Riverkeeper's note: This column was submitted by Rodney Englehardt, of Union County, Pennsylvania. Rodney is an avid angler, frequenting Penns Creek and other local bodies of water.
As a young man growing up in western Union County, as the calendar turned from February to March, I would start looking for the trout stocking schedules in The Daily Item (newspaper) as in those days, technology wasn’t prevalent like it is in this era and everything wasn’t at your fingertips like today.
Those days weren’t as complicated as things are today you could take your fishing rod and whatever bait you chose and go just about anywhere without hassle.
What I’ve noticed the last few years is a divide growing between how people fish and whether to kill or catch-and-release. I personally do both.
So a few thoughts on that. If you choose to use live bait or fly fish, it’s your choice and you shouldn’t be judged either way by others.
As most local streams are stocked, people debate between keeping a few and catch-and-release. Fisheries need to be managed just like your wildlife population. You can’t keep putting and putting and not take a few. It doesn’t equal a healthy stream in the long run. It doesn’t mean you have to kill every fish you catch, but if you enjoy eating fish, keep a few and enjoy.
The concept that how you fish or what you choose to fish with is nonsense. We all should be out there to enjoy nature and the beauty of central Pennsylvania or wherever you choose to wet a line.
In addition, I have a few important tips to follow and think about. If you see a kid fishing, give him or her room and if he/she is struggling ask if you can help.
Watch where you park and please respect the landowners as they are the key to access on the streams.
Please take your garbage with you, and pick up other litter if you see it left behind.
Check the fish commission website or your book as there are special regulation areas and regulations on creel limits and dates.
It’s pretty simple folks -- respect one another. There is plenty of room and fish for everyone to chase after in whatever fashion they choose. Be sure to support the local bait and tackle and fly specialty shops. These are the folks that live in your community and give back.
Make fishing fun again and best of luck wherever you may roam!
You can reach Rodney Englehardt via firstname.lastname@example.org
John Zaktansky is an award-winning journalist and avid promoter of the outdoors who loves camping, kayaking, fishing and hunting with the family.