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Trout opener on the horizon in 18 southeastern counties

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This years trout opener, that kicks off March 29 in 18 southeastern counties, should be a bit different from most years in that there will likely be snow on stream banks, especially ones that don’t face the sun for it to melt.

And on March 22, the second annual Mentored Youth Day opens on 12 waters in 18 southeastern counties.

This year, the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission will have stocked 3.2 million trout in 731 streams and 124 lakes (like Leaser in Lehigh County). Of that total, 2.01 million are rainbow trout, 647,000 are brownies and 527,000 are brookies. Plus, the commission will release 8,500 trophy golden rainbows that have an average weight of 1.5 pounds and measure at least 14 inches long.

Of the 3.2 million stocked, about 53 percent are stocked pre-season while 43 percent are stocked in season. The remaining 4 percent are stocked from October through February as part of the fall/winter stocking program.

Every year prior to the trout opener, tackle shops face the same problem. Anglers wait until the last night before the opener to buy a license, bait and get fresh line put on their reels. And in some cases, discover their favorite rod has a broken line guide that needs a quick repair job, As such, the shops are busy selling bait and other gear and buying a license and re-spooling line takes up a lot of their time. This creates unnecessary standing room only lines. So guys and gals, check your gear now so if repairs or spooling is needed, get it done now before the mad rush.

As for the in season stocking schedule, here are the dates for Lehigh and Northampton counties. Note that not all sections of certain streams get stocked on the same date.

LEHIGH COUNTY

Cedar Creek: 4-24, 5-7
Coplay Creek: 4-25, 5-3
Jordan Creek: 4-3, 4-5, 4-21, 4-29
Leaser Lake: 4-3
Lehigh Canal: 4-17
Little Lehigh: 4-24, 4-30, 5-7, 10-6
Monocacy Creek: 4-16, 5-6
Ontelaunee Creek: 4-25
Swabia Creek: 4-21, 5-3
Trout Creek: 4-24

NORTHAMPTON COUNTY

Bushkill Creek: 4-21, 4-23, 5-14
Hokendauqua Creek: 4-4, 4-22, 5-1
Indian Creek: 4-4
Jacoby Creek: 4-11
Lehigh Canal: 4-15, 5-5
Little Bushkill Creek: 4-23, 5-14
Martins Creek: 4-11
Minsi Lake: 5-12, 10-10
Monocacy Creek: 4-16, 5-6
Saucon Creek: 4-16, 5-6

And with Leaser Lake in good shape for the trout opener, the Leaser Lake Heritage Foundation (LLHF) has finished a lake map that includes lakes depths and habitat information.

According to George White, LLHF Chairman, the 24x36 inch map is printed on water-resistant paper with two sides. The one-side features a full color map with 2-foot bathometric contours and location of fish habitat structure and overlaid on a 2010 taken color aerial photo of the lake.

Side two includes a trail map for hikers and bikers, fish identification graphics and description pictures of fish habitat structures, park rules and regulations and information on the LLHF.

The map is available for $5 by going to www.leaserlakeheritage.org/fishing_map.html.

CABELA’S & NWTF EVENT

Cabela’s in Hamburg is trying something new and different for their store. Harold Luther, Cabela’s Retail Marketing Manager, has set March 14, 15 and 16 for a “Conservation and Outfitter Expo.”

“This is a first time event of its kind ever attempted at Cabela’s,” said Luther. The three day expo will allow sportsmen to visit and book your hunting and fishing trip of a lifetime from outfitters across the country will be at Cabela’s those three days.

Then on Saturday evening, Mar. 15, Cabela’s has joined with the National Wild Turkey Federation in hosting a first ever “Hunt Action” with proceeds going towards NWTF conservation and youth programs.

All the participating outfitters at the store that weekend will have donated a trip of a lifetime that will be auctioned off to the highest bidder. There are no reserves and all hunts will sell.

The event will be held at Cabela’s 2nd floor restaurant that will feature a buffet dinner of Southern Fried Chicken and Hatfield Pit Ham. Doors open at 5 p.m., Mar. 15, with dinner starting at 6:30. The Hunt Auction will follow.

There will also be a gun raffle and a silent auction plus a special treat with the presence of Nate Hosie, a native Pennsylvanian who is co-host of “HeadHunters TV” show on the Outdoor Channel and is an accomplished guitarist who opened for country music’s Luke Bryan at the Harrisburg sports show last month.

Hosie will do a meet-and-greet on Saturday then talk turkey hunting at a 10 a.m. seminar.

Some of the trips that will be on the auction block are as follows:

* Newfoundland Moose Hunt: moosecanada.com
* Maine Wild Turkey Hunt: countryboyzguideservice.com
* Eastern Shore Waterfowl for 4: blackduckoutfitters.com
* Nite Site Products: nitesiteuse.com
* Ohio Whitetail and Waterfowl Combo: tripleoutfitters.com
* New Brunswick Spring Bear Hunt: bearslairhunting.com
* Missouri Whitetail Bow Hunt: bonemine.com
* Kansas Whitetail Bow Hunt: hhhunts.com
* Nebraska Whitetail Bow Hunt: huntwhitetail.com
* PA Bobcat Hunt with Hounds
* Kansas Turkey Hunt for Two: brokenarrowhunts.com
* West Virginia Smallmouth Fishing trip: newrivertrophyoutfitters.com
* Africa Hunt: Zebra, Blue Wildebeest, Warthog or Impala: huntinglegends.com
* R.W. Hart Long Range Shooting School: RWhart.com
* Bowfishing trip to Eastern Shore
* Kansas Whitetail Muzzleloader Hunt
* New York Salmon River Float trip for Steelhead
* New York Salmon River Float trip for Salmon

As this goes to print, more will be added says Luther. With 125 seats out of 165 available there’s still time to register. There’s a $40 fee for NWTF members and $75 for non-members.

For more information on this, with call Ray Smith at 570-220-1535 or email him at rsmith@nwtf.net.
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