PUNXSUTAWNEY — Despite the unpredictable weather, there’s one event that can’t be stopped: The stocking of trout in area creeks, streams and Cloe Lake.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission made its traditional trek from Bellefonte to the Bell Township lake located Tuesday, with the season scheduled to open at 8 a.m. next Saturday.
Rick Vlazak, Jefferson County waterways conservation officer, said the commission has been stocking since March, and next week, will conclude the pre-season trout stockings throughout the Commonwealth.
As has been the tradition at Cloe Lake, skies were cloudy, and it was cold and windy, which kept the crowd of stocking fans down to a dozen.
Vlazak said the weather conditions have not prevented the commission from stocking trout waters.
There are several large golden rainbow trout, which could be as long as 25 inches, stocked not only in Cloe Lake, but also in area streams and creeks.
“I think area anglers are going to be happy to catch one of these large fish species, between the bright golden color and the size upwards of 28 inches,” Vlazak said, adding that some of the large brown trout and golden rainbow trout weigh upward of eight pounds.
Vlazak said the amount of fish raised in the commission’s hatcheries remains the same.
The conditions for raising trout at the hatcheries has been excellent in the past year, Vlazak said, adding that rainbow trout are the species that the commission raises the most.
Vlazak said rainbow trout are the easiest to raise, and grow to a larger size more quickly than brook and brown trout.
“Generally, we stock a large number of rainbows in the larger creeks and lakes,” he said. “However, we also stock a lot of brook trout because they are adaptable to many of the smaller mountain streams located in this part of the state.”
Trout that are raised in the hatcheries are fed three to five times per day, and they grow quickly.
Each truck has a 1,200-gallon tank with an aeration and oxygen system and holds from 3,000 to 6,000 fish, depending on its size.
Terry Emel, Bellefonte, the driver of the trout stocking truck that serviced Cloe Lake, said he’s been driving 10 years for the PFBC.
“I love my job; being able to deliver trout around the state is my dream job,” he said. “I drive these trout long distances to be stocked and to provide exciting fishing opportunities for anglers.”
Opening day for trout season is considered a holiday by many of the state’s fishermen and women.