These fishing tips from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission can help you enjoy time on the water and keep you from becoming a statistic:
USelect appropriate wading shoes.
UPennsylvania's trout streams often have rocky bottoms. Wading shoes with felt soles can help improve traction. Most tackle shops carry felt sole kits you can use to customize your gear.
UTake a wading stick or staff. While you can buy specialty wading sticks from most fishing outfitters, an old ski pole or stout wooden staff can work just as well
UWear a life jacket. They're not just for boats. Many models offer compartments that can hold your gear.
UAlternatively, some models of fishing vests offer built-in inflatable lifejackets. They cost a little more than plain vests, but it's a relatively inexpensive life insurance policy.
UCarry a whistle. You can use the whistle to call for help. You can also use the whistle to tell your fishing buddy where you are.
UDon't fish completely alone. In an emergency, having someone around who can help is always a good idea.
UEnter the water slowly. Flowing water can be surprisingly powerful, so don't plunge in and get caught off guard. In addition, a slow, steady entry cuts down on streambed disturbance.
UIf you are wading with a staff, cross the current facing upstream. Lean on the staff as if it were a third leg.
UShuffle your feet. When in water over the top of your feet, don't pick up your feet. Lift them up just a little and shuffle along the bottom. Take one step at a time. It isn't a race, so go slowly. you will spook fewer fish that way, too.
UIf you do fall, immediately bend your knees to trap air in your waders. Don't panic; chest waders and hip boots will not "pull you down," as some people think. Stay on your back with your feet downstream and your knees bent until you can safety stand up.
UHave some extra dry clothes. A dry shirt and pants feel good after you have taken a cold "swim." Besides, if you have clothes to change in to, you can keep fishing.
UReel the fish in as fast as possible.
UTry not to touch the fish.
UUse barbless hooks and remove them from the fish's mouth as quickly and carefully as possible. Pliers can help you get the job done faster.
UKeep the fish in the water as much as possible.
UIf the fish is hooked so deeply that you can't see the hook, cut the line near the fish's mouth and return it to the water.
UIf the fish is bleeding and of legal size, keep it for dinner.
UIf you want something to remember your catch by, have someone take a picture of you and the fish.