by Nick Hromiak
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission pulled a fast one on trout anglers. Instead of the consolidated Apr. 18 trout opener that was scheduled, a last-minute decision from the PFBC said trout season opened Tuesday, April 7.
“We realize this change is a disruption to tradition,” Tim Schaeffer, PFBC Executive Director, said in a news statement. He went on to say anglers still need to follow social distancing (six-feet apart and wear masks) and that trout that have been stocked have had time to spread out, so should anglers do the same and spread out.
The fall turkey hunting season gets underway this Saturday (Nov. 2) in some parts of the state, some of which have split seasons (consult the Hunting/Trapping Digest for dates). The exceptions are in Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 5C and 5D and that’s due to low turkey population numbers.
In some areas, the dates were adjusted because of low numbers due to several cold, wet springs that limited turkey reproduction.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s fleet of white stocking trucks are on the roll, stocking trout for the March 23 Youth Fishing Day and regional trout opener on March 30 in 18 southeast region waters.
For anyone who would like to introduce a youngster to the sport of fishing, the Youth Fishing Day is an opportune time for them to experience catching their first trout. It’s also an opportune time since there’s no fishing pressure from adults, and there will be loads of freshly stocked trout to be caught.
For those of you who struck out on getting a buck or doe over the past archery, muzzleloader and rifle deer seasons, you get another chance when the season reopens for archery and flintlock muzzleloader statewide on the traditional post Christmas seasons. Those seasons run Dec. 26-Jan. 12. If you hunt in WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D, that season runs from Dec. 26-Jan. 26, 2019.
The extended firearms season also kicks off Dec. 26 and runs until Jan. 26, 2019, but only for antlerless deer and in Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.
Now that the major hunting seasons are over and spring gobbler season has yet to get under way, sportsmen can still pursue probably the toughest, most wary and wily animal in Pennsylvania: the coyote.
One can tell the trout fishing season is near when the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission makes the 2017 trout stocking schedule available. And it’s available online as well as on the PFBC’s Fish BoatPA free mobile app that’s available for smartphone users from the Apple App and Google Play stores.
To check the schedules, go to www.fishandboat.com and click on the link ‘Fish’ in the upper right corner, then select ‘Trout Stocking Schedules.’ Then choose the county of choice, enter start and end dates from the calendars then press ‘Go.’
With the regional trout season underway, and with portions of the Lehigh River getting stocked April 2 by the Lehigh River Stocking Association, there should be lots of leftover trout in area streams and lakes, especially since the rainy weather made for a light turnout on the opener.
With predicted cold weather, it will make the fish lethargic, as well as the angler. Best fishing then is in the afternoons when air and water temperatures rise.
The much-awaited 2015-16 deer harvest numbers are in and they show some interesting findings.
The entire harvest of 315,813 increased about four percent over the 2014-15 harvest of 303,973. Of that number, 137,580 were antlered deer. That reflected an increase of about 15 percent over the previous season’s harvest of 119,260. And that resulted in a whopping 59 percent of bucks that were 2 1/2 years old or older, which makes it the highest percentage of adult bucks in the harvest in decades, says the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
It’s the largest consumer outdoor show in the country. And folks in the Lehigh Valley have for years called it the Harrisburg show.
But after NRA’s takeover, it’s now called The Great American Outdoor Show and it kicks off its nine day run beginning Feb. 6 until Feb. 14 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg.