this year’s success with big trout on the moderate flows we had on the larger streams in the autumn. Statistically I catch most of my large trout in the fall. This year I caught forty-eight hawgs in the period September through November. Last year we had record rainfall, which severely limited my time on large streams, and I caught just seventeen during this same period out of only twenty-six total big trout for the entire year.

I broke the 20” barrier just four times, all with stocked rainbow trout. Two of these rainbows were 20”, one was 22”, and the largest was 24”. It is interesting to note that I fished 961.75 hours this year and the two largest rainbows were caught in two different pools on the same stream within minutes of each other. The 24” rainbow is in this photo.

My biggest brown trout were four 19”ers – all wild as best I could tell. Two were hooked in tiny limestone runs and two came from larger limestone waterways.

Historically my best five years for hawgs are as follows:

2005: 101
2019: 82
1998: 67
2010: 63
2017: 60

In addition, I also caught 60 trout that were in the 15”-to-under-16” category, so overall I caught 142 trout that were 15” or better. Although 142 trout of this size is only 1.13% of the total 12,562 trout that I caught, I believe most Pennsylvania anglers who do not target large trout and fish only streams that are open to free, general-public angling, would be quite satisfied with the number of mature trout that I caught. (I did not fish any Keystone Select waters in 2019 – never have. I have also never fished for steelhead.)

On a lifetime basis I have caught 1,531 trout that were 16” or longer in my forty-one years of casting spinners. This is equal to around one-half of one percent of the total trout that I have caught, or about one hawg for every 199 trout that I have landed.

This year I thought I would add a daily log of all of the days that I fished to my year-end summary. This first page (of four) shows that it took me until May 26th (30th outing) to get my trout-per-day average up to one hundred.

During June I was able to catch one hundred trout or more on every outing.

Water levels dropped substantially in August and September and sometimes I had to avoid streams where I thought the water temperature might be too high. Every stream that I fished in these two months was either a limestone or limestone-influencd stream. Stream choice became exceedingly difficult in September while I waited for some of the larger streams to cool down.

October turned out to be an exceptional month for large trout, second only to October 2005’s thirty-five hawgs.

300,000th Trout

One of the pleasures of keeping detailed statistics is that I can celebrate little milestones along the way. I will never forget fastening this vanity license plate to the front of my green Geo Tracker parked along Route 6 in Potter County on August 13, 1994, over fifteen years after beginning to fish with spinners on June 3, 1979.

On June 11, 2000 I caught my 100,000th trout from a very special stream in Blair County that holds many beautiful native brook trout, and on June 24, 2009 I hit 200,000 trout on a tiny gem in Potter County.

As of the end of 2018 I had caught 291,320 trout on spinners and needed just 8,680 trout to hit another milestone.

In the past I had planned a special place to reach a milestone but this year it happened somewhat unexpectedly on August 8th on a small limestone stream in Centre County. I would like to tell you that number 300,000 was 20” wild brown, but in reality it was a colorful 5” wild brown trout that slipped my treble hook while I was retrieving my camera. Either way, it was still another special moment.

Wildlife Event of the Year

This year I really did not have any particularly exciting or extraordinary wildlife events, but I did see a couple things that I thought were somewhat unusal. The first one occurred on a hot day in mid July. I was fishing at a swift, thigh-deep pool on a remote mountain stream when I was shocked to see a fawn in the water only about fifteen feet away moving downstream toward me. Only its head and rump were sticking out of the water. As I dug out my camera it passed so close to me that I could have easily touched it with my rod tip. It continued wading downstream for as far as I could see. My guess is that it was just trying to cool off. It paid no attention to me.

Wood turtles typically spend the winter hibernating on the bottom of slow, deep pools hidden among the decaying leaves. That is why I was surprised to see this juvenile wood turtle (6” long) that had climbed up on a branch to sun itself on December 27th. The water temperature was 40-degrees and the air temperature was 46-degrees at the time. It was a cloudy, breezy day, too. Maybe it was trying to shed the unattached leech, which I removed?

I can be contacted at [email protected].

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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 12,472 trout on my homemade White Bead Gold spinners and 90 on Pink Tread Silver spinners.

On a lifetime basis, of the 303,882 trout that I have caught during the last forty-one years on spinners, not surprisingly, White Bead Gold, which I designed in 1982, has produced the most with 173,975 trout. Coming in second is Copper BladeD Copper with 57,002 (see photo). Pink Tread Silver is next with 37,659, and Green Diamond Silver rounds out the top four with 22,574 trout. I have caught 291,210 trout (95.83%) on just these four homemade spinner designs. I believe the reason I have caught the most 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 more than twenty-seven consecutive years. My records show that since February 15, 1992 (through December 31, 2019), I have gone fishing on 2,689 days and have caught 268,907 trout in 20,645.25 hours. This averages out to 100.00 TPD and 13.02 TPH, or one trout about every four minutes and thirty-six seconds.

Also, on a lifetime basis I have now caught 303,882 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-two 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 3,126 days since the last time I got skunked. I believe these statistics support my statement.

10,000 Trout Average for Twenty-Five Years

While compiling my statistics I noticed that I have now averaged 10,000 trout per year over the last twenty-five 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 trout or more in a day in May and June. It also shows that I have the highest probability of consistently catching large trout in meteorological autumn (September, October and November).

Homemade Spinning Rods

In January and February I assembled five new rods. The top two rods were made with St. Croix 2S66ULF 6’6” spinning rod blanks cut down from the butt end to 5’1”. The bottom three rods were made with MHX S661 5’6” spinning rod blanks cut down to 5’1”. I buy most of my rod building parts at Mud Hole ( The two-piece 8” cork handles with movable graphite slip rings came from Jann’s Netcraft (

I used the rod at the bottom wrapped with neon green thread until it broke a few inches from the tip in late May after it got hung up on a tiny one-twig sapling. I twitched the rod to get it loose to no avail and then mistakenly pulled on the line from down near the reel. It snapped instantly. I’m guessing that it was already weak because it should not have broken so easily.

The rod with the guides wrapped with yellow thread lasted a couple months until it broke while making an underhand flip cast. On the backswing the spinner hooked itself on the bottom of my fishing vest. I unknowingly continued with the cast and the rod violently snapped in two places. This was the third rod that I have broken after the spinner got hooked on my clothing.

For the remainder of the year I used the St. Croix rod at the top of the photo. At first I thought it was much too wimpy but I grew to like it and landed quite a few large trout with it.

Note that I put inch-markers on my rods so that I can quickly measure the trout I catch. I used to make the thread wraps with subdued colors because I am a firm believer in remaining as hidden as possible while fishing, but I have learned that I like bright colors since it makes it much easier to measure trout in low light situations while wearing polarized sunglasses.

A “Reel” Deal

I use Shimano Stradic CI4+ 1000HG spinning reels. This year in June when I was purchasing yet another one at Field & Stream the sales associate asked me if I wanted to buy the extended two-year warranty for $45.00. I never knew such a thing even existed. Since I have never had a reel that lasted even close to one year, much less two, it was a no-brainer. Besides, I had a 20% coupon for the reel, and since the retail price of the reel was $225.00 that meant the coupon covered the cost of the warranty. I jumped on it.

For the fun of it I kept track of how many hours of fishing time I got out of the reel before it broke. It lasted 245.75 hours before the bail suddenly weakened on the 32nd day. Unlike other spinning reels that I have used, once the bail tension weakens with these Stradic reels, even closing the bail manually does not work because the bail goes totally limp. Unknown to me, had I not waited a couple days before I returned it to the store it would have qualified for a replacement reel under the 90-day warranty.

Anyway, they gave me a replacement reel for free but I had to purchase the two-year warranty again since I had cashed-in the first one. This next Stradic lasted 204.50 hours and broke on the 26th day of use. Since the local Field & Stream store had closed, I took it to Dick’s. They honored the 90-day warranty so I did not have to purchase the two-year extended warranty again. For someone who goes through as many reels as I do this is a real deal.

Helium Balloons

I find and remove about fifteen helium balloons every year while fishing. For some reason they seem to settle in and along trout streams. Although I think there should be a law against legalized littering (i.e., balloon releases at events), I actually found this balloon to be kind of pretty.

I had two photographs published this year (yeah) in the Spring 2019 issue of Wildlife for Everyone’s “Pennsylvania Wildlife” magazine ( with my brother Mark’s article entitled, “OFF THE GRID.” His article is about fishing little-known, non-stocked trout streams, which is a specialty of mine. For those of you who do not know, Mark is a retired high school biology teacher (Tyrone Area) and a well-known and highly respected Pennsylvania outdoor writer and nature photographer.


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. Because you have to cover a lot of water to catch a lot of trout, spinner fishing also requires walking many miles. I believe this has helped me to remain relatively thin and reasonably physically fit for my age.

I also like to hunt deer with a rifle. This year the season opened on a Saturday for the first time in my hunting career, which I am totally in favor of because I remember how much I hated missing college classes for a day back in the late 1970’s to hunt on Opening Day. Knowing that I had to rush off to college as soon as I got home also kind of soured the day back then, too. I passed on a thin-tined eight-point buck on the opening Saturday but lucked into this compact, chocolate-tined eight-pointer late in the day on the first Monday during a beautiful snowstorm.

Taking digital photographs for the seventh 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 on the internet.

Interestingly, in 2019 I fished just eleven times on weekend days (only three Saturdays) and 107 times on weekdays. Being retired affords me the opportunity to better use the weather and water conditions to my advantage when selecting the best streams for certain days of fishing. Besides this, there is nothing more important than being the first one to fish over a population of wild trout each day. This is why I now rarely fish on weekends, and why I still, like always, virtually always start fishing at daybreak. It takes a lot of effort, such as sometimes getting up as early as 3:00 a.m. to drive to Potter County, but it pays huge dividends.

One thing that does concern me is the ever increasing presence of common mergansers, a duck that dives under the water to hunt trout. Not only do I think they can have a major impact on trout populations, they can put down virtually all of the trout in a stream for great distances. I have run into small flocks of them in north-central Pennsylvania and they can easily ruin the fishing on a half mile of water for the day. Though I cannot prove that they are the sole cause, I know of a mile stretch on a small mountain freestoner where a pair of common mergansers has lived for a few years and trout are scarce there now. Obviously, it is impossible to plan around them like I can do with the weather, stream levels, and to a large extent, other anglers.

As always, I hope to remain in good health in 2020 so that I can continue to feed my addiction to trout fishing. I guess trout fishing is a disease – and I have it pretty bad.

- Frank Nale –

Note: The next two pages are the handout that I give out when I do my “Spin Fishing for Trout” seminars.

Pa-Guy, drags, Loggy and 7 others like this.

I can be contacted at [email protected].

Last edited by FrankTroutAngler; 01-22-2020 at 07:26 PM.
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post #5 of 55 (permalink) Old 01-22-2020, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
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I can be contacted at [email protected].

Last edited by FrankTroutAngler; 01-22-2020 at 07:29 PM.
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post #6 of 55 (permalink) Old 01-23-2020, 11:26 PM
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When is your next seminar around Pittsburgh? Thanks Amazing

I LOVE Hunting,Fishing, my Excalibur and that thing that makes men weak and starts wars.
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post #7 of 55 (permalink) Old 01-24-2020, 09:38 AM
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I always look forward to reading your reviews. Your spinners have served me well. I didn't get out much this past year, but I'll be seeking some more!
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post #8 of 55 (permalink) Old 01-24-2020, 12:47 PM
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post #9 of 55 (permalink) Old 01-24-2020, 09:54 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BMAN View Post
When is your next seminar around Pittsburgh? Thanks Amazing
I did a seminar in Sewickley last May but I don't have any planned for this year.

If you or anyone else on here knows of a fishing or hunting club (or a Trout Unlimited chapter) that is looking for a speaker please have them consider me. My email address is [email protected].

I'll likely post an advertisement on here the next time I do a seminar. Right now I have none scheduled anywhere.

- Frank Nale -

I can be contacted at [email protected].
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post #10 of 55 (permalink) Old 01-24-2020, 10:08 PM
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Thank you very much for taking the time to post for us.
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