The much-awaited trout season kicks off April 3. This statewide weekend opener has seen a change from past years regional openers. Perhaps it may be for the better in that local streams may be less crowded as some anxious anglers from the northeast would travel down here to fish in the southeast. Then when the northeast opened, some southeast anglers would travel to the northeast to fish for that season opener.
According to the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, they will have stocked a total of 4,220,945 trout in streams and lakes. That breaks down as 293,420 brook, 686,080 brown, 2,214,700 rainbow trout. Within that, 11,943 trophy (golden rainbow) trout, weighing an average of 1.5 pounds, will also be stocked in streams and 1,930 in lakes.
You may have noticed the smaller number of brook trout stocked. The PF&BC says it’s because that they found over time that in 300 streams statewide, brookies were leaving and/or dying at a high rate in some streams prior to opening day, while rainbow trout were more likely to survive and remain in the streams after stocking. As was the case, brookies could be stocked in waters that were more acidic plus the commission feared that introgression of hatchery genes and the possibility if disease into wild fish, would reduce the fitness and negatively impact wild brook trout populations over time. Added to that,
the PFBC says rainbows often perform better in a hatchery environment as they have better growth rates and are less susceptible to some pathogens and parasites than brook trout.
Fisheries managers often would use more rainbows during preseason and a mix of rainbow and brown trout during inseason stocking. The idea is that rainbows are often easier to catch in colder spring water temperatures than brown trout.
If you have children and want to introduce them to fishing, you may want to head up to the Trexler Zoo (formerly Trexler Game Preserve). In the Jordan Creek there, behind the zoo and upstream above the ford, the commission heavily stocked a long portion of stream intended for children. It’s a great place as kids will most likely catch a trout or two. And while there they can also pay a visit to the zoo.
Another good place is Leaser Lake at the dam area and parking lot where there’s a dock to fish from that allows fishing slightly deeper water and extends casting distance. And if no kayakers or canoers are using the handicap loading ramp nearby, you may want to try there as that too extends casting distance a bit. And if you need bait enroute there, you can get it and terminal tackle at Bob’s Wildlife Taxidermy located a block off Route 100 at 4642 Kernsville Road, Orefield.
Keep in mind the Lehigh River will likely be stocked the week after the trout opener. Stocking customarily starts around the pavilion on Canal Street on the Northampton side, and goes upriver to the falls and beyond.
For three hours on April 17, South Whitehall Township Parks and Recreation is hosting a Youth Fishing Derby beginning at 9 a.m. at Covered Bridge Park, 2465 Wehr Mill Road, Allentown. The derby is for youths ages 15 and under with registration beginning at 8 a.m. This event is for youths only as no adults are allowed to fish for some of the 1,000 trout to be stocked in that portion of Jordan Creek. Prizes will be awarded for each age group of under 4, 5-8, 9-12 and 13-15. Check South Whitehall Township’s website for further rules and regulations.
If you get your limit of trout and want to continue fishing, there are reports from the Delaware River Shad Fishing site that shad have started their way upriver as Delaware River water temperature this week was a somewhat favorable 47.8 degrees. Two anglers posted that they boated three shad and another boat beside them boated two. So, they started their upriver spawning run.
Sig Sauer debuted an enhanced version of their hot selling P365 compact 9mm handgun
Sig Sauer’s hottest selling P365, 9mm pistol has been upgraded with newer features including a red dot sight.
Sig’s new P365X ROMEOZero combines the 3.1-inch barrel of the original P365 with the P365XL XSERIES grip module, featuring a 12-round flush fit magazine, with a factory installed ROMEOZero red dot sight, bringing a new level of performance to everyday carry.
“The SIG SAUER P365 series of pistols is the leader in the industry for everyday carry and continues to set the standard for delivering unprecedented capacity in a micro-compact size,” said Tom Taylor, Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President, Commercial Sales, SIG SAUER, Inc. “The introduction of the P365X ROMEOZero further redefines everyday carry by combining the XSERIES features first introduced with the popular P365XL - including the larger grip module and XSERIES trigger - with the shorter 3.1-inch barrel of the original P365, making it an all-around more comfortable concealed carry pistol.”
The SIG SAUER P365X ROMEOZero is a 9mm striker-fired pistol, featuring the XSERIES P365 grip module with an integrated carry magwell and extended beavertail, with the standard 3.1 inch P365 barrel and slide with XSERIES markings, a factory installed ROMEOZero micro-open reflex sight, X-RAY3 day/night front sight, and the XSERIES flat trigger with a 90-degree break. The P365X ROMEOZero ships with two 12-round magazines (15-round magazines available separately).
The SIG SAUER Electro-Optics ROMEZero micro-open reflex sight optimized for everyday concealed carry, and for pistols with slim slides. The sight features a ruggedized, weapons grade, textured polymer body, Spectracoat™ Polymer lens system, 8 vivid, user configurable daytime illumination levels, MOTAC™ (motion activated illumination system), a highly efficient point source LED emitter for a crisp dot that’s 8 times more efficient than conventional red dots, and an integrated rear sight notch for co-witness with a standard height P365 front sight.
P365X ROMEOZero Specs:
Overall Length: 6 inches
Overall Height: 5.5 inches
Overall Width: 1.1 inches
Barrel Length: 3.1 inches
Sight Radius: 4.9 inches
Weight (w/ magazine): 18 oz.
ROMEOZero Micro Open Reflex Sight Specs:
Overall Height: .93 inches
Overall Length: 1.6 inches
Overall Width: .93 inches
Sight Window: .72 inches x .61 inches
Brightness Adjustment: Manual Push-Button
Brightness Settings: 8 daytime settings
Weight: 0.4 ounces
The P365 XSERIES include the P365X ROMEOZero, P365XL, and P365XL ROMEOZero. To learn more about the entire P365 XSERIES including the P365X ROMEOZero or watch the product video with Phil Strader visit sigsauer.com.
The P365, even without these upgrades, is one fine compact handgun, but the problem with them is trying to find one. Upon its debut it won many awards. And as soon as local gun shops get one in, they quickly go out the door. In canvassing a couple dealers, some even hold deposits for the P365, and when any are shipped they’re already pre-sold. I got to handle one that was waiting for the depositor to pick up, and fell in love with it.
This handgun was so successful that Springfield Armory and Ruger were forced to debut similar type compact 9mm’s. But none have the overall handling of the P365.
Aspiring artists in elementary, middle school and high school have an opportunity to enter their fish art in the 2021 Fish Art Contest Sponsored by Bass Pro Shops.
The 2021 Art of Conservation Fish Art Contest is free and is open to students in Kindergarten to 12th grade. The contest is accepting entries until March 31st, 2021 and you must enter to win.
To compete, young artists create an original illustration of any species from the Official Fish List, found at www.FishArt.org. A one-page creative writing piece answering the question “Why do you think it is important to protect our lakes, rivers, estuaries and coastlines,” is also required and awarded for contestants in grades 4-12.
“The Johnny Morris Foundation is committed to introducing a new generation to the wonders of the natural world. With children spending more time in front of screens, programs such as the Fish Art Contest are vital to inspire the next generation of anglers and conservation stewards,” said Misty Mitchell, Director of Conservation Programs.
“Many kids just can’t access fishing opportunities. The Fish Art Contest breaks down barriers and is an innovative solution to connect youth to fish and aquatic conservation, teaching them the value of nature and the outdoors,” said Pat Conzemius, President & CEO, Wildlife Forever.
Young artists from around the world have the opportunity to win prizes and international recognition while learning about fish, habitat and the great outdoors. The Art of Conservation® ignites a new passion for fish and fishing and helps to create the next generation of stewards.
Winners will be honored in four grade categories K-3, 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12. National judging for the Fish Art Contest will be held in April and winners will be announced at the beginning of May.
Students can win prizes from our sponsors Bass Pro Shops, the USDA Forest Service, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, National Fish Habitat Partnership, Western Native Trout Initiative, World Fish Migration Foundation and more. Full details are at www.FishArt.org
About the Fish Art Contest: The award-winning Wildlife Forever Fish Art™ Contest, with support from Title Sponsor Bass Pro Shops, the USDA Forest Service and Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, brings children, art and aquatic conservation together! The annual contest reaches thousands of youth each year. New distance learning resources allow students to participate from home or classroom and complement a wide array of educational programming. To enter, young artists create an original illustration of any fish from the Official Fish list and written words detailing its habitat, and efforts to conserve it. Educators nationwide utilize Fish On, the full-color Fish Art Lesson Plan, integrating the disciplines of science and art. Entries are due postmarked or emailed by March 31st each year and for more information go to www.fishart.org.
About Wildlife Forever: Our mission is to conserve America’s wildlife heritage through conservation education, preservation of habitat and management of fish and wildlife. Wildlife Forever is a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to investing resources on the ground. Recent audits reveal that 94% of every dollar supports our award-winning conservation programs.
NWTF UPCOMING BANQUET
Due to continuing Covid concerns, this year’s Jerry Zimmerman Memorial Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation’s annual banquet will be held virtually.
According to Bruce Dietrich, this year the organization will have in lieu of the banquet, a Membership/Door Prize Ticket system that includes a year’s membership and a Virtual Door Prize ticket that includes a long list of top-notch firearms. There are also several raffles that even includes a “Gun Safe Raffle Guns” where the winner takes the safe and guns.
There will be 15 door prizes with only 300 tickets to sold so your chances of winning are very good. This is but one opportunity with a long list of other chances and raffles.
All winners will be drawn via Facebook live at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 19, 2021. Winners will also be notified.
To participate plus purchase tickets and sponsorships, go to https://events.nwtf.org/38032110-2021.
With the consolidated statewide opening of trout season kicking off April 3, now’s a good time to get your fishing gear in order, including waders and hip boots that may have sprung a leak. Added to that, and if you have a mentored youth, their special early trout opener is March 27.
Local bait shops get deluged with anglers purchasing licenses and getting line wound on reels much too close to the opener. Tackle shops would appreciate it if you’d inventory your tackle needs now during a lull in the action.
With most of the local streams and creeks now stocked with pre-season trout, the remainders are Leaser Lake and a portion of Jordan Creek. Leaser (and Pine Creek) gets a single stocking on March 26. By that time most of Leaser’s skim ice should be gone. As of last Friday, the lake was still skimmed over with about six feet of open shore line plus some open pockets farther out.
Cedar Creek in Allentown was stocked on Thursday and in speaking to one of the five stocking volunteers there, he noted that because of deep snow, they were not able to stock all the holes and fast waters that are commonly stocked in area streams and creeks. So, anglers may not have the action they customarily have at their favorite spot.
If you’re looking for more casting room, keep in mind the Lehigh River historically gets stocked by the Lehigh River Stocking Association the day or week after the state trout opener. The association is a noteworthy group that gets its money to buy trout for stocking from member dues and donations. If you enjoy fishing bigger, less congested waters like the Lehigh, join the association as it can only improve the trout action.
The inseason trout stocking dates for Lehigh and Northampton counties are as follows:
Lake Muhlenberg: 4-14, 5-16
Coplay Creek: 4-6, 5-5
Jordan Creek: 4-6, 4-7, 4-8, 4-12, 4-27, 5-7 (not all portions are stocked on these dates)
Little Lehigh Creek: 4-14, 4-21, 5-6, 10-18
Monocacy Creek: 4-22
Ontelaunee Creek: 4-22
Swabia Creek: 4-12, 5-5
Trout Creek: 4-14
Bushkill Creek: 4-16, 4-27
Hokendauqua Creek: 4-8, 4-20
Indian Creek: 4-8
Jacoby Creek: 4-12
Lehigh Canal: 4-6, 4-13
Little Bushkill Creek: 4-16, 4-27
Martins Creek: 4-12
Minsi Lake: 4-29, 10-14
Monocacy Creek: 4-5, 4-22
Saucon Creek: 4-5, 4-22
First time anglers should not forget that in addition to a general fishing license (16-64 years of age, $22.97), you’ll also need a trout/salmon permit ($9.97). Youths 16 and under need either a Mentored Youth Permit (free), or Voluntary Youth Fishing License ($2.97). All can be obtained at a licensing agent, online at huntfish.pa.gov, or by calling 877-707-4085 during normal business hours.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is joining fish and wildlife agencies nationwide to alert consumers about aquarium products that may be infested with invasive zebra mussels.
These products, known as “moss balls,” are a popular type of living aquarium plant sold in several states, including Pennsylvania. It was recently discovered that a batch of these products, which are marketed under popular brand names such as “Betta Buddy” or “Mini Marimo Moss Balls,” was contaminated with invasive Zebra Mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) and distributed to pet stores across the country.
While several major pet product retailers, including Petco and PetSmart, have proactively removed these products from their shelves, PFBC Waterways Conservation Officers in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, have confirmed the presence of these contaminated products in at least one Pennsylvania store.
“Zebra Mussels are one of the most troublesome invasive species in the United States and can cause major ecological and economic damage such as clogging water intake pipes, damaging boats, or damaging fisheries by impacting aquatic food webs,” said Shawn Hartzel, PFBC Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator. “Zebra Mussels are small and can produce microscopic larvae, so any water containing contaminated moss balls may contain larval Zebra Mussels. The potential spread of this invasive species is a major concern for our aquatic resources in Pennsylvania."
Zebra Mussels are small black and white striped, “D-Shaped” bivalves about the size of a thumbnail or smaller.
The PFBC urges anyone who has purchased a moss ball within the past several weeks to follow U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) guidance on how to properly disinfect moss balls and clean aquarium systems. This guidance can be found on the USFWS website: https://www.fws.gov/fisheries/ANS/zebra-mussel-disposal.html.
“Because Zebra Mussel larvae may not be visible to the naked eye, it is important that everyone who recently purchased a moss ball follow this strict disinfection protocol,” added Hartzell. “Just because you can’t see the mussels in your tank doesn’t mean they’re not there. Don’t take any chances.”
The transportation or release of Zebra Mussels or their larvae into Commonwealth waters is considered unlawful (58 Pa. Code § 73.1). Pennsylvanians who observe suspected Zebra Mussels or other aquatic invasive species can report them to the PFBC through the “Report AIS” portal of the Agency’s web page (https://pfbc.pa.gov/forms/reportAIS.htm).
With snow still on the ground, it's a good time to teach youngsters how to identify animal tracks
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.