Dedicated trout anglers who count Penns Creek in Centre and Mifflin counties among their favorite waters now have more opportunity to fish them as a result of a Miscellaneous Special Regulation adopted by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission board of commissioners this fall.

In Centre and Mifflin counties, the board voted to approve a Miscellaneous Special Regulation on Penns Creek, Section 03, by extending the current regulations until further notice. The regulation along this Class A wild trout stream containing a robust population of wild brown trout allows for the use of all tackle types and harvest of up to two trout per day that are at least seven inches, but less than 12 inches in length from the opening day of trout season through Labor Day. No harvest is permitted for the remainder of the year.

This regulation, originally implemented in 2014, was set to expire Thursday, Dec. 31. It goes into effect Friday, Jan. 1, when the 2021 license year begins.

As part of the meeting, PFBC staff announced the publication of the new Strategic Plan for Management of Trout Fisheries in Pennsylvania 2020-2024 — also known as the “Trout Plan” — which will guide specific goals and objectives of the PFBC’s trout management program through 2024. The goal of this plan is to ensure that adequate protection is afforded to Pennsylvania’s wild trout resources and that fisheries provided through the management of wild trout and stocking of adult and fingerling trout provide high-quality angling opportunities in Pennsylvania.

This experimental fishing regulation was also approved on a newly designated Keystone Select Stocked Trout Water along Section 3 of Bald Eagle Creek located in Centre County within the Soaring Eagle Wetland in Huston Township. This is identical to the current Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only regulation. However, all tackle types will be permitted.

As such, the regulation allows for year-round angling with all tackle types and harvest of up to three trout per day at least nine inches in length from June 15 through Labor Day. No harvest is permitted the remainder of the year. This regulation is designed to provide for an extended period of catch-and-release angling with all tackle types for stocked trout, then, as stream conditions become less favorable for trout survival due to decreased flow and elevated water temperatures, harvest is permitted under a reduced creel limit.

“This experimental regulation is appropriate for this section of stream for several reasons,” District 3 commissioner William Brock said. “By designating this section as a Keystone Select Stocked Trout Water with a higher concentration of trophy-size fish, we are providing an opportunity to anglers that previously was unavailable in this part of the state.

“Secondly, by allowing fishing with all tackle in this high-use location, we’ll be able to study and evaluate the survival of fish that were released after being caught by baited hooks versus lures on similar waters statewide. The amendment will go into effect Friday, Jan. 1.”

Meanwhile, anglers are reminded fishing licenses are now on sale for the 2021 seasons. Purchasing a fishing license can be done online, may be printed immediately upon purchase or saved digitally to a smart device, which serves as proof of possession. Licenses, including trout stamps and Lake Erie permits, may also be purchased from local retailers.

This year legislators gave the PFBC authority to set the prices for fishing licenses, but no increases are expected until 2022. For 2021, the price of an annual resident fishing license is still $22.90, and multi-year options are also available in 3-, 5- and 10-year increments.

A trout permit and a Lake Erie permit cost $9.90 each, or $15.90 for a combination permit that includes both privileges. Once again for the 2021 license year, customers can purchase a collectible fishing license button for $10, and this year’s button features a chain pickerel design and is customized with the angler’s individual license number.

Note that buttons are not issued at the time of purchase and will be mailed to the buyer typically within 3-4 weeks.

Youth anglers ages 16 and younger do not require a fishing license, but they must have either a Voluntary Youth Fishing License that sells for $2.90 or a free Mentored Youth Fishing Permit to participate in various youth opportunities throughout the 2021 season. They include the Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Days, which occur on the Saturdays before the openings of the regional and statewide seasons.

Here are some key dates for the 2021 fishing license year: Friday, Jan. 1 — 2021 fishing license required; Saturday, March 27 — Southeast Region Mentored Youth Trout Day; Saturday, April 3 — Southeast Region opening day of trout season; Saturday, April 10 — Statewide Mentored Youth Trout Day; Saturday, April 17 — Statewide opening day of trout season.

Dietz is parliamentarian of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association. Contact the writer: