Anglers looking forward to Pennsylvania’s popular spring trout season have another tool at their fingertips, as the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is pleased to make its 2023 adult trout stocking schedule available using the FishBoatPA mobile app and website (Fishandboat.com).
“While many anglers still have their rods and tackle boxes stored away for the winter, the release of our trout stocking schedule is always highly anticipated and is a reminder that spring fishing opportunities are just around the corner,” said Brian Wisner, Director of the PFBC Bureau of Hatcheries. “This schedule is the blueprint we use as we build a world-class stocked trout fishery in all corners of the Commonwealth over the next several weeks. Anglers can review the stocking schedule to find out which local waters will be ready for some great fishing very soon. So, buy your fishing license and trout permit, get your gear ready, and start planning now for those trout fishing adventures that await.”
The trout stocking schedule is searchable by county, lists the waterways in alphabetical order, and indicates stocking dates, meeting locations for volunteers, and the species of trout that are planned to be stocked at each location. In 2023, Pennsylvania’s statewide Opening Day of Trout Season will be held on Saturday, April 1. A single, statewide Mentored Youth Trout Day will take place on Saturday, March 25.
To prepare for the start of the season, stocking operations are set to begin the week of February 21. Anglers should note that fishing is not permitted on lakes and streams designated as Stocked Trout Waters from February 21 to the opening day of trout season, with the exception of the Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Day, unless waters are included in the Stocked Trout Waters Open to Year-Round Fishing program.
3.2 Million Trout
In 2023, the PFBC will stock approximately 3.2 million adult trout in 697 streams and 126 lakes open to public angling. These figures, which are consistent with the number of trout stocked over the past decade, include approximately 2.3 million Rainbow Trout; 707,000 Brown Trout; and 168,000 Brook Trout. As with past practice, the average size of the trout produced for stocking is 11 inches in length with an average weight of .58 pounds.
In 2023, anglers will have an excellent chance to catch large, trophy-sized trout. This year, the PFBC will stock approximately 70,000 brood fish, which are 2 ½ year-old and 3 ½ year-old hatchery-raised Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and Brook Trout measuring 14-20 inches. Roughly 70% of these large fish will be stocked into streams and lakes during the preseason prior to opening day of trout season, and 30% will be stocked during in-season replenishment stockings.
In 2023, the PFBC will stock approximately 14,000 golden Rainbow Trout. In addition to being stocked during the preseason period before opening day, these highly prized fish featuring vibrant golden-orange pigmentation and weighing an average of 1.5 pounds will be stocked during in-season replenishment stockings. Approximately 80% of golden Rainbow Trout will be stocked during the preseason, and approximately 20% will be stocked in-season.
In addition to trout raised at state fish hatcheries, PFBC cooperative nurseries operated by sportsmen’s clubs and other groups across the state will add another one million trout to waters open to public angling throughout the year.
Once again included in this year’s stocking lists are the Keystone Select Stocked Trout Waters, a program where sections of 24 streams across the state are stocked with large trout measuring 14-20 inches and managed under Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only or Miscellaneous Special regulations. Under the program, approximately 10,000 large trout will be distributed among the streams. The trout will be stocked at a rate of 175 to 225 per mile of stream, which is comparable to the numbers of similarly sized fish in Pennsylvania’s best wild trout waters.