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Saturday's trout opener is often a family affair

This youngster proudly displays his 22-inch rainbow he caught during last years trout opener
This youngster proudly displays his 22-inch rainbow he caught during last years trout opener
by Nick Hromiak

Saturday’s trout opener here in the southeastern part of Pennsylvania, has always been sort of a family affair. Veteran anglers often bring the wife, kids and grandkids to this spring spectacle where freshly stocked trout provide the entertainment. It’s a time when anglers set up party tents, fire up charcoal or gas grille’s to cook hot dogs, hamburgers, even a trout once one is caught. It’s a party atmosphere and this weekend should see somewhat higher temperatures but unfortunately with rain predicted. That should limit the crowds somewhat, but the diehards won’t let raindrops dampen their trout season party.

According to Bob Danenhower from Bob’s Bait, Tackle and Taxidermy shop in Orefield, if it’s cold on opening day and taking kids along, don’t let them get cold or wet because they’ll come to dislike the experience and the conditions will deter them from making fishing a life-ling sport. Dress them appropriately and make every attempt to keep them interested despite the conditions.

Danenhower also offers these cold weather-fishing facts.

“The optimum water temp for active feeding or fishing action is 58 degrees for brook and brown trout. Rainbows prefer 61 degrees give or take a few degrees. Under 44 can make for some tough fishing,” he opines.

Trout, he explains, are cold blooded and cold temps mean their metabolism is very slow. “As such, they will not be looking for a big meal so keep your baits small and your retrieve slow.”

Danenhower goes on to say that under these cool weather conditions anglers using power type baits should downsize their hooks and offerings. Baits such as mealworms, butter worms, wax worms, small minnows and small pieces of night crawlers and red worms, will work better than larger baits.

“If you can locate where springs (that usually maintain 52 degree’s) or spring fed tributaries that enter streams and rivers, fishing down-stream from them is usually productive,” Danenhower concludes.

In past years it’s been my impression that during cold weather conditions, trout fishing customarily improves closer to noon and early afternoon when the sun – if it’s not a cloudy day – warms the water. Sure, you’re always going to catch a few of the dumb hungry ones after the 8 a.m. opening. But then after a bunch are caught, the action generally subsides until the waters warm.

My advice for opening day is to take rain gear because it sounds like we’re going to need it. And don’t’ forget to take a kid(s) along.


Because of many lakes and pond are still frozen or partially frozen and some a few have 19 inches of ice on them, the PF&BC has decided to postpone the Mentored Youth Fishing Day that was scheduled for March 22 and April 5.

The PF&BC has reset the youth day until May 10 statewide. Those selected waters (as listed in the Fishing/Boating Digest), will allow mentored youths to fish from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. The selected waters will be closed to fishing from noon May 9 until 8 a.m. on May 10. This is being done to insure there are plenty of trout available to anglers on those waters.

To participate in this program, adult anglers (16 and older) must have a valid fishing license and a trout/salmon permit and be accompanied by a youth. Youth anglers must obtain a free PFBC issued permit or voluntary youth fishing license.


The Lehigh River Stocking Association will once again stock and host their annual Lunkerfest fishing contest at the PF&BC’s East Penn Boat Launch off Bowmanstown exit of Route 248.

The contest will kick off at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 17 with a high water date of May 31.

The association stocks 500 trout in the 14-30 inch range and 100 of them will have special tags on them for prizes.

To participate, anglers must purchase a $20 Lunkerfest wristband. After the Saturday contest, LRSA will have an extended contest there for any uncaught fish until June 25. For more information go to And to automatically receive outdoor news and views from Nick Hromiak, click on the “Subscribe” notation on this page.

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