Young Anglers Gear Up to Get a Jump on PA’s Trout Season
PA Fish and Boat Commission’s Mentored Youth Trout Day offers early access and a fun, family-friendly fishing experience to young anglers.
Every spring since 2013, the PA Fish and Boat Commission has hosted its widely popular Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Day. Unlike previous years, the 2021 event will occur statewide on a single date — Saturday, March 27.
The Mentored Youth Trout Day was designed to inspire a life-long love of fishing. According to PFBC Recruitment, Retention, Reactivation (R3) Specialist Carl Richardson, “Young anglers that come from families that fish are much more likely to continue fishing as adults than those from non-fishing families.” For many PFBC officials and local anglers alike, programs like this are crucial to ensuring a healthy future for trout fishing in Pennsylvania.
The event takes place one week prior to the state’s official opening day on Saturday, April 3. This offers participants a stress-free environment absent of competition from more seasoned adult anglers. Richardson notes the contrast between Mentored Youth Day and the more serious Opening Day. “The atmosphere is more family friendly, lower key, and focused more on fun than on filling coolers.”
A love of fishing starts with learning the basics.
During the event, youth anglers (under age 16), accompanied by a licensed mentor (adult angler – 16 or older), may fish for trout on any PA Stocked Trout Waters. The program does not include special regulation areas. Youth anglers may take a limit of two trout (combined species) no less than 7 inches in length. The PFBC also encourages mentors to fish, but they are prohibited from keeping any trout.
For a successful day on the water, the PFBC advises mentors to allow youth anglers to fish with as little assistance as possible. Encouragement, positive reinforcement and, of course, occasional help with knots and hooks are always welcome. Overall, for mentors, the idea is to stay close, ensure safety, keep the camera handy and to practice responsible catch-and-release techniques.
Many of today’s anglers benefited from the help of mentors in their growth as young anglers. Being involved in helping young members of your family, or close family friends, provides them with the same opportunity. That’s the opportunity to learn important skills, gain knowledge, and become part of the fishing community.
Carl Richardson, Recruitment, Retention, Reactivation (R3) Specialist, PA Fish and Boat Commission
Partner up. Gear up. Bait up. Just don’t forget your license.
All anglers aiming to participate in the PFBC’s Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Day must be licensed. Youth anglers must obtain either a Mentored Youth Days Permit (free), or a Voluntary Youth License (available for purchase). Due to the event’s cancellation in 2020, the PFBC will recognize all Voluntary Youth Licenses purchased in 2020. Adult anglers must possess a current PA Fishing License with a Trout/Salmon Permit.
But I thought kids didn’t need a license to fish in PA. Technically, that’s true. Anglers under age 16 are not required to hold a PA fishing license while fishing recreationally in the state. The free Mentored Youth Permit allows youth anglers access to all PFBC-affiliated youth fishing activities throughout the season.
If the youth permit is free, why would I buy a Voluntary Youth License? Excellent question. The 2021 Voluntary Youth License costs $2.97. For each license purchased, the PFBC receives $5 in Federal funding. This crucial funding allows the PFBC to continue valuable outreach programs like Mentored Youth Trout Day. Anglers and their mentors should view the Voluntary Youth License as an affordable, yet invaluable investment in the future of fishing in Pennsylvania.
All licenses can be purchased online, at local PFBC offices, or at license issuing agents throughout Pennsylvania. Follow these simple instructions for obtaining Youth Permits or Voluntary Youth Licenses.
Remember, fish safe. Fish smart. And leave only your footprints.