Trout Scout

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has begun stocking trout in streams around Pennsylvania. Even though the trout season doesn’t start until April 12th for my neck of the woods, to increase chances of success, it is worthwhile to scout these streams.

If you are in the same boat, and want to get a head start compared to other anglers, here are a few tips to scouting and viewing fish in streams:

  1. Polarized glasses help cut through the glare.


  2. To avoid spooking fish, keep a low profile, and use any cover available such as trees or boulders. Fish that remain undisturbed are more likely to be in a feeding behavior.

  3. Although murky water makes fish tough to see, it also makes it more difficult for fish to see you. This means you are a little less dependent on using cover and staying down.

  4. Periodically pick a reference point, such as a dark rock, stand very still, and watch for movement. It may only be a subtle shift.

  5. Try looking in contrasting areas where possible. For example, dark fish over light sandy bottoms, or light fish near dark pebbles.

  6. Consider places where fish might like to rest, such as slower, deeper pools, or below a fallen log. But keep in mind other anglers will find these places too, so also find those fish occupying locations that are more likely to be overlooked.

  7. Once you pick out that shape and color of that first fish, others should begin to materialize.

Seeing is believing. And hope. There is a palpable boost of confidence and a building excitement from just catching a glimpse of these glorious fish. However, I should also warn that it may lead to some sleepless nights until trout season.

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Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad. He says there are “people who fish”… and there are “fishermen”.  One of the few things he knows is that he is a “fisherman”...  To the point it could be classified as borderline illness.  Sharing this obsession is rewarding, therapeutic. He likes to encourage people to “stop and smell the crappie."  Enjoys catching fish, but gets a greater thrill out of helping someone else hook up.
Born in Florida, but raised on the banks of Oklahoma farm ponds. Now relocated to western Pennsylvania. He has fished, worked, lived all around the US.  He has a B.S. in Zoology from Oklahoma State as well...
And he met his wife while electrofishing. He has been contributing weekly to since 2011.