Trout stocking this fall and winter will have a few new twists as the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission tries to encourage anglers to observe social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Stockings from Oct. 1 through mid-December have been posted on the commission website but they are listed only by week rather than specific date, the commission announced Monday.

“This measure aims to provide some stocking information while continuing to discourage large gatherings planned around specific stocking events,” the commission explained in its announcement.

The commission also noted, “While there are usually fewer people fishing along lakes and streams during the fall and winter months, to prevent the spread of COVID-19, anglers who encounter other individuals or groups are encouraged to practice social distancing and remain at least 6 feet away (the length of a standard fishing rod) from other anglers who are not in your family group.”

The stockings will be done by commission staff, without volunteer assistance, Monday through Friday, and the schedule could change in response to local water conditions and other factors.

About 120,000 hatchery-raised rainbow, brown and brook trout will be stocked in more than 100 streams and lakes to replenish some of the most popular fishing spots across the state and to provide ice fishing opportunities as conditions allow throughout the winter.

Included on the stocking list are 32 waters in Pennsylvania state parks.

Trout stocked in fall and winter may be fished for immediately, but anglers ages 16 and older must have a valid Pennsylvania fishing license and trout permit.

During the extended trout fishing season September 1-February 28 the daily creel limit is three trout at least 7 inches each.

In spring the commission opted for an unannounced and sudden opening of the trout fishing season about 2 weeks early on a Tuesday rather than a Saturday followed by unannounced stockings by commission staff.

— Marcus Schneck, PennLive