2021 Adult Trout Stocking Schedules
Excitement for the spring trout fishing season kicks into high gear today as the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is pleased to make its 2021 adult trout stocking schedule available using the FishBoatPA mobile app and website (www.fishandboat.com).
“While winter seems to be here to stay for a while, the release of our stocking schedule is always a welcome reminder that spring will be here before we know it,” said Brian Wisner, Director of the PFBC Bureau of Hatcheries. “We’re happy that we’ll be able to provide these stocking dates to the anglers this season so they can learn which local waters will be ready for some great fishing in just a few weeks. So, get your gear ready, buy your fishing license, and start planning your opening day adventure and fishing trips throughout the season.”
This year, the PFBC will begin stocking two weeks earlier than usual, beginning the week of February 15. These accelerated operations will ensure that the most waters will be stocked in advance of the single, statewide Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Day on Saturday, March 27, and the single, statewide Opening Day of Trout Season on Saturday, April 3. Due to stocking operations beginning earlier, all streams that are designated as Stocked Trout Waters will be closed to angling from February 15 until the statewide Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Day and the statewide Opening Day of Trout Season. To provide for additional angling opportunities during this time, trout which are stocked in lakes, reservoirs, and ponds during the pre-season will be open to catch-and-release angling but may not be harvested until statewide Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Day and statewide Opening Day of Trout Season.
The move to an earlier statewide schedule for trout season provides anglers with two more weeks to enjoy trout fishing statewide, reduces travel associated with multiple opening days, and minimizes overcrowding on many popular waterways to allow anglers to comply with social distancing guidelines.
While the stocking schedule is a useful tool for planning a fishing trip, Wisner noted that the PFBC will not be permitting “walk-up” volunteers to assist with stocking trout in 2021. Instead, in accordance with public safety recommendations from the Governor’s office and Pennsylvania Department of Health, volunteers will be recruited from an existing pool of individuals who have traditionally assisted with float stocking and bucket carrying organized through local conservation organizations, schools, and other groups. All volunteers selected will be required to wear personal protective gear, including masks and gloves, and practice social distancing while participating in stocking operations.
“We realize that people of all ages really enjoy meeting up with the stocking truck at their local lake or stream to see some of the beautiful trout we’ve been raising at our hatcheries, and maybe even carry a few buckets to the water,” added Wisner. “We really look forward to the day when we can welcome everybody back to help us stock again, but in the meantime, we thank the anglers for their understanding as we try to protect the safety of our staff and the public.”
The 2021 adult trout stocking schedule is searchable by county, lists the waterways in alphabetical order, and indicates stocking dates and the species of trout that will be stocked.
2021 Pennsylvania fishing licenses, launch permits, and boat registration renewals are available for purchase online through the convenient new HuntFishPA online licensing accessible by visiting www.fishandboat.com, the FishBoatPAmobile app, or by visiting one of approximately 700 retail license issuing agents across the state. To participate in trout fishing and keep trout, anglers ages 16 and older require both a fishing license and a trout permit.
The PFBC will continue to stock approximately 3.2 million adult trout in 701 streams and 128 lakes open to public angling. These figures, which are consistent with the number of trout stocked over the past decade, include approximately 2.2 million Rainbow Trout; 686,000 Brown Trout; and 293,000 Brook Trout. As with past practice, the average size of the trout produced for stocking is 11 inches in length.
In 2021, anglers will have an excellent chance to catch large, trophy-sized trout. This year, the PFBC will stock approximately 60,000 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″. The allocation of these large trout will remain at increased levels established in 2020, which was more than double the allocation in 2019. Roughly 70% of these large fish will be stocked into streams and lakes during the preseason prior to opening days of trout season, and 30% will be stocked during in-season replenishment stockings.
In 2021, the PFBC will also continue to stock large numbers of 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. The allocation of approximately 13,000 golden Rainbow Trout in 2021 matches numbers established in 2020, which exceeded the 2019 allocation by roughly 40%. 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 1 million trout to waters open to public angling.
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 14″ – 20″ trout 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. Locate Keystone Select waters here.
Important 2021 Trout Season Dates and Safety Information
Due to continued health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been a few changes to the 2021 trout season, including a consolidated statewide schedule for all 67 counties.
The 2021 trout season will include a single, statewide Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Day beginning at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 27.
The following weekend – Saturday, April 3 – a single, statewide Opening Day of Trout Season will begin at 8:00 a.m.
Anglers are reminded that there will be no separate regional mentored youth trout fishing day or regional opening day in 2021. This consolidated schedule provides anglers with two more weeks to enjoy trout fishing statewide, reduces travel associated with multiple opening days, and minimizes overcrowding on many popular waterways to allow anglers to comply with social distancing guidelines.
To participate in the mentored youth program, adult anglers (16 years or older) must have a valid fishing license and trout permit and be accompanied by a youth. Youth anglers must obtain Voluntary Youth Fishing License (only $2.97 including all fees), or a free PFBC-issued permit. Both are available using the PFBC website or the FishBoatPA mobile app, through county treasurer offices, or at approximately 700 retail license issuing agents. Because mentored youth programs were cancelled last season, the PFBC will continue to honor any 2020 Voluntary Youth Fishing Licenses for all mentored youth opportunities in 2021.
For every voluntary youth license sold, the PFBC receives 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 are dedicated to youth fishing programs.
2021 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.