Allentown, PA, United States (4E Sports) – Fishing aficionados in the southeast region of Pennsylvania have a way of preserving the trout population in Little Lehigh Creek.
“I don’t keep any,” said 17-year-old Hunter Roth, senior at Salisbury High School. “I catch and release all the time. I really don’t eat them.”
An increasing number of people are fishing the catch-and-release way, using barbless hooks so as not to damage a fish’s mouth. They find more fun in the pursuit of the finny prey than in eating fresh trout.
“You have to leave some for another day, or for someone else to catch,” said Brayden Fox, who made the trip into the Lehigh Valley for the regional opener. The statewide opener takes place on April 12.
Many organizations like Trout Unlimited and the Delaware River Shad Fishermen’s Association recommend catch-and-release.
Leroy Young, director of the Bureau of Fisheries for the PFBC, said catch-and-release is a good practice, especially with sales of fishing licenses up 7.5 percent statewide prior to last Saturday’s opening day.
Young also advised people who want to practice catch-and-release to buy barbless hooks, or use a needlenose pliers or hemostat to compress the barbs on the hooks they have.
“Barbs don’t really help the fish stay on the hook, and barbless hooks may even be easier to set because they take less effort,” he said.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will stock approximately 3.2 million trout this year, with the vast majority of them already put into fishable waters. With almost a million anglers, that means that it would be impossible for every angler to limit out on stocked fish.