The weather is getting warmer and fishing season is in full swing. Turkey season is over and walleye season is coming on strong, and let’s not forget the garden.
I hope your trout season is going well. It has been tough with this weather. It seems to rain every other day. It seems each time I get a chance to get out, the water conditions are terrible. I only had a chance to get out in PA one time for about 3 hours. I have been doing okay in West Virginia. I did get a chance to go to Western Michigan and did very good. We went fly fishing for steel heads. I was able to land 6 large ones. Of these, there was a 32 inch and a 31½ inch. The smallest that I kept was 28 inches.
There is nothing like battling those big fish on a fly rod. I lost a lot of fish. Several broke my 10 lb. leader. There were some very big fish in the rivers this year. I just recently found out that Lake Huron and Saginaw Bay are producing very good catches of walleyes. Our walleye season has been slow but it is picking up. I have gotten a couple of 20 + inch ones and also got some big crappies. I am going to shift my fishing to the Yough River now. The water will settle down and you will be able to wade the river a little better. The river bottom is very difficult to wade so be careful if you are going there. I have taken an occasional swim there without wanting to go in swimming. There is a lot of trout still out there to be had. Getting back to the walleyes, they have been slow. The reason is the changing water conditions. Walleye like both stable weather and water conditions. One thing I did notice is the two female walleyes I harvested still had eggs in late May. The eggs were being dissolved back into the digestive system of the fish. The failure of these fish to spawn sometimes happens when the weather conditions are not right for spawning. It remains to be seen how this will affect the walleye population three years from now. However, if you are a Musky fisherman, the areas below the locks in West Virginia and Point Marion are producing good numbers of big fish — especially below the Morgantown Locks. Some days, they are catching 3 to 4 over 40 inches in a day. The fish are hitting big plugs that resemble small 8 to 12 inch walleyes. The plugs have extremely large eyes and that seems to be the key. If the eyes seem to be white, you get more strikes.
On another note, you may be familiar with the “Trout in the Classroom” program where our school students raise trout and release them. When these fish are 3 to 4 inches, they are released into our streams. It is a great program but our water conditions get too warm for survival in most cases. So the idea has been brought forth by the Izaak Walton League (Harry Enstrom Chapter of Greene Co.) and others to raise catfish in the class room. The thought was that these fish will have a much better rate of survival since they are a warm water fish. Also, it has been suggested that the catfish are Blue Catfish. The Blue Catfish was extirpated from our rivers because of drainage from the mining industry. This would be a way of having our students not only see the fish grow but also reintroduce the fish back into our rivers. The one thing that you should be aware of, is that these fish can grow to 160 pounds. I think I am going to have to change from my 4 and 6 lb. test lines. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is seriously considering the idea. I fully support the concept and in time it will bring an economic boost to the area.
For those of you who like the Dunkard Creek area, there is a program being considered to place launch ramps for kayaks and canoes on the stream. The program is in the early stages but it seems to be gaining momentum. Also, in relation to the launch areas, a very serious program is being developed to help clean-up the acid mine drainage from the area. Two groups are currently looking at funding to begin the treatment of the acid mine water in the area. I do fully support these efforts. It will not only be good for economics and recreation, but will also improve water quality in the Mon River, our main drinking water supply. I will up-date as the planning goes forward.
If you don’t know by now my good friend, Steve Barrett, has left the paper. I wish him the best and I will miss him deeply. It was great working with him over the years. I will miss you, but we all know that our path in life is in stronger hands than ours. Good luck and may God Bless you.