PENNSYLVANIA (WTAJ) – Get your fishing rod, bait and waders ready! The Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Day is right around the corner.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is reminding anglers that the youth trout day is set for Saturday, March 25 at it begins at 8 a.m. This is a statewide event and it’s open to youth anglers (15 and under) and their mentors in all 67 counties.

“Mentored youth day is a fantastic opportunity to introduce youngsters to Pennsylvania’s proud trout fishing traditions while teaching them skills they can carry with them for a lifetime,” Robert B.J. Small, PFBC President and District 6 Commissioner said. “On this special day, kids get to enjoy the water a week before the busy statewide opening day of trout season. We hope that mentors give these young anglers the attention they need to become successful, ethical anglers, and contribute to the future of conservation.”

To ensure an enjoyable experience and locate waters that have already been stocked, please review the complete 2022 trout stocking schedule on the FishBoatPA app and PFBC website.

To participate in any Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Day, anglers ages 15 and under must obtain either a Voluntary Youth Fishing License ($2.97) or a free Mentored Youth Permit from the PFBC and be accompanied by a licensed adult angler with a trout permit. 

Will you be fishing from a boat?

Fishers are also reminded that if you plan to fish from a boat on Mentored Youth Trout Day or the Opening Day of Trout Season that the weather life jacket requirement is in effect from until 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 age 12 and under are always required to wear a lifejacket while boating in Pennsylvania.

Adult mentors (anglers 16 years of age or older) participating in Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Day must possess a valid Pennsylvania Fishing License and a Trout Permit and be accompanied by a properly permitted or licensed youth (less than 16 years of age).  While mentors are permitted to fish for trout, they are not permitted to harvest trout and must release them immediately, unharmed.

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Catch-and-Release Fishing Techniques

  • 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.