In an effort to promote fishing and boating in the Keystone state, the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission is offering grants up to $25,000 to organizations that can establish education programs to teach fishing and boating skills.
These organizations can include sportsmen’s associations and others that aim to connect Pennsylvanians with the activities and benefits offered within Commonwealth waterways.
Last year, the PFBC awarded $201,837 in R3 grants to support 13 education projects in nine counties. The grants will reimburse qualifying organizations up to $25,000 for eligible expenses for the period July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024. The grants require a minimum of 25 percent match of total project costs with the deadline for submission of the R3 grants applications ending April 14.
More information about the program, including the application, can be found on the PFBC R3 Grant Program page of the PFBC website (Fishandboat.com).
FISHING LICENSE PRICE INCREASE PROPOSED FOR 2024
In other PFBC news, the PFBC Board gave preliminary approval to a proposed fee increase for various fishing licenses and permits for the 2024 license year.
Under the proposal, the price of a resident Annual Fishing License, Trout Permit, and Combination Trout/Lake Erie Permit, would increase by $2.50 each in 2024. Separate increases would be applied to other license and permit categories for non-resident, seniors and tourists. If approved, revenues from these fee increases are expected to generate an estimated $2.9 million annually for the PFBCs Fish Fund to support fishing related programs, says the PFBC.
With the opening of trout fishing season only two weeks away, and the Mentored Youth Trout Day next Saturday (March 25), now’s the time to get fishing gear in shape, particularly if you need new fishing line.
The most time-consuming job for tackle shops is to put new fishing line on reels. This detracts from the shop owners time who has to wait on other customers. Of course, you can put fresh line on yourself, but a shops’ line winder does a more even job. So, since it’s not a very busy time right now at local shops, don’t procrastinate and get it done now.
You may also need to buy a license and trout stamp and that too takes a bit of time. And if your hip boots or chest waders may have sprung a leak, patch kits are available for a DIY patch job.
Next week we’ll have more information on the trout opener and we’ll keep you posted on any trout stocking updates.
It hasn’t been a good season for ice fishing as warm weather didn’t allow local lakes and ponds to safely freeze. Even in the Pocono’s the season there was short where a few lakes had fishable hard water that didn’t last long.
Then there’s snow goose season. Seems the geese didn’t stay as long as the normally do in in our area as they evidently departed for their northern breeding grounds. Better luck next year.
Until trout season opens, striped bass season has turned on at the Jersey shore
Since the ice fishing season here in the Southeast never materialized, anglers can only look forward to the April 1 opening of trout season. If you can’t wait until then to wet a line, and would like to catch some big fish, the striper season opened in New Jersey shore points and reports from there sound like the bite is on.
On the Water Magazine issued these recent fishing reports from the Jersey shore:
*Capt. Phil Sciortino from The Tackle Box in Hazlet said bloodworms are catching most of the stripers in the back bay of Raritan Bay and in the Raritan and Hackensack rivers. South Amboy and Cliffwood beaches have also been good spots for anglers throwing worm balls soaked in Fin-Essence. Capt. Phil added that there is a load of bunker in the bay and it’s just a matter of time until more stripers join them.
*Mike Pinto at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright said kayakers, fishing in the Shrewsbury and Naversink rivers, are doing good on stripers using small plugs and plastics. Pinto explained that there’s a ton of bunker around and when the stripers find them, fishing will only get better.
*Matt Haeger at The Reel Seat in Brielle reported most striped bass action was in the local bay near the bridges on plugs and plastics. He surmises that there’s probably fish in the Manasquan River as well, but he hasn’t received any reports. Small X-Raps were working at night as were small shads on jig heads.
*Dennis Palmatier, at the Hook House in Toms River, said it was a good, not fabulous, striper opening as the Bay bridges have been productive as has the bay behind Island Beach State Park. The bass, he surmised, are pretty spread out throughout the bay. Toms River has been giving up fish as well, but recent windy conditions have made it tough to fish. Small X-Raps like the SXR-10, Kettle Creek shads and bloodworms have been hooking bass. Kayak anglers have been doing pretty good around the bridges. He added that winter flounder are off to a slow start, but he did hear of a few being caught at the Mantoloking Bridge.
*Pete Kupper at Charlie’s Bait and Tackle in Normand Beach, said bass have been caught in the back bay and Toms River. He heard Huddy Park was a hot spot for stripers. Kupper has received of some winter flounder being picked up at the Mantoloking Bridge and added birds have been diving pretty hard out front, but on what, he wasn’t sure.
*Ray Kerco at Grump’s Bait and Tackle in Seaside Park reported that striper fishing has been all right, but no blitzes as yet. Bloodworms seem to be working best in the back bay and Toms River with small shads picking fish as well. His shops Spring has Sprung Event and Seminar Series is featuring local surfcasting legend Shell E. Caris.
*Liam at Creekside Outfitters in Waretown said there are bass and perch being caught mostly on bloodworms in the rivers and creeks. At night, best spots are around Graveling Point where stripers are favoring SP Minnows and Kettle Creek shads.
If you don’t mind the drive to Jersey shore points, good eating striped bass could be on the menu.
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.