They came out in droves throughout Cumberland County to snare what The Sentinel called “speckled beauties”.
Hundreds of fishermen crowded local streams on April 15, 1957, during the opening day of trout season in Pennsylvania.
For those who stayed at home, the below freezing temperatures promised more of a bite than the fish swimming down the Big Spring and Yellow Breeches creeks and LeTort Spring Run.
Still anglers brave enough to weather the early morning chill reported a nice catch pulled from waters recently swollen by rain.
This week’s Tour Through Times harkens back to the late 1950s and the annual tradition of lining up and casting lines on the hunt for the daily limit.
In 1957, Paul Monismith of Carlisle was the first to achieve that goal. The North College Street resident caught eight trout within 50 minutes while fishing at Ginters Mill near Newville.
“The Yellow Breeches was the most popular stream today with cars lining the roads along the famed stream,” The Sentinel reported.
Fast forward a year to April 15, 1958, and a welcome change in weather. “The weatherman smiled on local trout anglers as sunny skies prevailed on opening day,” the front page story reads.
While anglers along the Yellow Breeches Creek had to contend with high water, several sportsmen on the west end of the county reaped the benefit of fugitive fish. The best area in 1958 was midway along Big Spring Creek where dozens of anglers caught rainbow trout ranging from 15 to 22 inches in length.
There was speculation among the fishermen that the trout were escapees from the commercial fish hatchery along the stream. Despite the draw of artificial lures, earthworms remained the most popular bait used in 1958.
A year later, on April 17, 1959, The Sentinel said fishermen used “everything imaginable” in their quest two days prior to snare a fish. The front-page coverage included a photograph of Bill Burkett of RD1, Shippensburg, who managed to catch two 18-inch brook trout with worms and cheese.
Tour Through Time runs every Saturday in The Sentinel print edition. Reporter Joseph Cress will work with the Cumberland County Historical Society each week to look at the county through the years. Send any questions, future ideas or tips to email@example.com.