Time to enjoy some Labor Day fishing

It seems hard to believe, but we are entering the last week of August already. Again this year, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is offering some special incentives on Labor Day.

The first of those is a special one-day adult resident or non-resident Labor Day fishing license for just $1. This license is good for Sept. 2 only and gives folks 16 and older who haven’t yet bought a fishing license so far this year the chance to experience a day of fishing either by themselves or with family or friends for a just a buck plus the usual $1.90 in issuing fees for a total of $2.90. The special license is now available for purchase online at www.GoneFishingPA.com, or by visiting one of more than 700 license issuing agents.

This Labor Day license, however, does not include a trout permit, so if you intend to keep any trout or fish in any water under special regulations for trout or fish in water designated Class A Wild Trout Water, you will need to purchase a trout permit for $9.90.

The second opportunity is a Mentored Youth Panfish Day on Labor Day on 20 lakes around the state that are managed under the Panfish Enhancement program. Here in our region Beaverdam Run Reservoir, Hinkston Run Reservoir and Wilmore Dam in Cambria County and Foster Joseph Sayers Lake in Centre County are part of that program.

Panfish Enhancement lakes are managed to increase the number and size of certain species of panfish such as sunfish, crappies and yellow perch by having size and creel limits of 20 on these fish, while statewide there are no size limits and creel limits are 50 combined for all species of panfish. For this special youth day, kids with a voluntary youth fishing license or mentored youth permit and their licensed adult mentors can keep panfish of any size on those designated waters. To participate, youth anglers must obtain a free Mentored Youth Permit or purchase a Mentored Youth Voluntary License for $2.90.

Panfish are plentiful, fun to catch and great eating. Encouraging folks to fish for panfish can be a great way to get more youngsters and families involved in the sport of fishing. But this special Mentored Youth Panfish Day doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Anyone can keep panfish of any size every day of the year on any water in the state except the 20 special Panfish Enhancement lakes. And kids under 16 don’t need any special permit or daffy voluntary license to fish for any species any day of the year on any water in the state. What really is the incentive?

Besides fishing

On the hunting side, dove season and the early Canada goose season both open on Labor Day.

If you plan to participate in either of these seasons next week, you will need have special licenses in addition to your general hunting license. Hunters 16 and older are required to have a federal duck stamp to hunt geese, ducks and other waterfowl. To hunt ducks, geese, doves, woodcocks and other migratory birds, hunters 12 and older are required to have a Pennsylvania Migratory Game Bird License. Consult the Pennsylvania Hunting and Trapping Digest or visit the Game Commission website, PGC.pa.gov for the complete regulations for waterfowl and migratory game bird hunting.

Ox roast time

For those wanting to sharpen up their shooting skills for the upcoming hunting seasons, consider attending the 81st annual Ox Roast Festival on Sunday, Sept. 1 and Monday, Sept.2 at the Blair County Game, Fish and Forestry Association in Riggles Gap north of Altoona. The public is cordially invited to participate in all the festivities, and admission and parking is free.

The weekend will kick off early with a 99-bird trapshooting event on Saturday at 6 p.m. The 15-target 3-D archery course will start at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday and Monday.

Other activities from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day will include trap shooting, 5-stand, running deer, kids games, hay rides, a sportsman?s flea market, lots of vendors and bingo at 1 p.m. Monday’s special activity is the club’s popular field day of seven events, which include .22 rifle, high-power rifle, running deer, handgun, archery, trap and disappearing bear.

Of course, there will be plenty of great food, including the club’s famous ox roast sandwiches, baked macaroni and cheese and more. Live music will also be featured throughout the weekend. Festival bands on Sunday include Asbury Lane at 11 a.m., Rokkandy at 1 p.m. on Monday, The Backyard Rockers at 11 a.m. and at Chad Patterson at 1 p.m.

The club is located about three miles north of Altoona on 301 Riggles Gap Sportsmen Road. For more information, check out their Facebook page, visit the club website at www.blaircountygame.com for a map and directions or call the lodge at 942-8522.