HARRISBURG – Responding to angler requests for more fishing opportunities, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) has announced that it is widely expanding the popular Mentored Youth Trout Days program in 2015 to include all trout waters stocked by the PFBC and managed under Commonwealth inland regulations.
“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,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. “By expanding the program to include all Commission stocked trout waters, we are substantially increasing the number of waters open to the program and are bringing fishing as close as we can to anglers.”
The first Mentored Youth Trout Day will be held on March 28, the Saturday before the regional opening day of trout season in 18 southcentral and southeast counties. The second one will be held on April 11, the Saturday before the statewide opening day of trout season. Mentors and children can each keep two trout, which must be at least seven inches.
Every year, the PFBC stocks approximately 3.2 million adult trout in about 530 streams and 120 lakes across the Commonwealth. They average 11 inches in length and weigh about one-half pound each.
The PFBC expects to stock a majority of the trout waters 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 Brian Wisner, director of the PFBC Bureau of Hatcheries. “We don’t want mentors and kids inadvertently showing up at waters which have not been stocked. Waters that receive a stocking before the mentored youth days will be highlighted on this list to assist anglers with their fishing plans.”
The 2015 stocking list will be available online beginning February 1.
“We’re excited that so many mentors and kids have chosen to participate in the first two years of the program,” said Arway. “It is designed to encourage adults to take kids fishing, to show them that fishing is fun, and to promote active, outdoor recreation. Without a doubt, the program has been a success.”
“By expanding the program this year to all stocked waters, and taking into account the$1 decrease in the price of an adult fishing license, I’m certain we will see an even greater level of participation,” he added.
The PFBC announced last fall that it was reducing the price of resident, non-resident and senior resident annual licenses by $1 for the entire 2015 season. The discount is part of a marketing campaign to highlight the sport’s affordability to families and younger audiences and to persuade lapsed anglers to return. It’s being promoted under the slogan “Catch the Value!” (Twitter – #CatchTheValue)
The Mentored Youth Trout Day was launched in 2013 as a pilot program on 12 waters and was immediately popular with adult anglers and the kids in their lives. More than 3,700 adult anglers registered 5,110 kids for the fishing opportunity.
In 2014, the program was originally scheduled over two days on 40 waters, but was rescheduled into one statewide day on May 10 because of unusually cold weather and unexpected ice cover.
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 (only $2.70 including all fees). 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.
More information about the Mentored Youth Fishing Days program is available atwww.GoneFishingPa.com.