Saturday Marks Second Mentored Youth Trout Day
HARRISBURG, Pa. (April 9) – Saturday marks the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s (PFBC) second Mentored Youth Trout Day for 2015, an opportunity for kids to practice their fishing skills one week before the statewide opening day of trout season on April 18.
On this day, they will have more waters to fish as well. Responding to anglers’ requests, the PFBC expanded the program to all approved trout waters.
“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 this year to include all Commission stocked trout waters on the two selected dates, we have substantially increased the number of available waters and are bringing fishing as close as we can to anglers both young and old.”
To participate, adult anglers (16 years and 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) and be accompanied by a licensed adult.
The numbers so far show that the program is very popular.
As of April 6, nearly 9,600 mentored youth permits had been issued and almost 5,000 voluntary youth licenses had been purchased.
“The program has taken off since we first launched it in 2013 and had about 5,000 registered participants,” said Arway. “Anglers told us they liked the opportunity to take kids fishing before opening day and they told us they wanted more waters to fish. That’s what led to the expansion this year.”
Arway notes that for every voluntary youth license sold, the PFBC will be eligible to 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 the voluntary youth fishing license is dedicated to youth programs.
Anglers and their adult mentors can fish on all approved trout waters from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on April 11. Anglers – including mentors – can each keep a combined species total of two trout, at least seven inches in length.
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.
“It’s important for anglers to visit the PFBC stocking page for an updated list so they know exactly what waters are being stocked by April 11,” 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.”
In addition to the PFBC’s stocking pages, its new mobile app FishBoatPA is a great resource to know what stocking has or will occur at favorite stocked trout locations. Included with this new, free app is the opportunity for anglers to post photos of their catches under “My Trophies.” Anglers are also invited to post their Mentored Youth Trout Day photos on the PFBC’s Facebook event page at https://www.facebook.com/events/1613768042189465/.
Also this year, adult anglers will enjoy a first-ever decrease in the price of their fishing license.
“This is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to our loyal customers,” added Arway. “And at the same time, we think the reduction will attract lapsed anglers back to the sport.”
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)
“By expanding the mentored youth trout program this year to all stocked waters, and taking into account the $1 decrease in the price of an adult fishing license, I’m confident we will see more children taking adults fishing,” Arway said.
The first mentored day was held on March 28 in 18 southcentral and southeastern counties, a week before the regional opening day of trout season.
For more information, or to purchase licenses and permits, visit www.GoneFishingPA.com
or any of the more than 900 licensing agents across the state.