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Yough River primed for trout stocking

The first day of spring officially arrives March 20.

For local anglers, though, the season will arrive unofficially a few days earlier, when annual efforts to fill the Yough River with stocked trout get under way.

The West Newton Sportsmen's Association and Smith Sportsmen and Conservation Association will put their first loads of trout in the river March 17, conditions permitting. Stockings will continue weekly through late April.

Both clubs have been at this for decades, and their efforts are highly anticipated. The river is open to trout fishing year-round, meaning this is an opportunity for anglers to get out as soon as the weather is decent.

This time around, West Newton will put its fish in the river March 17, 25 and 31, as well as April 7, 13 and 21. Those are all Saturdays save for April 13, which is the Friday before trout season opens in Western Pennsylvania.

The club will host a trout contest from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 22 and stock Sewickley Creek at Apples Mill Road at 1 p.m. April 28.

Smithton, meanwhile, will stock its fish March 17, 24 and 31 and April 7, 12, 21 and 28. Those are all Saturdays — when fish will be stocked at 9 a.m. at the ballfield in Smithton — save for April 12, which is the Thursday before opening day.

As always, both clubs are selling buttons to help pay for the stocking efforts. They are available at businesses throughout the area.

Archery in schools

A total of 525 students from 24 schools throughout the state will compete in the National Archery in the Schools Program 2012 state tournament this Friday at the Penn State Multi-Sport Facility in University Park.

The competitors include 234 females and 293 males.

Local schools with teams competing are New Castle Christian Academy, New Brighton High School and Beaver High School. Sixty-five schools statewide participate in the program.

A new feature of the tournament this year will be a "Shooter's Expo," which will offer participants a chance to explore other outdoor-related activities, such as 3-D archery target shooting and turkey calling.

For information on the program, visit www.archeryintheschools.org or call 717-787-4250.

Bald eagles

Mature bald eagles have been spotted in the Ligonier area over the past month or so, according to Pennsylvania Game Commission wildlife conservation officer Brian Singer.

But he's asking for help.

"With the nearest active nest on the Conemaugh River in Livermore, we are looking to find out if the eagles are nesting locally, traveling through or just using the area as hunting/scavenging grounds," he said. "Please report sightings or potential nesting locations, but please leave the nest sites undisturbed."

Calls can be made to the Game Commission at 724-238-9523.

NWTF

The Pennsylvania chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation was honored at the group's recent national convention.

It was recognized for winning the "highest total net/net dollars raised award" and for finishing third in "best state chapter" with between 10,000 and 19,999 members.

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