HARRISBURG, Pa. (March 19)– After an unusually cold and snowy winter, anglers are more excited than ever to get outside for the March 29 opening day of trout, which marks the unofficial start of the 2014 fishing season.
“Through March 15, our sales are up by seven percent, which is fantastic news,” said John Arway, executive director of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC). “That tells me that anglers are ready for winter to end and spring fishing to begin.”
The PFBC’s “great white fleet” of hatchery trucks has been busy since late February stocking Pennsylvania’s waterways with a fresh supply of brook, brown and rainbow trout. Every year the PFBC stocks about 3.2 million trout in waters across the state. More than 850,000 anglers buy a fishing license each year.
“Once anglers have tested their waders for leaks, oiled and added new line to their fishing reels, and maybe purchased some new hooks, flies and lures, they can go to our website to see stocking schedules,” added Arway. “This is a convenient tool to help anglers prepare for their trips. The stocking lists can be sorted by county and we even provide GIS coordinates, so anglers can easily see waters on a map and get directions to where they want to fish.”
The 18 counties open March 29 include: Adams, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Perry, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, and York.
Also this year, anglers will have the chance to talk with PFBC staff as part of a customer “Thank You” campaign.
“We want our customers to know that we value their business and their commitment to the fishing and boating sports,” said Arway. “So we will have staff out at various waters throughout the region talking to anglers and thanking them for buying a fishing license.”
Multiple businesses have agreed to provide free coffee or other beverages as part of the campaign. Visit www.AnglerBoaterThankYou.com for a list of waters where PFBC staff will be and for participating businesses and offers.
April 12 is the traditional opening day for the rest of the state. PFBC staff will also be out on this date as part of the angler “Thank You” campaign.
Visit the PFBC’s website to see detailed stocking schedules, which can be easily sorted by county. The schedule shows what waters will be stocked, the date and time, and a meeting place where volunteers can gather to help with the stocking.
“While opening day of trout season is one of the most exciting fishing days of the year, it’s also one of the biggest social events,” Arway added. “Research shows that when it comes to fishing, anglers like being together with friends and family just as much as they enjoy catching fish.”
Anglers have several options to choose from when purchasing a license. They can purchase multi-year fishing licenses, including a resident three-year license for $64.70 or a resident five-year license for $106.70. Resident three-year and five-year trout permits cost $25.70 and $41.70.
Also, anglers can purchase a one-year resident fishing license for $22.70 and a trout-salmon permit for $9.70. A license is required for anyone 16 and older.
“For the first time this year, we are offering a voluntary youth fishing license for $2.70, which will provide an approximate $5 reinvestment into youth fishing programs,” added Arway. “And for those anglers who want to go back to the future, they can purchase an optional $5 metal button for an alternate way to display their license.”
Licenses and buttons can be purchased at more than 900 licensing agents and online at www.GoneFishingPa.com.
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