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Trout Stocking Underway

It’s hard to believe that another trout season is just around the corner, and the stocking of trout is already underway — as of February 19th.

The Fish and Boat Commission will be stocking a total of 3.2 million trout. That includes 2.3 million rainbows, 702,000 browns, 132,000 brookies and 14,000 golden trout. With the addition of the trout stocked by Cooperative Nurseries, there will be a total of well over four million trout placed into 129 lakes and 697 streams. No wonder Pennsylvania is one of the leading states when it comes to trout fishing.

Opening day for the regular statewide trout season is set for April 6th, but keep in mind that the Mentored Youth Day is March 30th.

Senior residents, 65 and older, who purchased a lifetime license before January 1, 1991, are not required to purchase a trout permit. If you purchased a combination trout/Lake Erie permit before January 1, 2015, you also remain exempt from the requirement to purchase a trout permit annually. Licenses don’t have to be displayed on outer garments, but you must have them in your possession.

To participate in the youth mentored fishing day, adults, those 16 and older, must have a valid license and trout permit, and they must be accompanied by a youth less than 16 years of age who has a Mentored Youth Permit, which is free or a Voluntary Youth Fishing License at $2.97.

I will say that when it comes to trout fishing in Pennsylvania, things can get a bit complicated as to what you can do and where, so I highly recommend you get a Pennsylvania Fishing Summary booklet to help clarify things.

In addition to our regular rules regarding trout waters, there are a number of special regulation streams and waters that have a different set of regulations.

For example, some stream sections are set aside as All Tackle Trophy Trout waters, and some are designated as Catch and Release All Tackle. There are also Catch and Release Artificial Lures Only and Catch, Release Fly-Fishing Only, and Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only, as well as Trophy Trout Artificial Lures Only. I didn’t mention all of the possibilities nor any of the details involving each one —that’s why you need your summary booklet.

If you see signs posted at your local stream, I highly suggest that you read them to check out what’s involved.

Several years ago, I was fishing an artificial lures-only catch and release section on a stream when I saw some guys come down to the stream and set up with their live minnow buckets beside them; needless to say, I made a call to the Fish and Boat Commission.

Opening day will be here before you know it, so now is a good time to check out all that gear. Maybe replace that old monofilament with some new line that won’t twist up so much and get rid of that container of worms that’s been stuffed in the basement refrigerator since last year. Now would also be a good time to sit down to the fly-tying vice and put together some streamers and wet flies for those opening days. See you on the stream.