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WINNER Top two: During an ‘Eye Catcher 2 charter on May 16, James Swearingen of Windgap released several lake trout including one estimated to weigh 15-16 pounds. Photo by Mark Graziano. Above: In February Mr. Swearingen was catching fresh steelhead in Lake Erie tributaries. This 33-inch, 12- to 13-pound hen was caught on an egg sac and released at Elk Creek. Photo Hank Lavrich.
While chasing steelhead on a Lake Erie tributary, fly angler Don Ayers of Baden, Beaver County, caught and released some big browns. Look at the big hooked kype on this one.
Wil Snyder of Bridgeville caught both of these brown trout on Nov. 1, 2018, in Spruce Creek, Huntingdon County, using a 9-foot 7-weight fly rod and a hand-tied Waltz Worm. The big one was 26 inches and weighed about 7 pounds. Photo Kyle Schlittler
This 24-inch, 5-pound rainbow snapped the line twice before it was finally landed by Pittsburgh fly angler Bill Wehrheim on Richie Run at Mineral Springs Park, Beaver County.
Doug Nesaw of Moon took this 24-inch rainbow on 4-pound test line on Neshannock Creek, Lawrence County.
A 24-inch steelhead was landed by Matthew Foster of Ingram at Twentymile Creek, Erie County. Photo Matthew Foster.
Patrick Bush of Edgewood took this 21-inch rainbow on a yellow streamer at Lower Tunkhannock Creek, Monroe County.
At 9 a.m. April 28, John “Huck” Hutchin of Confluence, Somerset County, caught a 19-inch, 4 ½-pound rainbow trout on a spinner at White’s Creek, Somerset County.
With no hits all morning, Perry Darke of Beechview tied on a purple feathered jig with a piece of red rubber worm and caught this 15-inch brown trout at 2 p.m. opening day in Confluence, Somerset County.
Gary Walsh of McKeesport pulled a 16-inch rainbow trout through 5 inches of ice on upper Twin Lakes on Feb. 2. Mr. Walsh was having no luck on the lower lake when a friend said he’d charted fish on the smaller upper lake. About 20 anglers where on the hard top up above. About 35 were on the lower lake where few fish were taken. Photo John Hayes / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A Copper Flashback Pheasant Tail lured this 18-inch brown trout caught on the Little Juniata River by Chris Coleman of Peters. Photo Rick Tancosh.
Jeff Coles of North Huntingdon released this one on Loyalhanna Creek’s Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only section on March 16. Photo Jeff Coles
George Pashel of Upper St Clair took this 21-inch steelhead during a trip to Elk Creek organized by Venture Outdoors.
Sean Brady, executive director of Hollow Oak Land Trust, released this wild brown trout in Centre County. Photo Donnie Friel
Donnie Friel of Montour Rod and Gun Club released this rainbow in Centre County.
Photo Donnie Friel
Photo James Swearingen
More James Swearingen? From 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. April 16, while fishing on Montour Run with PG outdoors editor John Hayes, Mr. Swearingen released about 30 trout including a 16- to 18-inch brook trout and three rainbows in the 20-inch range. Find the story at post-gazette.com/life/outdoors. Photo John Hayes / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
WINNER Eva Williams, 4, of Moon proudly holds the 14-inch rainbow trout she caught on her first cast at 8 a.m. on the opening day of trout season. She did it “all by herself” using her own rod and a spinner on Big Sewickley Creek while fishing with her dad Rodney Williams and Uncle Dave Biernesser. Photo Dave Biernesser
Anthony Mikec, 7 of Eighty Four, Pa., reeled in this 26-inch, 8-pound brown trout with a 9-weight fly rod on Dec. 28, 2018. He was casting a white Woolly Bugger for most of the day on Elk Creek and this was the only fish that was landed. He released the fish with hopes that he or another angler could catch him again. Guiding services were provided by his dad Jesse Mikec and expert netting services were performed by fellow fisherman, Ryan Mangan.
This 23-inch rainbow trout went for a Comet Minnow fished by Ethan Estatico, 15, of Scott at Raccoon State Park, Beaver County. Photo Mike Estatico
Alexzander Simoni, 9, of Vandergrift took two trout — 13 inches and 20 inches with a 5 ½-inch girth — while fishing at Deer Lakes Park on April 6, Mentored Youth Fishing Day, with his grandfather Cliff Dean of Tarentum. Cliff Dean photo
Luke Colalella April 13 marked the 20th consecutive year the Colalella family of Aliquippa fished at the same spot at Thorn Creek, Butler County, on opening day. Water conditions were low and clear, but the crowd was small the trout were taking a large variety of live drifted baits. Ten days after a state stocking of browns, rainbows and golden rainbows the Collalellas caught more than 50 trout in one pool. Photos Anthony Colalella
All Silas Fordyce, 6, of Upper St.Clair, wanted to do was “catch an orange fish” on opening day. At the Kids Only Fishing area on Back Creek, Fayette County, while fishing with his grandfather Ernie Kern, he caught four golden rainbows, including this 16-incher, using butter worms. Photo by Ernie Kern
Emily Reiner, 11, of Glenfield caught this 21-inch golden rainbow trout while fishing Big Sewickley Creek on Mentored Youth Day, April 6, with her dad Curtis Reiner. Photo Curtis Reiner.
Dillan Hamilton Donnellan, 8, of Windbridge caught a 14-inch smallmouth and a 12-inch rainbow trout while fishing with his father Dan Donnellan Sr. at North Fork Dunkard Fork Creek, Greene County, on Mentored Youth Fishing Day.
Lee Handwork, 8, of Greensburg had fun on Mentored Youth Fishing Day with his mom Lacy Tutich, dad Jason Tutich and brother Franklin Handwork at Twin Lakes near Greensburg. Photo John Hayes / Post-Gazette
A veteran angler since he was 4, Hunter Glitsky, now 9, of Derry released 40 trout taken on spinners while fishing with his dad Ryan Glitsky on Mentored Youth Fishing Day at Twin Lakes. Photo John Hayes / Post-Gazette
Grayson Kunselman, 7, of Greensburg was fishing with his father Clay Nunselman when he caught and released two trout on Mentored Youth Fishing Day at Twin Lakes, Westmoreland County. Photo John Hayes / Post-Gazette
The waters of Canonsburg Lake, Washington County, were cloudy on a beautiful morning for Jesse Batz’s first Mentored Youth Fishing Day. Photo Bob Batz / Post-Gazette
Grant Volek, 12, of Mt. Lebanon, caught and released this rainbow trout on Mentored Youth Fishing Day at Canonsburg Lake. Showing sportsmanship beyond his years, he hooked another fish and handed the rod to a friend so that boy could land a rainbow, too. Photo Bob Batz / Post-Gazette
Logan Karavlan, 11, of McCandless took advantage of North Park’s Approved Trout Waters Open to Year-Round Fishing regulations and caught this 14-inch rainbow trout while fishing with Power Bait Floating Mice Tails on April 3.
Austin Aikins of Lower Burrell, a junior at Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh and tournament angler, released this 24-inch golden rainbow in the Delayed Harvest section of Deer Creek on March 2.
Austin released 15 rainbow trout, including this 22 incher, on the Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only stretch of Kinzua Creek, McKean County, on the opening day of trout season. “My general impression is that there were a lot of people fishing on first day, and many who don’t respect the waters,” he said. “That’s why I prefer fishing in the Delayed Harvest sections, because no one goes there on the first day of trout.”
Jake Allen, 15, Sharpsville took this nice steelhead at Temple Creek, an Elk Creek tributary near Albion, on a hand-tied egg pattern.James Swearingen, 4, of Windgap caught seven rainbows as big as 14 inches on Mentored Youth Fishing Day at North Park Lake, with a little help from his dad.
WINNER With snow on the ground and more on the way in late February, this winter landscape was taken while Donnie Friel of Montour Rod and Gun Club and Sean Brady, executive director at Hollow Oak Land Trust, fished Penn’s Creek and Cherry Run in Centre County. They released a half dozen wild trout. The browns and rainbows went for No. 18 pheasant tails, No. 18 princes and No. 14 stonefly nymphs. The brookies took Royal Coachman dries. Photo Donnie Friel
Ed Munch of Warren, Pa., was about three miles up a non-stocked mountain stream in Warren County when he hooked this beautiful wild brown trout. The 18-incher took a crawler just after a hard rain and was released unharmed.
A streamside landscape and beautifully spotted brook trout portrait taken by Rory Badali of Plum, who fishes the streams of Laurel Hill State Park and Four Mile Run at the tailwaters of Donegal Lake, Fayette County. Photos Rory Badali
Doug Leichliter of Greensburg released this thin 13-inch tiger, a cultured hybrid brown-brook trout, that presumablyl escaped private waters above the Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only area on Loyalhanna Creek, Westmoreland County. The fish went for a red Berkley Trout Worm. Photos Doug Leichliter
During an annual opening day ritual that has spanned more than 25 years on Clear Shade Creek, Somerset County, Gene Slevinski of Highland Park and two friends took limits of brook trout 12 to 16 inches using live minnows, butter worms and paste bait. Photo Gene Slevinski
Larry Hartzer of Whitaker was fishing on the Monongehala River at Duck Hollow on Jan. 27 when he caught this tiger trout on a soft plastic lure. A sterile cross between a brown and brook trout, tigers are extremely rare in the wild. This one is believed to have been stocked in a tributary by a private group. Photo Larry Hartzer
Call it spot photography. Lori Altenbaugh, Bill Michell and Roch Fedorek had fun catching trout and steelhead at Twentymile Creek, Erie County.
James Swearingen photographed this interestingly textured portrait of a Montour Run brook trout a moment before releasing it.
These portraits show a couple of Elk Creek steelies that fly fishing author John Nagy of Brookline caught this winter. The female below took his flash nymph and the male went for a bead-head Scrambled Eggs pattern. Photos John Nagy