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This year, the PFBC will begin stocking two weeks earlier than usual, beginning the week of February 15. The season opens statewide on April 3.
HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission on Tuesday announced that its 2021 adult trout stocking schedule is available on the agency's website.
"While winter seems to be here to stay for a while, the release of our stocking schedule is always a welcome reminder that spring will be here before we know it," said Brian Wisner, Director of the PFBC Bureau of Hatcheries. "We're happy that we'll be able to provide these stocking dates to the anglers this season so they can learn which local waters will be ready for some great fishing in just a few weeks.
"So, get your gear ready, buy your fishing license, and start planning your opening day adventure and fishing trips throughout the season."
This year, the PFBC said it will begin stocking two weeks earlier than usual, beginning the week of February 15. These accelerated operations will ensure that the most waters will be stocked in advance of the single, statewide Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Day on Saturday, March 27, and the single, statewide Opening Day of Trout Season on Saturday, April 3.
Due to stocking operations beginning earlier, all streams that are designated as Stocked Trout Waters will be closed to angling from February 15 until March 27, the PFBC said.
To provide for additional angling opportunities during this time, trout which are stocked in lakes, reservoirs, and ponds during the pre-season will be open to catch-and-release angling, but may not be harvested until statewide Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Day and statewide Opening Day of Trout Season, according to the PFBC.
The move to an earlier statewide schedule for trout season provides anglers with two more weeks to enjoy trout fishing statewide, reduces travel associated with multiple opening days, and minimizes overcrowding on many popular waterways to allow anglers to comply with social distancing guidelines, the PFBC said.
While the stocking schedule is a useful tool for planning a fishing trip, Wisner noted that the PFBC will not be permitting "walk-up" volunteers to assist with stocking trout in 2021.
Instead, in accordance with public safety recommendations from the Governor's office and Pennsylvania Department of Health, volunteers will be recruited from an existing pool of individuals who have traditionally assisted with float stocking and bucket carrying organized through local conservation organizations, schools, and other groups.
All volunteers selected will be required to wear personal protective gear, including masks and gloves, and practice social distancing while participating in stocking operations, according to the PFBC.
"We realize that people of all ages really enjoy meeting up with the stocking truck at their local lake or stream to see some of the beautiful trout we've been raising at our hatcheries, and maybe even carry a few buckets to the water," said Wisner. "We really look forward to the day when we can welcome everybody back to help us stock again, but in the meantime, we thank the anglers for their understanding as we try to protect the safety of our staff and the public."
The 2021 adult trout stocking schedule is searchable by county, lists the waterways in alphabetical order, and indicates stocking dates and the species of trout that will be stocked, the PFBC said.
2021 Pennsylvania fishing licenses, launch permits, and boat registration renewals are available for purchase online through the new HuntFishPA online licensing accessible by visiting www.fishandboat.com, the FishBoatPA mobile app, or by visiting one of approximately 700 retail license issuing agents across the state.
To participate in trout fishing and keep trout, anglers ages 16 and older require both a fishing license and a trout permit, the PFBC said.
The PFBC will continue to stock approximately 3.2 million adult trout in 701 streams and 128 lakes open to public angling. These figures, which are consistent with the number of trout stocked over the past decade, include approximately 2.2 million Rainbow Trout; 686,000 Brown Trout; and 293,000 Brook Trout, the PFBC said.
As with past practice, the average size of the trout produced for stocking is 11 inches in length.
In 2021, anglers will have an excellent chance to catch large, trophy-sized trout, according to the PFBC. This year, the PFBC will stock approximately 60,000 brood fish, which are 2½ year-old and 3½ year-old hatchery-raised Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and Brook Trout measuring 14"-20".
The allocation of these large trout will remain at increased levels established in 2020, which was more than double the allocation in 2019, according to the PFBC. Roughly 70% of these large fish will be stocked into streams and lakes during the preseason prior to opening days of trout season, and 30% will be stocked during in-season replenishment stockings, the PFBC said.
The PFBC said it will also continue to stock large numbers of golden Rainbow Trout this year. In addition to being stocked during the preseason period before opening day, these highly prized fish featuring vibrant golden-orange pigmentation and weighing an average of 1.5 pounds, will be stocked during in-season replenishment stockings, the PFBC said.
The allocation of approximately 13,000 golden Rainbow Trout in 2021 matches numbers established in 2020, which exceeded the 2019 allocation by roughly 40%. Approximately 80% of golden Rainbow Trout will be stocked during the preseason, and approximately 20% will be stocked in-season.
In addition to trout raised at state fish hatcheries, PFBC cooperative nurseries operated by sportsmen's clubs and other groups across the state will add another 1 million trout to waters open to public angling.
Once again included in this year's stocking lists are the Keystone Select Stocked Trout Waters, a program where sections of 24 streams across the state are stocked with large 14" - 20" trout and managed under Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only or Miscellaneous Special regulations.
Under the program, approximately 10,000 large trout will be distributed among the streams. The trout will be stocked at a rate of 175 to 225 per mile of stream, which is comparable to the numbers of similarly sized fish in Pennsylvania's best wild trout waters.
Locate Keystone Select waters here.
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