The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission has announced a major change in the upcoming trout season. The two regional opening days have now been consolidated into a single Saturday, April 3, statewide trout season opener.
If you recall, up to 2006 the statewide trout season opener was always on one date. In 2007, the PF&BC decided to change the trout opener to two different dates with the explanation being that southeastern creeks and streams got warmer earlier than those in the northern tiers of the state. Warm waters, they said, were not healthy for stocked trout, hence the earlier opener.
In addition to this change, the statewide Mentored Youth Trout Day will now occur on Saturday, March 27. The PF&FC said that because the mentored youth day was cancelled in 2020, all Voluntary Youth Fishing Licenses purchased last season, will remain valid during the 2021 season.
According to Tim Schaeffer, PF&BC Executive Director, “The move back to a statewide single opening day is to insure that we can preserve our cherished fishing traditions, while reducing the amount of travel across multiple opening days. We wanted to give anglers as much time and information as possible to plan ahead, and we think they will especially like having stocking dates and locations at their fingertips again this year on our FishBoatPA mobile app and website (www.fishandboat.com).
Because of this change, the PF&BC will begin pre-season trout stocking operations on February 15, which is two weeks earlier than previous seasons.
Although the Extended Trout season is published to run until Feb. 29, all streams that are designated as Stocked Trout Waters will be closed to angling beginning Feb. 15. Anglers should keep this in mind.
While many anglers customarily assist the PF&BC in the pre and in-season trout stockings, the agency is reinstating a limited number of volunteer stocking opportunities due to Covid-19. A source said that local Waterways Conservation Officers will only use a select number of volunteers that have faithfully served over the past several years.
The agency also announced that a stocking schedule will be provided on the PF&BC’s website and FishBoatPA mobile app beginning Feb. 1. These dates are subject to change due to weather and other factors, but new dates will be posted on both sites.
PGC/PF&BC INTRODUCE HUNTFISHPA SITE
The Pennsylvania Game Commission and Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission have partnered with digital government solutions company NIC Inc. to manage the new HuntFishPA licensing and secure payment system at www.HuntFish.pa.gov.
Anglers, hunters and boaters will now be able to buy their respective licenses and associated stamps online plus submit harvest reports and access 24/7 call center support.
Customers who prefer to purchase these licenses and stamps in person, may continue to do so at 750 licensing agent locations including bait shops, convenience and sporting goods stores and Walmart. When doing so, licenses/stamps will be printed at time of purchase on durable green paper instead of the previous yellow license color.
ICE FISHING REPORT
All ice fishing action still remains in the Pocono Mountain lakes and ponds. Because of the high winds this week, neither famed Ontelaunee Reservoir in Berks County or Lehigh Lake in Lehigh County have any safe ice. But Chris, from Chris' Bait & Tackle in Mertztown, believes both lakes could have safe ice by Monday, Feb. 1.
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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.