Every day, when the trout-filled tanker trucks head down the road from the hatchery, they will pass stakeout areas — spots were fishermen are parked and waiting.
The truck followers, as they are known, will pull out and follow the truck to its destination. Then the anglers will watch as the hatchery workers dump the trout into the pond or stream. Some will immediately start fishing.
(Ron Horn, pictured here with a behemoth brown trout, didn’t have to follow a truck to catch this fish. He caught it on Heritage Day last April, while fishing Tinker Creek. I just used the picture because it’s such a big fish!)
I did a story on it a few years ago, and my feeling coming away from it was the truck followers seem to get as much enjoyment, if not more, out of their little game of trying to predict the truck’s destination, as well as the camaraderie of hanging out with the brethren, than they do out of actual fishing.
Anyway, I just got a note from a fisherman who is not a fan of truck followers. I’ll post it below. Please read it and then offer up your own opinions on the truck followers.
“Today’s fishing outing prompted me to write this letter. Let me start off by saying that I am an avid trout fisherman. I am fortunate to own a successful business which is 90 percent ran by my associates so I have a lot of free time. With this time I fish everyday in the fall, winter, and spring and have been doing so for years. I consider myself an experienced angler and particularly for trout. I exclusively only fish for trout. I may fish a little for smallmouth in the summer but not often. Last week I headed up to Arcadia to fish North Creek.
To my surprise as I rounded the bend passing Jennings creek and it was like a circus event. So obviously, Jennings got stocked that morning, and I decided it would be better fish Jennings that day. What a joke! There wasn’t even a place to park! Every pull off area had 3-4 trucks along the entire stream. This was about 3pm, they haven’t even posted the days stockings. How did so many people know about it?? Well obviously the truck followers have called their brothers, sisters, uncles, friends, pastors, and everyone else they knew and then these people did the same. I ended up fishing North Creek which I originally came to do and there wasn’t even a sign of life in that stream so I left.
The next morning I got up early and went back to Jennings, there were people there but not as many as the previous day. One thing that wasn’t there was trout. The stream was very low and clear and it was a clear sunny day. I searched the whole stream and could not find a trout anywhere even casting into deep holes or current just to check for strikes. NOTHING. Didn’t even spot one.
North Creek and Middle Creek got stocked yesterday. I arrived at the stream at 7 am this morning and was pleasantly surprised of the lack of anglers. I started in my normal area at the campground. The weather was clear and the stream was very low and clear so it should be easy to spot the stocked holes. I worked the entire stretch of that stream all the way down to jennings and I only saw a total of 5 trout in two separate holes.
Spoke to another gentleman who was there with his young son and he was experiencing the same. Where are the fish?? So we both got in our cars and went to Middle Creek and again I searched many holes and climbed down the side of steep banks to fish beautiful holes with no fish. The other angler with his son also had no luck. Not even a sign of a fish. Not even other anglers walking along the stream with fish on their stringers. We both come to conclusion that the majority of the trout stocked yesterday have been taken by the truck followers and their phoned unsportsman like cronies.
These followers are not just yanking out our trout but I truly believe alot are poaching too, catching their limits, going home for a while, then coming back doing it again since they know exactly where the trout are at. The only fair way to fish anymore is at the delayed harvest areas and special regulation areas. We need more of those! There has got to be some way of dealing with these unsportsman like truck followers ruining it for the true angler!! ”
Agree: Disagree? Let’s hear it.