Lehigh Valley trout anglers will have to wait a bit longer for the southeastern trout fishing opener. The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) has announced that they’re consolidating opening days to one amidst concern for the COVID-19 virus.
The separate early opening in 18 southeastern counties that was set for April 4 was cancelled and has been re-set for April 18 when the remainder of the counties had their usual and statewide opener.
This also affects Mentored Youth Trout Day that will now take place on Saturday, April 11.
Another change will be that trout stocking volunteers will not be permitted as all stocking will be handled by PFBC personnel.
The PFBC in their press release says that in some cases pre-season and inseason allocations of trout will be combined into single stocking events to increase the efficiency of stocking trips. Stockings, says the agency, will be prioritized to deliver trout to regions of the state that are predicted to be affected most severely by COVID-19 that could result in restrictions on travel.
In addition, trout stockings will be announced upon the completion, rather than in advance on the FishBoatPA mobile app and PFBC’s website (www.fishandboat.com). As such, it’s also very likely that the published stocking dates on the PFBC’s website will change through this consolidation. Added to this, stocking will occur seven days a week until further notice.
According to Rick Kauffman, PFBC District 6 Commissioner, “We’re trying to get as many fish in the water as possible as quickly as possible while we still have the best access to waterways and available staff.”
If you haven’t purchased your fishing license, boat launch permit or boat registration and don’t want to visit a tackle shop to do so, the PFBC suggests purchasing both online through the PFBC’s Outdoor Shop’s website (www.pa.wildlifelicense.com). You can then take a smartphone photo of it and use it for identification if a fish warden asks to see it as a pdf file containing an image of your license is provided via email. As for boat launch permits and registration, customers will eventually receive validation decals and registration cards in the mail from the PFBC.
The single opening day, like it was some years ago, may be for the better, aside from the virus concern, in that it’s a bit warmer then and more conducive for kids to more enjoy the sport. It may also be less crowded since some anglers from upstate areas would typically travel to southeastern counties to join the local crowds to fish. This time, the crowds should (hopefully) be spread out.
As for the recent pre-season stockings, it’s surmised that since PFBC personnel are stocking trout, they won’t be placing the trout throughout the stream as the many volunteers did, but mainly put in deep holes of a stream as it’s more expedient that way. So let’s hope the fish will move around and not stay at one place.
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.