Summer is a fine time in Pennsylvania to catch trout
With the summer heat warming up area waterways, it’s time to be thinking about catching trout for your frying pan.
For many anglers, trout season is about the opening day of the season in April and fishing a few times in the spring.
But trout are active throughout the year and the summer is a good time to harvest some of these hatchery-raised fish.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission works throughout the spring to stock trout. Many of the stocked streams don’t have the ability to support trout during summers when the temperature is high, the water is low and oxygen is at a premium.
Trophy fish in Pa.:Several record breakers top list of the 2021 PA Angler Awards Program
If you like eating fish, this is a good time to visit streams that are known to be stocked with trout.
“Our stocked trout program is intended to be a put-and-take fishery. We’re not stocking trout from our hatcheries with the intention these fish are going to survive, find quality spawning habitat and result in a naturally-reproducing population,” Mike Parker, communications director for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, said in a telephone interview.
Fortunately, they are delivering fishing opportunities each spring to communities in places that don’t have the benefit of wild trout fishing.
He said there deep pools in some rivers that create carryover fish, but they don’t have the ability to naturally reproduce.
“Our hatchery-raised trout are intended to be caught and enjoyed by the anglers. If you choose to throw them back for someone else to enjoy, that’s your call,” he said adding that’s why there are creel limits for people to keep and eat fish.
Licensed anglers are permitted to keep five trout a day that are at least 7 inches long through Sept. 5. From Sept. 6 through the end of the year, the limit is three.
If you are fishing a Class A wild trout stream, you have to immediately release the fish back in the water. You can’t keep fish from those streams as the agency is looking to increase the population of the naturally-reproducing fish.
Catching a trout during warmer, low water levels is stressful to the fish. Because of that, it makes sense on hot days to fish on streams with stocked trout that you can take home versus pursuing wild trout that are already facing challenging conditions to survive.
You should be fly fishing:2 experts explain why you should fly fish as well
For summer fishing, it’s helpful to scout out a stream to see where the water flows and where the fish might have migrated since being stocked in the spring.
“There are some warmwater creeks that run into a bigger river or creek and those fish will move out into the bigger waters where we don’t stock the trout,” Parker said. "It’s always a nice surprise to catch a trout in places where you don’t expect them or when fishing for other species like bass or walleye."
Trout are a delicious meal on a summer evening. If you don’t already have a good recipe, the Fish and Boat Commission provides this proven way to prepare them.
For ingredients, you will need:
- 2 tsp. olive oil, or to taste.
- 2 whole trout, dressed
- 1/4 tsp. dried dill
- 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
- salt and black pepper
- 1/2 large onion, sliced
- 2 thin lemon slices
- 2 tbsp. hot water
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 9x13-inch backing dish with a 1 tsp. of olive oil.
2. Place trout in the prepared baking dish. Coat the trout with olive oil. Season the inside and outside of the fish with dill, thyme and salt. Stuff the fish with onion and lemon slices. Sprinkle black pepper over the top of the fish.
3. Bake the fish in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Add water to the dish. Continue baking until the fish flakes easily with a fork, about 10 minutes more.
If you don’t want to cook the entire trout, try modifying the recipe with fillets.
Another option I’ve enjoyed is using your favorite fish batter (many store options are available) and deep-frying the trout fillets until golden brown. Either way, you’ll end up with a great dinner.
Brian Whipkey is the outdoors columnist for USA TODAY Network sites in Pennsylvania. Contact him at email@example.com and sign up for our weekly Go Outdoors PA newsletter email on your website's homepage under your login name. Follow him on social media @whipkeyoutdoors.