Stocking trout at Cloe Lake among the ultimate local family activities

PUNXSUTAWNEY — For many, it has been a rite of passage over the years, passed on from generation to generation: The first day of trout fishing season and the pre-season stocking of Cloe Lake.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission held its annual pre-season trout stocking Tuesday at the popular fishing spot, with several generations on hand to carry on the tradition.

According to the commission, Cloe Lake, located on the Jackson Run Creek in Bell Township, was constructed in 1909.

Jim Rowles of Troutville brought his dog, Hunter, to the stocking as he’s always done in the past. He spends a large amount of time in the outdoors ever since he was growing up in the Punxsy area.

“I’ve done the majority of my fishing at the lake — successfully,” he said, noting that the largest trout he’s caught was a Palomino that was about 28 inches long.

“No, I didn’t get it mounted to keep as a trophy fish; I made steaks out of it,” Rowles said. “I try to take my dog Hunter fishing with me as much as possible. He just loves to jump in the water and wait for the fish to be caught.”

Also, Ken Kotula, of Punxsutawney, said every year, he enjoys assisting the Fish & Boat Commission with the trout stockings — especially at Cloe Lake.

“I spend about 90 percent of my time fishing

at the lake with good success,” he said. The largest fish he has caught were a 24-inch Rainbow and a 19-inch Palomino.

“I usually don’t have a trout mounted or keep it to eat,” he said. “I take their picture and throw them back. That way, when it sees me again, the fish will come and bite.”

Harry Mitchell, from McCalmont Township, brought his two great-grandsons, Matt Mitchell and Easton Snyder, from Punxsy, who helped with stocking the lake.

“I’ve caught a lot of fish over the years,” he said. “I never kept any; I just put them back.”

Mitchell said he once caught an eight-pound Palomino that measured about 26 inches.

“The most I ever caught in one day was 119 (catch and release as the creel limit is five combined species per day), which was before the lake was drained to repair the dam,” Mitchell said. “It isn’t like it used to be.”

Rick Vlazak, a waterways conservation officer for the Fish & Boat Commission, said crews stocked 2,400 Rainbow trout in to the lake Tuesday, along with 60 trophy Rainbow and Golden Trout.

Vlazak said this time, the commission is stocking the trout away from the boat launch area because following the last stocking, some fishermen illegally snagged the trout that lingered near the boat launch after he left the scene.

Trout season officially opens at 8 a.m. Saturday, April 14, and is 24 hours a day. In addition to a fishing license, trout anglers 16 and older must possess a trout-salmon stamp, or combination trout-salmon stamp and Lake Erie permit to fish for trout.