The intersection of Spring Creek and Bald Eagle Creek in Milesburg is a well-known honey hole for fishermen from all over the state and has a large draw annually on the opening day of trout season.
Saturday, fishermen lined the banks of Bald Eagle Creek near the bridge on Turnpike Street in hopes of landing some of the estimated 4.2 million trout that the state Fish and Boat Commission is releasing this year into Pennsylvania waters. Relative newcomers and people who have been coming to the spot for years took advantage of the nice weather to cast their lines.
“I’ve been coming up here for a couple of years,” said Matt Trimber, of Lancaster. “My friends who are here with me have been coming up for 10 to 15 years. … This is rest and relaxation for me. I’m enjoying some time away and my wife is enjoying me having some time away, too.”
Lewisburg resident Rob Smith said he has been fishing at the same location for more than 40 years.
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“I’ve seldom come up without catching fish,” Smith said. “I’ve never gotten skunked.”
For Percy McCleester, of Johnstown, this year’s trip to Milesburg was about being with friends and family.
“I’m going to be 85 at the end of May,” McCleester said. “I always have a good time coming here. I’ll do this until I die.”
Joining the fishermen from out of the area was Willis Englert, of Bellefonte, who reeled in his fourth trout of the day after fishing for a little longer than an hour.
“I’ve been coming here for 20 years,” Englert said.
“My boy brought me. My family is here.”
Fly shops and businesses that cater to anglers were seeing booming business with the start of the season.
The Feathered Hook is a bed & breakfast and fly shop on Main Street in Coburn that almost exclusively houses fishermen and women, said owner Jonas Price. He called his business an angler’s lodge.
“Business has started to improve because of fishing and partially accredited to better weather,” Price said.
Peak season for Price is from the middle of April through June, he said.
The most popular items he sells are waders and fly line, but, he said, he has nearly everything anglers need.
The most important tips he has for new anglers and those veterans with little tolerance is to have patience.
He encourages everyone, if they can afford it, to also hire a fishing guide who can expand general knowledge.