Trout Opening Day

Jamaal Millisock Sr. holds his 18-inch golden rainbow trout, also known as a palomino, at Little Beaver Creek on Saturday, March 30, 2019. Lancaster is among 18 counties in Pennsylvania that have an early first day of trout. April 13 is the first day for the rest of the state.

Trout season is now open across the state, 11 days earlier than originally planned, due to concerns that a traditional open would lead to large crowds and further contribute to the spread of COVID-19.

There will be no mentored youth day this season, according to a surprise Tuesday announcement from state Fish and Boat Commission officials.

“We realize that this announcement is another disruption to tradition, but it is in the best interest of public health and safety,” commission Executive Director Tim Schaeffer said in a statement.

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Trout fishing in Lancaster County was originally expected to begin last Saturday, but that early start was postponed as the contagious virus began spreading through the state.

A statewide opening day was then set for April 18, but officials said the decision was made to instead open Tuesday with hopes that it will limit crowd sizes.

Anglers are expected to follow guidelines handed down by state and federal health officials, specifically social distancing, which asks that people remain 6 feet apart to curb the virus’ spread.

Fish and Boat officials also have instructed anglers to cover their faces with masks and to fish only with family members who live in the same house. They also should refrain from sharing fishing gear.

“If another angler is in an area you intended to fish, move on to another spot,” officials said.

Anglers still must have a state fishing license and trout/salmon permit.

Fishing trips should take anglers no farther than 15 minutes from their homes while the pandemic continues, officials said.

Trout waters will continue to be stocked.

“To further discourage group gatherings, a stocking schedule and list of waters that have been stocked will not be provided to the public this season,” officials said.

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