Folks can trust a marmoset, whistle-pig, woodchuck or groundhog to foretell the coming of spring. Some may lean on the Farmers’ Almanac. For me, spring is right around the corner when the spring trout stocking schedule is released.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s executive director, John Arway, says about 3.2 million trout will be stocked. Anglers will notice little change in the approved trout waters and fish produced.
Arway said the trout “look very good,” and average between 11 and 12 inches. A spike in the cost of fish food has been a challenge for commission coffers, but the boss said they’ve dipped into their reserve to see that the tasty torpedoes get what they need.
As for preseason stocking, volunteers and gawkers are always welcome.
“It’s a spectator sport and a participation sport,” Arway said. “You can come out and watch or you can actually pitch in and carry a bucket to the stream.”
Most stockings in Cumberland County will originate at the Huntsdale Hatchery.
In Cumberland County:
Big Spring Creek: March 24 and April 7, at 9 a.m.
Children’s Lake: March 13 and April 5, 9:30 a.m., at the Boiling Springs Post Office.
Doubling Gap Lake: March 15, 11:15 a.m.; and April 19, 9 a.m., Huntsdale.
Fuller Lake: March 6, 9 a.m., and April 5, 9:30 a.m., Huntsdale, at 9 a.m.
Green Spring Creek: March 24, 9 a.m., Huntsdale.
Laurel Lake: March 15, 11:15 a.m., at Huntsdale; and April 5, 9:30 a.m., at Boiling Springs Post Office.
Middle Spring Creek: March 11 and April 17, 9:15 a.m., Newville Post Office.
Mountain Creek: March 6 and April 7, 9 a.m., Huntsdale.
Opossum Lake: March 20, 9:45 a.m., at the Lake; and April 17, 9:15 a.m., Newville Post Office.
Yellow Breeches Creek: Feb. 18, 9:15 a.m., Boiling Springs Post Office; March 15, 9:15 a.m., Boiling Springs Post Office; March 18 and 31, 9 a.m., Huntsdale; April 14 and 28, 9:30 a.m., Boiling Springs Post Office.
In Perry County:
Bixler Run: March 28, 11 a.m., at Routes 75 and 850; April 21, 11:30 a.m., Route 850 and 17.
Buffalo Creek: March 7 and April 10, 11:30 a.m., Buffalo State Park.
Bull Run: March 26, 11:15 a.m., Ickesburg Post Office; April 30, 11:30 a.m., Ickesburg PO.
Fishing Creek: March 5 and April 2, 11:30 a.m., Marysville Diner.
Fowler Hollow Run: March 26, 11:15 a.m., Ickesburg PO; April 30, 11:30 a.m., Ickesburg PO.
Horse Valley Run: March 15 and April 14, 11:15 a.m., East Waterford PO.
Laurel Run: March 28, 11 a.m., Routes 75 and 850; April 10, 11:30 a.m., Buffalo State Park.
Little Buffalo Creek: March 13, 11 a.m., Giant at Newport, Route 322; April 21, 11:30 a.m., Route 850 and 17; April 25, 11:30 a.m., Giants at Newport.
Little Buffalo Lake: March 21, 11:30 a.m., Buffalo State Park; April 21, 11:30 a.m., Routes 850 and 17.
For complete trout stocking schedules and trout regulations, check the Fish & Boat Commission website, www.fish.state.pa.us.
Mentored youths get an early taste
Youngsters in the Cumberland County area can get an early taste of trout season by dropping a line during Mentored Youth Fishing Day, March 22.
The pilot program was cast last spring when more than 3,700 adult anglers registered 5,110 children.
It is a special day for grown-ups to fish with the children in their lives in advance of the traditional opening day of trout season. Likewise, it’s a grand opportunity to get a kid hooked on fishing.
This year, the first of two Mentored Youth Fishing Days will be held on 11 waters on March 22 — including Children’s Lake in Boiling Springs and Doubling Gap Lake at Colonel Denning State Park in Cumberland County, and Little Buffalo Lake in Perry County. Those waterways will have received their preseason trout stocking by then. It is the Saturday before the regional opening day of trout season in 18 southcentral and southeast counties, beginning at 8 a.m. and ending at 7:30 p.m. Other participating waters in the region include the Orrtanna Pond in Adams County.
A second Mentored Youth Fishing Day will be on 29 waters April 5, the Saturday before the traditional opening day of trout season, beginning at 8 a.m. and ending at 7:30 p.m. The waters include Cowans Gap Lake in Fulton County.
A full rundown of the day’s requirements and waterways can be found on the state Fish & Boat Commission website at www.fish.state.pa.us.
Adult anglers, (those considered 16 years and older) must be accompanied by a youth, and possess a valid fishing license and trout/salmon permit.
Youth anglers must obtain a free PFBC-issued permit, available at www.GoneFishingPA.com or at any of the more than 900 licensing agents across the state.
A Voluntary Youth License is available for $2.70 and for each one purchased, the fish and boat commission receives $5 back in funding as a federal reimbursement. Those dollars are then invested in youth outreach and education programs.
Last year, 89 percent of the registered youth fished that day, a majority of mentors were family members, and more than 80 percent of the mentors said they were satisfied with the experience. All total, the children and their mentors fished 7,727 hours and reported releasing 4,405 trout and harvesting 1,183.
The minimum trout size is 7” and the creel limit is two trout (combined species) per angler.
Adult anglers are not allowed to fish in waters designated under the Mentored Youth Program without a valid fishing license and trout/salmon permit and without being accompanied by a youth who has a permit or voluntary license.
Fegely’s final chapter
A final note to mention the passing of a fellow Pennsylvania outdoor journalist.
Thomas D. Fegely, 72, of Whitehall, died Dec. 17. He and wife, Betty Lou, shared 32 years of adventures.
Old-time readers will remember Tom as producer and host of the weekly “Call of the Outdoors” show on NBC-affiliate WGAL-TV in Lancaster from 1980 to 1989.
Fly high, Tom.
Email B.J. Small at bjsmall@comcastnet. Follow on Twitter @Arrows2010.