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).
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.