Pa fishing season dates

Pa fishing season dates DEFAULT

Trout season to look different in Pennsylvania as COVID-19 pandemic alters regulations

Jason Zander, 8 of Leader Heights, holds up his very first trout he caught while fishing with his brother and father at Muddy Creek Forks,Tuesday, April 7, 2020 after the PA Fish & Boat Commission surprised anglers by opening trout season across the state more than a week before the scheduled opening day. John A. Pavoncello photo

As warmer weather moves into our region, many fishermen are looking forward to trout season, which begins in less than two weeks in Pennsylvania.

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, however, anglers can expect seasons, rules and regulations to be substantially different than in previous years, which means a little preparation and planning are in order.

This year’s Pennsylvania trout season comes with one very noticeable difference — there will be only one Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Day and one regular trout season opener. In past years, the state has essentially had four opening days — the regional mentored youth day, regional trout opener, statewide mentored youth day and statewide opener — but this year it has consolidated them so anglers across the state have the opportunity to fish for trout starting at the same time.

The 2021 statewide mentored youth opening day will take place Saturday, March 27, beginning at 8 a.m., followed by the statewide opener Saturday, April 3, starting at 8 a.m.

The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) says the season date changes were made to provide extra opportunities for people to get out, help to reduce anglers traveling to fish the multiple openers and assist with relieving angling pressure on the more popular waters to aid with social distancing.

“The move to an earlier statewide schedule for trout season ensures that we can preserve our cherished fishing traditions while reducing the amount of travel across multiple opening days…,” PFBC Executive Director Tim Schaeffer said. “Starting two weeks earlier (also) gives trout anglers statewide two more weeks to enjoy everything that comes with this special time of year. We appreciate the cooperation of the anglers as we prepare for the safest season possible and encourage them to enjoy their local waters.”

Children taking part in the youth day must have either a voluntary youth fishing license ($2.97 including fees) or a free PFBC permit, while adults must have a regular fishing license and trout stamp. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and changes to last year’s fishing seasons, the PFBC is allowing holders of 2020 voluntary youth fishing licenses to use those licenses this year for the youth day. Only anglers under age 16 may keep trout on this day, with the creel limit two fish seven inches or longer.

Stocking numbers: While season dates and regulations are changing for 2021, the number of fish being stocked has not.

This year, Pennsylvania will release approximately 3.2 million rainbow, brown and brook trout in 701 streams and 125-plus lakes during preseason and in-season stockings. This includes 60,000 brood fish measuring 14-20 inches in length, as well as approximately 13,000 golden rainbow trout, which many anglers also call palominos.

The PFBC has posted its stocking dates on its website and app.

Anglers can go online, check for the county they want to fish and it will pull up the list of approved trout waters and when they are being stocked. It’s important to note that the agency is not permitting walk-on volunteers this year to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Instead, it is employing staff and preselected volunteers who have assisted in the past to help with stockings.

Creel limits and sizes: Trout are a great tasting fish, with many anglers keeping a few for the dinner plate.

In Pennsylvania, fishermen are allowed to harvest five trout seven inches or longer from the season opener through Labor Day. Starting Sept. 6, the creel limit is reduced to three per day.


Pa. Fish and Boat Commission to have one opening day for trout; stocking changes made

Trout fishing season will open statewide on a single day this year, a change from Pennsylvania's recent practice of having two opening days.

During its quarterly meeting Monday, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission announced several changes to the 2021 trout season, including opening dates and stocking operations.

These changes include consolidating the 2021 season into a single, statewide schedule for all Pennsylvania counties; beginning trout stocking operations earlier than usual; reinstating limited volunteer opportunities for trout stocking operations; and releasing a schedule of stocking dates and locations.

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For the 2021 trout season, a single statewide Mentored Youth Trout Day will occur on Saturday, March 27, and a single statewide opening day will take place on Saturday, April 3.

The PFBC said the change to a single opening day is aimed at curbing anglers' travel across the state during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In the past, different sections of the state opened earlier than others, and some anglers would travel to take part in the earlier opening day. The PFBC hopes that if there is one opening day, travel will be limited. 

Nicholas Northrup, 18, of Waterford fishes for trout April 22, 2020, at Lake Pleasant in Venango Township. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission announced Monday that there will be one 2021 statewide trout open day on April 3. In the past, there had been two separate openers for different regions of the state. With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing, the PFBC is attempting to limit travel that sometimes occurred when some counties opened earlier.

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"The move to an earlier statewide schedule for trout season ensures that we can preserve our cherished fishing traditions while reducing the amount of travel across multiple opening days," said Tim Schaeffer, PFBC executive director.

April 3 is an earlier opening date for many northern and western counties, which had previously opened in mid-April. 

Anglers are also reminded that because the mentored youth days were canceled in 2020, all Voluntary Youth Fishing Licenses purchased last season remain valid and will be honored during the 2021 season.

The PFBC will begin preseason trout stocking on Feb. 15, about two weeks earlier than in previous seasons. Due to this change, all streams designated as Stocked Trout Waters will be closed to angling Feb. 15.

To provide for additional angling opportunities during this time, trout that are stocked in lakes, reservoirs and ponds during the preseason will be open to catch-and-release angling but may not be harvested until the Mentored Youth Day and opening day.

In addition, fishing will be closed on the Lake Erie tributaries and Presque Isle Bay from 12:01 a.m. on April 2 until 8 a.m. on April 3. This temporary modification to the trout season, size and creel limits will mirror regulation changes that occur annually in the Lake Erie region prior to the regular opening day and are designed to protect against the overharvest of steelhead.

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The PFBC will reintroduce limited volunteer stocking in 2021. However, to protect the safety of PFBC staff and the public, volunteer opportunities will not be available to the general public. Instead, volunteers will be recruited from a pool of individuals who have traditionally assisted with float stocking and bucket carrying organized through conservation organizations, schools and other groups.

A stocking schedule will be provided on the PFBC website and FishBoatPA mobile app  Feb. 1. While anglers are encouraged to reference the schedule, any unsolicited "walk on" stocking volunteers will not be permitted to assist with stocking. 

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By Natalie Kapustik | The Center Square contributor

HARRISBURG, PA – During their recent quarterly business review, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission gave preliminary approval for a proposed single opening day for trout season, to begin in 2022.

The proposal would create a standard single, statewide opening day of trout season on the first Saturday of April each year, resulting in an earlier and longer trout season for most anglers.

The new rule would require amendments to several sections of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Code and several regulations that reference opening day dates.

“The past two seasons, more anglers enjoyed trout fishing than we have seen in decades,” Tim Schaeffer, PFBC executive director, said in a statement. “Out of necessity because of public safety concerns, we consolidated into a single, statewide opening day. While challenging for Pennsylvania anglers and the Commission, the last two years provided an unprecedented opportunity to examine the best way to deliver the opening day experience.”



Pennsylvania’s popular trout season will undergo significant changes this year as the state continues to prioritize health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, while at the same time still providing opportunities for anglers to get out and wet a line.

In recent years, the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission has offered a Regional Mentored Youth Trout Day and Regional Opening Day in 18 southeastern and southcentral counties including Lehigh and Northampton counties. Those two dates were then followed by the statewide mentored youth day and regular opening day, effectively creating four opening day opportunities in the state.

For 2021, there will be only one Mentored Youth Day instead of two, as well as one opening day instead of two. The statewide Mentored Youth Trout Day will take place March 27, with the statewide opener set for April 3. The new dates are the dates originally proposed for the regional mentored youth and regional openers.

“Thank you to the anglers and boaters of Pennsylvania for their understanding as we continue to experience these changes together and get back on the water in 2021,” says PFBC Executive Director Tim Schaeffer. “The move to an earlier statewide schedule for trout season ensures that we can preserve our cherished fishing traditions while reducing the amount of travel across multiple opening days.”

In addition to consolidating the mentored youth and regular opening days, the PFBC will start stocking waters statewide the week of Feb. 15, about two weeks earlier than in previous years. This will result in a major change to trout fishing regulations, as the vast majority of approved trout waters will close to anglers on Feb. 14.

Historically, anglers could fish for trout as part of the state’s extended season through the end of February. The PFBC will still provide some extended season trout fishing opportunities by allowing catch-and-release angling on lakes, reservoirs and ponds that are stocked for the 2021 opener. In the Lehigh Valley, this includes Leaser Lake in Lehigh County and Minsi Lake in Northampton County.

According to PFBC Communications Director Michael Parker, approximately 3.2 million adult trout - the same number as previous years - will be stocked this year by the Fish & Boat Commission. In addition, fingerling trout will be provided to roughly 150 cooperative nurseries that will then raise and stock up to one million additional trout.

“About 70% of our trout are stocked during the preseason, with the remaining 30% stocked in-season, and during fall and winter stockings later in the year,” Parker says.

In an effort to keep anglers updated on trout season stocking dates and locations, the PFBC will post the stockings on its website and app starting Feb. 1. All stocking dates are subject to change due to weather and other factors, so anglers are asked to check the stocking schedule throughout the season.

During 2021 stockings, volunteers will once again be able to assist; however, this year it will be on a limited basis. In 2020, PFBC staff handled all stockings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For 2021, the agency will recruit individuals who volunteered in the past to help out. New and ‘walk-on’ volunteers will not be permitted, and all volunteers will need to wear personal protective gear and practice safe social distancing.

Parker says the trout season changes taking place this year are for 2021 only, at least at this time.

“Given that we can’t tell what the future holds regarding this pandemic and continued need to take precautions for the safety of our staff and the public, we won’t make any decisions on future trout seasons until the times comes to make those decisions,” he says.

In 2020, the PFBC made several changes to trout season to adjust to new information coming out daily due to COVID-19 and related health and safety restrictions. The agency originally proposed a single Mentored Youth Trout Day for April 11 and Statewide Opening Day for April 18. It later, however, decided to open trout season across the Commonwealth, unannounced, on April 7 - a Tuesday - in an effort to reduce crowd sizes that typically accompany opening day and allow plenty of room for social distancing.

All 2021 trout season changes were made by the PFBC in consultation with the Governor’s Office and Pennsylvania’s Health and Conservation & Natural Resources Departments to address ongoing public health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Dates season pa fishing

Many fishing seasons remain open as Pennsylvanian anglers enter the new year, but in a few months the pace of opening days for additional seasons will be picking up. Here’s a look at the opening days and more, according to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

March 1 – Stocked trout waters close to fishing. They will remain closed until the opening day of trout season.

March 28 – Regional Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Day for youth under age 16 and their mentor adults in 18 counties of southeastern Pennsylvania: Adams, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Perry, Philadelphia, Schuylkill and York.

April 4 – Regional opening day of trout fishing season in 18 counties of southeastern Pennsylvania: Adams, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Perry, Philadelphia, Schuylkill and York.

April 11 – Statewide Mentored Youth Trout Day.

April 18 – Statewide opening day of trout fishing season.

May 2 – Opening day of walleye fishing season.

May 24 – Fish-for-Free Day. Anyone may legally fish on Pennsylvania waterways without a fishing license, a trout-salmon stamp or a Lake Erie permit. All other fishing regulations apply.

June 13 – Opening day of bass fishing season.

July 4 – Fish-for-Free Day. Anyone may legally fish on Pennsylvania waterways without a fishing license, a trout-salmon stamp or a Lake Erie permit. All other fishing regulations apply.

September 8 – Extended trout fishing season begins.

December 1 – 2021 fishing licenses and gift vouchers are available.

Fishing licenses and permits for 2020 have been on sale since December 1 and will remain available through November 30. They can be purchased at

The price of an annual resident fishing license is $22.90. Multi-year options are also available in 3-, 5- and 10-year increments.

The most popular add-ons, a trout-salmon permit and a Lake Erie permit cost $9.90 each, or $15.90 for a combination permit.

Once again for the 2020 license year, customers can purchase a collectible fishing license button for $10. This year’s button features a pumpkinseed sunfish design and is customized with the angler’s individual license number. Buttons are not issued at the time of purchase but are mailed to the buyer within 3-4 weeks.

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AWSOME PA TROUT OPENER 2021 - PA Fishing 2021



Fishing season is here again! Opening Day of Trout season is Saturday, April 3rd. Fishing in Columbia & Montour Counties is a wonderful way to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. Here are all the resources you might need to hit the water this year and have a blast reeling in the big one.

Statewide Opening Day of Trout – April 3rd

MINIMUM SIZE: 7 inches
FISHING HOURS: 24 hours a day, after the 8 AM opener
Regular season [4/3 – 9/6]: 5 (combined species)
Extended season [1/1 – 2/15] & [9/7 – 12/31]: 3 (combined species)
NOTE: Creel limits apply to the majority of trout fishing waters. Other rules apply for Special Regulation Areas. Anglers should consult the Summary of PA Fishing Laws and Regulations for more details.

Fishing License Information

Fishing licenses are available to purchase online from the PA Fish & Boat Commission by clicking here. You may also purchase a license in person at various locations throughout the state. Find a location by reviewing this interactive statewide map. To review pricing for all available licenses, including multi-year licenses, please click here or view the chart below.

Locations in Columbia & Montour Counties selling in-person fishing licenses:

C.M. Laubach & Sons, Inc.
547 East 8th Street, Berwick, PA 18603
Phone: 570-752-3620

Gumpy’s Creekside Cabin
2861 Route 42, Millville, PA 17846
Phone: 570-458-5131

Nature’s Outdoors Taxidermy
357A Camp Lavigne Road, Benton, PA 17814
Phone: 570-441-6387

Wal Mart #1794 Buckhorn/Bloomsburg
100 Lunger Drive, Bloomsburg, PA 17815
Phone: 570-389-5750

  • In addition to a fishing license, trout anglers 16 and older must posses a Trout Permit (or Combination Trout/Lake Erie Permit) to fish for trout.
  • A Lake Erie Permit (or Combination Trout/Lake Erie Permit) is also needed to fish for trout, salmon and steelhead in Lake Erie and its tributaries.
  • Licenses must be signed in ink and displayed on an outer garment. Anglers must also be able to provide positive proof of identification (other than the fishing license) upon request of a Waterways Conservation Officer.
  • Valid Dates – 2021 licenses and permits are valid December 1, 2020 through December 31, 2021 (except 1, 3 and 7-day licenses) and are available beginning Dec. 1, 2020 at issuing agents statewide and online at
  • *NEW* – Non-resident students attending in-state universities now qualify for a discounted fishing license from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. The price of a license is $22.97, which is the same price as an annual license for state residents and $30 less than the cost of an annual non-resident license.

Local Trout Tagging

The Fishing Creek Sportsmen’s Association is continuing the stocking of tagged trout into the streams of Fishing Creek and its tributaries again this year. A total of 50 trout will be tagged with prize amounts of $25, $50 and $100 for lucky fishermen and fisherwomen to catch.

Fish-For-Free Days

Sunday, May 30, 2021 & Sunday, July 4, 2021 (Independence Day) are 2021 Fish-for-Free Days

Fish-for-Free Days allow anyone (resident or non-resident) to legally fish on Pennsylvania waterways on the designated days with NO FISHING LICENSE REQUIRED (Trout/Salmon and Lake Erie permits are also NOT required). All other fishing regulations still apply.

Fish-for-Free Days are great ways for families to “catch” the fun of fishing!


Excitement for the spring trout fishing season kicks into high gear with the availability of the PFBC’s 2021 adult trout stocking schedule. Due to stocking operations beginning earlier this year, all streams that are designated as Stocked Trout Waters will be closed to fishing from February 15 until the statewide Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Day and the statewide Opening Day of Trout Season.

To provide for additional fishing opportunities during this time, trout which are stocked in lakes, reservoirs, and ponds during the preseason will be open to catch and release fishing but may not be harvested until the statewide Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Day and the statewide Opening Day of Trout Season. The move to an earlier statewide schedule for trout season provides anglers with 2 more weeks to enjoy trout fishing statewide, reduces travel associated with multiple opening days, and minimizes overcrowding on many popular waterways to allow anglers to comply with social distancing guidelines. Plan in advance for a great day of trout fishing to catch some beautiful Pennsylvania trout.

To view the regulated and stocked trout waters in Columbia County, click here.
To view the regulated and stocked trout waters in Montour County, click here.

Where to Fish

In addition to the stocked waters, Pennsylvania also has thousands of wild trout streams. These streams are a great resource and offer a different challenge and reward for anglers. Use the PA Fish & Boat Commission’s interactive map to find a stream, boat access, stocked trout lake and more.

Or, simply navigate the interactive map resource below to locate the perfect stream to fish! Simply close the default PFBC popup window and begin navigating the map, using the filter options on the left side to locate specific waters. Map will typically display best on a desktop or tablet screen.

Still looking for some suggestions of where to start? Here’s some ideas from a local expert, John “Toast” Oast.

John “Toast” Oast is a professional kayak angler and host of the popular Fishyaker YouTube channel. His channel has received over 3 million video views, and John regularly posts videos with fishing tips, highlights, conditions, gear reviews, and more.  A resident of Bloomsburg, Oast’s kayak fishing exploits have been featured in various regional and national publications, videos, and television shows, and he travels extensively competing in kayak fishing tournaments and promoting the sport.

Toast’s Top 5 Fishing Spots in Columbia and Montour Counties:

#1: Kayak or canoe fishing float from Bloomsburg to Danville on the Susquehanna River

For those interested in a beautiful, scenic downstream float or fishing trip, launch at the Bloomsburg Airport PFBC access and take out at the Danville PFBC access.  This is a longer trip, so it is best accomplished in a full day during the longer summer months.  This stretch is great for anyone, from the novice to the advanced paddler.  This float is best by paddlecraft, as during summer and lower-water periods, there may be extremely shallow areas and submerged boulders and ledges.  Anglers on this stretch may catch smallmouth bass, muskellunge, walleye, catfish, and northern pike.

#2:   Downstream of the I-80 Bridge on the Susquehanna River

This stretch, for approximately one mile downstream of the I80 bridge in Columbia County, is accessible by most any watercraft, from multiple access points, and partially by shore anglers.  It combines shallow elevation changes with moving water, as well as deeper areas.  Anglers on this stretch may catch smallmouth bass, muskellunge, walleye, catfish, and northern pike.

#3: Fishing Creek

Fishing Creek is one of the Pennsylvania’s legendary fishing destinations for avid trout anglers.  There are numerous public and private fishing areas along the creek, from I-80 northward.

#4:  Weiser State Forest, Roaring Creek Tract

This often overlooked chain of three lake reservoirs and connecting creek are great locations for anglers and owners of canoes and kayaks.  Special regulations exist for each of these bodies of water, so check with current posted and online regulations. Anglers may catch smallmouth and largemouth bass, pickerel, catfish, and panfish.

#5:  Bloomsburg Town Park

Looking for a great place to take the family for a picnic or to introduce a child to fishing?  Bloomsburg Town Park has both access to the Susquehanna River and the park’s small lake impoundment.  Anglers and paddlers may fish from the river’s shore or launch small watercraft, or fish from the shore at the relaxing environment of the park lake.  Anglers along the river may catch smallmouth bass, muskellunge, walleye, catfish, and northern pike.  Anglers in the lake may catch largemouth bass, catfish, panfish, and carp.

Extend Your Visit

Plan on adding a few extra days to your fishing adventure, whether it be a solo trip, a trip with your best pals, or an outdoor-themed family vacation. The area is home to many fantastic attractions, including Knoebels Amusement Resort, Bill’s Old Bike Barn, Ricketts Glen State Park, the Montour Preserve, 25 historic covered bridges, and much more. Check out some of the options by visiting our Area Attractions page. Want some pre-planned itinerary ideas to get you started? Visit our Day Trips & Weekend Getaways section! Just need to fine tune your outdoor visit? You’ll find plenty of information on our Outdoor Recreation pages.


Similar news:

Pa. trout fishing 2020 season: A quick guide to dates, limits, license prices and more

It may not feel like it now but, the 2020 trout fishing season in Pennsylvania is getting closer and closer.

Eventually the water will warm up and you’ll be ready to cast your line. But before you do, be sure to understand the regulations.  

UPDATE:Surprise! Pa. trout season opens immediately; no traditional opening day in 2020

Opening day for trout season

Trout season opened on Tuesday, April 7.  

Mentored youth trout fishing days

Eighteen counties in the southeastern part of the state will get a head start on trout season with a regional opening day on April 4.

The mentored youth fishing days were canceled for 2020. 

Fishing licenses

A rainbow trout jumps completely out of the water.

You can buy your fishing license online on the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission website or in person at a license-issuing agent.

To find a license-issuing agent in your county, you use a search tool provided by the Fish and Boat Commission.

The price of a standard fishing license for an angler over 16 years of age is $22.90. But, to fish for trout, a trout stamp ($9.90) is also required.

There is no license or permit required for anyone under the age of 16.

To buy a fishing license, you’ll need to present a driver’s license, Social Security number or CID number if you’re a recurring angler

In 2020, it is not required to have your fishing license visible on your person. 

More:It's OK to keep your Pennsylvania fishing license safe in your pocket

More:You don't need a 'broker' to buy a hunting or fishing license: How latest scam works

Stocking Schedule

The Fish and Boat Commission has an interactive tool on its website that allows you to check stocking dates and locations in any county of the state.

Limits and requirements

The minimum size for a caught trout is 7 inches.

Creel limits

Regular season (opening day through Labor Day):

5 (combined species)

Extended season (Jan. 1-Feb. 28/29) & (day after Labor Day-Dec. 31):

3 (combined species)

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