Harrisburg – At a meeting of their Fisheries Committee sometime
in the next few weeks, Pennsylvania Board of Fish & Boat
commissioners will consider a proposal to expand the area of the
state having the early trout season opener.
The commission last spring staged the first split-start to the
trout season, with a March 31 opener in 18 southern counties
followed two weeks later by the traditional mid-April first day
across the rest of the state.
Differences in climate across the state – with the time frame
for providing optimum conditions for trout angling during the
spring arriving earlier in portions of southern Pennsylvania – were
cited as justification for the split opener.
Warmer weather in southern Pennsylvania provides conditions
better suited for trout angling at an earlier time in the spring,
but then also can limit trout-angling opportunities by
After anglers showed a generally positive reaction to the
experience last spring, and requests for a similar experience began
coming in from anglers in the southwest corner of the state,
commissioners asked agency staff to explore the possibilities of
expanding the range of the earlier opener.
At the recent meeting of commissioners, Tom Cochran, southern
regional hatchery manager, said staff had looked into three
options, ranging from an expansion by three counties to one that
would add 13 counties in the southwest.
He recommended the three-county option, which would bring the
early opener to Allegheny, Greene and Washington counties, in
addition to the original 18 counties of Adams, Berks, Bucks,
Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Juniata,
Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Perry,
Philadelphia, Schuylkill and York.
According to Cochran, the other two options would add counties
where commission staff anticipates weather and roadway problems
with meeting an earlier stocking schedule.
Asking that Beaver County be added to the new early-opener area,
Commissioner Don Anderson said, “Things went well for us last year
in the southeast, so I’d like to see us give this a try.”
Commissioners seemed anxious to oblige, with Commissioner Bill
Worobec asking, “Why not do it now?”
However, staff noted, there’s no rush to approve the expansion
because it can’t be put into place until 2009 and it’s been
standard commission practice to put such changes out for public
comment before moving ahead with them.
In other action, Fish & Boat commissioners:
– Altered special trout area regulations to allow boat anglers
to transport trout caught in non-special areas of the same waters
through special-regulation areas such as trophy-trout,
catch-and-release, delayed-harvest, and early season waters.
– Approved the $16,900 purchase of a public-access easement
along about 250 feet of Tea Creek in Brown Township in Mifflin
County and the $15,000 purchase of a public-access easement along
more than 900 feet of Erie County’s Elk Creek, a significant
– Approved grants of as much as $450,000 to First Quality Paper
to build a fishway at a dam the company owns at the confluence of
Bald Eagle Creek near Lock Haven, as much as $300,000 to Garrett
Borough to remove two dams on Bigby Run and do habitat-restoration
work on Miller Run in Somerset County, as much as $200,000 to
American Rivers Inc. for the removal of Trafford Dam on Turtle
Creek in Westmoreland County, as much as $100,000 per year for bog
turtle monitoring, and $12,000 per year, for three years, to
support the National Fish Habitat Initiative.
– Extended a slow, no-wake zone on the Allegheny River to cover
from the Fort Duquesne Bridge upriver to the Ninth Street
– Tabled consideration of proposed regulation changes that would
allow the use of archery, crossbows, spears and gigs to harvest