Bass season opens on Saturday

BY KEVIN WOODRUFF

Those looking to fish for bass can begin to do so starting on Saturday, June 16, and may keep them as long as they are 12 or more inches.

Anglers will have their gear in hand on Saturday, June 16, for the kick off of large and smallmouth bass season.

The yearly event will see anglers take to several hotspots in the area with hopes of reeling in a trophy bass.

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) Waterways Conservation Officer Kadin Thompson said there is a big interest in bass fishing in the area, despite the lack of a first day rush like you would see on the first day of trout fishing.

“It’s the most fished for species in the area,” Thompson, who coversWyomingand parts ofSusquehannaCountysaid. “There isn’t a big rush like there is with trout fishing because it’s a longer season and people can fish for them catch and release all year.”

For anglers that want to keep a nice bass, Thompson reminds that the smallest fish you can keep has to be 12 inches long.

And he said be sure to consult the PFBC’s Fishing Rules and Regulations book for “Big Bass” regulations in certain areas. In Big Bass Fisheries, bass must be 15 inches or larger to keep.

Thompson said he will expect to see many anglers atWyomingCounty’s three major hot spots; theSusquehanna River,LakeCareyandLakeWinola.

Thompson expects anglers to be successful in the first few weeks with nice weather and water conditions, and believes that most bass fisheries have been unaffected by last fall’s flooding.

However, for those who decide to go boating, Thompson does warn that there may still be some debris in the river they should watch out for.

With license sales up 11 percent from last year, the PFBC expects the state’s most popular bass fishing spots to see a surge in use when the season kicks off.

The PFBC reminds anglers that new “catch and immediate release” regulations apply to smallmouth and largemouth bass on the lower sections of the Susquehanna River (below Sunbury) and Juniata River (below Port Royal) and into the rivers’ tributaries to points one-half river-mile upstream from the confluence.

“We know that deteriorating water quality is a significant factor contributing to the decline of the smallmouth bass population in portions of these rivers and we continue to work with other state agencies and conservation groups on the issue,” PFBC Executive Director John Arway said. “But at the same time, we can protect the existing bass population by reducing angling pressure on them.”

The PFBC website has a host of information to help anglers plan their fishing trips. Visit www.fishandboat.com and select from the left navigation column “Fish” and “Fishing Fundamentals” to get started. For a guide to fishing regulations, visit www.fishinpa.com.

Through June 4, anglers had purchased 683,031 licenses, an increase of 67,389 from the same time last year. A 2012 resident license costs $22.70 and can be purchased at more than 900 retail locations across the state.