HARRISBURG, Pa. – With unseasonably warm weather forecast across Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) expects a busy weekend for anglers and boaters. The weather is also prompting several safety reminders.
“With temperatures expected to be in the 50’s and 60’s this weekend, many of us will have the itch to get outside, and fishing and boating is a great way to do it,” said PFBC Executive Director Tim Schaeffer. “While we want people to have fun, we also want them to prepare for changing weather conditions and stay safe.”
Boaters are reminded to always wear a life jacket. While air temperatures may be warm and comfortable, water temperatures remain frigid enough to cause cold water shock and hypothermia, which can lead to drowning. Between November 1 and April 30, anyone aboard a boat less than 16 feet in length, or any canoe, kayak or paddleboard, must always wear a life jacket.
Anglers are reminded that 2020 Pennsylvania fishing licenses are now on sale and are available at more than 700 license issuing agents or online at www.FishandBoat.com.
Anglers who plan to spend the warm weekend fishing for Steelhead in Lake Erie or its tributaries are required to have both a Trout/Salmon permit and Lake Erie permit, or the combination permit.
“Pennsylvania’s world-class Steelhead fishery is in full swing right now as they continue to make their annual spawning run,” said Schaeffer. “The combination of warmer temperatures and healthy water flows in the tributaries has created prime conditions and we are getting reports of some of the largest fish that have been caught in years.”
Anglers and boaters should also be on the lookout for potentially dangerous effects of the weekend warm-up. As snow melts rapidly in many areas as a result of higher temperatures, water levels in streams and rivers can rise quickly and will be moving more swiftly. Additionally, anglers should be cautious of slippery, muddy areas around lakes and streambanks, which can lead to falls.
While many Pennsylvania lakes have experienced some freezing this winter, conditions have been mostly inadequate for safe ice fishing. Because ice conditions are not officially monitored by any authority, anglers should use extreme caution before entering onto the surface of ice, and always wear a life jacket. More information can be found by reviewing the PFBC’s Ice Safety Checklist.