HARRISBURG, Pa.– Anglers looking forward to Pennsylvania’s popular spring trout season have another tool at their fingertips, as the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is pleased to make its 2024 adult trout stocking schedule available using the FishBoatPA mobile app and website (Fishandboat.com).
“Even though the calendar says it’s still winter, spring will be here before we know it,” said Brian Niewinski, Director of the PFBC’s Bureau of Hatcheries. “For many people, fishing on the Opening Day of Trout Season in Pennsylvania and the weeks that follow is a tradition that they look forward to all year long. Now that the anxiously awaited trout stocking schedule has been posted, anglers can start preparing by purchasing their fishing licenses, getting their gear ready, and planning their fishing trips.”
The trout stocking schedule is searchable by county, lists the waterways in alphabetical order, and indicates stocking dates, meeting locations for volunteers, and the species of trout that are planned to be stocked at each location. In 2024, Pennsylvania’s statewide Opening Day of Trout Season will be held on Saturday, April 6. A single, statewide Mentored Youth Trout Day will take place on Saturday, March 30.
To prepare for the start of the season, stocking operations are set to begin the week of February 19. Anglers should note that fishing is not permitted on lakes and streams designated as Stocked Trout Waters from February 19 to 8 a.m. on the opening day of trout season, with the exception of the Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Day, unless waters are included in the Stocked Trout Waters Open to Year-Round Fishing program.
3.2 Million Trout
In 2024, the PFBC will stock approximately 3.2 million adult trout in 697 streams and 129 lakes open to public angling. These figures, which are consistent with the number of trout stocked over the past decade, include approximately 2.4 million Rainbow Trout; 702,000 Brown Trout; and 132,000 Brook Trout. As with past practice, the average size of the trout produced for stocking is 11 inches in length with an average weight of .58 pounds.
In 2024, anglers will have an excellent chance to catch large, trophy-sized trout. This year, the PFBC will stock approximately 70,000 brood fish, which are 2 ½ year-old and 3 ½ year-old hatchery-raised Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and Brook Trout measuring 14-20 inches. Roughly 70% of these large fish will be stocked into streams and lakes during the preseason prior to opening day of trout season, and 30% will be stocked during in-season replenishment stockings.
In 2024, the PFBC will stock approximately 14,000 golden Rainbow Trout. In addition to being stocked during the preseason period before opening day, these highly prized fish featuring vibrant golden-orange pigmentation and weighing an average of 1.5 pounds will be stocked during in-season replenishment stockings. Approximately 75% of golden Rainbow Trout will be stocked during the preseason, and approximately 25% will be stocked in-season.
In addition to trout raised at state fish hatcheries, PFBC cooperative nurseries operated by sportsmen’s clubs and other groups across the state will add another one million trout to waters open to public angling throughout the year.
Once again included in this year’s stocking lists are the Keystone Select Stocked Trout Waters, a program where sections of 24 streams across the state are stocked with large trout measuring 14-20 inches and managed under Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only or Miscellaneous Special regulations. Under the program, approximately 10,000 large trout will be distributed among the streams. The trout will be stocked at a rate of 175 to 225 per mile of stream, which is comparable to the numbers of similarly sized fish in Pennsylvania’s best wild trout waters.
The PFBC will be welcoming volunteers to help distribute approximately 3.2 million hatchery-raised adult trout to hundreds of waterways statewide throughout the 2024 season. The PFBC is proud to partner with conservation groups, schools, and walk-up volunteers to help spread out the trout in local waterways. Volunteers are asked to keep the safety of PFBC staff and other volunteers in mind and obey traffic laws while following stocking vehicles.
Licenses and Permits
To participate in trout fishing and keep trout, anglers ages 16 and older are required to possess both a fishing license and a trout permit. Anglers and boaters can start preparing for opening day of trout season right now by purchasing their 2024 Pennsylvania fishing licenses, launch permits, and boat registration renewals on the PFBC website, the FishBoatPA mobile app, or by visiting one of approximately 700 retail license issuing agents. By purchasing licenses and permits online, customers can save time and avoid long lines in stores when waiting to purchase a license closer to the start of trout season. Anglers may store an image of their license digitally on their phones as proof of possession.
The PFBC thanks anglers for supporting aquatic resource conservation and recreation programs through the purchase of their fishing licenses. The PFBC is a user-funded agency that receives no Pennsylvania General Fund tax revenue. Funding generated through the sale of fishing licenses supports hatchery operations, fisheries management, law enforcement, and infrastructure improvements to provide high-quality and convenient public access to fishing and boating opportunities.