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Fishing season opens early in Franklin County

November 30, 1999|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. ? At 8 a.m. Saturday, anglers across Franklin County cast their lines into state-approved waters and marked the beginning of the 2007 trout season.

Franklin County was among 18 counties in Pennsylvania to open the season two weeks early as part of a state initiative to improve fishing and stocking conditions.

The Pennsylvania Fishing and Boating Commission said in a press release that opening the season earlier "expands fishing opportunities and improves our stocking and management efforts," but not everyone was happy to see the season start in March.

"The fish aren't biting like normal," said Donald Waters of Letterkenny Township.

Standing along the banks of the Falling Spring, Waters looked down at the water as he explained.

"It is colder than it should be for fishing and it is windy," he said. "Plus, the fish are too small."

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"Yeah, the fishing today is not good," said Matt Naugle of Chambersburg, Pa., a longtime fishing buddy of Waters. "There aren't many fish bigger than 7 inches, and if they aren't 7 inches, you can't keep them."

Just upstream from Waters and Naugle, three young anglers could not be happier that the season started early.

"I think it is better this way," said 14 year-old Zach Miley of Chambersburg. "We caught like nine fish already."

Some of the fisherman patiently waiting for a bite on their line speculated the early start also brought additional anglers from neighboring Fulton County.

"It was not this busy last year," said 14 year-old Levi Hornbaker of Chambersburg. "We had to wait for people to move downstream before we could start fishing today."

Mike Bonchonsky of Waynesboro, Pa., saw the early start as a chance to have two opening days of trout season.

"I think I will go to Fulton County in two weeks," he said. "Here, the streams will have been fished for those two weeks, but there they will be fully stocked."

About 12 waterways in Franklin County were approved for trout fishing, so not everyone encountered a crowd Saturday morning.

"It was nice. We fished on Buds Lake at Letterkenny, and there were only like five or six boats out," said Mike Ott of Waynesboro. Ott said the lake is privately owned by Letterkenny Army Depot, and only approved fisherman were permitted on Saturday.

While the early start to the season got mixed reviews from fishermen, Eric Reed of Blue Mountain Sporting Goods in Chambersburg said starting in March was good for business.

With many people coming to buy fishing licenses and trout stamps at the last minute, Reed said Blue Mountain sold out of trout stamps Friday night.

By Saturday at noon, many of the fisherman had gone home, but a few dedicated individuals still were trying to reach the state limit of five fish per day.

"I am staying until 6 (p.m.)," Hornbaker said. "I can still catch more."

Trout season starts for the rest of the state on April 14.

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