Let Kids Have First Crack at Trout Opener
Several years ago I witnessed a shameful scene during the first
day of trout season.
It was along the banks of a popular stream, filled with wide,
deep pools meandering through an open forest. The slow-flowing
pools were easy to cast into, and the brush-free banks made access
easy for all. Including children.
Anglers of all ages lined the bank, and when 8 a.m. rolled around
they all eagerly cast into the water where countless trout
Among them was a boy, around 12 years old, who stood downstream
from me, expertly casting a redworm into the tail end of a pool. In
the upper end of the pool where most of the anglers congregated the
action was slow.
But at the opposite end of the pool the story was a bit
The young angler quickly landed two trout within the first 10
minutes after the season opened. The splashing of the thrashing
trout caught the attention of the anglers above, and after a while
many of them eased downstream to the section where the boy
A few minutes later, after the boy landed a third trout, I watched
in amazement as an older angler actually stood shoulder to shoulder
with the kid and, thanks to his constant bumping, crowded the
youngster out of the lucky spot.
I never forgot that selfish act, and it’s one reason I feel the
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission should follow the lead of the
state Game Commission and establish a youth fishing day.
And hold it before the season opens for the rest of us.
The PGC has successfully implemented several youth seasons that
open early, and there’s no reason why the PFBC can’t do it as
They can create a youth trout fishing day for anglers 16 and
younger, and it could take place on the Saturday when the season
traditionally opens for all anglers.
The next day, Sunday, trout season would be open for all anglers,
young and old.
Some may argue that the PFBC already has two Fish for Free days
each year, and these are great for kids as well. But giving
children their very own trout opener… now that would create some
memories that would last a lifetime.
I see no problem with giving children the first crack at stocked
trout and I’d gladly give a child a head start at landing a few of
the millions of stocked trout released each season.
Trout are raised and released for anglers to catch. It’s a
put-and-take approach to fishing.
Children are the future of the sport.
Let them catch fish.
After all, when a child can hook into a trout without having to
worry about finding a place — or the space — to fish, there’s a
good chance that same child will be hooked on fishing for a long
time to come.