2016 Trout Season: Pennypack and Wissahickon Creeks Closed for Fishing Until April 2nd (Philadelphia, PA)

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Hello, Blog Readers! 

The post for today is a gentle reminder that (1) Spring is coming, and (2) our local Trout Approved Waters are closed for fishing! 

Anglers fishing during the Trout Opening day at the Pennypack Creek

As you guys may or may not be aware of, the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission has a law that states that Trout Approved Waters "are closed to all fishing (including taking of minnows) from March 1 to 8 a.m. on the opening day of the trout season. A person shall be deemed to be fishing if he or she has in possession any fishing line, rod or other device that can be used for fishing while on or in any water or on the banks within 25 feet of any water where fishing is prohibited."

Therefore, you have been advised. Hah. Make sure to not get fined on the Wissahickon or Pennypack Creeks, as Game Wardens will be around to check the conditions of the Creek.

If you are wondering why the government does this, the answer is quite simple: they introduce this closed fishing month in Trout Approved Water for stocked Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and Brown Trout (Salmo trutta) to adapt in the wild! As a matter of fact, every passionate stocked Trout angler knows to "scout" Trout Approved Waters a few days before the opening day. In other words, many anglers tend to go to their honey holes and check if there are plenty of Trout swimming around the area. :)

It is when they close down those Creeks that I start to get extra excited about the upcoming Trout season! Their closure reminds me that yummy Trout will be in my freezer soon. :) Thus, this is a good time of the year to gather all of that dusty Trout gear, clean it up, and put everything in check! If you are willing to catch some Trout in 2016, here are a couple pieces of advice for you:

1. Catch-And-Fry

For many reasons, Extreme Philly Fishing is a big supporter of the "Catch-And-Fry" movement in Philadelphia when it comes to Approved Trout Waters. It cannot be forgotten that these stocked Trout -- both Rainbow and Brown -- are invasive Species of fish to our local Creeks! As a matter of fact, these stocked Trout were born, raised, and introduced in the wild mainly for human consumption. The government is pretty much begging us to catch them and fry them up. Hah.

A Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) from the Pennypack Creek. Despite what many anglers believe in, the Rainbow Trout is not a native Species of fish in the United States of America. When they are stocked in Trout Approved Waters, they considered an invasive Species of fish. 

Here is a very interesting article on the whole culture of raising Trout in the United States of America. I believe that the New York times summarize the cons of Trout hatcheries very well; so I will be skipping that part here. :)

There is a multitude of other reasons why one should take these stocked Trout home. For instance, (1) they don't really survive the hottest and coldest months in the Pennypack and Wissahickon Creeks; (2) they fight with the Bass, Sunfish, and other Species of fish for food; (3) they have low levels of mercury, heavy metals, and PCBs -- they are ideal for human consumption; etc.

Summarizing...you would not only be doing our Creeks a favor by removing them, but also increasing your intakes of Omega-3. :D

2. Go Light

Either if you want to catch some dinner or just practice CPR, you will have to catch them first! And folks -- catching Trout, stocked or wild, is no joke. When targeting these elusive Species of fish, one needs to take into account its top wariness. Thus, go light on your tackle! 

I usually recommend anglers to use 2-4lbs test line, preferentially Fluorocarbon. Why Fluorocarbon over Monofilament, you ask?! The answer is quite simple: Fluorocarbon line has an index of refraction that is close to the water's index of refraction. In common words, the line becomes invisible under the water. Size #6 hooks will work okay; however, size #8+ is recommended. For weight, split-shots. For rod and reel, any ultra-light or light setup will do! 

In-line spinners, meal worms, wax worms, bread, corn, trout magnets, Gulp! Minnows, Powerbait, small jerkbaits -- these will all work for stocked Trout! Natural baits and Berkley Powerbait usually work better at the beginning of the season, when the Trout are still "stupid" from the low-to-none fishing pressure in Trout Approved Waters. Once they have been caught-and-released a few times and have adapted to the wild, in-line spinners and other lures will work better for them.

It doesn't matter what style you decide to go with, just keep this in mind: go light and you will catch tons of Trout! 

3. Bring your friends and your family

You must do that, especially if you are looking for a meal. Bringing someone else means doubling your slot limit, which is 5 Trout per day during the Spring season. If your friends eat Trout, good for them! If not, more for you. Ultimately, more Trout means more food on the table.

If you think about it, bringing your amateur angling friends/family is a win-win situation for everyone! If you bring friends/family who are 16+, that means that they have a Trout stamp and a fishing license. In other words, the PA Fish and Boat Commission has already profited from that. If they are amateurs in the sport or even first timers, that means that they will have a good opportunity of perhaps catching their first Trout ever, which will be a fond memory for sure. Finally, inviting more people for the Trout season means inviting more individuals to the sport of fishing itself -- let's not forget that declining participation is one of the biggest issues that we have in fishing nowadays. Therefore, the sport itself profits from it.

2013 Trout opening day at the Pennypack Creek, above the Roosevelt Boulevard Dam. If you are planning on fishing during the opening day, be ready for some combat fishing! Try your best to not cross any lines and be polite and respectful with your fellow anglers, even if you don't get the same treatment back. :) 

So, there you go -- don't forget to bring some companions with you on this upcoming Trout season! 

If you follow these tips wisely, you will eventually have much more fun while catching your Trout out there.

Finally, don't forget to say hi if you see me around the Creek! I will be fishing the Pennypack Creek above the Roosevelt Boulevard Dam on April 2nd, 8:00 a.m. EST. Feel free to come over and say hi! 

I wish all of you a successful upcoming Trout season for 2016! Expect to see lots of posts here, photos on my Instagram, short SnapChats, and, of course, YouTube videos

Best of luck to all of us,

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,


Leo S.


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