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Spring Trout Fishing Series Episode 5 | Trout Fishing Hammer and Little Cocalico Creeks

Trout Fishing Mid-season Stockings in Southeastern Pennsylvania

Trout fishing is still good many weeks after opening day in Pennsylvania. Many streams and lakes throughout the Commonwealth received several more trout stockings well into May. These extra spring trout fishing opportunities can prove to be some of the best of the year. 

In this episode, Grant explores Hammer and the Little Cocalico Creeks in southeastern Pennsylvania. He utilizes the trout stocking schedule to fish these creeks on days after they have recently been stocked. One of the best trout fishing tips when fishing mid-season after recent stocking is to fish areas away from obvious stocking spots like parking lots and bridges. Simply getting a few hundred yards away from these areas will greatly improve your trout fishing success on stocked streams. Key trout fishing gear included live bait, Berkley® Gulp trout bait and Rooster Tail® spinners fished on an Ugly Stik GX2 spinning combo. Explore creeks like Hammer and the Little Cocalico in southeastern Pennsylvania and take advantage of additional trout fishing opportunities after opening day.  

Pennsylvania Trout Stocking Opportunities and Tactics

Capitalizing on Pennsylvania Trout Stocking

Millions of trout are on their way to streams and lakes all across Pennsylvania. Throughout the month of March, spring trout stocking will be in full force in preparation for the opening days of trout season!

Spring Pennsylvania Trout Stocking Fishing Opportunities

Trout fishing season in Pennsylvania is a tradition. Anglers wait all winter long for those early spring days when trout season opens. Streams and lakes across the state will be packed with stocked trout and ready for anglers. With multiple opening days for trout, anglers have plenty of opportunities. There are both regional and statewide opening days as well as special opening days for youth anglers.

PennLive.com, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission waterways conservation officer Mark Sweppenhiser explains how the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission stocks brown and brook trout in Stony Creek near Dauphin Borough.

In addition, many Pennsylvania trout streams and lakes receive additional spring trout stockings well after the opening days of trout season. Most waterways typically receive several stockings in the spring, which adds additional opportunities to trout fish. The opening days receive a lot of pressure so fishing can be challenging. However, if you stick with it there are opportunities to catch trout beyond opening day.

Review the Trout Stocking Report

By stocking report, we’re referring to the trout stocking report that has all the details of what was stocked and where. The trout stocking schedule from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has all these details, and they can help you when trout fishing this spring.

Two important facts can be obtained from the stocking report. First, it tells you what type of trout are going to be stocked. Brook trout are more tolerant of cold water than brown and rainbow trout. What this means is that you will have better success fishing streams and lakes that have had brook trout stocked if waters are cold than if browns or rainbows were stocked. The other fact you should review in this report is the time and location of the trout stocking. You want to know exactly which segment of the stream is being stocked, not every section of water is stocked on a particular day, and at what time they plan to stock. This will help you plan your spring trout fishing accordingly.

4 Ways to Catch More Trout in Stocked Streams

Fishing for trout in streams throughout the spring can present multiple challenges. The potential to catch fish will fluctuate with the changing weather and stream conditions. However, because of spring trout stocking in these approved waters, there are certainly plenty of fish to go after on opening day and beyond. This allows plenty of fishing until the conditions are more favorable.

To capitalize, here are four ways to catch more trout in stocked streams.

  1. Go off the grid. Rarely is trout stocking done by float stocking them via a watercraft throughout the stream. Instead, trout are stocked at strategic areas, which are accessible by both anglers and stocking crews. These are typically the areas where fishing pressure is applied most. Stocked trout will relocate.  To find them locate ideal water upstream or downstream of stocking locations where fewer people tend to fish. 
  2. Use ultralight tackle. Stocked trout quickly adapt to their new home. To catch them, you have to go ultralight. Start with a 5- to 6-foot ultralight trout fishing rod matched with a small reel and 4-lb test fishing line. Also use micro-size hooks, such as size 18 treble hooks, for bait fishing or small trout spinners in baitfish colors. 
  3. Fish fast water. The big holes are always full of anglers. However, spring trout fishing can be very productive in areas many anglers bypass. Fish riffles above and below large holes instead. Fish baitfish imitations using the drift fishing technique that is also popular with spring steelhead anglers. 
  4. Wait before fishing. Instead of following the stocking truck and then trying to catch freshly stocked trout, wait until later in the day to fish. Trout fishing later in the day is more productive because trout will have had time to adjust to the stream and water temps will also be a few degrees higher. Both factors activate trout into feeding mode and lead to more bites.

    4 Trout Fishing Season Tactics for Lakes

    Lakes offer a different type of spring trout fishing. These waters also receive plenty of spring trout stocking but escape the changing water conditions streams are susceptible too. In lakes, you can catch plenty of stocked trout if you know how.

    1. Try soft-plastics. Small soft plastics designed for panfish are great lures for catching trout in lakes. While most anglers are casting paste baits and live bait, a different presentation can trick a stocked trout. Use small soft plastic worm imitations and tiny swimbaits in natural colors. Don’t be afraid to fish larger soft plastics for catching bigger trout as well.

    2. Locate changes. Many trout stocked lakes in Pennsylvania are smaller bodies of water with limited structural diversity. However, if you can find springs, channels, drop-offs and other structural changes in the lake, you will find trout.

    3. Mix it up. To have a productive trout season on lakes in the spring you need to mix it up. Change trout fishing lures frequently and fish at different depths. Trout, unlike bass, are not always focused on one type of lure at a particular time. Changing lures can increase the numbers you catch. Also, trout will move throughout the lake and positioning your bait at different depths will increase the number of bites you get.

    4. Communicate with the trout. Don’t try and talk to the trout but you should listen to them! For instance, if you repeatedly see trout following your lures but not biting them, there is a reason why. The trout are telling you that they are hungry but what you fishing with is just not fooling them. Either change the size of the lure youre using or change the color to get them to commit on the next cast.

    Most every angler in Pennsylvania can’t wait until spring trout stocking gets underway. only weeks away from the opening days. Capitalize on spring trout stocking opportunities with these tactics for trout fishing streams and lakes.

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