HARRISBURG, Pa. – Saturday marks the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s (PFBC) second Mentored Youth Trout Day for 2017, an opportunity for kids to practice their fishing skills one week before the statewide opening day of trout season kicks off in 49 counties on April 15.
Now in its fourth year, the popular program provides adult mentors with an opportunity to take kids fishing before the traditional rush of the regional and statewide opening days of trout season. Participants can fish from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
“The Mentored Youth Trout Days program has developed into our premiere spring event for kids,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. “Our goal is to get more kids involved in fishing and to keep them engaged, and one of the best ways to do that is to make the experience as easy as possible for parents and mentors.
“The program includes all Commission stocked trout waters so there are plenty of waters to fish within an easy drive of everyone’s home,” he added. “This is a great opportunity for kids and their mentors to get outside and enjoy the vast number of streams and lakes our Commonwealth has to offer.”
Last year, more than 25,600 kids signed up to participate, either by purchasing a $1 voluntary youth fishing license or by acquiring a free mentored youth fishing permit.
On these two days, participants can fish in any PFBC stocked trout water. Kids can keep two trout, which must measure at least seven inches. Mentors must have a fishing license and trout stamp. Because the program is focused on kids, adult mentors are encouraged to fish with the children and provide encouragement and tips, but they must release their catch to the water unharmed.
Most trout waters are stocked in advance of the mentored youth days. But some of the waters may not be stocked in time due to weather, water conditions and scheduling logistics. Also, special regulation areas, like Catch and Release Fly-Fishing Only or Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only, are not included in the mentored youth program.
“It’s important for anglers to visit the PFBC stocking page for an updated list so they know exactly what waters are being stocked,” added Arway. “We want mentors and kids to have fun and to catch fish, so we don’t want them to inadvertently show up at waters which have not been stocked.”
For anglers with smartphones, an even easier way to view the stocking schedules is through the FishBoatPA app, which is available for free from the Apple App and Google Play stores.
The PFBC annually stocks approximately 3.15 million adult trout in more than 720 streams and 120 lakes open to public angling. These figures include approximately 2 million rainbow trout; 640,000 brown trout; and 500,000 brook trout. As with past practice, the average size of the trout produced for stocking is 11 inches in length.
To participate, adult anglers (16 years or older) must have a valid fishing license and trout/salmon permit and be accompanied by a youth. Youth anglers must obtain a free PFBC-issued permit, or a voluntary youth fishing license. Both are available at www.GoneFishingPA.com or at any of the more than 900 licensing agents across the state.
For every voluntary youth license sold, the PFBC will receive approximately $5 in federal revenue from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Sport Fish Restoration Act program, which provides funds to states based on a formula that includes the number of licenses a state sells. All revenues earned from a voluntary youth fishing license will be dedicated to youth fishing programs.