Pa. Fish and Boat Commission welcomes back trout stocking volunteers, as it did before the pandemic

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will again accept walk-in trout bottom volunteers this year, just as the agency did before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We will be accepting volunteers again, unlike the past two years when we restricted it,” said Tim Schaeffer, executive director of the commission.

To limit staff exposure and follow social distancing and quarantine restrictions, the commission has only allowed volunteers from its regular volunteer roster to help with storage in each of the past 2 years and in 2020, none storage schedule has been made public.

“Storage during the pandemic has been a challenge, but we have learned a lot over the past two seasons about protecting our staff and volunteers.” said Schaeffer. “This year we will again be working hard to stock trout in the safest and most efficient way possible, while delivering the best product to our anglers in time for opening day.”

Potential volunteers are asked to stay home if they have tested positive for COVID-19 or feel ill. As trout stocking is an outdoor event, volunteers will not be asked to wear masks, but commission staff will likely be masked.

Publication of the stocking schedule, restored last year, will continue as normal this year. The commission plans to make it public in the coming days.

  • Trout stocking schedule reinstated by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission

Stocking of the 3.2 million hatchery-raised trout will begin the week of Feb. 21 to accommodate the trout fishing schedule earlier across the state this year.

Under a change approved at a commission meeting in October 2021, Pennsylvania returned to a single statewide open day for the trout season which will occur annually on first Saturday in April, and in 2022 will take place on Saturday April 2. Statewide Mentee Youth Trout Day will be held on Saturday, March 26.

“It’s an exciting time of year as we prepare for the incredible task of moving millions of trout from our hatcheries to hundreds of waterways across the state,” Schaeffer added.

Volunteers ranging from fishermen who have helped with storage for decades to families looking for an outing for the kids eagerly await the rolling of the commission’s large white fleet of storage trucks each year.

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