Entering the fishing world or venturing to new fisheries can be intimidating, but trout fishing in Pennsylvania is a great way to dip your toes in the angling water.
After a long winter of compounding snow and cabin fever, the opening day of trout season marks the unofficial beginning of spring for most Pennsylvania natives.
While the trout season kick-off is traditionally staggered regionally throughout Pennsylvania including mentored youth days, a statewide opening this year is slated for 8 a.m. on Saturday, April 3, 2021.
Limits vary throughout the year, but for the regular season running through September 6, anglers can take up to five trout per day with a 7-inch minimum. During the extended season in fall and winter, some waters are no-harvest areas open to catch and release only - these are known as Class A wild trout waters. Be sure to review all Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission special regulations before hitting the water.
License to Fish
A 2021 resident adult fishing license will run you $22.97, plus $9.97 for a trout permit, which is required for trout fishing throughout the state. A non-resident fishing license costs $52.97
Each year, Pennsylvania participates in Fish-for-Free Days, allowing residents and non-residents to legally fish throughout the state with no fishing license - or trout permit - required. For 2021, the designated dates are Sunday, May 30 and Sunday, July 4. These Fish-for-Free-Days are great opportunities for families and non-residents to try their hand at PA fishing without the cost commitment.
Trout Fishing Opportunities in Pennsylvania
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Pennsylvania is home to nearly 5,000 miles of stocked trout streams, approximately 16,000 miles of wild trout streams - including its famous limestone streams - and more than 125 stocked trout lakes.
The record for the largest brook trout - the official state fish of Pennsylvania - is held by Vonada Ranck, who hooked a 7-pound brookie in Clinton County in 1996. Keith Miller holds the state record for largest lake trout, with a 31 pound, 13 ounce Lake Erie lunker he caught in 2019.
Each year, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission stocks streams and lakes across the state, and anglers can reference the stocking schedule by county. The PFBC plans to stock more than 4.2 million trout of several species for the 2021 fishing season.
In addition to several smaller creeks - such as Spring Creek, Slate Run and Letort Spring Run - throughout the state, some of the best trout fishing hotspots in Pennsylvania include Lake Erie, portions of the Delaware River, the Youghiogheny River and the Yellow Breeches.
Pennsylvania trout anglers are successful with both fly fishing gear and conventional tackle. I've had my share of luck over the years with everything from spinners to live bait to PowerBait, depending on location and stage of the trout season.
Whether you're looking to hook them with minnows or catch them on the fly, Pennsylvania should top your list of trout fishing destinations.
For fishing gear and more, check out BassPro.com.