Share This Page

Mentored fishing program expanding

| Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013, 10:30 p.m.

ERIE — Mentored youth trout fishing is coming to Western Pennsylvania next spring.

At their quarterly meeting Tuesday, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commissioners gave preliminary approval to a proposal that allows the executive director to set aside certain waters for youth fishing programs. The board is expected to give final approval when it reconvenes in January.

The proposal most immediately will allow the commission to hold a mentored youth trout day in Western Pennsylvania on April 5. Between 8 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. on that day — one week before trout season opens — kids younger than 16 who register in advance will be able to fish for stocked trout on 35 to 40 waters statewide. They and their adult mentors will be able to keep two fish each.

The goal is to get families fishing together.

Educational, learn-to-fish programs have their place, said Laurel Anders, director of the commission's bureau of boating and outreach. But mentoring programs “differ significantly” in that they get kids and adults involved in planning the trip, fishing and then talking about it afterward.

That's important because surveys have shown that kids want to learn to fish from and fish with family members, she said. They also show that adults are more likely to fish if children ask them to.

“If a child asks dad or grandpap to take them fishing, they're not going to say no, right?” Anders said.

The commission held its first mentored trout day last spring on 12 waters in southeastern Pennsylvania. A total of 5,110 kids registered, along with more than 3,800 adult mentors.

Surveys done afterward revealed nearly all saw it as a positive experience, Anders said.

Children were required to register before participating. Next year, they'll need to get a permit, like a mentored youth hunting permit, through the same automated licensing system adult anglers use to buy a fishing license. It will be free, though families will be given the option to pay for it.

Requiring families to use the license system will allow the commission to capture their contact data, “basically so we can stay in touch with those folks,” Anders said.

Starting in 2015, the plan is to have the permit cost $1 to $2, commission officials said. That would make the agency eligible for additional federal reimbursement.

Some board members asked why the agency didn't start charging for it now.

“We were going to take it a step at a time,” executive director John Arway said.

Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at bfrye@tribweb.com or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.