FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP -- A sign that spring is near is now underway in our area. Trout stocking started this week in Pennsylvania but with so much snow and ice, it's a challenge getting all those fish in the streams.
The temperatures may have only been in the 20s but a March tradition must go on. It's time to stock streams, including Pohopoco Creek near Lehighton. Trout season is only weeks away.
"It's hard to start thinking trout season (with) so much snow on the ground. (It's) hard to stock the waters, but I think everyone's pumped," said Brad Rock of Slatington.
There are challenges with all the snow and ice. We saw getting vehicles where they need to go isn't easy.
Volunteers have to carefully make their way down snowy and slippery banks just to get the fish in the water.
At one point stockers became pushers, trying to free a truck stuck in the snow.
For longtime volunteers, it brings back some memories.
"When I first started, we had the same conditions where we had to slide the fish down the banks and that because of all the snow," said Kevin Artz of Franklin Township.
For the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, it means only stocking in spots that are easy to get to, avoiding some usual stops.
"We would like to get to those areas, but we hope the anglers will bear with us and understand we just can't get to those areas because of the accumulation of snow and ice," said conservation officer Scott Christman.
Getting the fish in the stream this year may not be so easy, but after this long winter, one thing's for sure. On this day of stocking, it's time to start dreaming about catching these guys.
"It's a great sign, a great sign because I have a real case of the cabin fever. I'd do anything to get out," Artz said.
Once in the water, the trout are expected to spread out in time for the season. And volunteers getting a little taste of spring now will feel good returning with a rod and reel soon.
"It kind of feels bad if you start fishing the season and you never got to stock any of the fish. It's nice to give back a little bit," Rock said.
In southern Pennsylvania including Schuylkill and part of Carbon County, trout season starts March 29. The rest of the state Starts April 12.