The trout fishing season will have only one opening day and one youth day framed statewide
With a statewide opening day for the trout fishing season on Saturday April 3, preceded by a single statewide framed youth day for trout on Saturday March 27, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission hopes to return to some semblance of tradition and normalcy in 2021.
In making the announcement today at a virtual meeting of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Executive Director Tim Schaeffer went back to a December announcement that the agency would return to near total normality this year with 2 trout days supervised for young people – March 27 and April 10 – and 2 opening days – April 3 and 17.
This announcement in mid-December included the caveat that “all seasons and dates are subject to change”.
The new plan announced today offers a plan similar to the initial changes planned but abandoned by the commission last year as the coronavirus pandemic spread across Pennsylvania.
In response to the growing pandemic and the need for social distancing, the commission first reduced its Southeast Framed Regional Youth Day to a statewide day and the regional opening day of the trout season in one day statewide, then started with a trout fishing season opening about 2 weeks earlier on a Tuesday rather than a Saturday.
In April, as the traditional opening day of the trout fishing season approached, the commission expressed concern about the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds that normally show up on the first day of the season.
“Distribute that impact from day one, that rush for activity,” overruled other considerations, Schaeffer explained at the time.
“The concern from the start has not been fishing. This was the number of people we expected to see on opening day and our Youth Trout Day, which is inherently a group activity.
“We looked at the range of options available to us and what everyone got together is what we did this morning,” which was the sudden opening of all trout seasons statewide on a Tuesday.
The plan for 2021 now follows a similar plan, eliminating regional days and supplanting the entire schedule earlier in the year.
- Coronavirus concerns result in the end of the first days of opening for trout and help from volunteers with stocking trout across Pennsylvania.
“We absolutely want to maintain the experiences of the supervised young people and of the opening day, while reducing the risk of COVID-19,” Schaeffer explained at today’s meeting.
Despite the start of vaccination, the pandemic continues to rage in Pennsylvania, the country and the world, and social distancing requirements remain.
The trout stocking schedule will also be brought forward by 2 weeks.
Commissioners today approved an early shutdown of trout fishing in trout-stocked waters to accommodate this timeline, moving the close date to February 15 from the traditional March 1.
Volunteers will return to the commission’s trout-breeding efforts this year, but not the pre-2020 “drop-in volunteer” system, in which anyone who shows up can carry buckets of trout to the water. , Schaeffer explained.
Only volunteers already known to the staff of the commission will be invited to help with the stockings.
But restocking dates and waters will be announced again this year, in a further attempt to bring some normalcy to the system.
Schaeffer said “predictability and transparency” for fishermen are key goals for the 2021 trout control plan, as well as the safety of the public and staff in the ongoing pandemic, ensuring that trout is stored on time and maintaining the traditions of the trout season.
“We know the importance of Opening Day for everyone in Pennsylvania,” he commented.
Contact Marcus Schneck at [email protected].