Opening Day Review

Several hard rains made many larger streams unfishable on Opening Day in Western Pennsylvania. In fact, our original plan to visit a location 75 miles northeast was cancelled. However, my son, Luke, (10) has been dreaming of this day for “1 year, 8 months, and 19 days” so we ventured to a small stream near Emlenton, PA.

Power bait, which is like a brightly colored dough ball, had been recommended to us and Luke landed two 12” rainbow trout in about 3 minutes. With the release of the second, he put his pole down and did a “happy dance” on the bank, before resuming fishing.

We could not see fish with the high, murky water, but played on hunches of their location in the stream, adjusting the amount of split shot a few inches above the Powerbait to keep some contact with the bottom, but without snagging. When the big one hit, Luke was speechless but I saw his light spinning rod bend and the tail slap so I raced to grab the net.

My only position to net the fish was upstream. The current pushed the bag closed and I fumbled with the net and almost lost his fish. A quick measurement in the net was 20.5”, but it might have been a tad longer. Hey, every ½ inch counts. He held it for a few photos, released it, and as he watched it swim off I heard him say, “Thank you, fish.”

The next 15 minutes we just sort of sat there by the stream in a daze, “processing,” as he said.

An eco-friendly replica from Mount This Fish Co. has been ordered, hopefully arriving in time for his birthday in a couple of weeks.

We gave “Opening Day of Trout” two thumbs up!  How was your “Opening Day?”

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Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb

Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.