PENNSYLVANIA — Anglers looking forward to Pennsylvania’s popular spring trout season have another tool at their fingertips, as the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) has made its 2023 adult trout stocking schedule available using the FishBoatPA mobile app and website (Fishandboat.com).
“While many anglers still have their rods and tackle boxes stored away for the winter, the release of our trout stocking schedule is always highly anticipated and is a reminder that spring fishing opportunities are just around the corner,” said Brian Wisner, Director of the PFBC Bureau of Hatcheries. “This schedule is the blueprint we use as we build a world-class stocked trout fishery in all corners of the Commonwealth over the next several weeks. Anglers can review the stocking schedule to find out which local waters will be ready for some great fishing very soon. So, buy your fishing license and trout permit, get your gear ready, and start planning now for those trout fishing adventures that await.”
The trout stocking schedule is searchable by county, lists the waterways in alphabetical order, and indicates stocking dates, meeting locations for volunteers, and the species of trout that are planned to be stocked at each location. In 2023, Pennsylvania’s statewide Opening Day of Trout Season will be held on Saturday, April 1. A single, statewide Mentored Youth Trout Day will take place on Saturday, March 25.
To prepare for the start of the season, stocking operations are set to begin the week of February 21. Anglers should note that fishing is not permitted on lakes and streams designated as Stocked Trout Waters from February 21 to the opening day of trout season, with the exception of the Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Day, unless waters are included in the Stocked Trout Waters Open to Year-Round Fishing program.
3.2 Million Trout
In 2023, the PFBC will stock approximately 3.2 million adult trout in 697 streams and 126 lakes open to public angling. These figures, which are consistent with the number of trout stocked over the past decade, include approximately 2.3 million Rainbow Trout; 707,000 Brown Trout; and 168,000 Brook Trout. As with past practice, the average size of the trout produced for stocking is 11 inches in length with an average weight of .58 pounds.
In 2023, anglers will have an excellent chance to catch large, trophy-sized trout. This year, the PFBC will stock approximately 70,000 brood fish, which are 2 ½ year-old and 3 ½ year-old hatchery-raised Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and Brook Trout measuring 14-20 inches. Roughly 70% of these large fish will be stocked into streams and lakes during the preseason prior to opening day of trout season, and 30% will be stocked during in-season replenishment stockings.
In 2023, the PFBC will stock approximately 14,000 golden Rainbow Trout. In addition to being stocked during the preseason period before opening day, these highly prized fish featuring vibrant golden-orange pigmentation and weighing an average of 1.5 pounds will be stocked during in-season replenishment stockings. Approximately 80% of golden Rainbow Trout will be stocked during the preseason, and approximately 20% will be stocked in-season.
In addition to trout raised at state fish hatcheries, PFBC cooperative nurseries operated by sportsmen’s clubs and other groups across the state will add another one million trout to waters open to public angling throughout the year.
Once again included in this year’s stocking lists are the Keystone Select Stocked Trout Waters, a program where sections of 24 streams across the state are stocked with large trout measuring 14-20 inches and managed under Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only or Miscellaneous Special regulations. Under the program, approximately 10,000 large trout will be distributed among the streams. The trout will be stocked at a rate of 175 to 225 per mile of stream, which is comparable to the numbers of similarly sized fish in Pennsylvania’s best wild trout waters.
The PFBC will be welcoming volunteers to help distribute approximately 3.2 million hatchery-raised adult trout to hundreds of waterways statewide throughout the 2023 season. The PFBC is proud to partner with conservation groups, schools, and walk-up volunteers to help spread out the trout in local waterways. Volunteers are asked to keep the safety of PFBC staff and other volunteers in mind and obey traffic laws while following stocking vehicles.
Licenses and Permits
To participate in trout fishing and keep trout, anglers ages 16 and older are required to possess both a fishing license and a trout permit. Anglers and boaters can start preparing for opening day of trout season right now by purchasing their 2023 Pennsylvania fishing licenses, launch permits, and boat registration renewals online at www.fishandboat.com, the FishBoatPA mobile app, or by visiting one of approximately 700 retail license issuing agents. By purchasing licenses and permits online, customers can save time and avoid long lines in stores when waiting to purchase a license closer to the start of trout season. Anglers may store an image of their license digitally on their phones as proof of possession.
The PFBC thanks anglers for supporting aquatic resource conservation and recreation programs through the purchase of their fishing licenses. The PFBC is a user-funded agency that receives no Pennsylvania General Fund tax revenue. Funding generated through the sale of fishing licenses supports hatchery operations, fisheries management, law enforcement, and infrastructure improvements to provide high-quality and convenient public access to fishing and boating opportunities.
2023 Adult Trout Stocking Program Changes
Each year, the PFBC adjusts its adult trout stocking program based on several factors. A waterway may be added, extended, reinstated, or removed depending on existing or pending changes to angler access, changes to designations on streams managed for wild trout populations, water quality issues that may threaten the survival of stocked trout, and maintenance being performed to dams and other infrastructure that result in the drawdown of impoundments or decreased water flow.
Waters Added or Extended:
Kinzua Creek, McKean County
A fall stocking will be added to the 4.7-mile section of stream managed under Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only (DHALO) regulations, extending from the Guffey Road bridge downstream to the Allegheny National Forest boundary near Westline. Formerly, this water had been stocked on a preseason and in-season only basis.
Pine Creek, Tioga County
A fall stocking will be added to the 3.4-mile section of stream managed under DHALO regulations, extending from Marsh Creek downstream to Bear Run. Formerly, this water had been stocked on a preseason and in-season only basis.
South Branch Tunkhannock Creek, Lackawanna and Wyoming counties
A fall stocking will be added to the 1-mile section of stream managed under DHALO regulations, extending from the State Route 6 bridge downstream through the Keystone College campus. Formerly, this water had been stocked on a preseason and in-season only basis.
Sheppard-Meyers Reservoir, York County
This 46.9-acre impoundment will be reinstated into the trout stocking program with a preseason stocking. Maintenance and repairs to the dam have been completed and the reservoir is scheduled to be refilled to full pool in the early spring of 2023. Formerly, this water had been stocked on a preseason only basis.
When survey data suggests that a waterway is no longer suitable for adult trout stocking based on a loss of angler access, environmental factors, or designation as a Class A wild trout stream, the PFBC makes every attempt to reallocate fish to a comparable location nearby. When inadequate angler access is the reason for a removal, locations are monitored for improvement, so these waters can be considered for reinstatement to the stocking program if access is improved. When a water is designated as a Class A wild trout stream, it is among the “best of the best” of the wild trout streams in Pennsylvania. These streams support a population of natural reproducing trout of sufficient size and abundance that support a long-term, year-round fishery, and do not require stocking to maintain angling opportunities. Removing a newly designated Class A stream from the Stocked Trout Waters (STW) program allows the PFBC to optimize stocked trout angling opportunities by establishing a new STW in a nearby water or improving existing opportunities in a nearby STW by increasing the allocation of fish stocked during the preseason and/or in-season stocking periods.
Childrens Lake, Cumberland County
This 8.9-acre impoundment will be temporarily removed from the trout stocking program due to a complete drawdown of the lake currently underway to allow for maintenance and repairs to the dam. Maintenance and repairs are scheduled to be completed in 2023, and the lake will be reinstated to the trout stocking program once conditions allow following refill.
Neshannock Creek, Lawrence and Mercer counties
A decrease in stream access has led to the removal of trout stocking from a 3.6-mile section of stream extending from the Interstate 80 (I-80) bridge downstream to the Cannery Road bridge. The remaining sections of the stream, from the headwaters downstream to the I-80 bridge and from the Cannery Road bridge downstream to the mouth, will continue to be stocked during the preseason and in-season stocking periods.
Seven Mountains Boy Scout Pond, Centre County
This 2.5-acre impoundment will be removed from the adult trout stocking program due to a complete drawdown of the pond to allow for maintenance and repairs to the dam and spillway. Maintenance and repairs are scheduled to be completed in 2023, and the pond will be reinstated to the trout stocking program once conditions allow following refill.
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