Fall trout making appearances in local waters | TribLIVE.com
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Mary Ann Thomas
Waterways Conservation Officer Mike Walsh dumps a load of trout in to the middle lake at Deer Lakes Parkon Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018.

Here come the fish.

A truck load of brook and brown trout arrived at Deer Lakes Park and the delayed harvest section of Deer Creek, both in West Deer, on Thursday.

The special delivery is part of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s (PFBC) fall trout stocking for the extended trout season, which runs through Feb. 28.

The 50-degree water temperature at Deer Lakes Thursday was perfect, for trout this is, according to Mike Walsh, a waterways conservation officer for the commission.

“They should be hitting right away,” Walsh promised.

That is the point of the fall stocking — to fortify the most popular fishing destinations with an infusion of trout that have grown bigger and heavier all summer at the hatcheries. The fish stocked locally Thursday were from the Pleasant Gap hatchery in Bellefonte.

Local trout clubs and other volunteers turned out Thursday, like they do most times, to help stock the trout, which are released typically via a large hose or by the bucket-load.

Tom Wesoloski, 46, of Harrison, has been helping the commission stock fish since 1988.

“I don’t dump them in the shallows,” he said. “I like to move them out into the where they have the best chance of survival.”

Raccoon and herons will prey on the stragglers close to the banks.

Bill Grubbs, 80, of Shaler, and a member of the Arrowhead Chapter of Trout Unlimited, likes to disperse the trout.

“I stretch it out for everybody to have a chance, from the people with disabilities to the anglers who will walk the stream to see what is around the next bend,” he said.

The Commission is stocking 111,000 hatchery-raised adult rainbow, brown and brook trout from October through December throughout the state. In October alone, commission hatcheries plan to supply trout to portions of 90 waterways in 47 counties.

In addition to Deer Lakes Park and Deer Creek, the commission stocked Twin Lakes Park in Unity on Wednesday. More fish stockings are planned, including one at North Park. To learn more about other trout stocking locations, visit: www.fishandboat.com .

The big difference between the regular and extended trout seasons is the daily limit of fish anglers are allowed to keep, which is reduced to three trout per day for the extended season. The limit is five during the regular season that tradtionally begins each April.

Another contrast in seasons is the thinning of the crowds for fishing.

“It’s not opening season when people have been cooped up for the winter,” Walsh said. “This is more relaxed.”

With hunting in season and children back at school, local waterways are less crowded and quieter, providing anglers lots of opportunities, he said. Some anglers already know that and fish regularly in fall and winter.

“There are guys out in five below zero and snow,” said Walsh. “If there’s open water, they will be out there.”

Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary Ann at 724-226-4691, [email protected] or via Twitter @MaThomas_Trib.

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