HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) reminds anglers that the statewide Opening Day of Trout Season is on Saturday, April 1.

The commission states that anglers may begin fishing at 8 a.m.

Throughout the 2023 season, the PFBC will stock approximately 3.2 million adult trout in 697 streams and 126 lakes. This included 2.3 million trout, 707,000 Brown Trout, and 168,000 Brook Trout.

Along with the fish listed above the PFBC will stock around 70,000 trophy-sized trout measuring 14 inches to 20 inches.  Approximately 14,000 golden Rainbow Trout, weighing an average of 1.5 pounds, will also be stocked during the preseason and in-season stockings.  

Anglers who plan to fish from a boat on Opening Day of Trout Season, and for the next several weeks, are reminded that the PFBC’s cold weather life jacket requirement is in effect from November 1 through April 30. The rule states that anyone aboard a boat that is 16 feet long or less is required to wear a life jacket.

As quoted in the PFBC release, here are some reminders of the best catch and release 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.