This post is for stream PA-1A. I won’t name streams on my site (sorry, don’t ask) to prevent them from being “spot burned” or unwanted attention drawn to them.
PA-1A is a Class A wild trout stream that supports a healthy population of wild browns and brookies. It has no special regulations and is stocked heavily throughout it’s lower section and even well up into the headwaters by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission as well as a local sportsman club.
The stream has excellent trout habitat throughout the upper 7 miles or so of it’s headwaters. There are large log jams, deep pools and enough gradient change to generate some oxygen. This stream could be a contender for housing a unicorn, however, it is stocked with very large brown trout along with brook trout. So, there is serious predation and the chance that the fish isn’t wild.
I still haven’t fished it’s upper most reaches, but it’s on the list for the spring, or possibly between now and Feb. 28th. I’ve caught sizeable browns very well into the upper most section though, so I don’t hold out a lot of hope that there are some unicorns up there.
The above photo is the largest brook trout I have documented from this stream. I have concerns that it’s a stocked fish. In Pa, the stocked brook trout often lack the blue halo with magenta center spots, or there are very few of them. This fish is borderline with regard to the halo spots. It does have them, but they’re pretty sparse. It’s otherwise in very good condition. While it wasn’t measured on the stream, it’s a solid 9″ fish.
In contrast, the above fish, from the same stream (PA-1A) carries a more typical large array of halo spots. The above fish is approximately 8″, which is in the larger class of typical for this stream. Compared to the larger female above, it should be pretty obvious that the larger fish is stocked. Possibly a holdover, but likely stocked nonetheless.
Stream PA-1A is a prime example of why I believe that stocking should be limited in Pennsylvania. There are 5 pound brown trout stocked well into the headwaters of the stream. The stream has such a large biomass of food, that it could potentially hold huge brook trout if they didn’t have to compete with all the browns and occasional rainbows. Without any regulations on brook trout, it’s likely that “meat fishermen” are harvesting large brood stock brook trout from the stream as well.