HARRISBURG, Pa., April 6, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Saturday marks the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission's (PFBC) second Mentored Youth Trout Day for 2016, an opportunity for kids to practice their fishing skills one week before the statewide opening day of trout season kicks off in 49 counties on April 16.
"Our goal is to get more kids involved in fishing and to keep them engaged, and one of the best ways to do that is to make the experience as easy as possible for parents and mentors," said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. "The program includes all Commission stocked trout waters so there's a large number of available waters and we are encouraging kids to take an adult fishing!"
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, either by obtaining a free permit or purchasing a $1 voluntary youth fishing license.
To participate in the mentored youth day, adult anglers (16 years and older) must have a fishing license and trout permit and be accompanied by a youth. Youth anglers must obtain a free PFBC-issued permit or a voluntary $1 youth fishing license and be accompanied by a licensed adult.
Anglers and their adult mentors can fish on all approved trout waters from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Youth anglers can each keep a combined species total of two trout, at least seven inches in length.
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," added Arway. "This year we are refining it again by allowing only kids to keep two trout. Mentors can fish but cannot keep any trout."
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.
A majority of the trout waters will be stocked in advance of the mentored youth day. 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."
Arway notes that for every voluntary youth license sold, the PFBC will be eligible to 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 revenue earned from the voluntary youth fishing license is dedicated to youth programs.
The first mentored youth day was held on March 26 in 18 southcentral and southeastern counties. The regional opening day of trout season kicked off April 2 in those same counties.
For more information, or to purchase licenses and permits, visit www.GoneFishingPA.com or any of the more than 900 licensing agents across the state.
Eric Levis, Press Secretary
717.705.7806 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission