All during the month of March, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission personnel and a small army of volunteers have criss-crossed the region to stock fish in preparation for the opening day of trout season.
The hard-core trout anglers have already experienced two openers - the March 23 youth-day opening and the chilly March 30 opening day in a cluster of southeastern counties.
But traditionalists still consider the statewide opener, which comes at 8 a.m. on Saturday, to be the real one. Between pre-season and in-season stockings, the fish commission will put more than $3 million trout in state waterways to support one of the most popular forms of recreational angling.
The biggest change this year from the past is in licensing. Where once fishing licenses were a one-year deal, fishermen can now buy a license good for one, three or five years. They can do the same with the requisite trout/salmon stamp.
Those looking for a good place to fish in this are might try Clear Shade Creek, which crosses under Route 56 in Ogletown just west of the Somerset-Bedford county line. It is a popular, well-stocked stream that has earned a place on the list of the state’s best stocked trout waters as displayed on the fish commission’s website.
Then again, an angler who wants to try elsewhere will find plenty of streams and lakes available. While most of the legal-sized trout have already been stocked, a few still have to be put in place. And, once the season opens, there will be supplemental stockings on some of the more popular waters in an effort to assure good fishing.
Here is a list of stockings scheduled for the remainder of this month and May in Cambria and Somerset counties, with the date, name of water to be stocked, and the time and place where volunteers can meet the stocking truck:
Date: Waterway, time and place to meet truck.
April 15: Howell’s Run, Noel’s Creek, North Branch of Little Conemaugh River, 10:30 a.m., Keystone Restaurant on Route 22 West.
April 17: Bens Creek, 10:30 a.m., Keystone Restaurant on Route 22 West.
April 17: Chest Creek, 10:45 a.m., PennDOT shed outside of Patton on Route 36.
April 19: Duman Lake, 11 a.m., Duman Dam.
April 25: Chest Creek, 10:45 a.m., PennDOT shed outside of Patton on Route 36.
April 27: Elton Sportsmen’s Dam, Lake Rowena, Little Paint Creek, 10:30 a.m., Lake Rowena, Ebensburg.
April 30: Hinckston Run, North Branch of Blacklick Creek, Stewart Run, 10:30 a.m., Lake Rowena, Ebensburg.
May 2: Clearfield Creek, Killbuck Run, 10:30 a.m., Route 36 bridge, Ashville.
May 4: Duman Lake, 11 a.m., Duman Dam.
May 6: Laurel Run (tributary to Conemaugh River), Laurel Run (tributary to South Fork), time and place TBA.
May 11: Lake Rowena, 10:30 a.m., Lake Rowena.
Date: Waterway, time and place to meet truck.
April 10: Beaverdam Run, Clear Shade Creek, Cub Run, Piney Run, 9:30 a.m., Route 56, Ogletown.
April 12: Glade Run, Little Piney Creek, Piney Creek, 10:30 a.m., Broadwater Meat Processor, Route 2010 and Greenville Road.
April 15: Beaverdam Creek, Clear Shade Creek, Flaugherty Creek, Piney Run, 9:15 a.m., Route 56, Ogletown; Elk Lick Creek, 10:30 a.m., Meyersdale Fire Hall, Route 219.
April 17: Jones Mill Run, Laurel Hill Creek, 10:15 a.m., Cogo’s Store, Bakersville; Youghiogheny River, 10:30 a.m., Youghiogheny Dam park office
April 20: Kooser Lake, Laurel Hill Lake, 10:15 a.m., Kooser Lake parking lot.
April 22: Benscreek, South Fork of Benscreek, time and meeting place TBA.
April 24: Laurel Hill Creek, 10:15 a.m., Bakersville.
April 30: Blue Hole Creek, Fall Creek, Laurel Hill Creek, 10 a.m., BP station, New Lexington.
May 2: Clear Shade Creek, 9:30 a.m., Froster Corner ice cream stand, Route 160.
May 4: Brush Creek, Shaffer’s Run, 9:45 a.m., Hillbilly Haven Tavern, Route 96.
May 7: Kimberly Run, Raystown Branch of Juniata River, Stonycreek River, 9:30 a.m., New Baltimore Fire Co.
May 8: Laurel Hill Creek, 10:15 a.m., Laurel Hill Dam breast parking lot.
May 9: Middle Creek, 10 a.m., New Centerville Firehall; Youghiogheny River, 10:30 a.m., Youghiogheny Dam park office.
May 10: Laurel Hill Lake, 10:15 a.m., Laurel Hill Dam breast parking lot.
May 11: Casselman River, Piney Creek, 10:30 a.m., Elk Lick Township building, Salisbury.
May 14: Jones Mill Run, Laurel Hill Creek, 10:15 a.m., Cogo’s Store, Bakersville.
May 16: Gladdens Run, 9:30 a.m., Route 96, Hyndman Post Office.
May 17: Wills Creek, 9:30 a.m., Hyndman Post Office.
May 20: Kooser Lake, Laurel Hill Creek, 10:15 a.m., Kooser Lake parking lot.
May 23: McClintock Run, White’s Creek, Youghiogheny River, 10:30 a.m., Youghiogheny Dam park office.