In the case of trout, at least, bigger really is better

Since the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission decided to
stock fewer, but bigger trout a few years ago, I haven’t heard many
complaints from anglers.

But if they go ahead with a recently discussed plan of action, I
have a feeling the positive feelings may turn negative.

The agency is considering reducing the size of stocked trout —
from 11 inches to 10 or even 9 ½ inches. The agency is considering
the move as a means to save money, which I understand.

But if the agency does reduce the size of stocked trout, its
leaders better be prepared for the complaints that will
follow.

In 2007 the, the Fish & Boat Commission decided to raise fewer
but larger trout. During interviews with dozens of anglers each
trout season after, few complained and most were more than happy to
be fishing for fewer, but larger fish.

It’s safe to say the move was accepted by anglers. But can the same
be said for a move in the opposite direction.

I don’t think so.

The few complaints I have heard from anglers since 2007 mostly
revolved around the odd small trout that was caught. Even though
the majority of trout easily top the 10-inch mark, whenever someone
pulled and 8- or 9-inch fish from the water, they weren’t too
impressed.

I understand the agency desperately needs to save money, but I’m
not sure reducing the size of stocked trout is the way to go.
Recently several commissioners panned the idea, and they are
right.

I have a feeling that smaller fish will eventually equate to less
interest in the sport and, ultimately, fewer people buying
licenses.

Nobody wants that.

So what should the agency do to cut costs?

That’s a good question — one officials should keep exploring. More
regional opening days might help. By concentrating stockings by
region, the commission can focus it’s stocking efforts in those
areas on a scheduled basis. Stock the southeast one week, the
northeast next and so on.

Such a move could require fewer travel miles and trips for stocking
trucks and may be a more efficient approach toward trout stocking.
It would also maintain the opening-day tradition — each region
would have one, and give anglers more opening days to fish.

Such an approach would offer more opportunity, while at the same
time possibly allowing the Fish &Boat Commission to spend less
when it comes to stocking trout.

Categories: Pennsylvania – Tom Venesky

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