Posted by: Andy Whitcomb
April 1, 2014

Andy Whitcomb

Trout Scout


The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has begun stocking  trout in streams around Pennsylvania.  Even though the trout season doesn’t start until April 12th for my neck of the woods, to increase chances of success, it is worthwhile to scout these streams.

If you are in the same boat, and want to get a head start compared to other anglers, here are a few tips to scouting and viewing fish in streams:

1) Polarized glasses help cut through the glare.

2) To avoid spooking fish, keep a low profile, and use any cover available such as trees or boulders. Fish that remain undisturbed are more likely to be in a feeding behavior.

3) Although murky water makes fish tough to see, it also makes it more difficult for fish to see you.  This means you are a little less dependent on using cover and staying down.

4) Periodically pick a reference point, such as a dark rock, stand very still, and watch for movement. It may only be a subtle shift.

5) Try looking in contrasting areas where possible. For example, dark fish over light sandy bottoms, or light fish near dark pebbles.

6) Consider places where fish might like to rest, such as slower, deeper pools, or below a fallen log. But keep in mind other anglers will find these places too, so also find those fish occupying locations that are more likely to be overlooked.

7) Once you pick out that shape and color of that first fish, others should begin to materialize.

Seeing is believing.  And hope.  There is a palpable boost of confidence and a building excitement from just catching a glimpse of these glorious fish. However, I should also warn that it may lead to some sleepless nights until trout season.


Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad living in Pennsylvania. Visit him at

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