HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 24, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission's (PFBC) popular Mentored Youth Trout Days program has proven that kids are eager to fish, especially when they have a special opportunity to spend a day with their mentors before the traditional rush of the regional and statewide opening days of trout season.
Last year, more than 28,000 kids signed up to participate, either by purchasing a $1 voluntary youth fishing license or by acquiring a free mentored youth fishing permit.
PFBC Executive Director John Arway expects even more mentors and kids to come out this year and participate in the growing program, which is scheduled for March 26 and April 9. And, as it has done each successive year, the PFBC has fine-tuned the program based on angler feedback. For this year, only kids will be allowed to keep two 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," he said. "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."
On these two days, participants can fish in any PFBC stocked trout water. Kids can keep two trout, which must measure at least seven inches. Mentors must have a fishing license and trout stamp.
The March 26 Mentored Youth Trout Day takes place in 18 southeastern counties, including: Adams, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Perry, Philadelphia, Schuylkill and York.
The following weekend – April 2 – kicks off the Regional Opening Day of Trout Season in the same 18 southeastern counties.
A second Mentored Youth Trout Day will be held on April 9, the Saturday before the April 16 statewide opening day of trout season.
"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."
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.
"It's important for anglers to visit the PFBC stocking page for an updated list so they know exactly what waters are being stocked," said Brian Wisner, Director of the PFBC Bureau of Hatcheries. "We don't want mentors and kids inadvertently showing up at waters which have not been stocked."
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 youth fishing license. Both are available at www.GoneFishingPA.com or at any of the more than 900 licensing agents across the state.
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.
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.
Eric Levis, Press Secretary
717.705.7806 or firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission