March 29 is the opening day of trout season in 18 counties which include: Adams, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Perry, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, and York. April 12 is the traditional opening day for the rest of the state.
Unfortunately, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) has announced that it has had to reschedule its two Mentored Youth Fishing Days into one statewide date on May 10 because most of the waters where the events were to be held remain covered in ice and aren’t expected to completely thaw in time. The days were originally scheduled for March 22 and April 5.
“This program is designed to encourage adults to take kids fishing, to show them that fishing is fun, and to promote active, outdoor recreation,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. “We will be better prepared to deliver this experience at this later date when the weather is warmer and the waters are free from ice.”
“We have received nothing but positive publicity and positive public comments about the Mentored Youth Fishing Day program,” Arway added. “Adults and kids are excited and we want to keep it that way. To ensure our customers have an outstanding chance to catch fish on this day, the Bureau of Hatcheries will stock a fresh load of trout at each water prior to the event.”
The PFBC has confirmed that all of the originally scheduled waters will be available on May 10. The program regulations will remain the same on the new May 10 statewide date. The waters will be open only for mentored youth day participants from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and anglers may keep two trout. After 7:30 p.m. the waters will be open to all anglers.
To ensure that plenty of the stocked trout are available to anglers on the mentored youth day, the waters will be closed to all fishing from noon May 9 until 8 a.m. on May 10.
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. Both are available online or at any of the more than 900 licensing agents across the state.
Also, the PFBC is reminding anglers that the process to participate this year has changed. Last year, participants registered online. Because the program is expanding statewide this year, and with an eye to the future, the PFBC is now using the Pennsylvania Automated License Service (PALS) to issue youth permits and voluntary licenses.
“Issuing permits and licenses through PALS allows us to collect and manage information regarding youth anglers,” said Carl Richardson, PFBC education section manager. “Specifically, this process provides us with more customer data for better assessment of lifelong fishing license buying habits and to develop programs designed to retain anglers.”
As a result, anglers must create a separate customer account for each child in the PALS system. In order to obtain the permit or voluntary license, the youth’s address, social security number, date of birth, height and eye color must be provided at the time of the transaction. Phone number and e-mail address are optional. These may be added to the customer’s profile at a later time by following the instructions in The Outdoor Shop. Click here for detailed instructions.
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.
Also, vouchers for the voluntary license will be available at the 900 license-issuing agents and online. A voucher acts as a gift card and does not require any personal information at the time of sale. Clubs, organizations, businesses, and individuals who are interested in promoting youth angling can purchase quantities of voluntary youth license vouchers to distribute to children. Personal information is required at the time the voucher is redeemed and a customer identification number is issued.