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Weather permitting, Smithton Sportsmen Association set to stock Yough

The weather has not been doing any favors for trout fishermen.

Smithton Sportsmen and Conservation Association was set to begin stocking trout in the Yough River in Smithton on March 5, but that had to be cancelled when rain and melting snow led to ugly river conditions. A planned March 12 stocking fell through for the same reasons.

But rest assured, the river eventually will get plenty of trout. The club has stocked it every year for more than 40 years.

The club was hoping yesterday to put fish in the river, and again March 26 and April 2, 9, 13 and 23. The stockings are all to occur at 9 a.m., save for the April 13 stocking; that one is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Following up on an experiment last year, the trout -- a 50-50 mixture of rainbows and browns, since so many anglers like the latter fish -- will be larger than the typical stocked trout.

"These aren't going to be the traditional 9- to 11-inch stockers, though there will be some of them in there," said club president Tom Morrissey. "The bulk of the fish will be in the 12- to 14-inch range. We got a lot of positive feedback last year from our members and fishermen, so it's a no-brainer. They like bigger fish, with a better fight, and there's more to eat for the guys who keep them."

There will be much larger fish put in the river each time, too. The goal is to stock five trout that are 18 inches or longer each time.

The stocking effort again is being funded through the sale of buttons. They're $10 and can be purchased at Gander Mountain in Greensburg, at S&R Bait Shop on Route 51 in Belle Vernon and from club members. Details on each stocking -- namely whether it gets carried out or cancelled -- can be found at www.smithtonsportsmen.com .

Morrissey is hoping that stockings will outnumber cancellations from here on out. If so, great angling will be the rest.

The club will stock trout between the ballfield in Smithton and the mouth of Jacobs Creek. That gives fishermen plenty of options.

"We've got a good two miles of road in that stretch, and we stop eight or nine times. We hit all the good holes, all the good spots," Morrissey said.

"It's a beautiful stretch of river with a lot of access."

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