Perhaps it’s because we’ve had a mild winter so far, but trout anglers are getting the itch to fish. And if the weather holds, pre-season trout stockings will get underway March 3 in Lehigh and Northampton counties.
As for the latter, Minsi Lake in Northampton County, is also on the schedule to be stocked since it was closed and drained for dam repairs in 2017. The dam work is completed and the lake is scheduled to be stocked with trout on March 24 ahead of the Regional Mentored Youth Day, according to the PF&BC.
Said Paul Urbanik, Director of the PFBC’s Bureau of Engineering, “The lake is being filled 2-3 feet per week until the lake reaches its full capacity in approximately six weeks. Minsi has to be refilled slowly, he explains, to allow the earthen portion of the dams to adequately saturate and allow engineers to monitor the new concrete dam structures that gets put under extreme pressure for the first time water is introduced. The dam will be inspected weekly to insure safety and monitor performance.”
Urbanik goes on to say that Rainbow Trout and golden Rainbow Trout will be stocked throughout spring and fall.
Minsi is almost identical to Leaser Lake in Lehigh County that was drained, refilled and stocked. Today, it’s catch-and-release only with the exception of trout. And it will be stocked April 3, 2020.
Last year, Leaser’s full trout allocation was reduced because of low angler catches. A portion of Leasers’ trout were stocked instead in Kaercher Creek Dam in upper Berks County.
If you crave some trout action now, Lehigh County Fish & Game Association members traveled to Cabela’s in Hamburg this past Friday to get 30 or so golden trout that were stocked in the Little Lehigh Creek in Lehigh Parkway. According to Herb Gottschall, President of LCF&G Association, Cabela’s is donating these trout as they clean out their in-store creek and aquarium’s.
Gottschall added that their annual fishing derby in Lehigh Parkway, that was cancelled last year, will definitely be held this year with a date forthcoming.
TROUT FILM & TURKEY CALLING EVENTS SCHEDULED
ArtsQuest Center at Bethlehem’s Steelstacks, will host a Fly-Fishing Film Tour March 3-4 beginning at 7:30 p.m. The film will show exotic trout fly fishing destinations on Earth. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Proceeds benefit Monocacy Chapter of Trout Unlimited. For more information check www.steestacks.org or call 610-332-3378.
For turkey hunters, World Turkey Calling Champion Matt Morrett will also be at ArtsQuest with his presentation of “The Art of Turkey Calling” on March 18, beginning at 6 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. For more information, hunters can check the above website and phone number.
While at the seminar, hunters will be able to bid on a silent sale and live auction for an African Safari for two with Somerby Safari’s, Steelhead Angling on the Salmon River in NY, and a Turkey Hunt for Two at Camp Freedom in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Proceeds will benefit the Jerry Zimmerman Memorial Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation.
Pennsylvania’s final bear harvest figures are in and have set a new state record over a 30-day season.
According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC), hunters took 4,653 bears, a third increase over the 2018 seasons when 3,153 bears were taken. Pennsylvania’s top bear harvest was 4,350 bears in the 2011 season.
The PGC believes the harvest is down somewhat due to bad weather that kept most hunters out of the woods. But the agency points out that in the four years prior to 2019, hunters still took more than 13,850 bears, which shows the population to hover around 20,000.
Interestingly, the break down of the three major season segments shows that hunters took 1,629 bears during the general season; 1,340 in the muzzleloader and special firearms seasons; 1,117 in the extended firearms seasons and 561 during the archery bear season. The PGC notes that the muzzleloader, extended and archery harvests are all new record harvests as well.
It was pointed out that when a record 202,043 hunters buy licenses and can participate in opening days of four seasons, there’s always a greater chance of success. And opening day accounted for 50-60 percent of bear season harvest with bears taken in 58 counties and 22 of Pennsylvania’s 23 Wildlife Management Units.
For this season, the top largest bear taken was an 813-pound male shot with a rifle on opening day of the general season in Smithfield Township, Monroe County by Victor M. Vassaluzzo of Kintnersville, Bucks County.
In comparison, the heaviest bear ever taken in Pennsylvania was an 875-pounder shot in 2010 in Middle Smithfield Township, Pike County. Since 1992, seven bears weighing at least 800 pounds were harvested in Pennsylvania. And it’s been said there are a few out there in excess of 900 pounds.
Lycoming County was the high roller with 284 bears taken followed by Clinton County (267) and Tioga County (267). Other top counties were Huntingdon (180); Potter (174); Luzerne (163); Pike, (161); Bedford, (156); Centre, (146); and Warren, (146).
Locally, and closer to the Lehigh Valley, these are the final totals with last years harvest in parenthesis:
Northeast Region – 1,228 (775); Luzerne, 163 (105); Pike, 161 (104); Wayne, 131 (70); Monroe, 130 (103); Bradford, 128 (96); Carbon, 88 (60); Sullivan, 87 (53); Susquehanna, 82 (46); Wyoming, 82 (40); Lackawanna, 79 (34); Columbia, 64 (38); Northumberland, 26 (24); and Montour, 7 (20).
Southeast Region – 185 (137); Schuylkill, 79 (50); Dauphin, 67 (48); Berks, 17 (8); Northampton, 16 (17); Lehigh 4 (4); and Lebanon, 2 (10).
Despite the impressive harvest numbers, the PGC says the Pennsylvania’s bear harvest it still within the harvest range in which the commission is comfortable with. And that Pennsylvania has the best bear population monitoring program in America and is a leader in bear management among eastern states.
PGC Executive Director Bryan Burhans emphasized, “If season adjusts are needed in future seasons, we’ll know quickly and adjust accordingly.
The NRA and Institute for Legislative Action put out this press release regarding Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2020 Budget Address.
During his 2020 Budget Address, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf appeared to have bought-in to the anti-gun narrative that law-abiding gun owners are the problem, not criminals.
Coming on the heels of an anti-freedom lobby day by Bloomberg’s Moms Demand Action, the Governor’s proposed gun control agenda includes the following:
• Extreme gun confiscation measures often referred to as “red flag” laws that authorize the seizure of firearms without due process.
• Criminalizing private transfers of firearms.
• Imposing punishments on victims that have had their firearms stolen.
• Creating firearm storage laws that remove a homeowner’s ability to quickly access their own firearm for self-defense.
Of this foursome, the most immediately damaging is the firearm storage law proposal. When a person or homeowner needs to defend himself and family, retrieving a defensive firearm from a safe and perhaps with a trigger lock (if that’s also included), will not work or help the homeowner. This is especially true for those living in the country where it could take state police 15-30 minutes to arrive at your home to protect you.
The “red flag” law too is bizarre. If a neighbor or relative feels you’re not fit to own a gun, it, or they if there’s more than one gun, can be confiscated it appears, by police without due process.
This agenda, according to the NRA/ILA, is straight from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his anti-gun largesse, driven by his front-groups Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action.
These bills have one thing in common; they don’t go after criminals, they target law-abiding gun owners and the Second Amendment, says the NRA/ILA.
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.