HARRISBURG, Pa. (January 25) – During its quarterly enterprise assembly held just about on January 25, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) introduced a number of adjustments to the upcoming 2021 trout season, together with opening day dates and stocking operations.

These adjustments, efficient instantly, embody consolidating the 2021 season right into a single, statewide schedule for all Pennsylvania counties; starting trout stocking operations sooner than common; reinstating restricted volunteer alternatives for trout stocking operations; and releasing a schedule of trout stocking dates and areas.  All adjustments have been made by the PFBC in session with the Office of the Governor, Pennsylvania Department of Health, and Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to deal with ongoing public well being issues associated to the COVID-19 pandemic whereas preserving the chance to benefit from the enjoyable and leisure well being advantages of fishing.

For the 2021 trout season, the PFBC will function beneath a consolidated statewide schedule for all counties.  Under this revised plan, a single Statewide Mentored Youth Trout Day will happen on Saturday, March 27, and a single Statewide Opening Day of trout season will happen on Saturday, April 3.  As a results of this consolidation, separate regional mentored youth and opening days is not going to happen.  Anglers are additionally reminded that as a result of the mentored youth days have been cancelled in 2020, all Voluntary Youth Fishing Licenses bought final season stay legitimate and will probably be honored throughout the 2021 season.

“Thank you to the anglers and boaters of Pennsylvania for their understanding as we continue to experience these changes together and get back on the water in 2021,” mentioned Tim Schaeffer, PFBC Executive Director.  “The move to an earlier statewide schedule for trout season ensures that we can preserve our cherished fishing traditions while reducing the amount of travel across multiple opening days.  We wanted to give anglers as much time and information as possible to plan ahead, and we think they will especially like having the stocking dates and locations available at their fingertips again this year on our FishBoatPA mobile app and website (www.fishandboat.com).  Starting two weeks earlier gives trout anglers statewide two more weeks to enjoy everything that comes with this special time of year.  We appreciate the cooperation of the anglers as we prepare for the safest season possible and encourage them to enjoy their local waters.”

PFBC ANNOUNCES CHANGES TO 2021 TROUT SEASON AND STOCKING OPERATIONS DURING QUARTERLY MEETING

To put together for the consolidated statewide trout season schedule, the PFBC will start pre-season trout stocking operations on February 15, 2021, roughly two weeks sooner than in earlier seasons.  This change will permit hatchery employees to ship trout to many waters forward of the Statewide Mentored Youth Trout Day and, climate allowing, all waters previous to the Statewide Opening Day.  Due to this modification, all streams which are designated as Stocked Trout Waters will probably be closed to angling when stocking begins on February 15.  To present for extra angling alternatives throughout this time, trout that are stocked in lakes, reservoirs, and ponds throughout the pre-season will probably be open to catch-and-release angling however is probably not harvested till Statewide Mentored Youth Day and Statewide Opening Day. 

In addition, fishing will probably be closed on the Lake Erie Tributaries and Presque Isle Bay from 12:01 a.m. on April 2 till 8:00 a.m. on April 3.  This non permanent modification to the trout season, dimension, and creel limits will mirror regulation adjustments that happen yearly within the Lake Erie area previous to the common Statewide Opening Day and are designed to guard in opposition to the overharvest of steelhead.

To obtain the very best high quality stocking operations, the PFBC will probably be reintroducing restricted volunteer alternatives in 2021.  However, to guard the protection of PFBC employees and the general public, volunteer alternatives is not going to be obtainable to most of the people.  Instead, volunteers will probably be recruited from an current pool of people who’ve historically assisted with float stocking and bucket carrying organized by means of native conservation organizations, colleges, and different teams.  All volunteers chosen will probably be required to put on private protecting gear, together with masks and gloves, and apply social distancing whereas taking part in stocking operations.

“We appreciate the feedback we received from many anglers who were disappointed last season because we suspended volunteer stocking help due to pandemic.  While we welcome the day when we can all return to normal, we think that offering these limited volunteer opportunities this season is a big step in the right direction,” mentioned Richard Lewis, President of the PFBC Board of Commissioners.  “With the help of these experienced volunteers, we will be able to most effectively spread the trout out throughout the streams to provide the best opening day experience for all anglers as well as sustained fishing throughout the spring.”

To inform anglers of trout stocking dates and areas, a stocking schedule will probably be offered on the PFBC web site and FishBoatPA cellular app starting on February 1.  While anglers are inspired to reference the schedule to arrange for his or her fishing adventures all through the trout season, any unsolicited “walk on” stocking volunteers is not going to be permitted to help with stocking.  Anglers are reminded that each one stocking dates are topic to vary on account of climate circumstances and different elements, and they need to verify the stocking schedule all through the season.

 

Additional Commission Meeting Action

In different motion, Commissioners voted to amend fishing laws at Opossum Lake, Cumberland County.  The lake was faraway from Miscellaneous Special Regulations which allowed for the harvest of trout beneath Commonwealth Inland Waters angling laws however allowed solely catch-and-release fishing for all different fish species.  Opossum Lake was additionally added to the Big Bass program and Panfish Enhancement program for crappies.  All different fish species will probably be managed beneath Commonwealth Inland Waters angling laws.  These designations will go into impact upon publication of a second discover within the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

In Huntingdon County, the Board voted to amend fishing laws at Lake Perez.  The lake was faraway from Miscellaneous Special Regulations which allowed for the harvest of trout beneath Commonwealth Inland Waters angling laws however allowed solely catch-and-release fishing for all different fish species.  Lake Perez was additionally added to the Panfish Enhancement program for sunfish and crappies.  All different fish species will probably be managed beneath Commonwealth Inland Waters angling laws.  These designations will go into impact upon publication of a second discover within the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

Commissioners voted to undertake new fishing laws at Whipple Lake, positioned inside Whipple Dam State Park, Huntingdon County.  The lake, which has not too long ago been refilled following a dam rehabilitation and sediment elimination venture, will probably be added to waters managed beneath Miscellaneous Special Regulations that may permit for the harvest of trout beneath Commonwealth Inland Waters angling laws, however permit solely catch-and-release fishing for all different fish species.  As the lake is restocked with fish beneath a multi-year restocking plan, this method will permit for probably the most fast growth of a balanced warm-water and cool-water fish neighborhood, whereas providing acceptable ranges of leisure angling alternatives.  Once the warm-water fishery is re-established, the lake will probably be advisable for elimination from the miscellaneous particular regulation and inclusion in one of many Commission’s current warm-water regulation packages.  This designation will go into impact upon publication of a second discover within the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

Commissioners adopted an modification to laws pertaining to trout stocking in Class A Wild Trout Streams (58 Pa. Code § 57.8a).  While stocking just isn’t permitted or advisable within the overwhelming majority of Class A wild trout streams throughout Pennsylvania, there are 13 stream sections at present stocked by the PFBC that meet inner decision-making standards to qualify for continued stocking.  These stream sections are in proximity to high-density human inhabitants facilities and are closely fished streams of a dimension and character that may help a fishery that includes each stocked and wild trout.  Additional standards will permit for consideration of continued stocking of stream sections which have traditionally performed host to particular actions, reminiscent of youth fishing derbies that profit communities socially and economically, previous to being designated as Class A wild trout streams.  Under the modification, previous to in search of Board approval for any exemptions that will permit for continued stocking of newly designated Class A wild trout streams, the Executive Director would seek the advice of the PFBC’s decision-making standards set forth within the Operational Guidelines for the Management of Trout Fisheries in Pennsylvania Waters scheduled for replace within the first quarter of  2021.  Consideration will solely be given to requests for continued stocking in stream sections inside one yr of the part being designated as Class A and posted within the Pennsylvania Bulletin; nevertheless, entities that beforehand acquired an exemption or a Special Activities Permit for continued stocking from the Commission between 2010 and the efficient date of this modification will probably be eligible for consideration.  Stream sections with wild Brook Trout populations that haven’t beforehand been granted an exemption is not going to be thought-about. The modification will go into impact upon publication of a second discover within the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

The Board permitted 13 exemptions to permit for the continued stocking of trout at 12 Class A stream sections.  The exemptions related to youth fishing derbies embody: Beaver Run (Section 01), Clearfield County, Commissioner District 3;  Freeman Run (Section 03), Potter County, Commissioner District 3;  McElhattan Creek (Section 02), Clinton County, Commissioner District 3;  Yellow Creek (Section 02), Bedford County, Commissioner District 4;  Letort Spring Run (Section 03), Cumberland County, Commissioner District 6 (two occasions);  Laurel Run (Section 02), Berks County, Commissioner District 8;  Unnamed tributary to Tulpehocken Creek (Womelsdorf) (Section 02), Berks County, Commissioner District 8;  Wyomissing Creek (Section 03), Berks County, Commissioner District 8.  Exemptions related to basic fishing derbies embody Kishacoquillas Creek (Section 05), Mifflin County, Commissioner District 4.  Exemptions related to Children/Disabled Fishing Areas embody Marvin Creek (Section 01), McKean County, Commissioner District 3.  Exemptions related to waters the place earlier stocking exemptions have been granted embody: Cross Fork (Section 03), Potter County, Commissioner District 3; Warriors Mark Run (Section 01), Huntingdon County, Commissioner District 4. 

Commissioners permitted the publication of proposed rulemaking pertaining to All-Tackle Trophy Trout (58 Pa. Code § 65.4a) and Trophy Trout Artificial Lures Only (58 Pa. Code § 65.7) fishing laws.  Currently, each laws permit for the harvest of two trout, per day, higher than or equal to 14 inches in size, from opening day of trout season by means of Labor Day, with catch-and-release angling for the rest of the yr.  Under a proposed modification to those laws supposed to supply extra satisfactory safety to most massive trout within the inhabitants, anglers would be capable to the harvest just one trout per day higher than or equal to 18 inches from opening day of trout season by means of Labor Day, with catch-and-release angling for the rest of the yr.  A complete of 11 waters are at present included within the Trophy Trout regulation program and most are vacation spot waters that obtain excessive angler use from resident and non-resident anglers.  If permitted on last rulemaking at a future assembly, these amendments would go into impact on January 1, 2022.

The Board permitted the designation of 25 stream sections to the record of Class A wild trout streams.  The board additionally permitted the addition of 26 new waters to the Commission’s record of untamed trout streams, revised the part limits of eight waters at present listed, and amended the identify of 1 water at present listed.  These additions, revisions, and amendments will go into impact upon the publication of a second discover within the Pennsylvania Bulletin.  A listing of waters proposed for wild trout stream and Class A Wild Trout Stream designation may be discovered on the PFBC web site.

During right this moment’s assembly, the PFBC introduced two upcoming occasions: a Virtual Outdoor Expo, which can happen throughout the week of February 8-12; and a Virtual Fisheries Summit, scheduled for Saturday, February 20.

The Virtual Outdoor Expo will include a sequence of informative and entertaining dialogue periods with PFBC employees and companions on fishing and boating associated subjects, which will probably be viewable all through the week on the PFBC Facebook web page, Facebook.com/PaFishandBoat.  Some of the periods will probably be streamed reside and can embody a chance to submit questions upfront or work together with presenters throughout the session.  A full schedule of expo periods will probably be introduced subsequent week and can embody: Kayaking 101: What’s Behind Pennsylvania’s Fastest Growing Boating Trend; Conversation with a Waterways Conservation Officer; and Let’s Talk Muskies, that includes PFBC Hatcheries and Fisheries employees.

The Virtual Fisheries Summit will include displays from PFBC Fisheries employees that will probably be made obtainable for on-line viewing all through the day on February 20.  The summit will spotlight the variety of fisheries obtainable in Pennsylvania, and can embody displays on Black Bass, Catfish, Inland Striped Bass, Panfish, Walleye, and wild and stocked Trout.  A full schedule of occasions and viewing directions will probably be introduced within the coming weeks.

Today’s digital assembly was streamed reside on the PFBC Facebook web page and may be seen right here:

Session 1: https://fb.watch/3eUnhhS9Zv/

Session 2: https://fb.watch/3eUoXWWO4C/

The subsequent assembly of the PFBC Board of Commissioners is scheduled for April 12-13, 2021.

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MEDIA CONTACT: 
Mike Parker
Communications Director
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission
(717)585-3076

michparker@pa.gov