PA Fish & Boat Commission Mentored Youth Program a great opportunity for young anglers
The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, through the work of the Mentored Youth Program, offers our younger anglers the early bird chance to hit the trout streams each Saturday prior to our two regular season Opening Day dates.
The Mentored Youth Program fishing days are: Saturday, March 24th from 8 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. (regional) and Saturday, April 7 from at 8 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. (statewide). The regional area encompasses 18 southeastern counties in the state. If you’re not quite sure what area your county is in, you can visit the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission website to view a map and see a listing of the regional counties.
To be considered a youth, and to fish with an adult on either of the Saturdays prior to the regular season Open Day dates, one must be younger than 16 years of age and have obtained a Mentored Youth Fishing Permit or a Voluntary Youth Fishing License. To be considered an adult or mentor, and to fish with a youth on either of the Saturdays prior to the regular season Opening Day dates, one must be older than 16 years of age and have obtained a regular adult fishing license with the additional trout stamp. A youth may harvest two trout on either Saturday, and although the mentor is allowed to fish, he/she is not permitted to harvest any trout, and any trout caught are to be released unharmed.
There are a couple key things about this program that I really like.
The PF&BC offers the Mentored Youth Fishing Permit at no cost to the youth angler. This is a great incentive to take a kid fishing, and to give them the opportunity to fish on a trout stream without the commotion of the other anglers that will surely be out the following Saturday. This allows for a better overall fishing experience for both the youth and the mentor, and it certainly provides a better chance for the youths to catch trout. In this regard, I would personally urge the adults to leave their fishing rods at home and take an active role in the position of mentor.
This program has been established to foster an appreciation for fishing in our younger generation. And in doing this, we can foster the importance of sustainability through proper ethics and conservation practices. Teaching kids to fish is great, but teaching them to care about the environment and waters in which they fish is critical to our long term future as fishermen/women.
Another great aspect of the program is the Voluntary Youth Fishing License. For the adult or youth that really want to help give back to the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission for all they do to help us as anglers, the Voluntary Youth Fishing License can be purchased for only $2.90, and what’s really great about this is that for every license purchased, the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission will receive $5 back in federal reimbursement! Again, in this regard, I would ask either adult or youth angler to purchase the Voluntary Youth Fishing License as a simple way to say thank you to the folks at the PF&BC.
In closing, I would remind us as all, as we prepare to hit the streams in the Pennsylvania Wilds in the weeks to come, to be as ethical as possible while enjoying this sport that we love. Hike more litter out than what you hike in. Be good to the fish. Report a violation if you see fit. Be safe, and as always… have fun!
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is an independent Commonwealth agency whose mission is to protect, conserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s aquatic resources and provide fishing and boating opportunities. Learn more at www.fishandboat.com.