|You have posed a variation of the question just about every
trout angler has pondered at some point in time: "where's the best place for me to fish?" For as
many times as we've been asked the question, there's still no one single right answer. There are
so many variables that affect fishing success, that the question is impossible to answer with a
reasonable degree of certainty. Resource factors such as stream size, flow rates and relative
water clarity play a part. So do things like fishing pressure. It's usually the angler him- or
herself that determines success more so than the specific waterway. Fishing skill, fishing
method and amount of time spent on the water are the best predictors of angling success.
stocking numbers alone only tell part of the story. The Commission allocates trout to stream
sections on the basis of a resource classification system. Based on the information collected
from our stream examination surveys, we evaluate the biological, chemical, physical and social
attributes of a stream section. Under this system, stream sections are placed into one of 11
specific stocking categories. Stream sections with similar attributes are placed into the same
stocking category and treated the same in terms of stocking rates (number of trout stocked per
acre) on a statewide basis. So a big stream in a rural area with limited angler access may get
3,000 fish. Meanwhile a smaller stream near a population center with plenty of easy access may
get 1,000 trout. Although the total number of fish is higher for the first stream, the second
stream is actually stocked at a higher rate proportionally.
Keep in mind that higher stocking rates do not always translate into a better chance of
success. Individual angler success may be more related to selecting the type of water that is
most compatible with your fishing skills. This is where you have to decide what type of stream
to visit. Factors such as the size of the stream may come into play, as you may be a person that
tends to do better on a smaller stream or you may like moderate to larger size streams. You
might want to consider location as well. The number of other anglers likely fishing a highly
stocked stream near an urban area might not have as much appeal to you as a small headwater
stream in a remote woods with fewer anglers to compete with.
Ultimately, you will have to be the one to decide which type of experience that you want to
fish on opening day. Most of all, remember to have fun when you are out there on opening day.
Its a great time of the year to enjoy outdoor recreation.
For help deciding on where to fish be sure to check out our Regional Information/Guide page.