With great weather greeting kids and their mentors this past weekend for Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Day, anglers in 18 southeastern counties are warmed up and ready to kick off a new fishing season on April 1 and statewide on April 15.
The 18 counties opening on April 1 include: Adams, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Perry, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, and York.
All along creeks and lake shorelines, anglers and their friends and families will wait at their favorite spots for the official 8 a.m. start and an opportunity to catch some of the 3.15 million trout stocked each year by the Fish and Boat Commission. Anglers can keep a daily limit of five trout, which must be at least seven inches long.
"The opening day of trout season is always a big event that anglers and their friends and families look forward to each year," said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. "It's a way to kick off spring and start another season of fishing and creating memories."
A second Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Day will be held on April 8 in the remaining 49 counties. This is the Saturday before the April 15 Statewide Opening Day of Trout Season.
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. 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.
The app has been downloaded more than 68,000 times so far. 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.
The price of a resident annual license is just $21; non-resident annual $51; and senior resident annual $10. Trout permits are $8. Anglers also can purchase an optional $5 metal button for an alternate way to display their license.
The PFBC also offers a voluntary youth fishing license for $2.90. For every youth license sold, the PFBC receives approximately $5 in federal funding, which is reinvested into youth fishing programs.
"Trout season is a great cure for cabin fever and an opportunity to get outside and enjoy the Commonwealth's abundant natural resources," Arway added.Licenses and buttons can be purchased at more than 900 licensing agents and online at the Gone Fishing PA website.