The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

April 5, 2014

Ken Maurer outdoors column: Tough times as creeks run high

By Ken Maurer
For The Daily Item

— The early trout season has been tough for a lot of anglers. Some nice fish were caught, and if you were in the right spot, there was good fishing. But, for a lot of anglers it was pretty frustrating.

I don’t think I ever saw so many frustrated anglers. A lot of guys who usually catch plenty of trout came off the streams with few or no fish. Then to compound the cold situation, we got a blizzard to start the week off.

The Mahantango Creek is notorious for being tough fishing early in the season, especially if it is cold, which it was. Other than some big goldens, I didn’t hear of many fish being caught there.

The Wiconisco Creek usually has a better bite early, and that held true. But even there you had to be in the right spot. The trout were sort of ganged up and if you were in the right hole there was some pretty good action.

Bits and pieces of hearsay of other southern streams was pretty much the same — tough fishing in cold water.

But, have no fear, the water and the air is going to warm up. The spring peepers are chirping away and that’s a sure sign. The rain and cold did do something good-it saved trout for later. They should be spread out and not so easy to catch in many areas. It will be more like real trout fishing and less like shooting fish in a barrel.

Now there’s a saying for you: “like shooting fish in a barrel.” You have to wonder who came up with that one. Did someone actually shoot into a barrel of fish? Nah, I guess it’s just a “saying” —although there has been a time or two that I would have liked to shoot a fish in a barrel.

Particularly, those blasted golden trout. They drive me nuts because I usually find them after every other Tom, Dick and Harry has tried to catch them and they are a paranoid basket case.

They tease you by following or taking a look at your offering. Then they sit there and act totally ignorant. I don’t have the patience for them. Some anglers are good at catching those yellow buggers. There must be some sort of character defect involved that I am not blessed with, because I don’t have much luck with them.

About a hundred years ago, I caught my first and second goldens (then called palaminos) on the same day. I went about 2 years before I caught another one, then caught three the same day.

That was a while back and I haven’t caught one since, but just about every year I’ll run into one of those weirdos. I believe it’s the fish commission’s way of advertising that they actually did put some trout in the stream.

It’s slowly warming up and sooner or later it will be warm enough that you won’t go into shock if you perform a two-footed punt in the middle of the crick.

Ken Maurer, Herndon, is a licensed fishing guide and a regular contributor to the outdoors page. Email comments to