Outdoors notebook: Confusion continues on year-round trout rules

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Last year, a new regulation opened some waters throughout the state for year-round trout fishing.

Lots of Southwest Pennsylvania trout anglers had a pre-season blast before the statewide opening day, but many were confused about the catch-and-release portion of the Approved Trout Waters Open to Year-Round Fishing rule.

Year-round fishing is legal in designated waters, but the details are different at different times of the year. Jan. 1-Feb. 28 and Sept. 2-Dec. 31 extended season size and creel limits apply. From 8 a.m. on the opening day of trout through Sept. 1 inland waters regulations apply.

March 1 through the opening of trout season it's legal to target trout on designated waters, but it's catch and release only. "No trout may be taken or possessed on these waters during this period," reads the regulation. License regulations apply, but a trout/salmon permit is not required.

"It went well last year, but there was a lot of confusion. People still don't understand it," said Denny Tubbs of the Fish and Boat Commission. "People need to know that trout is still out of season from March 1 to opening day, but on those designated waters catch-and-release trout fishing is OK."

The following Southwest Pennsylvania waters are included in the program: (Allegheny County) North Park Lake; (Beaver) Bradys Run Lake; (Butler) Harbar Acres Lake; (Fayette) Dunlap Creek Lake, Virgin Run Lake; (Fayette/Somerset) Youghiogheny River from the lake to the Casselman River.

(Somerset) Blue Hole Creek from Garys Run to the mouth, Fall Creek from Ansell Run to the mouth, Laurel Hill Lake; (Washington) Canonsburg Lake; (Westmoreland) Donegal Lake, Keystone Lake, Mammoth Lake, Northmoreland Lake and Twin Lakes upper and lower.

Club news, etc.

Fish and Boat commissioner Rocco Ali will speak at a meeting of Pittsburgh Downriggers Fishing Club 7:30 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Coraopolis Sportsman Club. 412-417-0581.

Forbes Trail Trout Unlimited will hold its annual banquet and raffle March 1 at the Latrobe American Legion. Details www.forbestrailtu.org.

Volunteers are needed to help with the March 1 trout stocking and March 8 lunker stocking at Neshannock Creek Fly Shop in Volant. 724-533-3212.

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