Spring weather appears just in time for the first day of trout season
Zach Kimmell was waiting in line outside Twin Lakes Park at 4:30 a.m. Saturday, fishing gear at the ready.
Kimmell, 30, of Latrobe was among thousands of anglers throughout Westmoreland County hoping to get a bite on the opening day of trout season in Western Pennsylvania.
"I've reeled in about 15 fish so far today," he said around 10 a.m. "Nothing substantial yet."
Just a few feet away, Jim Gunkel of Coraopolis was the envy of his group of friends, with a 21-inch trout tied up in the water near his feet.
Gunkel has been making the 50-mile drive to Twin Lakes for nearly 15 years.
"It's a family thing," he said. "We get the kids and we all come out."
During a spring that has been inconsistent, weather-wise, anglers were able to enjoy a beautiful morning with blue skies and temperatures in the mid-60s.
"So far, the weather has been the best part," said Michael DeLabio of West Newton, who has spent the first day of trout season at Keystone State Park north of New Alexandria for the past decade.
"We have a camp up here," DeLabio said. "We were out at 4 a.m. Nothing caught yet, though."
Farther down the banks of the lake, Terry Dinkfelt, 52, said he drove about 60 miles from South Park to fish at Keystone. Between Dinkfelt and his family members, there were nearly 10 lines in the water.
"We got out around 5:30 a.m.," he said. "We always do pretty good in this area."
Tom Fazio of Greensburg usually spends the first day of trout season in creeks around his home, but decided this year to bring his son Brandon, 11, to Keystone State Park.
"I wanted to take Brandon somewhere a little simpler," Fazio said. "I like coming out and just being by the water, enjoying the scenery and watching the kids play and have fun."
Tom Burke of Bethel Park has been coming to Twin Lakes to fish trout for the past 13 years.
"We knew someone who lived out this way," Burke said. "He invited us to come with him. We come out with the kids and the grandkids."
Burke's family likes to up the ante a bit as well.
"We have a little contest for who gets the first fish and who gets the biggest fish," he said. "We bet a dollar."
For Kimmell, the day is a perfect chance to enjoy a little tranquility.
"I work six days a week and I just like to come out and relax," he said. "Get away from work, the wife and kids are at home, and I come out here and have some fun."
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2862, email@example.com or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.