I know a lot of us are caught up in the fall hunting scene, but every year I have to remind myself that there is still some good trout fishing available after the leaves cover the ground. I managed to squeeze in a couple of hours of trout angling last week along with a couple of buddies, and although I didn’t land any trout, I had the thrill of watching several 18-20 inch rainbows follow my streamer, almost touching their noses. According to a couple of my fishing friends, the last couple of weeks have produced some pretty good action, especially for some good-sized trout.
If you are not used to fishing for trout this late in the season, however, you may want to check out the Fish Commission Handbook for the special rules and regulations that apply to different waters. Certainly, you can still fish the usual streams for trout under the same regulations that apply in the spring; there are, however, a number of special regulation sections on several streams that also receive a fall stocking of trout increasing your chances of hooking up. These special regulation waters are on Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only stream sections, and our area has several such locations. These special waters include a stretch on Little Pine Creek, one on Loyalsock Creek, another stretch on Lycoming Creek, one on the East Fork of the Sinnemahoning Creek, a stretch on Big Pine Creek, and even a section on Middle Creek.
These Keystone Select Stocked Trout Waters receive a fall stocking of large trout between 14 -20 inches but bear in mind that special regulations apply. Under the Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures, only regulations no trout can be kept from the day after Labor Day until June 15, and only artificial lures may be used with spinning or fly fishing gear. I’ll be honest when it comes to trout fishing; I definitely prefer fishing artificial flies. I recently spoke with Doug Zehner, also a fly fishing enthusiast and excellent fly tier, about his fall choices for trout. Doug likes fishing nymphs, and like a lot of nymph fishermen, he uses the “high-sticking” method. Doug has had some good late-season success with the Hare’s Ear, Pheasant Tail, and Woolly Worm, often with the bead head added. Mob flies, sucker spawn, egg patterns, and a selection of streamer patterns are part of his arsenal.
Another fishing friend of mine, Terry Wineberg, has been hitting the special regulation water and has had some pretty good success with some of the bigger trout. Terry told me some of his best action came on streamers and a black Wooly Worm with the gold bead head; does that sound familiar? Terry’s wife, Mindy, is pictured in this piece with a nice eighteen-inch plus rainbow trout she nailed while fishing with her husband a few weeks ago. She took it on a black Wooly Worm with a gold bead head.
While I prefer trout fishing with flies, that doesn’t mean other lures and techniques won’t work. As I mentioned earlier, these same areas allow spinning gear with artificial only lures constructed of metal, plastic, rubber, or wood, but you may not have natural bait of any kind or bait paste, natural or molded.
I know there is a lot of hunting to be done, but some of my fishing buddies and I are thinking we may find ourselves wading some stream again this fall before the snow flies; who knows, it might even be after the snow flies.