Preseason trout stocking underway
With the April 12 opening day for trout season less than a month away, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission crews have been busy stocking area waterways. Volunteer help is critical for the stocking efforts. Below is a list of stocking dates for Luzerne County if you would like to head out and lend a hand stocking trout.
Frances Slocum Lake — March 17 (rainbow); Meet at 11:30 a.m. at the park office.
Francis E. Walter Reservoir — March 19 (brook, rainbow); Meet at 11:15 a.m. at Exit 273 - White Haven intersection of I-80 and route 940.
Harveys Creek — April 5 (brown, rainbow); Meet at 11:15 a.m. at the Harris Pond parking lot in Sweet Valley.
Harveys Lake — April 10 (brown); Meet at 11:30 a.m. at the lake.
Kitchen Creek — April 10 (brook); Meet at 11:30 a.m. at Harveys Lake.
Lake Took-a-While — March 24 (rainbow); Meet at 11:30 a.m. at the lake.
Lehigh River (outlet of dam) — March 19 (brook, brown, rainbow); Meet at 11:15 a.m. at Exit 273, White Haven, intersection of I-80 and route 940.
Lehigh river (Border of Game Lands 127) — April 2 (brook, brown); Meet at noon at the Gouldboro Turck stop on route 507.
Lily Lake — March 22 (rainbow); Meet at 12:30 p.m. at the lake.
Moon Lake — March 24 (rainbow); Meet at 11:30 a.m. at Lake Took-a-While.
Nescopeck Creek (upstream boundary of Game Lands 187 and Nescopeck State Park) — April 8 (brook, brown); Meet at 11 a.m. at the Lake Frances parking lot.
Nescopeck Creek (old bridge south of Lake Frances) — April 8 (brook, brown); Meet at 11 a.m. at the Lake Frances parking lot.
Nescopeck Creek (private bridge at Honey Hole) — April 8 (brook, brown); Meet at 11 a.m. at the Lake Frances parking lot.
Pine Creek — April 10 (brook, brown); Meet at 11:30 a.m. at Harveys Lake.
Wright Creek — April 8 (brook, brown); Meet at 11 a.m. at the Lake Frances parking lot.
Mentored youth fishing days approaching
After a highly successful first run last year, the PFBC’s popular Mentored Youth Fishing Days program returns this spring to kick off the fishing season.
The first day will be held on 12 waters in the southcentral and southeastern parts of the state on March 22 from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. This is the Saturday before the March 29 regional opening day of trout season.
The second Mentored Youth Fishing Day will be held on 29 waters, including Lake Frances at Nescopeck State Park, on April 5 from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. This is the Saturday before the April 12 traditional opening day of trout season.
“The pilot program last year was such a huge hit with anglers and their friends and family that we decided to expand the program statewide in 2014,” PFBC executive director John Arway said. “Commission staff and a host of volunteer organizations will be at the waters, answering questions and helping individuals so they can have the best experience possible.
“We surveyed participants in the pilot program and found that 89 percent of the registered youth fished that day. The survey also showed that a majority of mentors were family members, and more than 80 percent of the mentors said they were satisfied with the experience.”
To participate in the program, adult anglers (16 years or older) must have a valid fishing license and trout/salmon permit and be accompanied by a youth. Youth anglers must obtain a free PFBC-issued permit or a voluntary youth fishing license. Both are available at www.GoneFishingPA.com or at any of the more than 900 licensing agents across the state.
Also, the PFBC is reminding anglers that the process to participate this year has changed. Last year, participants registered online to receive a permit. Because the program is expanding statewide this year, and with an eye to the future, the PFBC is now using the Pennsylvania Automated License Service (PALS) to issue youth permits and voluntary licenses.
“Issuing permits and licenses through PALS allows us to collect and manage information regarding youth anglers,” said Carl Richardson, PFBC education section manager. “Specifically, this process provides us with more customer data for better assessment of lifelong fishing license buying habits and to develop programs designed to retain anglers.”
As a result, anglers must create a separate customer account for each child in the PALS system. In order to obtain the permit or voluntary license, the youth’s address, social security number, date of birth, height and eye color must be provided at the time of the transaction.
For every voluntary youth license sold, the PFBC will receive approximately $5 in federal revenue from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Sport Fish Restoration Act program, which provides funds to states based on a formula that includes the number of licenses a state sells. All revenues earned from a voluntary youth fishing license will be dedicated to youth programs.
Also, vouchers for the voluntary license will be available at the 900 license-issuing agents and online. A voucher does not require any personal information at the time of sale. Clubs, organizations, businesses, and individuals who are interested in promoting youth angling can purchase quantities of voluntary youth license vouchers to distribute to children. Personal information is required at the time the voucher is redeemed and a customer identification number is issued.
Through March 10, the PFBC has sold 304 voluntary youth fishing licenses. Another 570 individuals have obtained a free youth permit.
For a complete list of waters in the program and more information, visit www.GoneFishingPa.com.
Mullery bill protects hunters, anglers from drone monitoring
State Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Newport Township, has introduced legislation (H.B. 2084) that would make it illegal for drones to be used to interfere with people lawfully hunting, fishing and boating.
“There have been instances where animal rights groups have promoted the use of drones to monitor hunters and fishermen in other parts of the country, claiming they could be used to spot illegal activity,” said Mullery, a member of the House Game and Fisheries Committee. “However, these drones disturb wildlife and spoil recreational opportunities for law-abiding citizens.”
Mullery said his legislation would help ensure that Pennsylvania laws keep up with technology.
Using a drone to interfere with lawful fishing or boating would be first-degree summary offense under Mullery’s bill. Using a drone to interfere with lawful hunting would be a second-degree misdemeanor under the bill.
Mullery said several other states, including Illinois and Alabama, have enacted laws to address this issue.