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The “Sock”

No, this is not going to be a story about one of my favorite socks, but it is a piece about one of my favorite trout streams — the Loyalsock Creek. My wife and I left DuBois, PA following our wedding and our next stop that evening was just beyond Williamsport. I remember telling her I wanted to stop near Williamsport because I wanted to get a look at the Loyalsock Creek; a stream I had been longing to fish ever since I heard about its excellent trout fishing.

Before we departed the following day, I remember telling her I would like to live in the area someday to be near the Loyalsock and many other good trout streams. That fall I took a job teaching in New York, and we lived on the shores of a small lake in the Finger Lakes region — not a bad choice for the time being. A year later we were living back in this area, and on the opening day of trout season I made my first appearance on the famed Loyalsock — we’ve been here ever since.

The Sock lived up to my expectations on that first trip, and on many trips after that. The Sock hasn’t been without its problems, especially flooding, but it remains a great trout destination. Recently the public was asked to vote online; they were to pick from five waterways which one should be named Pennsylvania’s River of the Year — yep, the Sock won the bid. Obviously, a lot of others share my feelings for our very own Loyalsock Creek. Because of this vote, public awareness of the Loyalsock’s value will be increased, and initiatives along the waterway will be underscored, according to DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. We will be hearing more about our River of the Year in the days to come.

In addition to the Pennsylvania River of the Year distinction, the Sock recently had another new dimension added — that is at least a part of the river was singled out as special. A relatively new program started by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission called Keystone Select set aside Section 5, starting at Sandy Bottom Road and running 1.49 miles upstream as a special trophy trout destination. Under Keystone Select, the special sections will be governed by regulations that fall under the Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only (DHALO) regulations with the harvest of trout allowed only from mid-June to September. Also, no bait can be used to take trout — only artificials including various lures and flies. An added bonus for these sections is that they will receive a far greater number of trophy-sized trout — that is trout of 14 to 20 or more inches. How many? Well, the average trout stream only gets a few such large fish per mile but the Keystone Select sections will receive between 175 to 225 trophy-sized trout. Most Keystone Select waters will get two trout stockings per year.

The popularity of these special waters has been so great that the Fish and Boat Commission has continued to grow the program. It started with eight streams in 2016, but it has grown to 22 such sections of waterways all over the state. In our area, or relatively close, are several streams with the Keystone Select sections. New this year are sections from Buffalo Creek, Lycoming Creek, Middle Creek, and a section of Pine Creek; all of these streams are within an easy drive from here.

Since my ice-fishing season came to an abrupt end, I plan to be exploring several of these special sections throughout March and April with a fly rod and a few good nymphs. Fishing season never ends — we just change tactics and species and forge ahead.

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