It’s time to get ready for fishing! Yes, despite the typical back-and-forth weather of late winter that leaves many counting the days before warmth takes over, the days on the calendar before trout season begins are rapidly disappearing.
The anticipation of the opener often is as exciting as the actual event. One way to get warmed up is to take a day and attend a trout stocking event. While most of them occur during the week, why not take a day off from work and take the kids to a stocking?
There are few better ways to whet a youth’s appetite for fishing than watching a net full of fat trout being placed into their favorite fishing hole.
In our region I did find one Saturday stocking set for March 16. Oil Creek, where it meets Thompson Creek and down to the two green posts at the Drake Well, will receive brown and rainbow trout. Meet at the Centerville Post Office at 9:30 a.m. Depending on the weather it could make for a fun trip to where Edwin Drake drilled the world’s first oil well, striking oil on August 27, 1859.
Excuse me getting sidetracked, we are talking about fishing!
For a complete look at where and when trout are being stocked, the 2019 adult trout stocking schedules are available online and on the PFBC’s “FishBoatPA” mobile app.
Anglers can easily search the trout stocking schedules for locations and dates of interest.
To view the list, go to www.fishandboat.com, click on the link “Fish” in the upper right corner, then select Stocking Schedules. From there, select a county and enter start and end dates from the calendars at the top of the page. Then press “Go.”
For anglers with smartphones, view the schedules through the FishBoatPA app, which is available for free from the Apple App and Google Play stores.
The PFBC continues to stock approximately 3.2 million adult trout in 707 streams and 127 lakes open to public angling. These figures include approximately 2.1 million rainbow trout; 640,000 brown trout; and 440,000 brook trout. As with past practice, the average size of the trout produced for stocking is 11 inches in length. The PFBC also plans to stock about 9,600 trophy golden rainbow trout that weigh an average of 1.5 pounds and measure at least 14 inches long. Thousands of trophy size brood trout are also stocked throughout PA waters.
State Fish & Boat Commission cooperative nurseries operated by sportsmen’s clubs across the state will add another one million trout to waters open to public angling.
OK, another thing to not forget is that there are more than one opener. Actually, there are four!
For those inclined to travel, the 2019 season will open Saturday, March 23 with the Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Day program in 18 southeastern counties, including: Adams, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Perry, Philadelphia, Schuylkill and York.
The following weekend – Saturday, March 30 – kicks off the Regional Opening Day of Trout Season in the same 18 southeastern counties.
Locally, the Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Day will be held on April 6, the Saturday before the April 13 regular statewide opening day of trout season.
To participate in the mentored youth program, adult anglers, 16 years or older, must have a valid fishing license and trout permit and be accompanied by a youth. Youth anglers must obtain a free PFBC-issued permit, or a voluntary youth fishing license (only $2.90 including all fees). Both are available at www.GoneFishingPA.com or at any of the more than 700 licensing agents across the state.
For every voluntary youth license sold, the PFBC receives approximately $5 in federal revenue from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Sport Fish Restoration Act program, which provides funds to states based on a formula that includes the number of licenses a state sells. All revenues earned from a voluntary youth fishing license are dedicated to youth fishing programs.
(Photo courtesy Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission)
Explore the Outdoors is a bi-weekly feature by columnist Scott Shindledecker.