HOLLIDAYSBURG - Don Morris had already caught and released five modestly-sized trout at Canoe Creek shortly after the 8 a.m. start of this area's 2013 trout season Saturday, when a husky brown took his Picola spinning lure at about 8:30.
After a brief fight through the thick, murky water, that trout wound up on Morris' stringer.
"I'll keep this one for lunch,'' Morris, 33, said of the trout, which appeared to be about 15 inches in length. "I usually keep a couple and eat them.''
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Trout fisherman dot the banks of Chest Creek in Patton?Saturday morning, the first day of trout fishing season.
Morris had the best of both worlds Saturday. He lives within short walking distance of the stream, and he was catching plenty of fish in a deep bend in the water off Beaver Dam Road.
"I was up at 6 a.m. drinking coffee and watching everybody come in here,'' Morris said. "I'll fish for a couple hours, then go back home, and come back in the evening.''
All in all, the weather Saturday morning was favorable, with overcast conditions and cloudy water from Friday's rain creating good cover for fishermen.
"With that rain that we got, this is a nice time to go,'' Morris said. "If [the water] is too clear, you can't catch [trout], because they can see you.''
While there was a lot of fishing pressure up on Canoe Lake, people seemed to generally have plenty of room for themselves along the stream.
Lou Rhodes, 35, and his cousin, Blaine Barefoot, 46, both of Altoona, were fishing in a wooded area considerably upstream from where Norris was trying his luck.
Rhodes caught and released a small rainbow trout on a rooster-tail spinning lure shortly before 9 a.m.
"It's not bad so far,'' he said. "At least it's not raining this year.''
Some opening days have featured plenty of rain, sleet, and even snow. But Saturday morning's clear and crisp weather made for a decent opener.
"The sun came up early this morning, then went away,'' Barefoot said. "It gave us a little bit of a teaser.''
Neither Rhodes or Barefoot planned to keep much of what they would catch Saturday.
"Not unless it's truly monstrous,'' Rhodes said.
"We don't keep anything,'' Barefoot said. "We put them back in for other people to catch.''
Some people along the stream weren't having much luck early Saturday.
Gary Householder, 63, and his younger brother Greg, 56, both of Altoona, were both fishing with minnows in a backwoods stretch of stream not far from the lake. They were having trouble with sticks and leaves that had fallen into the creek from Friday's rain.
"This hasn't been a very good day so far,'' Gary said. "There's a lot of debris in the water from the rain we had.''
"The rain put a damper on things,'' he said. "I haven't talked to anybody who has caught much.''
Raul Garcia, 61, of Altoona, was fishing near a small bridge a short distance away from the Householders. Garcia was using a variety of live bait - wax worms, meal worms, and nightcrawlers. He hadn't caught anything in the short time that he was fishing, but he had reasonable hopes that things would turn for the better.
"I saw a couple of guys here earlier pull out about four or five,'' Garcia said. "They moved, and I took their spot.''
Garcia was among the many fishermen who were just happy to be outdoors Saturday morning.
"It's a beautiful spring day,'' Garcia said. "It's not rainy, it's not windy, and you don't have to wear anything heavy. You can't beat it.''