Trout Season Opens Here Sat.
Preseason stocking is slated to conclude on Friday with representatives from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s Huntsdale hatchery and local volunteers unloading trout in two sections of Wooden Bridge Creek in preparation for opening day Saturday.
Anglers in 18 southeastern counties, including neighboring Franklin County, enjoyed an early start on the April 2 regional opening day. Fisherman here will take to the waters at 8 a.m. on April 16 armed with their hip waders, poles and choice of bait.
Approximately 850,000 anglers purchase a fishing license annually, according to PFBC Executive Director John Arway, who noted a residential fishing license costs $22.70, with an additional $9.70 imposed for a trout-salmon permit. Licenses are required for any individual 16 and older.
Fishing licenses are still available online through the Fish and Boat Commission’s Web site or in-county at Keller’s Country Store, Dott Store or the Fulton County Treasurer’s Office located in the courthouse.
“Opening day is a huge event for so many families and their children,” said Arway. “In fact, the regional opening and the traditional opening day are two of the biggest fishing days of the year. To get ready for them our ‘great white fleet’ of stocking trucks has been busy since mid- February replenishing Pennsylvania’s waterways with a fresh supply of brook, brown and rainbow trout.”
Approximately 3.2 million trout were stocked in waterways across the commonwealth in anticipation of the “time-honored tradition.” A breakdown of stocking indicates 50 percent of stocking is completed prior to opening days, and 45 percent are stocked before the end of May. The remaining 5 percent of trout, Arway stated, are stocked during the winter months.
In anticipation of the season opener, waterways conservation officer Ted Kane has his watch set to “county control time” to keep fishermen in line with the official 8 a.m. start time Saturday. Those who opt to defy the odds and get caught face a substantial 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 is levied by waterways conservation officers.
Fellow anglers witnessing violations in progress are annually encouraged 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 should immediately be reported to Fish and Boat’s Southcentral Regional Office located in Newville by calling 717-486-7087.
Furthermore, in addition to suggesting that anglers double check the number of stringers and containers they have before heading stream or lakeside, officers also remind fishermen to properly display their license on an outer garment and to avoid littering to show proper respect to landowners.
Hoping to boost the number of anglers as well as interest in the sport of fishing, the PFBC has announced it has scheduled two “Fish for Free Days.” Fishermen, residents and nonresidents will be able to fish without a license on Memorial Day, May 30, and Labor Day, September 5. All other fishing regulations still apply, however.