Which baits are most effective for catching trout in Pennsylvania?

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The Buzz of Trout Season in Pennsylvania

As trout season begins across Pennsylvania, fishing enthusiasts are buzzing with the thrill of landing a big catch. Experts offer advice on the most successful baits and lures, while beginners and seasoned anglers alike look forward to a successful fishing season.

Catch of the Day: A Young Angler’s First Trout

Avery Keith, a 6-year-old from Somerset, joined the ranks of successful anglers with her first ever trout catch during the Mentored Youth Trout Day on March 30. “It was exciting,” she said, describing the moment the rainbow trout grabbed her bait and started pulling on the line.

The Best Bait for Trout Fishing

Avery’s successful catch came using butterworms for bait, which her mother Meagan recommended as a good choice for kids learning to fish. “The butterworms seemed to work the best that day,” she said. Other successful baits included spinners and pink colored PowerBait.

Advice for Your Tackle Box from Poor Richard’s Bait and Tackle

In northwestern Pennsylvania, Dominic Ferrante, a salesman at Poor Richard’s Bait and Tackle, offers a variety of bait options that work well for stocked trout. His top suggestion for those using bait is minnows, particularly Emerald shiners. Other effective baits include waxworms and mealworms.

Live Bait is a Winning Choice at Dunkelberger’s Sports Outfitter

In eastern Pennsylvania, Mike Schwartz, firearms and assistant fishing manager of Dunkelberger’s Sports Outfitter, also vouches for live bait. Popular choices include mealworms, red worms, night crawlers, and minnows. PowerBait and salmon eggs are also big sellers.

Fishing Line Recommendations

When it comes to fishing line for spinning rods, monofilament line ranging from four- to eight-pound test is recommended for stocked trout. For a clearer, though slightly more expensive option, consider using a fluorocarbon line.

License Requirements for Fishing in Pennsylvania

Anglers aged 16 years or older must possess a valid Pennsylvania fishing license to participate in the trout season. Fishing licenses and permits can be purchased through the HuntFishPA online portal on the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) website, or at nearly 700 retail license issuing agents, such as sports shops and county treasurer offices.

Important Dates for Trout Anglers

Here are some key dates for trout anglers to mark on their calendars:

  • April 6: Statewide Opening Day of Trout Season
  • May 26 and July 4: Fish for Free Days
  • Sept. 3: Start of Extended Trout Season
  • Nov. 1-April 30: Mandatory Life Jacket Requirement in effect

Catch and Release: Best Practices

If you prefer to release your catch, the PFBC offers guidelines to increase survival chances for the fish. Recommendations include using barbless hooks, landing fish swiftly, keeping fish in the water as much as possible, and handling fish carefully, avoiding the gills.


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