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

Attention anglers: You can head to Pennsylvania streams to fish for trout, starting immediately.

The statewide trout season opened at 8 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

The decision was made in consultation with Office of the Governor, the state Department of Health and the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Opening day statewide had been set for April 18.  

The Mentored Youth Trout Day has been canceled, a news release states. The commission will honor Voluntary Youth Fishing Licenses purchased this year for mentored youth fishing opportunities during the 2021 season.

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As part of efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus, officials wanted to avoid the large gatherings that can happen on the traditional opening day, according to the news release. It’s also intended to minimize intrastate and interstate travel and to reduce the threat of poaching.

Anglers must be properly licensed and all regulations, sizes and creel limits, the news release states.

“We realize that this announcement is another disruption to tradition, but it is in the best interest of public health and safety,” Tim Schaeffer, PFBC Executive Director, said in a news release. â€œWe have already seen that anglers and boaters across the Commonwealth are willing to adapt their behavior to include social distancing, and we ask everyone to follow their lead while enjoying outdoor activities during this challenging time. The trout we have been stocking have had time to spread out, and so should you.”

Because of the coronavirus, anglers should stay close to home and observe social distancing, whether on a bank or in a boat. They should wear a mask or cloth covering and stay at least 6 feet away from others. 

If someone else is already fishing in an area where you wanted to fish, you should find another spot. Only fish with members of your family living in your household. 

Don’t have a license and the trout/salmon permit yet?

You can purchase one online using the FishBoatPA mobile app on smartphones or visiting, www.fishandboat.com, the news release states. If you don’t have a computer and can’t visit a retail location, call (814) 359-5222 for assistance.

Anglers who are approached by a conservation office can show a digital copy of their license or a receipt of their license. Boaters can show a digital receipt of their launch permit or boat registration, the release states.

Anglers may still display their fishing license, the release states.

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