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Trout season opens without prior notice

by Nick Hromiak

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission pulled a fast one on trout anglers. Instead of the consolidated Apr. 18 trout opener that was scheduled, a last-minute decision from the PFBC said trout season opened Tuesday, April 7.

“We realize this change is a disruption to tradition,” Tim Schaeffer, PFBC Executive Director, said in a news statement. He went on to say anglers still need to follow social distancing (six-feet apart and wear masks) and that trout that have been stocked have had time to spread out, so should anglers do the same and spread out.

The decision to open trout season immediately is intended to discourage concentrated gatherings of people that may have occurred on the traditional opening day, to minimize intrastate and interstate travel, and to reduce the threat of illegal poaching in waters that have already been stocked, said the PFBC. It was approved in conjunction with Gov. Wolf, Pennsylvania Department of Health and PA’s DCNR.

said, “Agency staff will continue to stock trout throughout spring, but not all waters have been stocked at this time,” said Mike Parker, PFBC Media Relations Director. “To further discourage public gatherings, a stocking schedule and list of waters that have been stocked will not be provided to the public this season.”

In regards to this statement, a source said that the entire season’s allocation in Lehigh County streams has already been done. Meaning, if fact, there will not be any in-season stockings. However, it isn’t known if this was true for other Pennsylvania streams and lakes.

The DCNR will permit fishing and boating in state parks and forests, but social distancing must be followed. It noted that restrooms at state park facilities may be closed. The agency is encouraging anglers to conduct outdoor activities within 15 minutes of their homes.

Also, the Mentored Youth Day will not take place this season but the PFBC will honor all Voluntary Youth Fishing Licenses purchased in 2020 for all mentored youth fishing during the 2021 season.

I did a quick check at 10 a.m., April 7, on the Little Lehigh Creek in the area of the covered bridge in Lehigh Parkway, and saw seven anglers fishing that stretch so some anglers got the word on the revised, surprise opener.

PRESS FILE PHOTO The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission opened the 2020 trout season Tuesday without prior notice to help avoid crowded fishing areas that are common with Saturday openers.