Mentored youth trout days are designed to give children an early crack at stocked fish, without having to compete with the huge crowds of anglers that mark the traditional opening day.
Interested in teaching a youngster the joys of fishing?
Here’s your chance.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is holding two mentored youth trout fishing days again this year. The first, in 18 counties in the southeastern and southcentral portions of the state, is set for March 26. The other, everywhere else, will be on April 9.
The rules are the same in both cases.
Participants can fish in any stocked water – with the exception of special regulation areas, like delayed harvest artificial lures only waters – between 8 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. That includes both children and their adult mentors.
That’s the same as in prior years.
Unlike in the past, though, adults will not be able to keep the trout they catch. Kids can. They’re allowed two trout each, provided they’re at least seven inches long.
But adults have to practice catch and release.
That’s a change anglers asked for, according to commission executive director John Arway.
“This is a very popular program designed to encourage kids to take adults fishing. Mentors can show kids that fishing is fun, and at the same time promote active, outdoor recreation,” Arway said.
“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.”
Growing numbers of people have been getting involved.
The youth mentor program began in 2013. Then, 5,110 kids fished. Last year, more than 9,200 youths bought a voluntary license and 18,858 got a free permit.
To participate, adult anglers 16 years or older must have a valid fishing license and trout stamp and be accompanied by a youth. Youngsters must either buy a voluntary $1 youth license or get a free permit from the commission.
Free permits and voluntary licenses are both available at any license issuing agent or by clicking here.