STROUDSBURG, Pa. — After what seemed like a never-ending winter, the area’s fishermen and women were finally able to take to local waterways on Saturday for the start of the statewide trout season.
While people lined the sides of lakes and streams throughout the Poconos, some were keeping a watchful eye for plastic washed downstream from an accident in late March.
“It feels great, even if you only catch a couple,” said Donna Berger, of Reeders. “It really doesn’t matter if you don’t catch any, as long as you get bites. You’re out in the nice air with all the nice people here.”
Berger was one of dozens who staked out a spot along the banks of McMichael Creek on the opening day of trout season. While just being out along the creek was enough for her, she also managed to catch two trout before noon.
Every year, the state stocks several of the county’s lakes and streams with Brook, Brown and Rainbow Trout. The state stocks both the Snow Hill Dam and Tobyhanna Lake. In addition to the aforementioned lakes, the McMichael Creek, Brodhead Creek, Tobyhanna Creek, Lake Creek, Princess Run, Buckwha Creek and Pocono Creek are all stocked by the state.
This year, the state is stocking streams with more than 2.5 million trout and lakes are receiving 624,700 for a total of 3.15 million trout. Combine this with the more than 1.2 million from cooperative fisheries and more than 4.4 million trout have been stocked into waterways.
Fish still managed to evade plenty of area fishermen on Saturday morning; one of those fishermen was Rafael Ferreira, 71, of East Stroudsburg.
Ferreira has not missed an opening day in years and this year he decided to test out the waters of McMichael Creek. After about three hours he had seen plenty of activity, but had yet to catch any fish. While he said a fish would be nice, Ferreira was just happy to be out in the sunshine and not in the house.
“I think we got a break from Mother Nature, a nice break,” said Ferreira of the weather. “Today is amazing because it’s the first day and everybody is eager to catch at least one and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
Some that broke out their poles and tackle boxes on Saturday morning were keeping a watchful eye on the water. An accident on Interstate 80 in late March sent hundreds of thousands of tiny plastic pellets into Pocono Creek and those pellets have been making their way downstream since.
Todd Burns, president of Brodhead Chapter of Trout Unlimited, said that many of the area’s most popular fishing spots were spared due to the location of the crash. While they may not have ended up in fishing spots, the chapter is still planning a clean up effort due to the sheer amount of pellets still left in the creek.
“You don’t go dropping plastic and paper on the inside of your house and nature is the outside of the house and I don’t think you’d leave it there either,” Burns said.
The chapter was to host a cleanup effort during the day and was to meet at the former Northampton Community College site in Tannersville. Volunteers were asked to come prepared for the weather.
“We’re hoping people come out, we know the weather isn’t going to be good but we hope they come out because we’re working on public access water so it should be important to everyone,” Burns said
Information from: Pocono Record, http://www.poconorecord.com/