HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission reminds anglers that a single, statewide Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Day will happen on Saturday, March 27. The start time for this event is 8:00 a.m.
“We set aside this special day every year, one week before the Opening Day of Trout Season, to give young anglers the chance to fish and learn fishing skills from their adult mentors ahead of the opening day,” said Tim Schaeffer, PFBC Executive Director. “It’s a really fun experience for the kids, and it’s also vital to developing the next generation of Pennsylvania anglers.”
To participate in any Mentored Youth Fishing Day, anglers ages 15 and under must obtain either a Voluntary Youth Fishing License ($2.97) or a free Mentored Youth Permit from the PFBC and be accompanied by a licensed adult angler. Permits and licenses are available using the FishBoatPA mobile app, online at www.fishandboat.com, and in-person at nearly 700 license issuing agents. Due to the cancellation of Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Day in 2020, Voluntary Youth Fishing Licenses purchased last year will be honored in 2021.
Adult mentors (anglers 16 years of age or older) must possess a valid Pennsylvania Fishing License and a current Trout Permit and be accompanied by a properly permitted or licensed youth (less than 16 years of age). While mentors will be permitted to fish for trout, they are not permitted to harvest trout and must release them unharmed.
“We really recommend that one adult accompany each youth angler for the most effective mentoring experience, added Schaeffer. “This day is all about the kids. If you’ve ever fished with a young child, you know how rewarding it can be, and also that your constant attention will be needed. Prepare to make a lot of great memories helping the child to cast, untangle lines, and hopefully remove a few trout from the hook.”
Participants should note that while PFBC pre-season trout stocking is now underway, not all waters will be stocked with trout prior to March 27. To ensure an enjoyable experience, please review the complete 2021 trout stocking schedule on the FishBoatPA app and PFBC website.
Catch-and-Release Fishing Techniques
The PFBC reminds anglers of proper catch-and-release fishing techniques when harvest is not permitted or when anglers choose to practice catch-and-release fishing during Mentored Youth Day and the Opening Day of trout season.
The techniques listed below will ensure that released fish have the best chance to survive and contribute to future angling enjoyment.
· Land your fish as quickly as possible and don’t play the fish to exhaustion. Excessive stress and exhaustion increases post-release mortality.
· Use a landing net (rubber or rubberized mesh is best) to better control your catch and reduce trauma associated with handling.
· Keep the fish in the water as much as possible. The chance of a fish being injured increases the longer it is held out of the water.
· Wet your hands, your net, and other materials that touch the fish. Don’t handle fish with a towel or rag. This helps to keep a fish’s protective mucus or slime layer in place.
· Hold the fish upside down while removing the hook. This can calm the fish for quicker unhooking and release.
· Use hemostats or long nose pliers to aid in removing a hook quickly and safely. Use barbless hooks or pinch down barbs on existing hooks with small pliers to make removing hooks easier.
· When not possible to remove the hook without harming the fish, cut the line or harvest to eat (subject to season, length, and creel limits).
· Avoid contact with the gills and do not handle by placing your fingers under the operculum (gill cover).
· Hold the fish upright underwater after unhooking until it can swim away on its own. If necessary, gently hold the fish out of strong current until it revives.