If you’re thinking of teaching a child or teenager to fish, this Saturday is a great opportunity to take them trout fishing.
Fishing day for supervised young people March 26 is an opportunity to take the young ones fishing on the streams and lakes that have been stocked with trout before the official start of trout season. The opening day for trout season statewide is April 2, and it’s traditionally the day the streams are flooded with anglers.
Youth Mentee Day is a less crowded occasion where adults can help explain how to fish in areas with freshly placed trout.
“When you put it into perspective, it’s a great program. Families really enjoy it, and it’s a great way to get kids interested in fishing without all the crowds and all those other things that happen on a typical opening day,” said Mike Parker, director of communications of the agency, during a telephone interview.
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The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission began having this day in 2013, and it’s popular each year with an average of 35,000 Youth Mentee Licenses and Youth Voluntary Licenses combined used.
Participating youth anglers are required to purchase a Voluntary Youth License for $2.97 or obtain a Free Youth Mentored License from license vendors found in sporting goods stores and county treasurer’s offices. They are also available at huntfish.pa.gov for online purchases.
The $2.97 license is offered as an alternative to the free version to help the agency fund more youth outreach and education programs. For each license sold, the agency receives a federal refund of $5.
Youngsters are allowed to keep two trout that are at least seven inches that day.
Adults fishing with children must have a Pennsylvania fishing license and a trout/salmon license, and they are not permitted to fish with creels on this special children’s day.
It’s a day when anglers are encouraged to understand that it’s about teaching the next generation how to enjoy the sport.
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“It’s a little misunderstood by some audiences,” Parker said of people fishing before the real first day of the season at some of the most popular trout fishing destinations.
“We remind people that part of our mission is to develop this sport for future generations to enjoy. And also to remind them that (people fish) with a child; children do not catch all the fish.
The agency stores around 3.2 million trout and there are an average of 35,000 supervised children each year who can keep a maximum of two trout.
“A lot of people don’t keep trout that day. True, they catch trout and release them. Or what we also find is that it’s not as automatic as people think,” Parker said of the challenges of teaching someone to fish.
The goal is for the mentor to spend time helping the youngsters learn to fish for trout. “When you fish with a kid, you realize how much work goes into it,” he said. of them.”
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Time is the single most important factor in the success of Youth Mentee Day. Parker said in the past there have been framed days where it was warm and sunny and families spent hours fishing in the water with their children. Other years it was cold and rainy and people didn’t fish very long.
Parker suggests people planning to fish on Saturday check the online stocking calendar available at fishandboat.com, as not all waterways have new fish yet.
“Our goal is to stock all water before the opening day of trout season (April 2),” Parker said. “There’s a week between those dates, and we haven’t finished stocking.”
Parker also reminds all anglers that day one is not the last opportunity to catch trout as most waters will be stocked again during the first weeks of the season, and many streams and lakes receive additional seeding during the spring months.
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For those who want to get their lines wet before April 2, there are plenty of places to fish that are open year-round across the state.
“If you feel like going out and catching trout,” he said, there are 24 Keystone Select Streams with 14- to 20-inch trout for artificial lures that are only caught and released for a part of the year. .
There are other places and lakes that are open all year round that are caught and released until opening day. A list of waters open all year round is available on the agency’s website fishandboat.com.
“There are plenty of trout fishing opportunities all year round when you look for them, but most people will focus on opening day when they bring home a string of fish as part of experience,” Parker said.
Kevin Mostoller and his son, Kyle, 22, of Friedens enjoy fishing all year round, including Lake Laurel Hill in Somerset County.
“I love it,” Kevin said. He ice fishes in the winter and goes to lakes that are still open when the snow melts for trout. Later, he looks forward to fishing walleye and perch during the summer months and rainbow trout fishing in the fall.
“I like to fish for trout. It gets me out of the house,” he said of catching and releasing fish at this time of year. It is also an excellent moment of complicity with his son, who also likes to spend time outdoors.
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Thinking of the upcoming Youth Mentee Day, he said, “It’s a great idea to get the kids fishing. It’s a great way to supervise children. I think that’s great. The only problem is that the weather doesn’t always cooperate.”
For those looking to catch trout on Framed Youth Day, he suggests sticking bait like Chartreuse PowerBait or Waxworms under a float. He urges people to take advantage of this special day.
“I hope they have good weather,” he said.
Brian Whipkey is the outdoor columnist for USA TODAY Network sites in Pennsylvania. Contact him at [email protected] and sign up for our weekly Go Outdoors PA newsletter on your website homepage under your login name. Follow him on social media @whipkeyoutdoors.