Preseason trout stocking officially underway

The annual trout-stocking efforts of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will get underway this week in most counties of our region.

During 2019, the PFBC will release about 3.2 million adult trout into more than 707 streams and 127 lakes around the state. These figures include approximately 2.1 million rainbow trout; 640,000 brown trout; and 440,000 brook trout. The average size of trout stocked by the PFBC is expected to be 11 inches. Many waterways will also receive a few of the more than 8,500 “trophy” golden rainbows, which are expected to average 1.5 pounds and 14 inches in length.

Thousands of trophy-sized brood trout are also stocked in selected streams throughout Pennsylvania. In addition to trout raised at state fish hatcheries, PFBC cooperative nurseries operated by sportsmen’s clubs across the state will add another 1 million trout to waters open to public angling.

This week in Blair County, Blair Gap Run is scheduled to be stocked tomorrow, March 4; the meeting place is the Newry post office at 10 a.m. Clover Creek will be stocked this Thursday, March 7; the meeting place is the Williamsburg post office at 10:15 a.m.

Other preseason trout stockings in Blair County will continue this month and early April. Poplar Run and South Poplar Run will be stocked on March 12; the meeting place is the Newry post office at 10:15 a.m. Beaverdam Creek and the Frankstown Branch of the Juniata River will be stocked on March 13 starting at 10:15 from the Claysburg post office. Canoe Creek will be stocked on March 14; meeting place is the Canoe Creek State Park office at 10:15 a.m. Bald Eagle Creek will be stocked on Wednesday, March 15; meeting place is village of Bald Eagle at 9:30 a.m. Canoe Creek Lake will be stocked on March 18; meeting place is the Canoe Creek State Park office at 10:15 a.m. The final preseason stocking for Blair County will be Bells Gap Run, Riggles Gap Run and Vanscoyoc Run on April 5; meeting place is the Sheetz store off the Bellwood exit of I-99 at 10 a.m. The Delayed Harvest Area on the Little Juniata River near Bellwood has been removed from that program and will no longer be stocked.

Most stocked trout waters also receive at least one in-season stocking some time from the opening week of the season until late May. Bad weather or high water may cause last-minute postponements of some stockings, so scheduled stockings are subject to change. For complete information on the preseason and in-season stocking schedules for other counties, check the PFBC website at www.fishandboat.com. Anglers with smartphones can find the stocking schedules and other information about fishing in Pennsylvania through the FishBoatPA app, which is available free from the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Of course, volunteers are always welcome to help carry fish to the streams during any scheduled stocking. If you are looking for an excuse to get outside for a little late-winter exercise, come out and help with an upcoming stocking. And if you haven’t been on your favorite stream since last spring, doing a little preseason scouting might be a good idea.

All the high water and flooding events we experienced throughout the are last year has caused dramatic changes to some waterways, especially the smaller streams. I know some of my favorite pools and runs were altered or partially destroyed in places, so I’ll be relearning a few streams I’ve fished for decades.

Stocked trout waters are closed to all fishing from March 1 until the opening day of trout season. Here in our area and most of Pennsylvania, trout season opens at 8 a.m. on April 13, while 18 counties in the southeastern part of the state enjoy a two-week head start on the rest of the state with a March 30 opener.

The Mentored Youth Fishing Days will be held again this year on March 23 in the southeast region and on April 6 for the rest of the state. To participate in the youth day, the young angler must obtain a free PFBC-issued permit at any licensing agent or online at GoneFishingPA.com and be accompanied while fishing by a mentor angler who has a current fishing license and trout permit.

Adult mentors will be permitted to fish for trout with their mentored youngster, but adults are not permitted to harvest any trout. The mentored youth may keep a limit of two trout. A complete list of the regulations for the Mentored Youth Fishing Days can be found on the PFBC website.

Special presentation

The John Kennedy Chapter of Trout Unlimited will feature Shawn Holsinger of East Freedom as the guest speaker at their regular monthly meeting this Tuesday, March 5, at 7 p.m.

Holsinger is a professional fly-fishing guide and fly tier who has not only fished extensively on the many great trout streams near his home in south-central Pennsylvania but also other destinations around the country including Colorado, the tributaries of the Great Lakes and Florida. His presentation will be “Seven Simple Guide Flies That Catch Fish,” which will cover a selection of soft hackles, streamers, dries and nymphs that are quick and easy to tie and should be in every angler’s fly box.

The public is welcome to attend this worthwhile and informative program at the Allegheny Township Volunteer Fire Department located at 651 Sugar Run Road, Altoona.