It is hard to believe, but the convoys of fish and boat commission tanker trucks are once again rolling.
Trout stocking efforts will increase in the weeks to come as the opening days grow closer. The recent offering of a southeastern opener two weeks before the rest of the state has allowed for agency equipment to handle the logistics of stocking all approved trout waters more effectively.
Anglers also benefited from the change and can now enjoy opening day twice if they are willing to travel.
Our area will not have to wait long to see stocking efforts as Little Mahoning is scheduled for Saturday.
Special regulation areas such as the fly project on the upper portion of Little Mahoning are especially popular at this time of year. Freshly stocked fish can help justify dealing with the weather, although water temperatures often adversely impact the bite. The size of Little Mahoning is perfect for a beginning fly fisher and requires little in the way of fancy casting.
In the early spring, overhead limbs are inconspicuous and can quickly be snagged if not identified prior to casting. Other special regulation streams offer options, with some allowing artificial lures such as barbless spinners. Checking out the regulation book may just reveal an adventure in a new early- season angling destination. While the bulk of anglers will wait until the traditional opener to wet a line, there is ample opportunity to hook a trout sooner.
While still in its infancy, a youth opener is again scheduled, although only a limited number of water bodies are included. In the southeast, the youth day is March 22 with the rest of the state’s is on April 5.
For more information on the waters and regulations on the youth trout opening day see www.fishandboat. com.
• Although further down the line, the youth spring gobbler season is also nearing. In my travels, I have seen several smaller groups of turkey despite the severe winter. Scouting is always important, yet this spring it might take more looking and listening to locate a gobbler.
The opportunity to get youth out in a game-rich environment is the key to these special opening days. Unfortunately early spring weather does not always cooperate and getting rained on is a reality. Being water logged can dampen the enthusiasm of serious outdoorsmen, much less children. Planning ahead to deal with a wet and cold child is something every mentor should consider. With good numbers of both trout and turkey, getting soaked in the first 30 minutes of the youth event is unadvised.
Patience pays off more times than not and sometimes that can include sitting in the truck as the storm passes. Small hunters can benefit from the elevation of a seat in the spring gobbler woods.
So many times I have heard stories of the mentor seeing the bird, but the youth’s lower vantage point not allowing. Combining a seat and shooting stick can allow the child better stability and visibility. Practicing with these and some live rounds will help pass the time until turkey season and build shooter confidence.