Bound for the brooks: Anglers more than ready for trout season

Anglers more than ready for trout season

TY CYR/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Lynlee Gsell, 3, clutches a nice haul of trout she caught in the southeastern part of the state. The season starts in Lycoming County this coming Saturday.

Trout aren’t the only ones that get hooked when it comes to fishing Pennsylvania’s lakes and streams.

Anglers will head to the waters of Pennsylvania this Saturday, April 14, for the statewide opening day of trout season. However, for a select 18 southeastern counties, on March 31, this year’s regional trout opener, lines already have been cast out and the fish reeled in.

“I have been coming to the mill on the first day of trout season with my dad since I was 2 or 3 years old,” Andrew Neidigh, of Newville, said, referring to the Laughlin Mill, which is along the banks of the Big Spring in Cumberland County.

It is just one section of 5,000 miles of trout streams that are stocked by the state Fish and Boat Commission, which also stocks over 100 lakes throughout the state.

Now 30 years old — and still accompanied by his father — Neidigh takes his children, niece and nephew trout fishing.

“I really enjoy being able to take the kids there. There is nothing better than seeing the excitement of watching the kids reel in fish. It even brings back memories, a lot actually, of myself fishing on opening day as a kid,” he said.

The Fish and Boat Commission also offers mentored youth trout days for those under 16 years of age. This program, now in its fifth year, saw more than 30,000 youth participants last season.

This year the mentored trout days occured on March 24 (regional) and April 7 (statewide). Those eligible must be supervised by a mentor (adult) angler who possesses a valid fishing license and trout permit.

“Our goal is to get more kids involved in fishing and to keep them engaged,” said commission Executive Director John Arway. “One of the best ways to do that is to make the experience as easy as possible for parents and mentors.”

For Trapper Gsell and his 3-year-old daughter Lynlee, trout fishing doesn’t stop after mentored days or even opening days for that matter.

“She (Lynlee) got her limit in less than 10 minutes tonight,” Gsell said recently.

He makes it a priority to take his daughter fishing.

“I just like to get her outdoors and off the internet playing games all of the time,” Gsell said. “She enjoys catching and playing with the fish, and I enjoy taking her.”

Fishing, especially for stocked trout, is a great activity for the family. There are 720 streams and 126 lakes open to public angling where, according to the commission,

some 3.12 million adult trout are stocked. Those numbers make for plenty of fishing and fun to be had.

“I hope my kids stay as hooked as I have when it comes to fishing. When they grow up. I hope to be right here with them as they teach their kids to fish and I can watch them have fun — because that’s what it’s all about,” Neidigh said.

Any anglers 16 and older who wish to fish for trout, in addition to having a valid fishing license, must also possess a trout/salmon permit. For more details on regulations and licensing, visit the state Fish and Boat Commission’s website at