Trout season lures anglers throughout Armstrong County
Armstrong County's rock-strewn, icy-cold-water trout streams will get their fair share of anglers and catches of a lifetime today as trout season opens.
The county's waters are loaded with plenty of trout beckoning to fishermen.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and a number of local sportsmen's clubs have stocked thousands of trout in the local streams.
When anglers new to or from outside the county want to know where the best trout fishing is, they check with the Armstrong County Tourist Bureau in Kittanning.
"I tell them Pine Creek near me," said Linda Pennington of the county's tourist bureau. "It's the perfect stream for trout fishing."
Tourist bureau director Jessica Coil said a person who had just moved into the county asked her a few days ago, "Where can I (tent) camp along a trout stream?"
"He had planned to camp the night before fishing day," Coil said.
Coil gave him a campground where he could do that along with the names of some of the other nearby campgrounds in the county such as Burnt Ridge, Creekbed, Milton Loop, Nautical Mile, River's Edge, Silver Canoe and Wheel-in.
She said she also sends anglers to bait shops such as Keystone Bait and Tackle near Plum Creek and Transue's Tackle in West Kittanning for their bait, tackle, rods, reels and supplies.
Coil tells visitors of some of the trout streams in the county such as Buffalo Creek, Scrubgrass Creek, Pine Creek and Cherry Run.
"Those are some of the best," she said.
Trout anglers were making their final preparations all this week, replacing lines, checking tackle and getting bait, before heading out to their favorite spot today.
Opening time is 8 a.m. and area bait shops were to be open hours before that.
Bait shop owner Mark Transue has talked to a lot of his customers who are planning to do something they haven't done in years — head out the door before the sun comes up and go to their favorite stream to take part in opening day.
"Many are retired now, they had gotten away from it, they have time and want to get back in," said Transue.
He said he has been putting a lot of bulk spool line on and selling the hot bait item of this year — butter worms — large pink grubs.
Transue doesn't think the forecasted rainy, cool weather will dampen anglers' spirits.
"They deal with it," Transue said. "The streams are low and clear now anyway. A little bit of rain would be good. A little color in the water will benefit fishermen."
Meteorologist Alicia Smith of the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh said that Saturday's showers should hold off until afternoon.
"That will give the fishermen a break to start," said Smith.
Highs will be in the 40s, she said, and the temperature will be closer to normal.
"It's not as nice as it has been," Smith said. "Get out on the first day if you're a diehard fisherman and don't worry about the weather."