A spring ritual common across the United States is opening day trout season. Most states except those in the deep south have trout hatcheries and stocking of streams, ponds and lakes. Fishermen gather close to the places where trout have been stocked often bringing the entire family along as well as boom boxes, stoves, chairs and other comforts. With this in mind I tried my luck at Beaver Creek in Maryland on 4/18/09. Little did I know that already there was a crowd there by 7:00 AM. At least 10 people where fishing 2 pools stocked with hundreds of rainbow trout. I tried my luck but since I had a flyrod with streamer flies and not power bait I had no luck. Some fishing families did well filling a trash bucket full of trout-limit is 5 trout per angler.
I decided to try the catch and release section downstream. There, fly fishing and catch and release laws go into effect. I hooked a nice rainbow on a fish egg pattern enjoying the fight. Upstream I hooked a wild brown trout on a flash bugger that made several deep runs as well as some jumps. I admired the brown trout's color before turning it loose. Hatchery fish have muted colors in comparison to their wild cousins. After these two fish I returned to the put and take hole. There were a few trout remaining and about 5 anglers trying for them. I managed to hook two of the rainbows but lost them both. By noon most of the fish were taken.
Some people question put and take trout fishing saying it spoils the sport aspect making trout fishing too easy like going to the supermarket. Fresh trout even hatchery trout are still delicious. Many trout anglers start out on the put and take streams eventually deciding to go after the bigger wild fish in the catch and release streams with fly gear. Wild trout are a lot tougher on the angler often times skunking the angler completely. Most trout spit out an artificial fly quickly though they will hold on to live bait or power bait longer. This power bait is yellowish substance that is fished on the bottom with a sinker or suspended under a bobber.
I did not bring any trout home for dinner that day but still had a good time enjoying the outdoors. There is something to be said for the good old days when all trout streams allowed you to fish any way you wanted and take something home. Fly fishing as well as catch and release was optional. Right now most trout streams are divided into put and take sections and catch and release sections. Whatever way you fish, best of luck and tight lines,
Richard P. Gunion