Opening day serves up breakfast at Blacklegs Creek
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Now this is something a little different.
Opening day of trout season is always a social affair, bringing together families and friends to cast a few lines. But along Blacklegs Creek in Indiana County you'll see something unique.
There, even strangers gather.
The draw is the free wild game breakfast coordinated by members of the Blackleggs Creek Watershed Association and Cooperative Trout Nursery. Starting at 4 a.m. on April 12, club members will be at Blackleggs Memorial Park at Shrokman and Cribbs Roads in Young Township, Indiana County, serving up everything from venison sausage to bacon, eggs and pancakes.
It's something the group started doing a few years ago to celebrate the outdoors in general and Blacklegs Creek's fine fishing in particular.
“So much food comes in, it's unbelievable. People we don't even know will not only bring food, they stick around to help cook,” club spokesman Art Grguric said. “And we just keep cooking all day long, so long as we've got food and people.”
All of the food prepared is donated, and all is shared free of charge, said Anne Daymut, a volunteer with the association. Most is prepared on site.
This year, though, pre-cooked items are eligible to be entered into a contest for the “best wild game dish” to be judged by event organizers and IUP culinary students.
Of course, it doesn't hurt that there are plenty of trout to catch in the area.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission stocks Blacklegs Creek. The watershed really loads it up, though. Its plan is to release 6,000 trout into 11 miles of water, starting at the Conemaugh Township building on Route 286 between Saltsburg and Blackburg and going upstream, on the Wednesday and Thursday before the opener.
The association has about 15,000 to stock, including 5,000 brown trout, 5,000 rainbows and 5,000 brooks. They average about 9 inches long, which is admittedly smaller than usual. Grguric attributed that to the long, cold winter. Temperatures were so consistently low that the trout weren't eating as much as usual. That limited their growth.
“But they're starting to put it on now,” he said. “We should put another inch or more on them in the next two weeks.”
All in all, it figures to be a good time, Grguric said.
“It's great food, plus, everybody catches fish, especially the kids,” he said. “Everybody makes sure the kids have a good time.”
Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.
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