HARRISBURG, Pa. (March 12) – After a highly successful first run last year, the PFBC’s popular Mentored Youth Fishing Days program returns this spring to kick off the 2014 fishing season.
The first day will be held on 12 waters on March 22 from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. This is the Saturday before the March 29 regional opening day of trout season.
“The pilot program last year was such a huge hit with anglers and their friends and family that we decided to expand the program statewide in 2014,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. “Commission staff and a host of volunteer organizations will be at the waters, answering questions and helping individuals so they can have the best experience possible.”
“We surveyed participants in the pilot program and found that 89 percent of the registered youth fished that day,” he added. “The survey also showed that a majority of mentors were family members, and more than 80 percent of the mentors said they were satisfied with the experience.”
The second Mentored Youth Fishing Day will be held on 29 waters on April 5 from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. This is the Saturday before the April 12 traditional opening day of trout season.
To participate in the program, 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.
Also, the PFBC is reminding anglers that the process to participate this year has changed. Last year, participants registered online to receive a permit. Because the program is expanding statewide this year, and with an eye to the future, the PFBC is now using the Pennsylvania Automated License Service (PALS) to issue youth permits and voluntary licenses.
“Issuing permits and licenses through PALS allows us to collect and manage information regarding youth anglers,” said Carl Richardson, PFBC education section manager. “Specifically, this process provides us with more customer data for better assessment of lifelong fishing license buying habits and to develop programs designed to retain anglers.”
As a result, anglers must create a separate customer account for each child in the PALS system. In order to obtain the permit or voluntary license, the youth’s address, social security number, date of birth, height and eye color must be provided at the time of the transaction. Phone number and e-mail address are optional. These may be added to the customer’s profile at a later time by following the instructions in The Outdoor Shop at www.GoneFishingPA.com. Click here for detailed instructions.
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 programs.
Also, vouchers for the voluntary license will be available at the 900 license-issuing agents and online. A voucher acts as a gift card and does not require any personal information at the time of sale. Clubs, organizations, businesses, and individuals who are interested in promoting youth angling can purchase quantities of voluntary youth license vouchers to distribute to children. Personal information is required at the time the voucher is redeemed and a customer identification number is issued.
Through March 10, the PFBC has sold 304 voluntary youth fishing licenses. Another 570 individuals have obtained a free youth permit.
The waters in the March 22 program include:
County and Water
Adams – Orrtanna Pond – Pond 1
Berks – Antietam Lake
Berks – Scotts Run Lake at French Creek State Park
Bucks – Levittown Lake
Cumberland – Children’s Lake
Cumberland – Doubling Gap Lake at Colonel Denning State Park
Dauphin – Middletown Reservoir
Lebanon – Lions Lake
Lehigh – Lehigh Canal, Section 08
Montgomery – Deep Creek Dam at Green Lane Park
Perry – Little Buffalo/Holman Lake at Little Buffalo State Park
Schuylkill – Locust Lake
The waters in the April 5 program include:
County and Water
Allegheny – North Park Lake
Butler – Harbar Acres Lake
Cambria – Lake Rowena
Centre – Cold Stream Dam
Clearfield – Janesville Dam
Clearfield – Parker Lake at Parker Dam State Park
Columbia – Briar Creek Lake
Elk – Twin Lakes
Erie – East and West Basin Ponds at Presque Isle State Park
Erie – Upper Gravel Pit
Fayette – Dunlap Creek Lake
Fulton – Cowans Gap Lake at Cowans Gap State Park
Huntingdon – Whipple Lake at Whipple Dam State Park
Jefferson – Cloe Lake
Lackawanna – Eston Wilson Lake
Luzerne – Lake Frances at Nescopeck State Park
Lycoming – Little Pine Lake
McKean – Hamlin Lake
Mercer – Buhl Lake
Monroe – Hidden Lake
Pike – Lily Pond
Potter – Lyman Run Reservoir at Lyman Run State Park
Somerset – Laurel Hill Lake at Laurel Hill State Park
Tioga – Hamilton Lake
Union – Halfway Lake at RB Winter State Park
Warren – Chapman Dam Reservoir at Chapman State Park
Washington – Canonsburg Lake
Westmoreland – Mammoth Lake
Westmoreland – Twin Lakes Number One Reservoir (Lower)
More information about the program is available at www.GoneFishingPa.com.