Spring is officially underway and the warmer weather has anglers from across the Commonwealth gearing up to fish their favorite spots on Saturday, April 14, which marks the traditional statewide opening day of trout season.
All along streams and lakes throughout Pennsylvania, anglers and their friends and families will anxiously wait for the official 8 a.m. start and an opportunity to catch some of the over 3 million trout stocked each year by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC). Anglers can keep a daily limit of five trout, which must be at least seven inches long.
“The excitement of opening day is all about the entire experience,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. “Anglers begin by cleaning their old gear, stocking up on supplies and hopefully buying some new equipment. Also, stocking schedules are posted on the Commission’s website, so the last step for anglers is to return to the places where they have fished many other opening days or, for some, to pick a spot to fish for the first time.”
The PFBC’s “great white fleet” of hatchery trucks has been busy since late February stocking Pennsylvania’s waterways with a fresh supply of brook, brown and rainbow trout. The PFBC annually stocks approximately 3.15 million adult trout in more than 720 streams and 126 lakes open to public angling. These figures include approximately 2 million rainbow trout; 640,000 brown trout; and 500,000 brook trout. As with past practice, the average size of the trout produced for stocking is 11 inches in length.
In addition to these fish, the PFBC plans to stock about 8,700 trophy golden rainbow trout that weigh an average of 1.5 pounds and measure at least 14 inches long. Also, PFBC cooperative nurseries run by sportsmen’s clubs across the state will add another 1 million trout to waters open to public angling.
Anglers can find stocked waters in their county by visiting the PFBC website or by downloading the free FishBoatPA smartphone app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Users can sort stocking schedules by county, and the app is tied directly into the PFBC’s online stocking schedule, so anglers can see past and upcoming stockings and the type of trout placed in a water.
The “Near Me” feature uses a phone’s GIS coordinates to locate and display trout waters within 5, 15, 25 and 50 miles of the user, who can then use mapping apps to get directions to their favorite stocking site.
Each year more than 850,000 anglers buy a fishing license, which is required for anyone 16 and older.
Anglers can also buy multi-year licenses. A 3-year resident license can be purchased for $63 ($64.90 with fees), a 5-year for $105 ($106.90 with fees) and a 10-year for $210 ($211.90 with fees). Anglers can also buy multi-year trout/salmon, Lake Erie and combo permits and experience similar savings.
Anglers also can purchase an optional $5 metal button for an alternate way to display their license. The PFBC also offers a voluntary $1 youth fishing license ($2.90 with fees). For every youth license sold, the PFBC receives approximately $5 in federal funding, which is reinvested into youth fishing programs.
Anglers can share their support for opening day by visiting the PFBC’s Facebook event.
Licenses and buttons can be purchased at more than 900 licensing agents and online at www.GoneFishingPa.com.
“Trout season is a great cure for cabin fever and an opportunity to get outside and enjoy the Commonwealth’s abundant natural resources,” Arway said.