Last updated: April 13. 2013 11:15PM - 2000 Views
By - tvenesky@timesleader.com

Devin Herling, 11, left, and Juan Contreras, 8, both of Hazleton with a fish each caught on the first day of trout season at Lake Irena in Hazle Township on Saturday.
Devin Herling, 11, left, and Juan Contreras, 8, both of Hazleton with a fish each caught on the first day of trout season at Lake Irena in Hazle Township on Saturday.
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Waiting was the hardest part for Tyler Christian.

The 13-year-old arrived at Harveys Creek in Plymouth Township at 5 a.m. with his family to claim a spot of shoreline for the opening day of trout. He had three hours to pass until the 8 a.m. start time.

“I just talked to my family or sat in the car,” Christian said. “It was pretty hard.”

But after 8 a.m., things got a lot easier. Using a Blue Fox spinner, Christian landed three trout right off the bat. All of a sudden the long wait didn’t seem so bad.

“I enjoy being out here with my family, and I do enjoy catching fish,” he said. “I do get excited for the opening day.”

Anglers crowded the banks of area lakes and streams for Saturday’s trout season opener. They were greeted with chilly temperatures early in the morning that many felt kept the action slow at first.

“They were biting slow in the morning but it started to pick up around 10,” said Swoyersville resident Marty Burridge, who arrived at Moon Lake at 7 a.m. “We’ve been coming to Moon Lake on opening day for 12 years and we’re glad they opened the park for this. It’s a great place for kids to fish and when the trout start hitting the action can get pretty fast.”

Just down from Burridge stood 10-year-old Carter Golaszewski, who had yet to get a hit but still fished with determination. Even though Golaszewski isn’t old enough to have to buy a fishing license, he sported a homemade license pinned to his cap.

“My mom made it for me,” he said. “I was excited to go today, even if it was a little cold this morning. Maybe when the sun comes out they’ll start hitting better.”

Ross Piazza, a deputy waterways conservation officer with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, estimated there were almost 300 anglers at Moon Lake by the time he left at 10 a.m. As the morning warmed up, he said, the fish starting biting so many people stayed at the lake.

Down the road at Harveys Creek, where cars were parked all along state Route 29, Piazza said he checked several anglers who caught their limit of five trout in the morning.

Despite the heavy rains later in the week, area streams were in good shape for fishing on Saturday. Waterways Conservation Officer John Cummings reported anglers at Kitchen and Pine creeks were having quite a bit of success.

“At Pine Creek the bite was really on with brook trout, and they were catching them with corn, minnows and paste bait,” Cummings said. “The water was perfect in the streams. I was concerned the night before after the rain made the creeks run rough, but this morning they were perfect with just a little bit of color.”

Brian Christian of Wapwallopen spent the morning at Harveys Creek and was surprised at how good the fishing was considering the recent rain.

“I saw the river was high this morning so I was worried about the stream, but it’s beautiful. You can’t beat it,” he said. “They’re hitting, but not as good as past years. Still, the first thing about today is the camaraderie with family and friends. That’s what we’re here for.”

At Lily Lake, most anglers opted to fish from boats around the launch and parking lot areas. A cold wind reduced the crowd by about half later in the morning and many anglers headed to shore to have lunch at a stand operated by the members of Mount Zion Church.

Cummings and Piazza said Saturday was pretty quiet in regards to violations. The most common problem, according to Piazza, was anglers fishing from boats without a life jacket on Moon Lake.

According to new legislation, anyone using a boat 16 feet or under between Nov. 1 and April 30 must wear a life jacket.

“We’ve been giving warning today as people start to become aware of the change,” Piazza said. “But after a while we’ll issue citations if the problem persists.”

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