HARRISBURG, Pa., March 17, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission's (PFBC) popular Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Days return again this season, with the first special day taking place on Saturday, March 26, in the 18-county southeast region.
Participants can fish in any PFBC stocked trout water in that region from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. But in a new change implemented this year, only kids will be allowed to keep trout.
"Without a doubt, the mentored youth program has been a huge success, growing each year as we listen to anglers and make changes to improve the experience," said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. "This year we are refining it again by allowing only kids to keep two trout. Mentors can fish but cannot keep any trout."
"This is a very popular program designed to encourage kids to take adults fishing," he added. "Mentors can show kids that fishing is fun, and at the same time promote active, outdoor recreation. Adult mentors are encouraged to fish with the children and provide encouragement and tips, but we're asking them to release their catch to the water unharmed."
The 18 southeastern counties include: Adams, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Perry, Philadelphia, Schuylkill and York.
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 $1 youth fishing license.
Kids can keep two trout, which must measure at least seven inches. Mentors can fish, but must practice catch and release.
Participation in the program has grown every year since it was first launched in 2013 and drew 5,110 kids. Last year, more than 28,000 kids signed up to participate.
The mentored youth event precedes the April 2 Regional Opening Day of Trout Season in the same 18 southeastern counties.
A second Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Day will be held on April 9 in the remaining 49 counties. This is the Saturday before the April 16 Statewide Opening Day of Trout Season.
A majority of the trout waters will be stocked in advance of the mentored youth days. But some of the waters may not be stocked in time due to weather, water conditions and scheduling logistics. Also, special regulation areas, like Catch and Release Fly-Fishing Only or Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only, are not included in the mentored youth program.
"Trout season is a great cure for cabin fever and an opportunity to get outside and enjoy the Commonwealth's abundant natural resources," Arway added. "It's also a perfect time to share your excitement with others by 'Paying it Forward,' and doing a good deed."
"Maybe you help bait someone's hook, offer to take a shore angler out on your boat, or even buy someone a fishing license," he said. "The idea is that we all benefit when we do good deeds for others."
The PFBC annually stocks approximately 3.2 million adult trout in more than 700 streams and 120 lakes open to public angling. These figures include approximately 2 million rainbow trout; 642,000 brown trout; and 522,000 brook trout. Anglers are encouraged to visit the PFBC stocking page for an updated list so they know exactly what waters are being stocked.
More than 9,200 voluntary youth fishing licenses were sold last year, and another 18,858 mentored youth permits were issued.
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.
Both the free permit and voluntary youth license are available through www.GoneFishingPA.com or at any of the more than 900 licensing agents across the state.
Eric Levis, Press Secretary
717.705.7806 or firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission