HARRISBURG, Pa. (March 30) – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) reminds anglers that the statewide Opening Day of Trout Season is this Saturday, April 1! Anglers may begin fishing at 8 a.m.
Throughout the 2023 season, the PFBC will stock approximately 3.2 million adult trout in 697 streams and 126 lakes open to public angling. These figures, which are consistent with the number of trout stocked over the past decade, include approximately 2.3 million Rainbow Trout; 707,000 Brown Trout; and 168,000 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.
The PFBC will also stock approximately 70,000 trophy-sized trout measuring 14"-20". Approximately 14,000 golden Rainbow Trout, weighing an average of 1.5 pounds, will also be stocked during preseason and in-season stockings. PFBC partner cooperative nurseries sponsored by sportsmen's groups and other organizations will combine to raise an additional one million trout that will be stocked into public waterways throughout the trout season.
During the regular trout season (Opening Day through Labor Day), anglers may keep up to five trout (combined species) per day measuring at least seven inches long. During an extended season from September 5, 2023, through February 19, 2024, the daily limit is three trout.
To purchase a fishing license and trout permit, review trout stocking schedules, and find trout fishing tips, visit www.fishandboat.com, or use the FishBoatPA mobile app. Anglers are no longer required to display a printed copy of their fishing license on the outside of their clothing and may simply store their license digitally on their phones.
Fishing from a Boat?
Anglers who plan to fish from a boat on Opening Day of Trout Season, and for the next several weeks, are reminded that the PFBC's cold weather life jacket requirement is in effect from November 1 through April 30. Under this rule, anyone aboard a boat 16 feet or less, including all canoes and kayaks, is required to wear a life jacket. Children ages 12 and under are always required to wear a lifejacket while boating in Pennsylvania.
The PFBC reminds boaters that regulations have changed on lakes that permit only the use of electric motors, including all PFBC owned or controlled lakes, some state park lakes, and other special regulation lakes specified under 58 Pa. Code § Chapter 111. Under these changes, electric motors of any size may be used, but they must not exceed slow, no wake speed on these select waters.
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 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.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission