Trout Season Opens This Saturday
Even though the season doesn’t officially open here in Fulton County until this Saturday morning, Quarracino has also had chance meetings locally with fisherman who jumped the gun and dropped their hooks a tad bit early at one of the county’s biggest fishing destinations – Cowans Gap State Park.
According to Quarracino, on the whole, however, things have been pretty quiet here in preparing for the season opener on April 17. With his watch set to “county control time,” the waterways conservation officer is hoping local fisherman don’t get too antsy with fish craze and keep their lines out of the water until the official 8 a.m. start time.
Those who opt to defy the odds and get caught face a $50 fine for fishing in approved trout waters prior to the season. In addition, if a fisherman is caught with trout in hand prior to 8 a.m., an additional possession fine of $50 plus $25 per fish is levied.
“The season opens specifically at 8 a.m., not 7:45 a.m. or 7:50 a.m.,” said Quarracino. “I expect a typical opening day in Fulton County, but as an officer you certainly can’t be everywhere at once.”
Fellow anglers witnessing violations in progress are asked by local officers to record as much pertinent information as possible ranging from license plate numbers and vehicle descriptions to the nature of the violation and description of the accused. The information, Quarracino said, be immediately submitted to Fish and Boat’s Southcentral Regional Office located in Newville by calling 717-486- 7087.
Members of the Big Cove Tannery Sportsmen Club are also set to assist in the policing of their club grounds in search of violators, Quarracino noted. Specifically, the special regulation area at Esther Run designated for children ages 12 and under as well as special populations will be heavily watched this season.
After fielding numerous complaints from anglers and club members, Quarracino said club members and officers will be watching for adults who are actually doing the fishing on behalf of their children.
“We need to draw the line at going above and beyond of what is helping a child,” he noted. Among the tasks that can be performed by an adult accompanying a child are baiting a hook, unhooking and releasing fish, untangling lines and netting fish.
“Adults can help prior to the actual hooking and reeling in of a fish,” said Quarracino, who added the area is visibly marked with proper regulations and rules and children must remain within arms reach of the adult helping them.
Preseason stocking locally in preparation for Saturday began March 1 and is scheduled to conclude on Friday. Quarracino, along with his loyal entourage of volunteer fish stockers, will head to Big Cove Creek and Spring Run on Wednesday and will wrap things up on Friday by visiting the south branch of Little Aughwick and Wooden Bridge Creek. Fish for the stocking in eastern Fulton County originate from the Huntsdale hatchery, and the western portion of the county is stocked through Reynoldsdale.
Even though in-season stocking runs through May 7 for Quarracino and often results in a bit of traffic congestion at the drop sites, the waterways conservation officer urges any residents wishing to lend a hand to first check the online stocking schedule and then meet officers on site.
Furthermore, fishing licenses are still available online through the Fish and Boat Commission’s Web site or locally by stopping by Keller’s Country Store, Dott Store or the Fulton County Treasurer’s Office located in the courthouse.
In addition to suggesting that anglers double check the number of stringers and containers they have before heading stream- or lakeside, Quarracino also reminds fisherman to properly display their license on an outer garment and to avoid littering in order to show proper respect to landowners.