— For many area anglers, there are a few more fish in the lake to reel in after Thursday's stocking event.
The batch of Rainbow Trout "were trucked up from the Benner Spring hatchery" said Waterways Conservation Officer Dave Kaneski, and stocked in both Upper Woods Pond and Long Pond.
Upper Woods Pond has been changed from a winter stock lake to approved trout waters. This means the pond is open to public fishing and trout harvest during the extended season.
Because this pond is part of the Early Season Trout-Stocked Waters program, open season for this location is March 1 through the 31, with no fishing from April 1 to 8 a.m. opening day of trout season.
The fish are transported from the hatchery, in this case located near State College, a fish culturalist. The driver for this stocking was Dave Bechdel.
During the drive, Kaneski said the driver "must stop every hour" to check on the state of the cargo. Things like water temperature of the holding tanks are checked to make sure the fish are kept at just the right temperature.
Prior to making the journey, the fish are prepped "by holding their food for a couple of days," Bechdel said, to help prepare them for the open water.
Stocking a lake is much easier than stocking a stream, Kaneski said. "When you stock a stream, it takes a long time because you have to use buckets," he said. With a pond, a hose is run directly from the truck to the pond to add the fish.
Stocking in the fall is also an easier task because "we don't have to temper the water," before adding the fish. If the water of the pond is warm, or too cold, the fish need to be brought up, or down, to the temperature of the water they will be swimming in.
Kaneski also said as of Nov. 1, 2012, it is "mandatory cold weather life jack wear," throughout the state of Pennsylvania. This means any person, while underway or at anchor, on a boat less than 16 feet in length and all canoes and kayaks are required to wear "a Coast Guard approved personal floatation device (PFD or life jacket) during the cold weather months from November 1st through April 30th."
The regulation is important because there "is a rise of fatal accidents" in the winter, he said. Wearing a lifejacket during the cold months "greatly increases the chance of survival," the regulation notes.
Violating this regulation is a summary offense and carries with it a fine of "$50 plus cost."
Multi-year licenses available
Beginning Dec. 1, 2012, anglers can begin purchasing their fishing licenses. What makes this year different is it is the inaugural year for multi-year fishing licenses.
Page 2 of 2 - Phase one of the licenses, which will be completed by Dec. 1, will "include delivery of 3 and 5 year licenses and stamp privileges" and "3 to 5 year fishing vouchers."
The second phase of this program has a planned completion day of Dec. 1, 2013 or possibly sooner.
This includes delivery of 2 and 4 year licenses and stamp privileges and 2 and 4 year fishing vouchers. It will also include the
"functionality to allow all current license holders to upgrade/stack their fishing license."
To find out more, and the prices of these licenses, visit www.pa.wildlifelicense.com.