|The Lancaster Fly Fishing Show will be held on Saturday & Sunday March 1 and 2 at the Lancaster County Convention Center. With approved trout waters closed to fishing it would be a great way to spend a day while we wait for the early season opener of the 2014 trout season. The show will host a number of fly-fishing experts to give classes and demonstrations on casting, retrieving and fly-fishing basics while vendors line the walls with everything you need to explore this very challenging method of angling. For more information, feel free to check it out on the web at http://www.flyfishingshow.com/Lancaster.html.
N. Berks County / W. Schuylkill County
It’s February and we are in the grip of some frigid weather. Nonetheless, it is time to start thinking about spring and trout stocking. The finalized schedule has been published and is available on this website. A few comments about stocking:
First, if you are aware of an area that has the potential to be stocked, or should potentially not be stocked because of posting or other concerns, please contact the PFBC Region Office prior to stocking season. Before stocking starts, it has been pre-planned where and how many fish will be stocked in any given stream in order to distribute the fish as evenly as possible taking into consideration factors such as access, stream condition, etc. Sometimes it becomes necessary to modify this plan based on something unexpected being encountered along the way. However, whether a property has the potential to be opened is known well in advance of the stocking. If you are aware of a landowner who is open to the idea of allowing stocking and fishing on his property please have him contact the Region Office so that that individual can be contacted directly by the District WCO. If you are not the landowner, please do not ask to have trout stocked on someone else’s property; it won’t happen.
Second, for those who wish to float stock (and there are quite a few in this district). Do not show up the day of the stocking with a float and expect to get fish. As was previously mentioned, the distribution has been planned beforehand. Additionally, in order to comply with PFBC policy, the WCO needs to know exactly where you are releasing your fish. Therefore, unless you have coordinated beforehand you will likely not be float stocking that day. The reason this occurs is exemplified by an incident in the recent past where the load of fish was a little heavier than expected and the decision was made to allow a “show up” float stocker to take and distribute some fish. The District WCO walked the entire stream section two days later and only found trout in one area. If you are interested in assisting the people who are already float stocking, please contact the Region Office with your information and we will pass it along. Be sure to include the stream(s) you are interested in so that the information goes to the appropriate District WCO.
Third, if you are helping carry buckets, be advised that stops are made in specific areas for specific reasons. Carrying a bucket a reasonable distance up or down stream is not a problem. The key word is reasonable. There is a very short window between putting the fish in the bucket and getting them in the water in order to minimize stress and mortality. Additionally, there may be concerns as to habitat quality, distance to posted property, etc., that may be made problematic by carrying fish long distances from the stocking point.
Fourth, if you are following the stocking, do just that. Obviously many stocking points are used repeatedly and become well known. This tends to result in some individuals “leapfrogging” the patrol vehicle and stocking truck. Traffic control and safety of persons assisting with and observing the stocking is one of the main concerns of the WCO. No vehicles should ever pull off in front of the lead vehicle (generally a patrol vehicle) thereby obscuring the safety lights, nor should they pull in behind the tail vehicle if it is displaying safety lights. If you do, you will be asked to move along. This defeats the purpose of having vehicles with safety lights in those positions. Additionally, if it is not possible to position the lead vehicle and stocking unit at the stocking point in a safe manner that minimizes traffic problems to the greatest extent possible because the area is congested with the vehicles of either anglers waiting for the stocking truck or “leapfroggers” that particularly stop may be skipped on that day.
Lastly, please exercise some common sense. If there is no room for your vehicle to be safely stopped at a particular stocking point do not stop there. Look before opening your vehicle door, getting out, or crossing the highway. Use the hazard flashers on your vehicle. Follow any instructions the WCO may give you. If you are carrying buckets, be mindful of your physical ability, the terrain, and weather conditions. Carrying a bucket of fish is not worth being injured or killed over.
Above all, be safe.
E. Berks County / S. Montgomery County
With the upcoming Mentored Youth Trout Day on March 22, anglers should understand the designated areas for this event:
E.Berks: Lake Antietam
Only the lake itself will be open for this one-day event. The stream downstream will remain closed until the regional opening day of Trout Season on March 29. Anglers are reminded to be safe when parking along the road and crossing the street as this is a busy area with lots of traffic.
N. Montgomery: Deep Creek Dam
Deep Creek Lake is considered approved trout waters, but the adjoining lake “Knight Lake” is not considered approved trout waters, as it is not stocked with trout. This is also true for the Perkiomen Creek downstream of Knight Lake, as it is not approved trout waters and does not close. I encourage anglers to keep the kids around Deep Creek Lake though as this is where all the stocked trout will be. Montgomery County does allow small boats with electric motors only on Deep Creek Lake just keep in mind our new mandatory wear life jacket policy, which will remain in effect until April 30.
S. Berks County / N. Lancaster County
The weather outside might be frightening, but the ice fishing has been great! Finally, after two years of little or no ice, we are into solid ice conditions, and fish are being caught everywhere. Trout, bass, pickerel, crappie, yellow perch, panfish, and a few northern pike, just depends on the waterway your fishing. Scott’s Run Lake and Kaercher Creek Lake were both stocked the end of last year, and trout are hitting on wax worms and mealies.
The Peter’s Creek arm of Lake Ontelaunee always draws a big crowd, fish the upper part of the cove with large minnows if you are after big bass and northern pike.
Also, try the shoreline along Route 73 at Lake Ontelaunee for crappie.
Blue Marsh Lake near Mt. Pleasant is another area for nice size crappie.
Naturally, the fish are not going to jump out of the holes, so if you are not into fish, move around! Change baits, change lures, change depth, try jigging, or just let it sit, and keep mixing it up. Do not forget to be safe, wear a lifejacket, or better yet, invest in a float coat, and cleats are necessary. Springtime is just around the corner, and preseason trout stocking begins in March. Enjoy!
S. Chester County
The ice fishing at Struble Reservoir continues to be productive. Walleye to 24 inches, many nice size perch and panfish all being caught. Best baits are small silver spoons or crappie baits jigged just off the bottom, or fathead minnows and mealworms fished about a foot above the bottom on tip-ups. Best area seems to be straight off the boat launch and slightly left towards the dam and about 75 to 100 yards from shore. Ice is not monitored so make sure it is safe before you go out, wear a life jacket and take a friend along.
The West Caln Sportsmen’s Club will give a Hunter Trapper Education Class on March 22 at their club located at 1271 Telegraph Road. Classes fill up quickly and pre-registration is required. This class is required to purchase a hunting license. You can register at www.pgc.state.pa.us and select the education link or if you do not have access to a computer, you can call 610-857-2487.
The Orvis Store in Downingtown at 70 Quarry Rd, Downingtown Pa. 19335 will offer a free course Fly-Tying 101 on Saturday February 22. The course will cover everything that the beginning fly angler will need to know to get started in tying. For more information you can call the store at 610-873-8400 or visit the website at www.orvis.com/downingtown.
If you live in Southern Chester County on the south side of 322, consider coming out this year and helping to stock the approved trout waters. The approved waters include Beaver Creek, Buck Run, Brandywine West Branch, Pocopson Creek, East Branch Elk & Big Elk Creeks, Octoraro Creek East Branch (in season only), and four sections of the White Clay Creek (including one Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Section). We had very little help last year on some of the stockings, which made it difficult to distribute the fish as evenly as we would have liked to. We often get the anglers who want to call in and complain that his favorite hole was not well stocked or the fish were not evenly distributed, or for reasons of bad weather and proximity to the road and or, for lack of help, it may have had to been passed by altogether. The first thing we ask is if they came along to help stock and the usual answer is no. Stocking is a lot of fun and gives you a chance to give something back to the resource. It is also a great way to spend a day with a kid and to get them off the web and video games for a while. The web site below has been updated and will give you all the dates, times and meeting locations for any county in Pennsylvania. Thanks in advance for your help.
If you live in Chester County and would like to get involved with a club that supports activities such as the Chester County Envirothon, The Special Needs Fishing Rodeo, Invasive Plant Removal, Trail Maintenance, as well as the preservation of Chester County's History, then you might want to consider The Friends of Hibernia. The Friends of Hibernia is a group which assists the Chester County Parks and Recreation Department to carry out its objectives for Hibernia County Park, including the encouragement of the restoration and preservation of the Hibernia Mansion, general improvement of the park facilities, and the advancement of educational and recreational benefits to the citizens of Chester County. Membership information can be obtained by mail to Friends of Hibernia, Post Office Box 355, Wagontown, PA. 19376. Meetings are held on the 4th Thursday of the month at 7:30 PM at Hibernia County Park, 610-383-3812.
The Middle Branch White Clay Creek Delayed Harvest will be stocked with Trout on Thursday February 20. We will be meeting at noon at Kerr Park. Officer Bonney will be stocking the East Branch Brandywine DHAL first and we will then lead the truck down to Good Hope Road off 896 to stock the Middle Branch of the White Clay Creek Delayed Harvest Section. To get to the White Clay Creek Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only section, take Route 41 to just south of Avondale and turn right (south) on Penn Green Road. Follow Penn Green Road to Good Hope Road and turn right on Good Hope. Go past Bank Road and Crestwood Road and you will come to the top of the Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures only section of the White Clay, which is the Good Hope Road Bridge over the Middle Branch of the White Clay Creek.
Posted below are a few pictures of ice on the lower Susquehanna River taken on 1/29/14. Photo #1 and Photo #2 were taken at the USGS stream gage location just below PFBC Marietta. Photo #1 is looking south toward the Route 30 bridge and Photo #2 is looking upriver toward Accomac. Photo #3 is taken Columbia looking west along the Route 462 bridge.
Photos Courtesy of DWCO Dave Schreck
The presence of ice on the Susquehanna River can present extremely hazardous conditions to boaters. Due to the Susquehanna's shallow and rocky nature, ice on the moving water often gets stuck on the bottom, forming ice jams. These ice jams can hold back water like a dam, creating local flooding conditions even while the river level is very low. Water builds up behind the ice jam until the force of the water is enough to break the jam free. Once this happens, the backwater is suddenly released causing a surge flow of rapidly moving water and ice. These ice jam releases are very unpredictable and can create extremely dangerous conditions with no warning. Pockets of open water that appear to be safe for boating can become turbulent and full of ice from an ice jam release upstream, trapping unsuspecting boaters. Boating on the Susquehanna River during ice coverage is not recommended, but boaters who do venture out this time of year must use extreme caution and pay close attention to their surroundings. Before heading out, check the USGS stream gages for signs of ice jams and backwater. A rapidly rising stream gage reading that is not proportional to the river flow can be a sign of an ice jam choking off the river below the gage. Boating in these areas should be strictly avoided. Also, call the Lower Susquehanna River Hotline, a public service provided by Safe Harbor Water Power Corp., for daily river condition updates at 800-692-6328.
E. Philadelphia County
Please know the waters that you fish and boat in. Anglers, regardless of residence or point of boat launch, are required to comply with the state in which they are fishing. An approximate centerline of the river will be used to determine state line along the Delaware River.
Trout Stockings will take place during spring break this year. We expect many children at the stockings. Please do your best to help them while letting them have the experience of stocking. One of these stocking will take place on April 15th at Loch Alsh Reservoir and the Wissahickon Creek at Fort Washington. The other will take place on the 16th of April at Levittown Lake.
This year, please join us in the Philadelphia Area for the Youth Mentored Fishing Day on March 22, 2014 at Levittown Lake in Bucks Co. To participate, anglers 16 years of age or older (adult anglers) must possess a valid Pennsylvania fishing license and current trout/salmon permit and be accompanied by a youth (less than 16 years of age) who has obtained a Mentored Youth fishing permit or Voluntary Youth fishing license from the Commission.Youth anglers must obtain a Mentored Youth fishing permit or Voluntary Youth fishing license from the Commission and be accompanied by an adult angler in order to participate. Youth permits and voluntary licenses will be available beginning February 1, 2014, at GoneFishingPA.com or at any of the fishing license agents across the state.
E. Schuylkill County
Tuscarora Lake has had a number of ice anglers on it so far this month. Fishing has been slow with a few trout, perch, and bluegills occasionally biting. Pickerel are biting on medium to large shiners near the mouth of Locust Creek.
Locust Lake has been slow fishing as well, but a few trout and perch are being caught as well as some pickerel.
Auburn Dam near Landingville has safe ice near the edges and in the coves but still has some open water near the middle. Bluegills and perch are biting on wax worms near the Boat Club cove.