Cornelius' Corner:

"Fishing Opening Day"

Cornelius’ Corner: “Fishing Opening Day”

A teen dressed in a fishing vest and waders fly fishes in a stream with large boulders.

Stream fishing member Abe in the creek on opening day of trout season.

Hi everybody,

We had a really exciting day in the Park this past Saturday! It was the opening day of Pennsylvania trout season, so all of our fish-loving friends came to visit and try to catch some wily trout.

The day started off bright and early with members of the park’s fly fishing club arriving to cast their first lines of the year. Luckily the trout were really active and hungry after not being able to hunt well during all the rain and high water earlier in the week. Hungry trout will try to eat anything even kind of bug-shaped, so the fishermen had lots of catches, including both rainbow and brook trout. Long-time stream member Todd Hagenbuch even caught a rainbow trout so big it wouldn’t fit in his net!

People eat at tables in a log cabin.

Stream members enjoy opening day breakfast.

The water was a chilly 34° F first thing in the morning, so it was a good thing that my coworkers had a nice fire burning in the Log Cabin during the annual fisherman’s breakfast. This breakfast has been held annually on opening day morning almost every year since 1983! Volunteers Lucy Bell Jarka-Sellers, Johannes Jarka-Sellers, and Lucy Bell Newlin Sellers got to work first thing setting tables and cooking up a delicious breakfast of eggs, sausage, and world-famous sticky buns (also an opening day tradition).

It was also opening day for the three Trout Ponds behind the Visitor Center, for the first time since 2019. My coworkers were forced to stop stocking the ponds because siltation from upstream construction caused them to become too shallow to keep the trout healthy. Thankfully, the silt removal completed in October meant that the ponds were ready for families to come back and try their luck.

Two adults hold fishing poles with trout on them while two children look on.

The first fish caught in the Trout Ponds since 2019!

The Weiss family of West Chester caught the very first fish since the ponds had to be closed! Volunteers Anne and Tom McNally helped families with their poles and bait and helped bag fish for donation to the Tri-State Bird Rescue in Newark, DE. After opening weekend, we had 8 fish to share with the hungry osprey, herons, and other birds being cared for at the rescue. Sadly, nobody would share a trout with me even though I asked nicely. Everybody said they were too big and wouldn’t fit in my tummy. I respectfully disagree!

A large rainbow trout in a fishing net

Stream member Todd Hagenbuch’s whopper of a rainbow trout.

My coworkers said to tell everybody that stream fishing memberships are still available for the year and that Pond Fishing will be open on Saturdays and Sundays until November. You can learn more about fishing at Newlin Grist Mill here.

If you do come to fish, be sure to stop by my tank in the front room of the Visitor Center to say hi! I’m sure the minnows and sunfish in the aquarium would be happy to see you, too.

Happy fishing from your friendly neighborhood corn snake,

– Cornelius

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