With April 3 just a few weeks away, it’s time to start checking your gear. Yep, you need to pull it out of wherever you put it last fall and replace and repair any issues it may have endured from last season.

No, I’m not joking. The opener is scheduled for April 3 statewide this year. I just want to keep you up to date, unlike last year when they threw us anglers a curve ball and opened unannounced early and on a week day.

So after you read this, it would be a good time to go through your tackle box and fishing vest and see what’s in there. Hopefully there’s nothing nasty looking or foul smelling left from last season. But even if it passes that test you still need to investigate carefully for any sharp objects such as lures or hooks laying exposed.

Next, empty out all your gear and do a complete inventory. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to turn that vest over and shake it out as a lot of stray items such as hooks, sinkers, swivels and even sawdust from those live baits you used last year maybe hiding in the corners of the pockets.

Then follow that up by inspecting and repairing rods, waders, nets and any bait holders that require attention. All those little things taken care of will make the first day trouble-free and enjoyable.

On the other hand, if you’re one of those anglers like me who fishes year around, you probably keep things well organized. But now is still a good time to restock needed items and possibly even add a few of the latest items available on the market.

We all know there is something magical about getting ready for trout season. Maybe it’s just the idea that we will soon be on the stream that makes it so exciting. I guess you could say it’s the anticipation of the opener that brings it all to life in a magical way.

While some of you wait for the trout opener, I’ll either be standing stream side or sitting on the ice somewhere enjoying the year around trout fishing that’s available. To each his own. If you’re out there, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Plus here’s a heads up for any of you who fish in southern Potter County, specifically on Freeman Run. As of this year, the fish commission will no longer stock it as it’s been listed as a class A stream. So plan accordingly as the trout will now be stocked in the First Fork of the Sinnemahoning.

David Orlowski is a writer, hunter, fisherman and outdoor enthusiast from Potter County. He is a member of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association.

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