It's not easy to become a "seasoned" angler.
It's especially true this time of the year.
Trout season is a great opportunity to get outside and spend time along one of the area's many stocked streams, but unless luck is on your side, it's not always a simple introduction to the sport. The streams are crowded, the weather can be lousy and the fish are often quite finicky.
Fortunately, there's a simple solution. On Tuesday, May 6, the Fish and Boat Commission will host a family trout fishing event at Cumberland County's Fuller Lake. It's a bit of a drive for many York County residents, but for the folks looking to successfully jump start their fishing experience, it's well worth the time in the car.
"This family fishing program will be a convenient way for families to be introduced to the sport of fishing," said Carl Richardson, PFBC Education Section Manager. "Through this program, former and new anglers can try fishing at no cost."
That's right it's free.
The Commission will waive the fishing license requirement for the event. Better yet, it will provide equipment and bait to the folks who don't have it. In other words, show up and get ready to fish, without spending a dime.
Perhaps the best aspect of the event is the lack of pressure. During trout season, novice anglers often feel they have to stay out of the best holes or the most-popular locations because their skills may not be polished. That won't be the case at the event next month. The Commission will have staff members at the lake who are eager to teach and help new anglers.
If you're looking to introduce a young angler (under age 16) to the sport, the day at Fuller Lake is the perfect precursor to the state's Mentored Youth Fishing Day on Saturday, May 10. If you recall, this event was originally scheduled to happen before the grand kickoff to trout season, but because of the ice on many of the state's waterways, it was postponed.
"We have received nothing but positive publicity and positive public comments about the Mentored Youth Fishing Day program," said the Commission's Executive Director John Arway. "Adults and kids are excited and we want to keep it that way. To ensure our customers have an outstanding chance to catch fish on this day, the Bureau of Hatcheries will stock a fresh load of trout at each water prior to the event."
To see what waters will be stocked with trout or to register for either of the events (registration is required), visit the Commission's website, www.fishandboat.com.
It's not easy for a beginning angler to go to a stream and have an enjoyable day. There's a lot of pressure and the crowds are not always as kind as they should be. Fortunately, there are plenty of learning opportunities available.
Take advantage of one and look like a seasoned pro the next time you hit a local waterway.
Andy Snyder writes about the outdoors for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.