2019-03-09 / Outdoors

Wolf Tracks

Outdoor Columnist
Dave Wolf

Those anglers who are preparing for the April 13 statewide trout season opener can do their part to support important conservation measures.

Because the state legislature has tied the hands of the Pa. Fish & Boar Commission by refusing to grant a fishing license fee increase, the agency several new “voluntary” permits to raise funds for specific programs.

They amount to donations from anglers in two categories: $11.90 for bass, muskellunge, and habitat/ waterways conservation; and $26.90 for wild trout/ enhanced waters.

Trout Unlimited activists in Pennsylvania are encouraging license-buyers to pay the voluntary fees. Contrary to the stories circulated in some quarters, TU supports the stocking of hatchery trout in waters that cannot support naturally sustaining numbers of wild trout.

At the same time, the organization advocates that no hatchery trout be introduced to any waters holding naturally sustaining native trout.

So it’s understandable why TU would support the voluntary permits, as explained by Tim Schaeffer, executive director of the Fish & Boat Commission:

“Any revenues that are generated by the sale of those permits will be reinvested into resources to enhance the fisheries. For example, if you purchase one of our voluntary habitat permits, that can help us with in-stream habitat, as well as streambank stabilization, maybe in your favorite trout stream. And, that benefits the local water quality, as well as downstream water quality.”

Being voluntary, the new permits likely will not raise much concern among license-buyers. The same cannot be said of another move the commission has made to reduce costs.

A license-buyer will no longer receive a free printed copy of the annual booklet or regulations and other information. Instead, printed copies are available for $3.00 from license issuing agents. The booklet can be downloaded for free from the website, fishinpa.com.

Licenses and related permits can be purchased at gonefishingpa.com, or at more than 700 issuing agents and county treasurers’ offices.

Price of a resident fishing license remains $22.90. The most popular add-ons are a trout-salmon stamp, and a Lake Erie permit, which cost $9.90 each, or $15.90 for a combination permit.

If we wish to pass on this wonderful tradition to our children and grandchildren, we must support these endeavors and commit ourselves to conserving and enhancing our rich fishing heritage.

(Dave Wolf can be reached by email at wolfang418@msn.com.)

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