$1 fishing licenses set for Labor Day

Harrisburg — The science, John Arway will tell you, is clear.

Eighty-five percent of children younger than 16, when asked, said they would like to go fishing, said the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission’s executive director. Adults, meanwhile, are more likely to fish if a child asks them to go.

The commission is trying to bring those groups together.

It’s launching two new initiatives meant to get more people on the water later into summer. One is a mentored youth panfish day, modeled after the commission’s successful mentored youth trout fishing opportunities.

The other is a specially-priced one-day fishing license for adults that can be used anywhere in the state on Labor Day.

The youth panfish day will also be held on Labor Day, Sept. 1, on 17 “panfish enhancement” lakes around the state. Identified in the summary book and listed at www.GoneFishingPA.com, those are waters where there’s a minimum size for bluegills, crappies and/or perch and stricter creel limits.

The rules are meant to provide a higher quality fishery, with more large panfish.

On the mentored day, though, the minimum size limits are being waived for participating anglers. Adults and children will still be limited to keeping 50 panfish per day, no more than 20 of them from any one species.

“Anglers enjoyed the first mentored youth fishing day and told us that they particularly liked the idea of having a dedicated day to fish with their families and friends,” Arway said.

“With everyone’s busy schedules, we decided to pick a day so people can put it on their calendars. Labor Day makes sense since many families already plan to be out on the water that day.

“We chose the panfish enhancement lakes because these waters have been managed to produce a large number of fish, so kids should catch a lot of sunfish, crappies and perch, which makes the day fun.”

Mentored youth anglers must acquire a free permit or buy a voluntary license to take part in the panfish day. Both are available at www.GoneFishingPA.com or from licensing agents across the state.

Some commissioners suggested the agency might want to have staff on hand at the enhancement lakes to demonstrate how to fillet panfish. No decisions were made about that, however.

As for the Labor Day-specific fishing license, it can be used by adults fishing with kids on panfish enhancement waters. It’s not tied to that alone, however. The license can also be used anywhere statewide on the end-of-summer holiday.

Typically, a one-day adult resident license costs $11.70 and a one-day adult tourist license is $26.70. On Labor Day, they’ll cost just $2.70. That’s $1 for the license and $1.70 for issuing agent and transaction fees.

The hope is that some adults will buy one to take a youngster fishing, said Tim Schaeffer, the commission’s deputy director for policy and planning.

But the commission is also hoping that the license will show people that fishing doesn’t have to end with summer, Arway said. And perhaps some who wouldn’t pay full price for a license that late in the year will buy a one-day license, he said.

The Labor Day license will be available starting July 21 via The Outdoor Shop at the commission website, fishandboat.com. They’ll be available from issuing agents no later than Aug. 24.

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