Trout Tradition

“The only thing better than catching fish is putting someone on fish, who doesn’t fish much.” Luke Whitcomb (12)

Opening Day of Trout has always been a really big deal in Pennsylvania. Scores of anglers that have been maintaining their sanity over the brutal winters by punching holes in ice and huddling in a shanty are now free to cast for the millions of rainbow, brown, and brook trout the state loads into streams throughout the state. But because much of the state’s streams are just a “put-and-take” fishery, after April 18th, the majority of these hatchery fish will be toted off, destined for melted butter.

To help increase the opportunities for young anglers, the state has started “Mentored Youth Trout Days” which allow kids to get an early jump on the season. The previous two years, the program was held at a handful of select locations, throughout the state. However this year, an adult angler possessing a PA fishing license and a trout stamp, could take youths fishing in any stocked waters, as long as it wasn’t a special regulation area.

So we did. And so did a bunch of others. On April 11, a full week before Opening Day of Trout, it was great to see so many smiling kids out fishing with mentors. And starting, perhaps, a new trout tradition.

My daughter had never caught a trout so we thought this might be a great time. The morning didn’t start off well as she awakened with an upset stomach but she soon recovered and was still up for our outing. Her older brother caught the first fish, then politely stepped aside and spent much of the rest of his time netting her fish and showing her how to handle them. It was chilly enough that when she said she was cold, and her brother had already filled one boot with brisk stream trout water, we hopped back in the warm truck and called it a day.

When taking kids, remember the old saying: “always leave them wanting more.”

And she does.

Spread the word about the Mentored Youth Trout Day so we could have the tradition passed on to other states. If you don’t yet have your fishing license, visit our states page to be redirected to your state DNR’s page.

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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.