Trout season opener unofficial start of spring

Olivia Serdy

Olivia Serdy

Anglers in Farmington try their hand at trout fishing in Big Sandy last spring.

With winter bringing more mild than cold days, it’s not hard to think ahead to spring.

Just over a month stands between us and the official heralding of a new spring and summer.

And just beyond that, with only nine short weeks to go, is the treasured first day of trout season. Is it too early to plan ahead?

For those that are, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) recently announced some changes that’ll impact fishermen across the commonwealth.

The most notable change is the commission’s decision to remove the long-standing regulation that requires anglers to display their fishing license on an outer garment while fishing.

“With this change, we are making things more convenient for our anglers,” PFBC executive director Tim Schaeffer said in a press release.

“By allowing people to simply carry their license in a pocket or in their wallet, rather than pinning it to an outer garment, we hope to hear about fewer licenses being lost and the cost associated with replacing them,” he said.

Schaeffer added that this measure also more closely aligns with the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s hunting license display requirement, which will hopefully prevent any confusion among hunters and anglers.

Anglers are certainly still welcome to don their fishing license on their outer layers if they prefer to do so.

And though valid fishing licenses can now be simply carried somewhere in your possession, the license still needs to be presented when asked by a PFBC law enforcement officer.

While you’re in planning mode for trout season, Schaeffer also encouraged anglers to familiarize themselves with upcoming trout stocking schedules, which were released late last month by the PFBC.

“Winter may be with us for a little while longer, but this is a great reminder that spring is right around the corner,” Schaeffer said in a report. “Now is the time to take a good look at the trout stocking schedules, get your gear ready, buy your fishing license, and start planning your opening day fishing adventure.”

In Fayette County, a couple highlights include early stockings of Meadow Run and the Youghiogheny River at the outflow. While most annual stockings take place in April, both of those waterways will see trout as early as the first week of March.

On March 3, rainbow, brown and golden trout will be stocked in Meadow Run near the bridge on Dinner Bell Road. Meadow Run along Beaver Creek will also see some brook and brown trout on March 12. And on the following day, brown, rainbow and golden trout will be stocked at the outflow in Confluence.

Looking into April, Big Sandy will get an assortment of brown and rainbow trout on April 17 and 22. Chaney Run will similarly be stocked on April 17 with brown trout.

Dunlap Creek will be stocked with brown, rainbow and golden trout on April 16 and May 21, while the lake is stocked with rainbow trout on April 8 and 25, and again May 1.

Just over the Fayette County border, Whites Creek in Somerset County will see a number of brook and brown trout stocked on April 11 and again on May 8.

“If trout fever is already starting to set in and you’re looking to get outside, we welcome everyone to join us for a stocking event and help put the fish in the water,” Schaeffer added in the report. “Not only is it a fun, educational, and rewarding experience, but it’s also a very big job to pull off every season. We couldn’t do it without our volunteers.”

More information and additional stocking details can be found on the PFBC’s website or mobile app.

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